Delving Into Ones Strength- I am about as least artsy as one can be. I actually came into this class, knowing it was going to be a role play, nervous and expecting the worse. But what I quickly learned is that as the role play went on the more confident I became. What I also realized is that I was not the only one feeling this way. I believe that the reason for this increase in confidence is that we don’t place ourselves into roles of vulnerability but rather we place ourselves in roles of strength to overcome discomfort. Besides this being hugely beneficial for the student, it is also an amazing tool for a teacher to authentically witness individual student strengths.
Real World Experience and Perspectives- In a role play, characters place themselves in real world situations and react to problems that are life relevant. With different roles comes different perspectives. Students will learn to think, write etc. from a different perspective than they ever have. For example, I wrote a letter to the CEO of a pharmaceutical company and carbon copied it to the town Mayor. I wrote it on behalf of a residential development company trying to persuade them to call my company with the intent of signing a contract. It is a challenge for many students to write to a specific audience, but this felt very natural. The role play placed all class members in a meeting at town hall, where we all were learning, being reactive and working together to come to a democratic decision on best policies to successfully move the city in a positive economic position. Using role play, acting and hearing others speak from different perspectives, was a fresh and exciting way to learn.
Deep Cross-Curricular Learning – Forget organizing your day into subject silos. Math, Language Arts, Science, Socials, etc are all covered in one fun activity. Role playing naturally incorporates skills that are not defined by a subject. In the lesson I partook in I needed to take into consideration profit, land size, population, geography, climate, public health and more. I had to work alongside other students who had other livelihoods within the town. Discussions were fluid and since questions and answers were made up on the spot, no two role plays are the same. What I did notice is that even though you cannot repeat the exact occurrences of a role play, you still can predict themes. This will allow you to repeat the same content and concepts, needed to align with the curriculum with more than one class.
If you role play and want to share a school role play story for others to learn about, please add it to the comments. Please also feel free to add any great role playing resources.