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Role-play in science teaching and learning

Role-play in science teaching and learning,Gabrielle McSharry,Sam Jones

Role-play in science teaching and learning   (Citations: 9)
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Role-play in science lessons is underrated and underused, often because of misconceptions about what role-play is and how it can be put to use in science education. This article provides a theoretical basis for the use of role-play, along with some ideas that science teachers may find helpful in further developing the experiential side of their lessons. What is role-play? The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (1978 edition) definition of role-playing is: 'behaving in accordance with specified function' . This is accurate but a working definition of role-play is more difficult to arrive at largely because it is associated with 'dramatic' activity in the minds of teachers, and also because of confusion in the literature arising from its relatedness to play, games and simulation (Jones, 1985). Role-play is a product of 'play', 'games' and 'simulation', and definitions of these are provided in Box 1. In science education role-play may be seen as an interaction between these three components - either in combination or by themselves - and the child who 'performs' the activity, resulting in learning outcomes (Figure 1). It is suggested in this model that there is progressively increasing intellectual rigour involved as you move from play to games to simulations. Again, in this model, all aspects of role-play are derived from 'play'. Since the initiation and design of role-play is driven by the teacher, play takes on an educational function. Some types of role-play use techniques derived from drama, which may be adapted for use in teaching science. Role-play in science, therefore, is a product of the use of drama, games and simulations. Since, properly designed, it involves children in
Published in 2000.
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