Creating Role Plays with Bill Bigelow

What a fantastic opportunity to study a promising approach with someone who really knows it:

Rehearsing for Justice: Developing Role Plays for the Classroom

Course Description:

Role plays help bring the curriculum to life for students. They engage, they challenge, they pose questions. Role plays can help students learn about social dynamics from the inside, through exercising their “empathic imaginations.” They can help students come to see the world not as something that simply happened, but as something that is made by human beings. Role plays can help us develop a curriculum of choices, that suggests to students that their decisions and actions matter. Role plays are also a more democratic pedagogy because they can simultaneously challenge those students traditionally regarded as “high achievers” as well as those labeled “slow learners.”

In this class we will explore a variety of role plays: “tea parties,” simulations, improvisations, and multiple-group role plays. We will evaluate the way in which different role plays lend themselves to different subjects and different insights about society. A key component of the course will be participants developing and writing their own role plays. The course would be appropriate for teachers at any point in their career. Although the instructor is a social studies teacher, the class would be valuable for any teacher hoping to incorporate role play into one’s curriculum.

Dates: Saturdays, April 4 through April 25
Times: 9 am to 1 pm

If you have questions or want to talk about the class, you can contact Bill at

If you want to use Lesson Study to explore the value and effectiveness of role plays, we have funding this spring – contact me to discuss this.


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