The Effects of Using Academic Role-Playing in a Teacher Education Service-Learning Course


  • Mary Lynn Crow
  • Larry P. Nelson



role-playing, higher education, teacher education, service learning, constructivism, feedback, confidence, skill training


Academic role-playing is one of the more effective active-learning instructional strategies currently being used at the American university level in the preparation of future educators. This mixed methods study is an investigation of the use of role-play in an undergraduate university course designed to prepare students to become public school coaches and physical education teachers. The five original vignettes that were role-played were specifically written to prepare the students to successfully handle situations they might reasonably encounter in their future work. The role-play model used in the research was
originally created by the Shaftels in the 1960s, but several creative variations devised by the current investigators were added to that model for this study causing it to be an adapted version. Data collected included questionnaire responses from two different questionnaires, information from a focus group, and observations by the two investigators. Investigators concluded that the students not only exhibited skill in the techniques used to resolve the issues in the vignettes, but that students gained confidence the more they participated in the role-plays which occurred over a 4-week period. The students themselves reported that learning from one’s peers, trying out their ideas in a safe environment, being forced to plan an intended outcome in advance, and hearing feedback from others were their most valued experiences. They also overwhelmingly reported preferring role-play to the more traditional university lecture method.




How to Cite

Crow, M. L., & Nelson, L. P. (2015). The Effects of Using Academic Role-Playing in a Teacher Education Service-Learning Course. International Journal of Role-Playing, (5), 26–34.