Manual for Conducting Role Play

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The Mekong Learning Initiative (MLI) utilizes a linking and learning strategy to promote reflection, sharing, and new activities that aid in the advancement of a comprehensive comprehension and practical utilization of social science principles in natural resource management. The endeavor involves partnering with eight universities in the Greater Mekong Subregion, including Ubon Ratchathani University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts. Introduction: Significance of Role Play. In contemporary society, where various stakeholders are engaged, humanities and social science students must acquire the ability to actively participate.

The incorporation of role play in the classroom aids students in developing a more comprehensive comprehension of professional practice and equips them with the necessary skills to navigate negotiations involving multiple parties. There are several methods to include role play in the classroom, such as incorporating online components and facilitating face-to-face interactions. The duration of the activity can also be adapted according to its objectives. The subsequent guide will outline successful techniques for implementing role play in social science classrooms at the tertiary level.

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Role play in the classroom is a method that involves students actively participating in the learning process. It allows them to take on the roles of stakeholders within an imaginary or real scenario. This technique complements traditional lectures and assignments in social science learning at the tertiary level. The teacher selects a specific event or situation that highlights important theories or is relevant to the topic being studied. To prepare for the role play, students are provided with in-depth background readings and assigned stakeholder roles.

The method of communication among stakeholders can differ and may be influenced by time or resources. The role play concludes with a debrief or reflection phase, which reinforces the ideas introduced during the role play. As stated by Brierley, Devonshire, and Hillman, the role play technique fosters practical knowledge: a blend of factual knowledge (knowing about the academic knowledge base), practical knowledge (knowing how – possessing the skills), and situational knowledge (knowing when to apply the skills).

The utilization of role play within an educational setting provides a dynamic platform that imitates real-life scenarios, enhancing students’ comprehension and engagement with the subject matter being reenacted. By actively participating in the enactment of classroom discussions, students not only gain a deeper understanding of key concepts but also acquire practical skills relevant to their future professional endeavors. According to Hirsch, role play encompasses the fundamental components of experiential learning. In accordance with David Kolb’s definition, learning occurs through the transformation of experiences, wherein knowledge is formed.

The role play technique enables students to take what they’ve learned from lectures and readings and apply it to a real-life situation. Because students are actively engaged in the role play, it is more effective in solidifying concepts in their long-term memory.

Role play is a form of learning that is interactive and practical, in contrast to more theoretical methods like lectures or essay writing. Through role play, students actively participate and gain personal experience, allowing for reflection. Additionally, role play teaches important aspects of professional practice, including the development and production of knowledge, like the use of 1 Brierley.

Students acquire the ability to effectively communicate knowledge in a meaningful and persuasive manner through role play. This educational technique also allows for the illumination of divisions and differences between and within groups. Role play in the classroom effectively demonstrates that various stakeholders utilize different information sources and often possess distinct, if not conflicting, viewpoints. However, it also highlights that resolutions can be achieved. By engaging in role play, students learn how to collaborate with individuals who possess differing personalities, beliefs, value systems, abilities, and background experiences. They develop a deeper understanding of the wide array of perspectives held on a particular issue and gain insight into the complexity of negotiation and their own role within it. Additionally, they come to realize that they may not possess all the answers (and that there may not always be a simple solution), but they begin to recognize the “critical issues for their professional practice.”

Role-play is a valuable teaching tool that enhances practical professional skills and academic knowledge, popular among students for its ability to provide a comprehensive understanding of multi-stakeholder negotiations through simulated experiences. This step-by-step guide outlines how to conduct role plays in different forms, including online elements and face-to-face interaction. When creating your role play exercise, it is crucial to consider the available resources and desired time commitment.

Below is a step-by-step guide to creating and executing a role play:

  1. Outline the learning objectives for the role play, encompassing both theoretical and practical aims.
  • What are the key concepts that are taught in the course?
  • Is there a key event or situation that is the focus of the course?
  • What skills should students develop through the activity?
  • Is it aimed at broadening expertise or developing new skills?
  • Do you want the students to experience a different perspective?
  • How does the role play fit into the rest of your course?
  • Is it being used to reinforce ideas already introduced through lectures or are you utilizing the role-play to present new theories?

Select a real-life scenario that exemplifies the main concepts taught in the course. By re-enacting real events, students can enhance their comprehension of actual situations. Furthermore, relevant readings and context can be incorporated from newspaper reports, scholarly articles, and related documents about the event. When choosing a scenario, take into account the existing resources and whether students may have prior knowledge.

The decision to exclude certain groups during the learning process relies on the specific situation. Exclusion may be necessary for an accurate reflection of reality. It is crucial to consider the interactions between different roles and their relationships. Are there any alliances between these roles, and if so, are they publicly disclosed or kept confidential? Moreover, some roles may serve as representatives for others.

When planning your role play, the structure will depend on how much time you have allotted for it. It can include both online and face-to-face elements. The example provided below outlines a possible structure for a role play, consisting of four stages: briefing, interaction, forum, and debriefing. These stages include important elements that help students understand the exercise, participate actively, and reflect on their experience.

Students can familiarize themselves with the role play by going through a briefing stage. They have the option to choose or be assigned roles and can prepare by researching and studying the scenario and stakeholder they will portray. In the interaction stage, students have the chance to embody their roles, establish connections, and persuade other stakeholders in order to achieve their objectives.

The forum stage is crucial for involving all players in negotiations and their collaborative efforts to address the problem. This stage can take place either through a face-to-face conference or a public forum. It is essential to determine the format of the forum and establish effective communication methods among participants. Additionally, it is important to identify stakeholders who may not directly participate and devise strategies to ensure their engagement, particularly with regards to students.

The debriefing stage is crucial and should be given ample time as it holds the utmost significance in the role play. It is essential to re-evaluate the learning objectives and the specific questions you want students to address during this session. Additionally, take into consideration the assessment methods for your students. One suggestion could be to ask students to provide a written copy of their private and public positions, with their participation and communication skills in the role play being taken into account when marking. Another option could be to have students submit a written reflection on the exercise. Be sure to establish deadlines according to your timetable.

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Manual for Conducting Role Play. (2018, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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