Role play is a method through which children learn to think about situations and then act them out. It helps them learn how it feels to be in someone else’s shoes and empathize with others. It encourages creative thinking and self-confidence.
Role plays can be of many types:
- Simple acting out of situations.
- Miming (acting out situations without actually talking).
- Radio Play (acting out situation undercover so that others can only hear) And there can be many other variations as the imagination allows.
The methodology of role-plays:
When children are new to role play they can begin by acting out the given story. As they become more confident they can begin to improvise or change the conclusion of the story according to their own ideas, explaining the point they wished to make, at the end.
Difference between Role plays and Attitude Tests:
In an attitude test, a list of situations is given and the child is asked to think over each of them. In a role-play only one situation is taken up for the students to enact. Suppose we are dealing with the value of honesty, we can ask students to act out any situation in which the child may face conflict as far as this value (honesty) is concerned. For instance, children may act out situations such as:
- Presenting the problem without giving any solution: For example- a child is wondering what to do? Should I or shouldn’t I cheat in the examination?
- Presenting a behavioral pattern: For example- the child actually cheating in the examination.
- Presenting what ought to be the right behavior. For example- showing that the child stands for honest behavior, in spite of having the opportunities to cheat.
In all the above cases it is the analysis of the role play that is more important than the role play as such. The analysis brings out why a person should accept a value such as honesty and act on all occasions upholding this value. If there are larger groups of students, we could present a variety of situations related to the value of honesty and analyze them. This will help in a better understanding of the importance of the value and its practical application in life.
Role plays depicting a certain value can be carried out as follows:
- The teacher gives the plot for each student to act out.
- The teacher gives the theme, and the children work out their own plot.
- Each group is asked to pick a related value and then decides on its own theme, plot, etc.
- Once the topic is selected, divide the students into groups of five-six or in any feasible number. Each group is asked to present a situation with the same value, say, honesty. One or two groups can take situations from home, one or two groups from our neighbour-hood, etc. Give about 10 minutes to the groups to prepare these role plays.
- Ask each group to present the role play. Care should be taken to ensure that the other groups remain attentive while one group is presenting the role play. After each role-play, analyze the role play in order to bring out the need for this value of honesty in such situations. It can be done by asking questions such as:
- Why had the characters in the role play behaved in a particular way in their role play?
- Do you think it was the right type of behavior?
- What could have been the alternative course of action for the characters in the given situation?
It must be noted that in such analysis [both in the case of role play and attitude test], the Balvikas Guru has to bear in mind that he or she should remain a facilitator and gently guide the children towards analyzing the situation on their own and help them arrive at the right decisions, without imposing his or her own value on the children.
Benefits of Role Play:
- Increased Self Confidence
- Greater Creative thinking
- Ability to choose well/discriminate
- Learning to co-operate