Alternate Teaching Methods

Alternate Teaching Methods

November 20, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


MARSHALL HAYES: I’m a
big proponent of the use of role playing in the classroom. I practice a form of pedagogy
known as reacting to the past. Reacting to past involves
very elaborate role playing scenarios, set in
some historical context. And quite often it involves
a very tense dispute between polar opposite viewpoints. [EXAMPLE] LAURA BROWN: I very much believe
that these kinds of innovations, and the insight that we’re developing
through research on student learning, can be transformative
across all of our fields. CAROL GRUMBACH: What interests me
most is merging theory and practice. My course involved both in-class role
plays and the virtual world role plays. For each assignment they were obliged
to spend an hour in the virtual world. And they told me they’d spent three
or four hours in the virtual world. And that was their opportunity,
for the lawyers and the engineers, for the students across
the colleges to interact. LAURA BROWN: It’s a more substantial
version of the transition that we see happening, within
our undergraduate curricula, when a student moves from a
traditional STEM course, where there’s a traditional lecture,
traditional prelims, and quizzes, to a student-centered
or flipped classroom. MARSHALL HAYES: The role playing
module that I’ve developed focuses on a scenario in 1854. It takes place in a
neighborhood of London that was subjected to a very
rapid, and very aggressive outbreak of a disease called cholera. It is transmitted by
a bacterium that can be ingested, either by drinking or
eating contaminated food or water. Students are given specific roles
to play, specific character sheets, and they are guided
through various resources, whether they be web-based
resources or technical resources that were appropriate for the day. They’re also constrained
by a certain set of rules. And these rules pertain
to how people behaved and how people thought at a
particular time in the past. PAIGE KULLING: I played
George Buzzard. BRENT GUDENKAUF: I played
the role of Bernard Drake. PAIGE KULLING: I was
initially worried going in that it would be very scripted, and
that everyone would say their parts, and kind of move on. There would be no argument. It’s more like stating
the fact, and that’s it. But when I actually got there,
it flowed really naturally. Everyone started arguing. We really got into our roles. And I didn’t think I’d be able to get
into something that I knew was wrong. But you get really, really
invested in that role. BRENT GUDENKAUF: It was great, actually,
being able to have that discourse. Because it’s one thing to read about
a historical debate that occurred. But it’s another to actually be there,
and put yourself in those shoes, and kind of see how both sides
were arguing it at the time. MARSHALL HAYES: In essence this
reacting to the past experience, this role playing experience, is
one that imposes upon a student this notion of liminality,
of in-betweenness. Of struggling to find and
construct new realities out of past and previous notions of
the way in which the world works. CAROL GRUMBACH: They want to see the
relevance of what they’re learning. And so allowing them to assume
a role certainly does that. And it allows them to also test out
theories and hypotheses in a way that they couldn’t if
they’re just reading. BRENT GUDENKAUF: You know, you’d
be surprised how much you learn. PAIGE KULLING: That class was
my favorite class at Cornell. And I think it was because it
was so different than the rest. LAURA BROWN: The vision
of being a student being able to learn, and in the
context that we now have for students, I think it would be a
great time to be a student.