#becomingeducational W2: Simulations and role plays

This week – the apocalypse happened! But why?
Learning is, intellectual and cognitive – learning is also embodied and emotional. Arguably, successful learning is active whole body learning. To facilitate whole body learning, we have devised some simulations and role plays designed to get people learning with heart, mind and body.

Simulations and role plays have multiple purposes:
*Excellent for getting students speaking with each other – starts to break down isolation and helps promote bonding
*Reassures students that they are not alone in fears, struggles and general feelings of being lost
*Emphasises role of discussion in active learning
*Improves the class atmosphere when we have bonded as a group of real people
*Promotes critical and analytical thinking – and the ability to construct evidenced arguments.

1: Simulation#1: The apocalypse is here: who will you keep in your bunker & why?
This exercise is a great ice breaker – it helps us to speak with each other and to start to realise that the other people on the course are also human beings – just like us! The whole scenario is at the end of this blogpost in case you want to use it for yourself.

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It was interesting seeing the choices the different groups made as to who to save and who to sacrifice… and to hear from the group that decided to sacrifice no one – arguing that no one had the right to sentence another to die.

2: Topic Mediated Dialogue (TMD)
After the in-depth de-brief on the apocalypse scenario – we had TMD – where discussion was seeded by three polemical statements about education… and after which each person had to represent their partner’s beliefs in a diagram or drawing.

… And finally – Tom used the Visualiser to show some of the representations that people had made following the discussion – and compared them to some of the self-representations that students had brought in. It would be really useful if you upload pictures of your self-representation and your discussion partner’s representation of you to your blog. If you cannot do this because you have already handed-in your self-portrait – please come to the office (LC-213) and photograph yourself!!

3: Meeting the Peer Mentors
After a really busy and quite tiring morning – we all popped off to the ICT suites to meet the Peer Mentors (PM). Mostly there were 2-3 PM with about ten #becomingeducationalists… and the first session seemed to go okay…

The final World War has erupted and you and nine other people find yourselves to be alone together in a Nuclear Bunker. You are probably the last people left on earth. There are some resources in the bunker – but not enough for all of you to survive for a long time. If all of you stay, then you will all live only for a maximum of two years. If three of you wish to survive for many years, seven of you will have to leave soon because there are not enough resources for all of you to survive.

In your bunker, you have the following facilities:
• sewage system
• water
• seeds
• some clothes
• a few books
• some medical facilities but no operating material
• a greenhouse.

In the bunker, the following roles will be played out. Each person in the group of ten will play one of the following roles.
a. Gay scientist
b. Buddhist priest
c. Married couple who are ‘green’ but childless (one person = couple)
d. Single pregnant woman with a five year old girl
e. Army officer who has mental instability but is useful nonetheless
f. Elderly woman
g. Disabled man
h. Bisexual lawyer
i. Person who has been long term unemployed
j. Atheist doctor.

In your group of ten, each of you has a chance to speak. You must present your case. Explain why you think you should live. Argue for your life unless you really want to sacrifice yourself for others. Listen to others arguments as well.

You have 20-30 minutes as a group, to:
• allow each person to speak
• decide whether some will leave and the others stay
• decide who will leave and who will stay
• make notes.

Make notes as to why you saved or sacrificed the following:

Explain why you feel your choices were made.
What influenced your decision?
What does this tell you about your own values and beliefs?
How might this affect you as a professional Educationalist?
Did anyone emerge as a leader? Why? Why not?
How did this influence the choices?
What is better – Leaders or Managers?

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