Role play in the classroom is a form of instruction in which you have students take the part of someone else so that they can understand a situation from a different perspective than they normally would. However, it is not a perfect form of instruction, as it has both advantages and disadvantages to its use.

Introduces Problems Dramatically

Using role playing in the classroom can help teach children in the class about certain situations in a relatable and dramatic fashion. This will cause the children to better remember the situations, making role playing a good teaching method for new hypothetical theories. It allows the students to play the roles of certain characters in these situations so they are able to see things from a new perspective.

Opportunity to Practice Skills

A confident teenage girl at a podium.
A confident teenage girl at a podium.

In a role playing situation, students get the opportunity to practice skills they might not use on a regular basis. Skills such as debating, acting, reasoning and negotiating can be flexed in hypothetical situations when they cannot normally be used in a classic school situation. Students are also able to adapt to situations they might not normally find themselves in, forcing the creativity of the students to be exerted.

Embarrassment

A close-up of an uncomfortable boy on stage.
A close-up of an uncomfortable boy on stage.

Role playing situations might not flesh out quite like you hope because some students are embarrassed and thus tentative about acting out a part in a dramatic fashion. This will cause a role playing situation to be awkward and unproductive because one or more students will not be able to participate. When a student feels self-conscious, he will be more likely to be worried about what others will think of him, rather than how the situation can be solved.

Chaos

A little girl rests her head on her arm at her desk.
A little girl rests her head on her arm at her desk.

In larger classes, role playing cannot be done effectively because not all of the students have the option to participate. Many role playing scenarios use only two or three individuals in a situation, so the rest of the students just have to watch. This will cause them to become disinterested and stop paying attention. If you try to make the situation incorporate more students, the role playing might become a chaotic mess.