GET INTO CHARACTER
- In much the same way as the Fund$ Game scenario, this role-play scenario requires the teacher to play a role as well. Instead of the traditional knowledge-transfer role with the teacher driving the learning, the teacher assumes the role of facilitator in a largely student-driven learning environment, overseeing the learning, but letting the students take charge of creating the content in a playful, yet serious way.
- Adopt characteristics from existing research institutes. Conduct online searches using obvious search terms such as “research institute” or “research centre directors” to find out more about the role you are assuming and how scholars function in it. Consider adopting the name or theme of an existing institute.
- Facilitate your students’ socialization into a professional community of practice. Role-play scenarios are popular tools in clinical and technical apprenticeship training. In this case, the learning environment of a research institute allows the learners to generate knowledge about the research world by being active participants – writing, collaborating, thinking and behaving as researchers. It situates the learning of relevant life skills in an authentic setting.
- Expect different reactions from your students. Depending on your learning/teaching style and the diverse learning styles of your students, a role-play scenario could be a challenging undertaking. Some will thrive in this participatory environment while others may struggle to adapt.
- It is reassuring for learners to know that the teacher is also playing a role in the game. Be frank with the students about the role that you will be assuming for the game. Invite them to review the Research Director Script. Show them some inspiring examples from existing institutes.
- As some students may be intimidated by role-play, provide reassurance that we all play roles (student, athlete, sibling, friend…). This game is intended to provide them with a low-stakes environment to learn something about the dynamics of knowledge production in the social sciences. A positive by-product may be that they learn something about their own skills in a professional setting that they will be able to draw on in a job interview.
- Student concerns can be largely offset by carefully planning the learning activity. Take the time to establish clear directions in your assignment instructions and regularly review the work plan and the students’ progress.