(figure available in print form)
An example of role-playing in the classroom
To place children in a common life situation in order to elicit and share feelings and responses.
The group is introduced to a situation or predicament. (Some books listed in Teachers’ Bibliography give many possible role-playing situations.) Children are asked to listen carefully to the situation.
-“Actors” are then chosen to act out the different character of the situation. “Actors” can take the situation in any direction that seems suitable to them.
Carol is a 15 year old student. She is trying to tell her mother about problems she is having with the other girls at school. The others at school are angry at her because she would not give them the answers to an English Quiz. Carol is trying to get some help from her mother.
Mother has just come in from work. She is tired and upset because the car broke down on her way home. She is also distracted by a younger child, Bobby, who is running around the house with his dog Charley. Okay. Who wants to be Mom? Assign volunteers to act our the parts of each character.
I will usually prepare the class beforehand of any special directions such as not hitting each other or no cursing, etc.
From SOURCES OF IDENTITY, Second Edition, part of
The Social Sciences
Concepts and Values
Series by Paul F. Brandwein, et al. Copyright 1977, 1972 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
I would also be ready to cut or stop the action when the “actors” have run out of alternatives to act out or have provided enough action to allow for a discussion.
Always allow time for discussion afterwards and invite non-actors to offer alternatives, insights or personal experiences.
To help children develop empathy towards others and to share common emotions and attitudes.
The group is shown a picture (large posters are available from most libraries) depicting an emotional scene.
The class is asked to study the picture and then to explain what is happening or has happened or what will happen. A variation of this, especially good for younger children, is to begin the story of what happened and ask children to fill in gaps or to predict what might happen or what could be done.
Show class a large poster of a boy sitting on his front steps dressed up obviously waiting for someone to show. He has a tear on his face and has obviously been forgotten or left behind. Ask children to respond to picture. What has happened? Is the boy sad? Why? What other possibilities could happen? Have you ever felt this way? What did you do about it? What can the boy do? Is it possible that his dad will still come? Why didn’t he telephone? How long should he wait? Is the boy angry? How would you feel?
Always try to elicit from children their own feelings of what is happening. Give anyone wishing to respond time to have his say. Bring out the fact that many of us have common feelings. Some of us may have different methods of dealing with emotion but there are no right or wrong ways to feel.