Thesis on Role Playing and Simulations in the Social Studies Class Compare and Contrast


This is a qualitative study which is based on the researches of others.  This examines the use of role playing and simulation in a social studies class.  The students use role-play and simulation games as learning method in the classroom. The study will exhibit intellectual problem solving, decision-making, empathizing, linking events, sharing ideas, and conceptualizing.  Role playing is an innovative and unusual method of teaching social studies, resulting to the newly acquired knowledge, skills, and attitudes for the formation of the children.

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Gail Godwin once said “Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.”  Similarly, Lozanov said “One of the most prominent aspects of accelerative

teaching involves the use of role playing in instruction.”

Over years, researchers have studied two important study devices: the Simulation games and Role Playing as tools in education especially in social science class. The aspect of role playing observed was used in the diagnosis or assessment.  The test of how a person would act when placed in an imagined or pretend problematic situation was reiterated.

Social studies class tackles on how the students feel responsible for the action on problems.

Role playing and simulation game is a valuable method of learning.  This type of learning

encourages thinking and creativity.  Additionally, it motivates students to comprehend the concepts that are being thought.

Role playing is nothing more of a rehearsal like that of a player of a football or a musician practicing their crafts.

Class room teachers uses role playing, drama, or simulation games in teaching social sciences to many ages of students.

Role playing and simulation games promotes effective interpersonal relationships and social interactions among participants.

According to Christopher and Smith, they showed  how language teaching content in simulations may be either specified or left unspecified.  They distinguished the Convergent model and Divergent model in 1990. Convergent model is used if the patterns of exchange in the simulation are specified.  However, the divergent model is used if the patterns of exchange are left unspecified.

In early simulations, the students own activities are essential to learning but the tasks should be chosen by the teacher.

According to Shermis, 1992, she argued that students should passionately feel problems as their own.  The use of drama in social studies can serve as a method for examining problems from historical content and current events in the context of the modern day world.

Simulations can be applied to teaching language in many learning areas, like in the technical English,  business and industry, and international relations.   Certainly, role playing or simulation games may be part of the teaching methods used in social sciences;   professional development program for teachers themselves.

Bode expressed that “the purpose of education is not to fit the individual for a place in society, but to enable him to make his own place.”  Hence, role playing or a drama is used as a tool to make citizenship relevant in the classroom.

Statement of the Problem

The study explores the students’ responses to role playing as a primary method of instruction in social studies. The question is on how the students’ react to social studies by using role playing as the medium of instructions.

Objective of the Study

The aim of this study is to:

1.                             Observe the several reported interactions among student regarding role playing and simulation games in social study class.

2.                             Understand the value of role playing and simulation games as a method of learning.

Scope and Delimitation

This study dealt mainly with the researches of the different authors. It involves collection of relevant articles relative to Role Playing and Simulation Games used in Social Study class.  Related articles in developmental learning were also deemed  by the researcher to be reviewed and studied for its significance to the study.

Definition of Terms

The definition of role playing given by Dr. Adam Blatner is a derivative of a sociodrama. In addition to, he further defined as one of the methods of exploring the issues involved in complex social situations.

 Role playing can be used for the training of professionals or in a classroom for the understanding of literature, history, social science, religion and even science.

In various modern sources, Filatov et al and Vaisburd et al defined role playing as dramatization on preset subjects in a form of verbal practice at the final stage of work on a topic, and as a rehearsed presentation with assigned roles.  However, such definitions of role playing correspond to a narrow understanding of conversational practice.  It reflects the psychosocial characteristics of conversation in the foreign language within a system of accelerative teaching.

In a journal written by Kitaigorodskaya,  published in 1988, he indicated that role playing as teaching method is not just an occasional instructional technique.

On the other hand, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines another term which is simulation as imitative representation of the functioning of one system or process by means of the functioning of another.

Encarta dictionary defines simulation as reproduction of the essential features of something or feigning of something like another situation or environment.

Moreover, social studies is defined by Encarta dictionary as an academic subject devoted to the study of society and including geography, economics and history.

Role Playing as Simulation

It was stated in an article that self-awareness is an integral part of problem-solving and communications.  Self-awareness is essential to understanding others. The best way to learn the categories of skills is through role playing.

Role playing should not be perceived as a psychological procedure.  Certainly, it has been widely used as a part of many different methods of therapy.  This is an accepted medium for learning.  Role playing is simply a less technologically elaborated form of simulations.

Comprehensible input is provided in simulations because students engage in genuine communication in playing their roles.  Active involvement among the participants is encouraged. Students have the opportunity to try out new behaviors in a safe environment, which helps them develop long term motivation to master an additional language. In addition to encouraging genuine communication, active involvement, and a positive attitude, the simulated “real life” problems help students develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Simulation imitates real life situations.   The participants in role playing represent and exhibit some character type seen in the everyday lives.

In some literatures, there is little consensus in the terms used relative to role playing and simulation.  More often, these words are used interchangeably simulation, game, role

play, simulation-game, role-play simulation, and role-playing game.

According to Ladousse, he expressed that simulation is a broader concept than role playing.  Further, he views simulations as complex, lengthy and relatively inflexible.  In addition to, role playing is quite simple, brief and flexible. Simulations imitate real life situations.

 Here are some examples from Ladousse:

1.      What do I look like? Students, in turn, try on props and accessories such as a white coat, glasses, wig and hat. The other students comment on their changed appearance. Follow-up discussion can focus on uniforms we wear in our daily lives.

2.      Picture role plays. Students identify with persons in photographs, write his/her imaginary biography, and interview each other in their roles. This provides practice in simple past tense.

3.      Neighbors: may I borrow? Students practice making polite requests. They are given picture cards showing cooking ingredients that they either need or have a lot of. They explain what they are cooking, and must borrow ingredients from each other.

4.      Group improvisation. Two students improvise a scene, and others join and leave the improvisation, tying their roles and exit into the improvisation. As with the “design competition,” this follows the unstructured, “divergent” model.

5.      Role switching. Students role play persons in a conflict. On the teacher’s signal, roles are switched. Discussion can center on how strong emotions are expressed in different cultures.

On the other hand, Scarcella believed that role playing acts as the experiences of some character suitable in everyday life. It imparts that simulations always include an element of role play.

In using games as a tool, it is a perfectly legitimate teaching strategy as long as a it is congruent to the learning objectives.

Mentioned below is a scenario of a simulation game that can be given in a social study class.  The teacher asks students to have a role playing on the treasure hunting.

He gave a scenario that the students are in the era of the “Indiana Jones”.  Students were divided into two groups.  The first grouped played the role as treasure hunters.  The second groups were assigned as the pirates.  The teacher gave a map on each team.  Students are supposed to find the treasure with obstacles planted on their way.  As a result of the active participation of the students, in the learning situations, games promote:

1.      the learning facts conveyed in the game context.

2.      the learning process was simulated in the game, and lastly

3.      the learning of risks and rewards of an alternative strategies in decision- making was enacted.

These concepts learned are all basic fundamentals that the students should grasp. This is essential in the development of the students learning process.

Historical Background

The background of role playing can be understood by examining the root of the term “role” which comes from the word “rotulus” which literally means roll or scroll.  The screenplay actors used the word over two thousand years ago in Ancient Greece.  In this era, where the script became the essential part of the play, actors need to play the “role” like Hamlet or Othello or Ophelia or Desdemona.  In other words “role” began to be used to refer to the performance of an individual in a particular social function.  But then again, one can also create a role or even improvise a performance.  As a matter of fact, many children make use of role playing when they pretend.  Enthusiasm was felt during the imaginative activity.

Jacob L. Moreno (1889-1974), a young physician in Vienna was intrigued by the nature of creativity and spontaneity.  He discovered that the activity of dramatic creativeness was therapeutic for the actors.  He began to think about applying this approach as a style of individual and family treatment.

In 1925, Dr. Moreno developed these ideas into a method he called “psychodrama.”  Further, he applied this method to psychiatric patients. Thus, he instituted that the basic techniques could be modified.  He used these methods to address social problems.  He eventually called this approach as “sociodrama.”

Moreover, Dr. Moreno had a prolific mind.  Hence, he invented a technique about social psychology and group dynamics.  He was one of the pioneers of group psychotherapy and even engaged in his own type of philosophy.  He emphasized the need for appreciating the fundamental importance of creativity in life.

This approach was reiterated by another great psychotherapist, Dr. Otto Rank. He was one of the pioneers of social psychology with his knowledge of drama.  He developed the role concept.

A few others in sociology and anthropology were also thinking about roles.  However, Dr. Moreno added a dimension of actual methodology that designed people to reflect on the way they were playing the various roles in their lives called “role playing.”

One element of role playing was used in the diagnosis or assessment.  It is a tool on how a person would act when placed in an imagined or pretend problematic situation.  It is very fascinating to take an account that the German high command used this method in order to reform their officer corps.  The purpose was to develop valid skill instead of the old tradition ways of learning from leaders or teachers. Though, unpleasant the political goal was to organize effective troupes.

 It was after the Second World War, when the allies realized to adapt this technique.   By the late 1940s role playing had become a recognized part of business, community, and other forms of the budding field of what was to become organization development.  In 1970s it was widely used as part of behavior therapy for assertion training and social skills training.  Moreover, it has been known as a method in education since the late 1940s.  Though, there were enough problems with it’s used that it has not fully resolved. In 1990’s, Juliette Rouchier with her experience to simulation methodology, she made some insightful suggestions concerning reporting simulation work.  She further stated that it would be useful to give more detailed lists of individual behaviors as to compare the processes.  She hypothesize that learning would be useful to have adequate data about the knowledge of the actors or players.  She further recommended the aid of comprehension to the logical processes in the system.

Role Play in Education

Many students do not want to study.  Games are more pleasurable.  But if we incorporate learning and games together then teachers can grasp the students’ attention.  Examples of games that required memory work includes: spelling bee, using flash cards in mathematics, and crossword puzzles.  The use of flash cards can be applied in social science as drill test showing country, state, famous people, etc.

The Piaget’s developmental theories have been applied in the area of education.  Furthermore, Piaget’s concepts have been applied to resolve educational problems.  He described two modes of learning the assimilation and the accommodation.  He further explains that in the assimilation people take in new experiences through their own system of knowledge.

In accommodation, people adjust their system of knowledge to the reality demands of the environment.  In other words, it figuratively means a change in the mental map, expand or alter it to fit their new perceptions.  Together, the two processes are complementary and concurrent, but different types of learning tend to emphasize one or the other mode. In reality, what the world needs are people who have skills.  Skills are not merely knowledge of facts; rather it requires a more complex performance-oriented testing.  This requires teacher attention.  Skills are examples of an accommodative type of learning.

It is a common cliché to teach children or young individuals on the lessons of life without examples or as what is known as simulation or role playing. This is because this is the closest to reality.

In a study of Dr Blatner, he explains that critical thinking requires an exercise of three interdependent component categories of skills namely: problem-solving, communications, and self-awareness.

The skills needed in life cannot be learned by reading of any number of books.  Little didactic material can be helpful in creating an intellectual framework for the accommodative learning.  It also requires exercise, practice, and continuous learning.

Dr Manorom wrote a guideline regarding role playing as a teaching method wherein he elaborated that learning to participate is an important skill for humanities and social sciences.  Hence, students’ desire to learn in today’s multi-stakeholder world.  The role play method develops a greater understanding of the complexity of professional practice and enables students to develop skills to engage in multi-stakeholder negotiations within the controlled environment of the classroom.  Role play in the classroom can be implemented in a number of ways.  It can involve online elements as well as face-to-face interactions.  The length of the process can also vary according to the aims of the activity.

Role play in the classroom involves students actively participate in the learning process by allowing the students to act as stakeholders in an imagined or real scenario.  This is a technique that complements the traditional lecture and assignment format particularly in

social science class.

In a role play, the teacher chooses a particular event or situation that clarifies key theories or important issues to be tackled.  Students are given detailed background readings and assigned stakeholder roles as preparation. The format of interaction between students differs and may depend on time or resources available. The role play is concluded with a debriefing or reflection stage that reinforces the concepts introduced by the role play. Examples of role playing being used in our daily lives includes: what astronauts do in their practice for missions or what pilots do in learning to navigate in flight simulators. Soldiers perform in the course of military exercises like role playing. Role playing is applied in training the professionals like in the training of salesman on dealing with the customers.  Other examples includes: health teaching of doctors to patients and educating teachers to deal with difficult situations.  All of these require some measure of actual practice and feedback.

The teacher must take on some additional responsibilities in role playing and simulation. Moreover, the teacher must keep the students motivated by stimulating their curiosity, keeping the material relevant, and creating a relaxed environment for learning.

The use of role play helps to actualize the principles of accelerative teaching.  Additionally, it stipulates simultaneous utilization of conscious and subconscious mastery.   In particular, the student’s emotions are needed to involve in the facilitated learning of the educational material.

Studies have shown that role playing creates the conditions conducive to the application of different methods in the psychological influence of the student.  It is also harmonious with the principles of individual learning being achieved through group activities.

Role playing is called is sometimes called a hands-on approach to learning in contrast to other forms of learning such as lectures or essay writing.

In role-playing, the students understand the topics by active involvement.  The experience is more personalized.  They may also have the opportunity to reflect on these experiences.

The instructional function of role playing involves expansion of the subject matter needed by the student to acquire in the particular topic.  When a student acts according to the assigned role, the student is not limited to the situation or scenario given to him.  Rather, he can modify the designated role as long as the essence is present.  As a result, the student’s knowledge becomes richer in the particular subject matter.  During the course provided to the students, they are motivated in studying social sciences, and other subject matters relevant for their growth and development.

In the study of Abt “Games for Learning”, he identified the outcome of the active participation and involvement of the students in the learning situations of role playing or simulation games that will stimulate the following areas:

1.)    The learning of facts expressed in the game context,

2.)    The learning process simulated by the game.

3.)    The learning of risks and rewards of alternative strategies of decision- making.

Role playing uses dramatic devices such as having the players make “asides,” comments to the audience that the other characters have to pretend they haven’t heard; this allows us to reveal what  we think but are not able to say. Another dramatic device, role reversal, involves the players changing parts so they can begin to empathize with the other’s point of view, even if they don’t agree. Speaking from different parts of each role helps people become more conscious of their ambivalence. These sociodramatic techniques facilitate the degrees of self-expression and, with reflection, thereby deepen the insight obtained for both players and audience. And thus, this procedure can be used in conjunction with another approach which has different roots: drama in education.

Arising from a number of innovators in both the fields of education (most notably, B.J. Wagner, Nellie McCaslin, Geraldine Brain Siks, Virginia  Glasgow Koste and Elizabeth Flory Kelly in the USA) and the theatre (most notably Viola  Spolin, Richard Schechner, and Joseph Chaikin in the USA), the idea was to foster spontaneous exploration of various situations. This approach has also been called “creative drama,” “developmental drama,” and similar terms. In America in the 1920s, Winifred Ward pioneered “playmaking,” while in England in the 1950s, Peter Slade wrote about the power of drama in his book, Child Drama. This was different from theatrical production–there was to be no script, no fixed lines, no rehearsals. (Theater, as I’m using the term here, in contrast, traditionally emphasizes written scripts, rehearsals, and/ or an emphasis on the performer rather than participation by the whole group.) According to  another pioneer, Brian Way, the learning was in the experience of creativity itself. (Way, 1967): “… drama is concerned with the individuality of individuals, with the uniqueness of each human essence.”) While drama in education’s source was different from Moreno’s, its spirit certainly resonated with Moreno’s original vision about the potential of spontaneity as a key dynamic in learning and problem-solving.

How is Role Play done? A step-by-step guide

Role plays can take on many forms or scenes.  It can involve online elements or show

face-to-face.  Before planning a role play consider the resources available.  Have a time schedule allotted for the exercise. Here are examples to be followed in planning, presenting and implementing a role play.

Design Process of Role Play

I.  Determine the learning objectives of the role play.

The learning objectives can be theoretical as well as practical. Listed below are some examples of questions to be answered in the learning objectives.

1. What are the key concepts that are taught in the course?

2. Is there a key event or situation that is the focus of the course?

3. What skills should students develop through the activity?

4. Is it aimed at broadening expertise or developing new skills?

5. Do you want the students to experience a different perspective?

6. How does the role play fit into the rest of your course?

7. Is it being used to reinforce ideas already introduced through lectures or to

    utilize the role-play to present new theories?

II. Choose a scenario or situation

The scenario or the situation employed may be a reality that highlights the key concepts of the course particularly in social sciences. Through re-enacting the events from reality students are able to deepen their understanding of real life situations. In addition to the things learned in text books, newspaper reports, academic articles or journals and documents related to the event or concept being discussed. When selecting the scenario the following considerations should be in mind:

1. What are the main issues/areas of conflict in the scenario?

2. What are the circumstances that created the conflict?

3. Consider major events or developments that characterized the scenario.

4. When was the scenario happened?

5.  Where would the scenario or situations occur?

III. Students’ perspectives and adaptation to the situation in the classroom must be considered. Listed below are some questions to be answered.

1.      Who are the major participants and observers?

2.  Consider organizations, individuals and public or private interest groups.

3.  What are their differing perspectives on the situation?

4.  Consider the number of students and participants in the class.

5.  Determine the assigned roles to the students?

6. How would the roles be assigned?

7. Consider the relationship between roles.

8.  Which roles can interact with one another?

9.  Which roles are allied? Are their alliances public or private?

10. Did some roles acted as representatives for others?

Role plays depend on the scenario of reenactment.  It may be pertinent to the learning process to exclude some groups in order to reflect reality.  Many researchers emphasized that role playing has a multifunctional nature.  It recognizes its motivational, instructional, and general educational functions.  Dialogues or plays instill students on how to say something.  However in role playing, it answers the question of why and what is the purpose of something.  In this sense role playing fulfills a motivational function.

Role playing is one of the most effective means for motivating students to converse.

However, there have been reports that role playing or simulation procedures do not follow these guidelines.   The teacher can follow-up the students after the activity by assigning homework.   Remarks may be generalize or may give warnings about special difficulties that may happen. Variations can be used with different types of classes or different levels.

Structure of Role Playing

Role playing has the following characteristics like the objectives, content, sets of social roles, communicative and didactic conditions.   A piece of role playing is performed. A distinguishing feature of communication through role playing is its duality, engendered by the separation of the process of learning and the process of teaching.  Consequently, we can consider the objectives of role playing from two different standpoints namely the student and the instructor.  The behavior of the student is directed to achieve the objective in performing the assigned role within the play.  This is also true to the instructor.  Role playing is mainly a way to control group interactions among the students.  Further, the aim is to attain instructional as well as general educational objectives.

In the guidelines given by Dr. Kanokwan, the structure of the role play is influenced by the time frame allocated in the exercise. There four stages in the structure of role playing namely: briefing, interaction, forum and debriefing.  The important elements involved will facilitate the students to familiarize themselves with the engaged exercise. Furthermore, these will help student reflect on the experiences gained.

In briefing stage, this provides an opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with the role play. Students are selected or assigned with roles. They are required to prepare for their respective roles by conducting research and knowing the situation or scenario of the play.

The second stage is the interaction stage.  Students performed their respective roles, networking, and lobbying with the participants to achieve their goal in learning.  The main objective is for students to have exchange of ideas with other participants.  This will create good interpersonal relationships within the class.  The interaction stage also provides reflections for the students on how the situation settled in reality

The next stage is forum. In this stage, there is an opportunity for all players to negotiate and try to resolve the issue at hand.  It could be a face-to-face conference or public forum.

The final stage is a debriefing.  Debriefing stage should be allocated ample amount of time.  This stage is the most important element of the role playing. The instructor or the teacher should evaluate the learning objectives if it was attained.  Any questions from want the students should be answered clearly in the end of the session.

Evaluation of the students should be made.  The teacher can ask the students to submit a written copy of their own and group position regarding the exercise made. To assess students on their participation in the exercise, they may be asked for a written position reflecting the task made.  Setting a deadline according to the timetable is a must.

Materials in Role Playing

Students must have materials for their source of their respective roles.  The following resources are classified into: generic and specific.

The weight of information given to students will depend on the subject matter and its level.  The generic resources will give perspective to the role play.   This should include literatures on the background of the situation or scenario indeed in the role play.  The main thrust of the literature should have a brief outline of the participants and their public positions regarding their relationships between the different participants and levels of interaction.

Active mastery of the materials can be used in role play. The formation of developmental skills and habits occur in the context of role playing at various levels.  The success of the role play may be influenced by the mastery of the educational materials.

Another type is the specific resources which will correlate to the role assigned to each student.  This comprises the background information on the individual or organization. The examples of these include policy documents, newspaper and journals or reports.  It is also important that the personal characteristics for instance, the temperament of an individual is a significant factor in certain scenario. Other essential factors should be taken into account in the same way as a certain approach that characterizes a particular role.  A detailed outline of the role play and the participant tasks should be made clearly.

It may also be beneficial for the student to provide a guide to the role play that

clarifies on how the role-play will run through.  The following details such as time table, structure of the role play, information tackled on the forum, and class participation shall be assessed at the end of the exercise.

Simulations represent real world scenarios.  Materials used should simulate the real world. For instance, blocks or sugar cubes can be employed in simulating a construction task.  Another example would be the extraterrestrial role play wherein toothbrushes, watches, lightbulbs and keys can be examined by the aliens.

Implementation of Role Play in the different stages

In briefing stage, it is important that participants in the role play understand clearly their roles.   The students should learn on how to interact with other participants or in shorter term, camaraderie.  They are expected to learn the theories or subject matter being conveyed because they will be assessed at the end of the exercise.  It may be necessary to require student to study first the subject matter in lecture format or hold a tutorials.

This method will ensure that students have completed the necessary readings prior doing the role play.

The briefing stage is a chance for the teacher to direct students in their role play and to establish relationship boundaries.  In addition, the manner of interaction can be thru email, online chat room, or personally if there are things to be clarified.

The following are checklists given by Dr Kanokwan as guideline in the implementation of role play:

1.  Ensure students understand how the role play will work, especially

     how they will interact with other players.

2.      Explain the mode of interaction for each stage of the role-play.

3.      Assign roles and distribute resources/reading materials accordingly.

4.      Communicate deadlines for the first task like writing a description of

your participant for the particular role.

5.      Approach of resource person for information.

The interaction stage is a phase for the students to assume their roles and develop relationships with other participants or students.  It should imitate the development of the real life situation that the role play is simulating.  This may require detailed instructions

for the actions of different members of the class.

The forum stage is a period when the participants engage in direct interaction involving all members of the class. The purpose of this stage is for discussion to take place with the purpose of reaching an answer.  It is also in this stage, where the discussions are monitored as the forum progresses and mediate to the class when deemed necessary. This may be the time to encourage students to participate in the discussion. Also, the teacher should supervise in the interactions to ensure the roles are being played accordingly. The forum should identify learning opportunities when it arises.  Moreover, it is in this stage wherein the students should convey the role play to a conclusion. A resolution may

not be possible and this can be discussed during the debriefing stage.

The debriefing stage is the most important element of the role play.  It is essential that students internalized their roles fully for the debrief session so that they can reflect on their role and the roles of others objectively.

According to Coleman, he draws a parallel between learning the game and learning the real life.   The individuals act in particular situation or case.  The next stage is when the individual begins to understand the general principles in particular case or situation.  For instance, a child touches a hot pan, a case of acting on a particular situation.  The child’s hand got burned.  At first the cause and effect to the child of that incident is not clear to him.  However, it is clear to him that he should not touch hot objects or else he will get burned. This is the comprehension of the principle.

Moreover, this is the time when the role play is stated officially over. This is the stage to discuss what happened in the role play.  Further, this is the stage to highlight important points like theories or principles in the said role play.  The teacher can expand issues and concepts that were outstanding in the role play. In addition to he can link them the scenario being specified.  The students should internalize on what was learned from the role play.  Students should be aware that they should not focus merely on the situations that were simulated but also the skills adopted by them.  In this final stage, the teacher evaluates the class in their role play. Finally, he will get feedback from students on the technique.

Problems with Role Playing

Role playing is a knowledge that intensifies and accelerates learning.  It is almost like an electric power tools used carpentry or the daily household chores.  Teachers have to be well trained, competent, and innovative in presenting their lesson plan. These tools in learning make our learning process easier.  However, like other power tools, it can be dangerous.

According to Adam Blatner, the most common problem with role playing is when the teacher does not recognize fundamental principles. It is an innovative procedure in learning.  This learning process must be improved.  The teacher using this kind of procedures must be acquainted with the principles of learning methods.  Otherwise, the benefit of the concept will be put into waste .

As a matter of fact, many people who have had unpleasant experiences with role playing suffered because the teacher had not grasp the principles of role playing.  The proper way is for the teacher to talk to each of the actors or students involved.

Another problem identified in role playing is when teachers gave into their own impulses to play psychiatrist. He unintentionally engaged on the group problem, exploring some issues and focusing on the real-life personal problems of a given individual.

A third problem comes from the common tendency to assume interpersonal skills that are easier than technical skills.  Sometimes some teachers fail to appreciate the complexity of a skill.  It is a learning procedure important to emphasize that directing a role play is as complex as learning how to deliver a baby.

Recommended  Solutions

The teachers assigned in doing the role play must have the proper educational preparations and practiced.  This will minimized any erroneous concepts transferred to the students.   The teacher may subject the participants in a what they called warming- up.   This is a process whereby the participants intermingled with each other.  It connotes the theme to be learned in the exercise.  Learning how to do the warm-up is vital in role playing.

With regards to the problem of acting like a psychiatrist, teachers must know their boundaries of their educational specializations. They are not the proper authorities to do advices to the students.   These mistakes can be prevented by focusing on the lesson plans.  Delicate issues must have some threshold.

Relative to the third problem, teachers have the tendency to classify their students into different groups without proper consultation with the students.  An interactive approached is needed to facilitate proper groupings, in order to achieve the learning objectives.  Teachers must have a good grasp of the principles of learning methods.  Proper training and extensive practice of such learning methods will lessen if not eradicate the problem.

Future Implications

In addition to its integration in the ordinary classroom, this method is mutually beneficial with special programs for children.  This can be used particularly in some children having special needs like those with physical, emotional, or developmentally defect.  Children with this kind of defects needs different type of approached and not the traditional classrooms approach.  The need of a more active, multi-modal, experiential approach is one of the possible alternatives.  Again, role playing in itself is not a treatment rather it is an alternative approach.  It is likened to a new revolutionizing surgery which can be effectively applied by trained people or teachers.  Like any other tools, it should be in good hands of the experts.  This can hasten the attainment of the teachers’ goals.  The movement towards social will promote emotional intelligence to the students.  This can be used as a valuable resource.


Role playing is a methodology derived from sociodrama. This is a new approach in learning that help students understand the more subtle aspects of literature, social studies, and even some aspects of science or mathematics.  Further, it can help them become more interested and involved in class. Role playing is not only a learning process through the materials like books, articles, and journals.  This can also be a learning process by integrating the knowledge in action. In adition, it can address problems, explore alternatives, and seek novel and creative solutions.  Role playing is the best way to develop the skills of initiative, communication, problem-solving, self-awareness, and working cooperatively in teams, these are all the values of learning. In fact many if not most of them will be obsolete or irrelevant in few years. The main point is to help these children in preparing them in facing the challenges of today.


Based on the researches done the following are recommended:

1.      Proper use and cultivation of role playing or simulation games must be implemented as a new tool in learning.

2.      Further studies of role playing and simulation games should be given more emphasis as a new tool in social studies class.

3.      Additional seminars, trainings and conferences must be provided to the teachers for their preparations, developments and updates.

4.      Standardized surveys and questionnaires must be floated to the students in order to know their sentiments and perceptions on role playing and simulation.


1.       Blatner, Adam. (1995).  Drama in education as mental hygiene:  A child Psychiatrist’s  Perspective. Youth Theater Journal 9, 92-96.

2.       Lee, Rebekka et al. (1999).  Engaging Young Children in Activities and Conversations about Race and Social Class.

3.       Blatner, Adam. (1997). Applications in education:  In The art of play: Helping adults reclaim imagination and spontaneity.  Pheladelphia

4.       Chesler, M. (1966). Role-playing methods in the classroom. Chicago: Science Research Associates

5.       Burns, A. C., ; Gentry, J. W. (1998). Motivating students to engage in experiential learning: a tension-to-learn theory. Simulation and Gaming, 29, 133-151.

6.       Ladousse, G. P. (1987). Role play: Oxford University Press.

7.       Scarcella, R. ; Oxford, R. L. (1992). The tapestry of language learning. Boston: Heinle and Heinle.

8.       Tompkins, P. (1998). Role Playing/Simulation.  Tompkins [at]

9.       Manorom, K. (2006).  Role Play as a teaching Method: A practical Guide

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