Role playing provides students with a chance to act out, rather than merely talk about, ways to solve problems effectively. Many students find this to be an enjoyable and instructive supplement to class discussions. It also gives teachers the opportunity to provide students with supervised practice in dealing with "real life" problem situations.
Role playing can be an effective way to help children integrate their social problem–solving skills. Role playing enables students to (a) practice calming down during a problem situation; (b) act out solutions in an effective, cooperative way; (c) observe the consequences of their actions; and (d) practice persistence and overcoming obstacles.
Below are some general guidelines about conducting role plays and some tips about ways to carry them out effectively:
When introducing role playing, it is helpful to have the teacher take a part as an actor in the initial role play in order to get things off to a good start.
Keep initial role plays short. One or two minutes is generally sufficient for making key points.
Initial role plays work best if there are no more than two or three actors.
It is very important to structure role plays by clearly defining both the situation and the roles to be played by each actor. A teacher can exercise considerable latitude in how detailed a role play script can be. If students cannot function without complete structure, it may be necessary to write out all lines in a skit from start to finish and to have students read them rather than act them out at first. On the other hand, it is also fine to encourage students to generate their own topics for role plays. When this is the case, it is still critical to provide structure from the outset by (a) asking students to state clearly their problem and feelings, goal, and solutions to be enacted; and (b) discussing the situation and roles to be played. Students should be encouraged to be... [continues]
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