HOW ROLE PLAYS CAN BE USED TO ADVANCE LEARNING
For this week, we’ve been reading, among other essays, an essay by Bill Bigelow who offers some great ideas about how role plays can be used to advance learning. He shares that role plays enlighten and bring students to life. A good role play, he explains, explores historical events or contemporary issues that involve a range of perspectives and can help students understand these perspectives and why and how they have emerged. This is done by inviting students to research and then step into the roles of the people and social groups that are involved. Bigelow writes that the “vitality of a role play depends on ensuring that actual social [cultural, or political] conflicts come to life in the classroom.” Through the role play, students first research, then enact, debrief and analyze these conflicts to develop a greater understanding of the complexity of the historical events or contemporary issues that are studied.