Authentic Role-playing as Situated Learning: Reframing teacher Education Methodology for Higher-order Thinking

From Section:
Instruction in Teacher Training
Feb. 03, 2013
February, 2013

Source: Studying Teacher Education, Vol. 9, No. 1, 45–61, 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this paper, the authors draw from situated learning theory and teacher education research to propose a teacher education pedagogy that may help to bridge the theory-into-practice gap for preservice teachers.

The authors employ a self-study methodology in order to examine the use of Authentic Role-playing as Situated Learning (ARSL). This methodology allows the preservice teachers to pause the interaction during classroom role-playing in order to gain access to and demystify the complex, critical thinking used by expert teachers in their moment-to-moment practice.

The authors describe two examples during spring 2010 and spring 2011of Pedagogy ARSL in which they engaged preservice teachers in a fifth-grade mathematics lesson using tiered instruction.
The participants special education and general education preservice teachers.

The authors developed the 3-hour sessions, including their co-taught tiered lesson plan, pre- and post-assessments, tiered math materials and student handouts, and specific student role-play assignments for the fifth-grade tiered math lesson.
The authors videotaped the lessons and observed the student role-play assignment.

The authors found that their preservice teachers had responded positively to the role-played lessons.

As the authors reviewed the videotaped lessons and discussed the observations, they began to see the emergence of critical thinking, in particular the higher-order skill of discerning/evaluating needs of individual learners, among the preservice teachers in ways that had rarely appeared previously during typical college classroom discussions.

The authors conclude that the experiences of their self-study of the pedagogy of Authentic Role-Playing as Situated Learning showed them that the act of teaching can indeed be demystified by modeling higher-order thinking and teaching within a situated performance role-play, with a robust meta-commentary and significant vulnerability.

The authors now believe that vulnerability is an essential element of modeling; without it, they are merely demonstrators, not teachers of teachers. 

Updated: Oct. 23, 2018
Self study | Preservice teachers | Teacher education | Theory-praxis gap