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Classroom Roleplay – Why and How Do I Do It?

by on 10/03/2022 8730

There are many definitions of role play or as some would call it, pretend play, but either way it's an essential way of learning through play. Role play stimulates young children’s imaginations and helps develop their social skills. Often times, children try out role play in a variety of settings and situations, some consciously, during class, or through daily life interactions with other people.

Incorporating role play into the classroom adds variety, a change of pace, and opportunities for creative learning and it's also a source of fun! Role play is an activity where kids can put themselves into the shoes of others, or put themselves into other imaginary, fun situations. Children can ‘become’ anyone they want, the King, a Prime Minister, a pop star, or even their favourite cartoon character. Role plays can also be used to express a variety of scenarios, and help children familiarise themselves with it, such as role playing a scenario at the airport, a restaurant, or even when asking for directions.

Classroom Roleplay – Why and How Do I Do It

Role play is essential not only because it fires up children’s creativity and their imagination, but it also helps develop critical skills such as communication, empathy, and teaches young children to socialise. Children can also pick up on different talents and attitudes while role playing, and master communicating their feelings, while brushing up on the language and motor skills.

We all know the importance of role play in the classroom and how it contributes positively to a child’s development, but how can teachers go around making role play a successful learning activity? Kiddy123 has outlined some important ideas to stick to for a fun and successful role play session in the classroom.

1. Setting up a Realistic Scenario

For a good role play session, let the child immerse themselves fully in the role that they are portraying as. Set up a pretend scenario with necessary toys or props to let them play it out. Keep it simple, or set up an intricate scenario, it’s all up to the educator.

Allow for the child to act out their roles however they wish to, with minimal direction and guidance from teachers. This allows for the child to think outside of their comfort zone, and develop communication skills necessary. Don’t forget to address them by their roles to keep it in character!

2. Offering Effective Praise

Most children are naturally shy beings. Many would feel uncomfortable if a role-playing activity is suddenly introduced, especially with older children. Keep the role play session fun and entertaining, and offer them effective praises for their efforts to join in the activity. Educators can also offer small rewards once children have finished role playing. Children will feel more encouraged to participate the next time, knowing that there’s going to be a reward after, and naturally they will feel comfortable with role play, even without these small rewards.

3. Encourage an Open-Ended Setting

Open-ended settings in classroom are always welcomed, be it with play materials or by teachers asking questions. Don’t limit children’s imagination and creativity by asking them questions that have a defined answer, but instead, encourage answers (and sometimes, even questions!) that are open-ended so that it can help their creative thinking develop.

Classroom Roleplay – Why and How Do I Do It

Aside from having a pretend play scenario, teachers can also set up wooden blocks, Legos, and other building toys to get those creative juices flowing for the children. Play dough or kinetic sand can also provide children with open ended stimuli that allows them to play as they choose, in addition to polishing their motor and sensory skills.

4. Reflecting

Take a moment after class to reflect on the role-playing activity. Get each child’s feedback, how did they feel during the activity, some challenges they faced during the session, and if they would like to do it again. Ask their opinions on what they would like to role play next as, and if there any specific requests. Listen to their feedback and use it to create a better role play environment the next time around.