The effects of role-play on concept understanding and critical thinking skills of middle school students
Phillips, Brian Scott.
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In this capstone investigation students learned about environmental science topics through the use of role-play to determine how their understanding of the subject matter would change. The study also looked into the effect of role-play on students' critical thinking, their motivation and attitude, as well as the teacher's motivation and attitude. During two treatment units students were assigned fictitious characters with an array of problems and situations and the students researched the assigned topic through the eyes of their character. At the end of each unit, students gathered for a debate that would take place while in character. A combination of pre and postunit assessments, surveys, interviews, pro and con grids, journal entries, and colleague observations were utilized to gather data about students and the teacher. Results showed an improvement in student understanding, critical thinking, and attitudes and motivation. The results also revealed an improvement in the teacher's attitude and motivation.