How Role-play can be Used to Promote Core Skills in Classroom?

More and more educators realise that some core skills are universal needs in the workplace. While many teachers are contemplating about how to foster these skills in their teaching, this article suggests how three of the most important core skills - critical thinking, creativity and communication could be promoted by role-play, illustrating with an example of teaching the topic, global warming.    

Why Role-play?

Role-play is a technique that allows students to explore realistic situations by interacting with other people in a managed way in order to develop experience and trial different strategies in a supported environment (Glover, 2014). In the process, students have the opportunity to practise what they have learnt through analysing the context of a situation, using critical thinking, creativity and communication skills.  


Develop Critical Thinking  

It is believed that the development of critical thinking is meaningful and crucial in the school and at the workplace. One teaching method for enhancing critical thinking is the use of role-play where students work together to resolve a familiar or unfamiliar real life situation. When students are engaged in a role-play, they are required to think and take actions independently.   

Let us take a module topic of global warming, with the following intended learning outcomes, as an example:  

(1) examine the problem of global warming and its significance; and

(2) evaluate the possible recommendations.

A role-play activity could be used as the consolidation of students' learning where they will have a debate. When doing the role-play activity, students are assigned different roles, such as the representatives from various countries and organisations at an international summit on global warming. In the process of acting out the roles, students would consider different perspectives of others, which is one of the key features of critical thinking.

Cultivate Creativity

Mottweiler and Taylor (2014) affirmed that a child's development of creativity is linked to role-play. What is creativity? Mactaggart, an award-winning author and illustrator stated that creativity is “the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions” (2016). Creativity can be flourished by experimenting, exploring, questioning, making assumptions, and using imagination and synthesising information. In another role-play activity on global warming, where students will brainstorm and think of innovative ways to save the environment, they will be involved in the above-mentioned skills based on their learnt knowledge of global warming.  

Promote Communication Skills

Role-play takes place between two or more people, and act out roles to solve a problem and communicate for a goal. When each student is taking an active role in the role-play, they would be engaged in a communication encounter. Taking the debate of global warming issue as an example again, during role-playing, students place themselves in an imaginative position and role in which they must find a way to interact with others and to solve conflicts. Alternatively, for a role-play activity where they work as a team for a competition to promote environmental friendly office, they will have to brainstorm for the potential solution together, and build teamwork and collaboration skills.   

To facilitate an effective role-play, teachers should first define the objectives of the role-play and consider the constraints, such as class size and time. Students should be informed about the situation beforehand and are assigned different roles to act out within the scenario. It is also important to conclude the role-play with feedback and debriefing. Teachers could facilitate students' self-reflection and self-awareness in the debriefing.  

References:

Glover, I. (2014, July 4). Role-play: An approach to teaching and learning. Retrieved August 23, 2019, from, https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/shutel/2014/07/04/role-play-an-approach-to-teaching-and-learning/

Mactaggart, E. (2016). Boogie Books. Creativity is imaginative ideas into reality. Retrieved August 23, 2019, from http://www.childwrites.com.au/child-writes-blog-spot/creativity-is-imaginative-ideas-into-reality 

Mottweiler, C. M., & Taylor, M. (2014). Elaborated role play and creativity in preschool age children. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8(3), 277. 



如何透過角色扮演提升學生核心技能?

越來越多教育工作者注意到一些核心技能在職場上的重要性。有見不少教師正在思量如何在日常教學中培養學生具備這些技能,本文提出了如何通過角色扮演來促進其中三個最重要的核心技能─批判性思維、創造力和溝通能力,並以教授全球暖化這主題為例作闡釋。 


為什麼使用角色扮演? 

角色扮演是一種技巧,讓學生在具支援的環境下有計劃地通過與其他人互動來探索現實情境,從而製造經驗和探索不同的行動計劃(Glover,2014)。在過程中,學生有機會透過情境分析,使用批判性思維、創造力和溝通技巧來應用他們所學到的知識。 

發展批判性思維

無論在學校或職場,發展批判性思維都極具意義和重要。其中一種增強批判性思維的教學方法就是角色扮演,當中學生合力解決或熟悉或陌生的現實生活處境。當學生參與角色扮演時,他們需要獨立思考,當機立斷,採取行動。 就讓我們以全球暖化主題的單元為例,假設其學習成效為(1)檢閱全球暖化問題及其意義;和(2)評估可行的建議方案。教師可以引領學生進行辯論,利用角色扮演活動鞏固他們的學習。在進行角色扮演活動時,學生將被分配不同的角色,例如參與全球暖化國際高峰會的不同國家和組織代表。在扮演角色的過程中,學生需考慮他人的不同觀點,這正是批判性思維的關鍵特色之一。 

培養創造力

Mottweiler和Taylor(2014)肯定了孩子的創造力發展與角色扮演的關係。什麼是創造力?獲獎作家及插畫家Mactaggart表示,創造力是「以新的方式感知世界,找出隱藏的模式,在看似無關的現象之間建立聯繫,並提出解決方案的能力」(2016)。通過實驗、探索、假設性提問,使用想像力和整合資料,可以激發創造力。在另一個關於全球暖化的角色扮演活動中,學生將集思廣益,思考創新的保護環境方案。他們以自己對全球暖化這主題的已有知識為基礎,再運用上述提及的技能,考慮並提出不同的方案。 

促進溝通能力

角色扮演最少兩個人進行,透過扮演不同角色,進行交流,以解決問題及達致共同目標。當每個學生都積極地投入自己所扮演的角色時,他們必需要溝通交往。再以全球暖化問題的辯論為例,在角色扮演過程中,學生將自己置於想像的位置和角色中,與他人互動溝通,並解決衝突。又以另一個角色扮演活動為例,學生以隊制形式參與推動環保辦公室比賽,探討並發表建議方案,從而建立溝通和團隊協作技巧。 

為有效促進角色扮演,教師應首先確定角色扮演的目標,並考慮其中的限制,如班級人數和時間。角色扮演活動前亦應事先讓學生了解情境,並設定不同的角色讓學生在場景中發揮。通過回饋和解說來總結角色扮演也很重要,教師可以藉著解說來促進學生的自我反思和自我意識。

參考文獻:

Glover, I. (2014, July 4). Role-play: An approach to teaching and learning. Retrieved August 23, 2019, from https://blogs.shu.ac.uk/shutel/2014/07/04/role-play-an-approach-to-teaching-and-learning/  

Mactaggart, E. (2016). Boogie Books. Creativity is imaginative ideas into reality.  Retrieved August 23, 2019, from http://www.childwrites.com.au/child-writes-blog-spot/creativity-is-imaginative-ideas-into-reality 

Mottweiler, C. M., & Taylor, M. (2014). Elaborated role play and creativity in preschool age children. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8(3), 277.