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ERIC Number: EJ849719
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-1090-185X
Role-Playing in Science Education: An Effective Strategy for Developing Multiple Perspectives
Howes, Elaine V.; Cruz, Barbara C.
Journal of Elementary Science Education, v21 n3 p33-46 Sum 2009
Role-playing can be an engaging and creative strategy to use in the college classroom. Using official accounts, personal narratives, and diaries to recreate a particular time period, event, or personality, the instructional strategy alternately referred to as role-playing, dramatic improvisation, or first-person characterization can be an effective way to have students discover and share multiple perspectives. Preservice science teacher education would seem to be a natural "fit" with role-playing pedagogy. While little has been written in this regard, Metz (2005) describes an innovative approach used with prospective science teachers where each student was assigned a role that correlated with a museum exhibit. This exercise served as a mechanism for science teaching and resulted in a more authentic learning experience because students experienced real-life activities in historical context. Nearly 40 years ago, Hughes (1971) noted that prospective science teachers' common vision of a scientist was "a "brain" that engages in dull, monotonous, time-consuming work and has no time for ... a family or other earthly pleasures." Unfortunately, visions of scientists among children and preservice teachers have changed little in the ensuing years. Representing scientists as exceptionally intelligent, antisocial, White men working in laboratories, these persistent stereotypes alienate many students and serve to mask the genuine diversity of historical and contemporary scientists. Thus, the authors believe that learning how to teach science involves critiquing these stereotypes and developing realistic visions of actual scientists. This article discusses a strategy created to address the ongoing educational concern of students' stereotypical visions of scientists. It provides a description of a role-playing project designed to inspire education students to rethink their stereotypes of scientists and replace them with real-life examples to carry into their science teaching. (Contains 1 figure.)
Western Illinois University. Document and Publications Services, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390. Tel: 309-298-1917; Fax: 309-298-2869; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A