Can you learn by acting a role? An interesting study has just been made that shows role plays and drama classes in school has the potential to help students learn more effectively and learn improved life skills.
The article in the Journal of Education Psychology says that students learn more when they take on roles. Our own research, in schools, on the lives of amazing people supports that. We have shown students the videos we have made on the lives of amazing people and asked them to write letters and blogs, as if they were that person. Our observations support the other research that says;
‘Academic outcomes included motivation, homework completion, class participation, enjoyment of school, and educational aspirations, while personal well being measures considered such factors as self-esteem, life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose.
Our photo of the Beatles reflects what they learned from taking on roles as musicians, that led to many other avenues and experiences. No doubt, they learned more from their work roles than they did at school. So, why is education tied mainly to teaching, rather than active learning?
Therefore, why not take on more roles and see what you learn about yourself? A friend of mine decided that, after retiring from a corporate management role, that he would help the elderly as a chauffeur. He used his own car to take people in need to hospital. Another person that I know has taken on volunteer roles and helps disadvantaged young people learn new skills while on camping expeditions.
A friend, now in his 70s, has become a student of languages at a university. I have taken on the role of a pianist at a shopping centre cafe and converted a hobby into a regular role as an entertainer. Like all of my friends, I am learning a lot by the challenge of playing in public each day.
It is through taking action and entering into roles, with obligations and responsibilities, that we can learn a lot about ourselves, if we reflect on both the action and the learning that arises. Therefore, how do we develop more earning at school based on teamwork on problems solving. plus more role playing drama classes.
As for students, the more we ask them to participate in roles, they have improved and developed. However, teaching is too often defined as the passing on and discussion of knowledge. Learning is a more useful when it starts with taking a role and engaging in action to solve problems. How about more of that in classrooms?