Role Play as Analogical Modelling in Science

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5. Conclusion

The evidence that analogical role play provides a motivating, interesting and enjoyable way to sustain student engagement with ideas may be reason enough to include the strategy in the teaching repertoire. But analogical role play provides much more than affective gains. Role plays can be used to portray ideas and promote discussion. As the role plays evolve in response to this discussion they provide a powerful way to encourage students to think scientifically through analogical reasoning. The dialogue used and developed in the process of producing and analysing the role plays contributes to a successful learning experience. It not only helps to enhance understanding of the concepts being studied at the time but fosters learning during discussions in subsequent lessons.

It is tempting to avoid analogical role play, particularly where the students construct their own model, because the model must by its very nature be incorrect. Yet in classes such as Steve’s, the thinking and learning which occur are difficult to deny.