Role Play as a Method of Instruction
Role Play provides opportunities for discussing the purposes of particular activities, for reflecting on the specific needs of learners (both adults and children), and for developing new teaching skills. This method of instruction promotes a comfortable, non-threatening learning environment in which there is always room for mistakes.
Additionally, role playing promotes parental empathy for the developmental capabilities of young children. Finally, the role playing method of instruction is easily managed by home visitors and allows for parents with limited reading ability an opportunity to become effective first teachers of their children.
Role playing is used throughout the HIPPY program by all participants. The coordinators and home visitors role play activities every week, taking turns in the roles of parent and child. Home visitors then role play the activities with parents at home or in group meetings. The parent does the activities with his or her child once the home visitor is gone.
Some Advantages of Role Playing
Research, and experience in HIPPY, has shown many advantages to the use of role playing as an instructional method.
- Overall advantages:
- Coordinators, home visitors and parents all practice and model the role of teacher
- Reduction of anxiety in the learning situation
- Increased ability to recognize problems in instructions
- Increased ability to seek out and evaluate information from a mass of data
- Increased ability to handle problems and decisions
- Increased ability to forecast, plan and take action
- Increased ability to work well with other people
- Advantages for Coordinators:
- Provides an opportunity to determine the home visitor's understanding of the curriculum
- Provides insight and real life experience with the instruction which is occurring in home visits
- Advantages for Home Visitors:
- The opportunity to practice teaching the materials
- The chance to observe the parents' level of understanding
- Identify more easily with the parent
- Advantages for Parents:
- Learning new skills by practicing them in a safe, reflective environment
- Parental empathy for the child's learning is promoted
- The learning needs of parents are more easily accommodated
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