| Training and teaching: learn how to do it |
|6 Didactic methods|
6.5.1 Role play
6.5.2 The simulation game
6.5.3 Learning games
With this didactic method you can think of different forms. Role playing and other forms of dramatic expression belong to this category, as well as all kind of games that you adapt to your lesson material. As it is often quite time-consuming to develop these games, it is beyond the scope of this book to discuss the development of these games. Possible playing forms are:
- Role play
- Simulation game
- Learning games
6.5.1 Role play
You can view role play as a kind of stage play without a written text, only the actors and their backgrounds are supplied. The point of the role play is to immerse oneself in another person and another situation. There must be a feeling for all sorts of subtle aspects of human relationships, actions and expressions. The players must learn to put their own opinions and feelings into perspective. It is not possible to predict how the role play will progress, since there are no rigid rules of conduct set down and few limitations are defined. The game must regulate itself through its progress.
For example you can use a role play to act out a conflict experienced by the students (at the workplace for instance), with the purpose of clarifying where the pressure points lie and helping to solve the conflict altogether. Or your students can imagine/experience through the role play how it feels to be convinced of something by someone else.
Role play stresses reactive and interactive skills. This can also be threatening to students: they may feel too inhibited to say what they think in the game. You must take this into account and handle the role play very carefully. Try to keep an eye on the following points:
- Present the (problem) situation as clearly as possible and provide explanation if necessary.
- Briefly discuss the student's experience regarding the given problem. Explain the purpose of the role play.
- Invite people to choose a role. Make sure that no one plays a role that he/she also has in daily life. This would result in confusion.
- Never force anyone to participate.
- Participate regularly yourself. You then show that you dare to lay yourself open in a role.
- Play a game with a maximum of five roles.
- Also give the students an opportunity to write a role.
- Give the players the opportunity to immerse themselves in their roles. In the meantime you can prepare possible attributes yourself with the assistance of the students that are not participating.
- Give the students that are not participating in the role play an observation assignment.
- Inquire before the game begins whether everyone understands what his/her roles entail.
- Carefully choose the moment when the game can be ended. Do not break it off abruptly, but do not allow it to lose momentum either.
The essence of the role play lies in the evaluation. You must therefore ensure that there is enough time at the end to carry this out. Before starting the evaluation you must give the students the opportunity to blow off steam. To this end a short break can be built in As an introduction to the evaluation you can ask the players how they felt in their roles. Let the experiences of the players speak for themselves. It is a good idea to address the players by their role name in the subsequent discussion: this provides clarity and ensures that a great distance is not immediately created between the player and the person that he/she portrayed. The audience can also verbalize their experiences and check if certain observations are accurate
Together you discuss the entire progress of the game. Where did important deviations occur, where did things go wrong? Why was that? You must guard against possible criticisms being directed at the person who played the role, they should be directed at the role itself.
To round off the role play you should, together with the students, try to formulate conclusions and possible alternatives for the actions performed. In conclusion you can choose to re-enact the situation in order to see what the discussion has contributed to the concept. Only do this if your students are so inclined. This work form is quite intense and students may have had enough after just one round.
6.5.2 The simulation game
This game type differs from a role play in that a very clear role behaviour is established and the players have limited game freedom. A simulation game portrays (in a simplified manner) a portion of reality. Its purpose is that players live through and unravel complicated situations. In the simulation game cognitive learning objectives can be realized better than they can with a role play: people play things and apply certain rules or procedures that have been previously learned.
With the help of a simulation game your students can practice what they must do after the course when they are back at work and must explain to management why they wish to handle certain tasks differently from now on. Or you can allow students to practice an intake interview with a patient to be admitted to a clinic.
The pointers that were given for a role play also apply to the simulation game
6.5.3 Learning games
You can apply a wide selection of party games to learning situations: it is often merely a question of using your imagination. Most party games we are familiar with, are unknown in other countries and you will have some explaining to do if you introduce a game of this kind. If you define the purpose of the game, the students will generally enjoy it. A few ideas:
If you have students that have to study agriculture you can adapt a game of Goose board so that the players, moving from square to square, are led through the various phases of the agricultural cycle (soil preparation, purchasing seed material, sowing, weeding, irrigation, etc.). Whoever lands on specific squares must take and answer a question card pertaining to the topic coinciding with that square. You can also make penalty squares on your board, for example, 'you have forgotten to obtain seed material on time.' or 'your axe is rusty and therefore unusable.' You can relate a sanction question to these squares, for example, 'what do you do to solve the problem?' etc.
Many other topics also lend themselves to being played out by way of an adapted goose board. The preparatory work is substantial, however. You can make this into a group activity with a learning effect, but it is arguable whether you should use your (undoubtedly limited amount of) lesson time for this purpose. Be assured that if you make the game yourself it is a very enjoyable and relaxing way of teaching that is worth the effort.
Another game concept you can use is Happy Families. This game is better suited to being made in class as it does not have to cost much time. The class can be divided into groups each designing a few sets of families.
For example, with nurses in training you can make families covering various types of diseases (family of viral diseases, of types of broken limbs, of specific women's diseases, etc.). The nurses must be given the material to make the cards with as well as the (unclassified) information on the diseases. They are then asked to first make a classification and subsequently design the cards. If you have lot of time you can also request your pupils to compile the information themselves.
With students studying car mechanics you can make family cards using categories such as: engine parts, frames, types of shock absorbers, ignitions, etc.
The game of Memory also lends itself to use in the lesson. If you are giving a course in botany, you can make cards with on one card the name of a plant/crop and on the other card its illustration. For car mechanics you can do the same with all kinds of engine parts. This game helps students to familiarize themselves with some of the jargon. The principles of the Bingo game can be applied in a similar manner. You could ask your friends for ideas on other games.
Perhaps you think that such games are too childish for a group of older students. Usually it turns out that this is not the case. People often enjoy them a lot and are very surprised to discover that through such games they are able to learn something worthwhile. In any case it is worth a try. Keep in mind the importance of variety in your lessons. Something fun between two boring subjects: nobody is too old for that!
With regard to the time-consuming preparations: naturally such games can be used more than one time in a course. Repetition is always a good teacher and it takes quite a while before your students are tired of a game.
It can be very effective to make game forms (or have them made) and apply them in your lesson plan! If you choose to make learning games, at home or with the assistance of your students, keep the following in mind:
- Ensure that the material you use is as sturdy as possible. That will not always be easy, since there is usually no office supply shop where you can obtain carton. Ask friends to save containers. The cardboard they are made of is often satisfactory for sticking things onto.
- Collect pictures/magazines and similar material and visit other people that may also have well-illustrated books to copy pictures from. You may not have access to copying facilities, although one finds copying machines in the most unexpected places. Hand-drawn illustrations usually suffice as well.
- Some form of glue is usually available locally. In any case make a shopping list and purchase ample supplies if you visit a town. If necessary, ask others to bring things along for you. If you have an opportunity for an extensive shopping trip buy the following supplies in sufficient quantity: crayons, felt pens, glue, tape, staples, and also a couple of pairs of scissors and an extra stapler.
If you are going to make a game together with your students, clarify the specifications you wish the project to conform to. For example you can provide a template in order that each group can accurately produce certain cards. If you wish to make a Happy Families game, show how the cards must be set up via a large sample that you hang in the front of the classroom
There is a lot more to say about the fabrication and use of learning games, the steps that have been given will stimulate further activity. In any case do not be afraid to let your creativity run wild, since in many cases this will contribute to the motivation and enthusiasm of your students.
Intermezzo: Bakery project
This intermezzo describes how trainers were trained to perform short on-the-job training sessions in Kenya. Main goals of the project were the introduction of new bakery technologies and to transfer these technologies.
Within an existing technical training institute, the Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology in Kenya, a bakery department was founded. The new department was to consist of a commercial bakery, a formal training section (secondary technical education) and an advisory service for consultancy and short, tailor-made courses. Curriculum development was conceived by Jan Bosch, a Dutch bakery expert who supervised the project. Before developing the draft curriculum a time table, a list of subjects and a detailed description of the topics were made. At least there was something to start with and something that could be used to develop the course The draft curriculum and the author's experience were point of departure to develop a Craft training programme Baking Technology within the Technical Education Programmes of the Kiambu Institute
Introduction to the course
The craft course on baking technology is designed to equip the trainee with knowledge and skills in the use of materials, tools and equipment for making bread and confectionery products. The graduate of this course will either be self-employed or provide technical support in the optimization of resources in the baking industry.
General objectives of the course
Upon completion of this course the trainee should be able to: Understand baking principles and their application. Operate the basic types of bakery equipment. Process different types of bakery products using different commodities. Choose appropriate baking materials and equipment for processina. Contribute to the development of the baking industry through selfemployment. Apply safety and hygiene practices required. It is important that all educational projects should be developed within national aims for training programmes and should fit into the existing educational system. Generally the guidelines of the Kiambu Institute were followed. The students were selected through interviews or attitude tests. Especially for this course proper bakery clothes were made.
The training course
The students required a clear explanation of the theory and a thorough demonstration of the products during workshop exercises. For the students and most of the staff there was hardly any reference, since most of the bakery products were introduced for the first time in Kenya.
The local staff (bakers trained abroad, graduate students) were instructed to perform on-thejob training. For both theory and practical lessons, hand-outs were made to obtain a general teaching method and to avoid differences in teaching styles between staff members.
During practicals the following activities took place:
Demonstration of products and how to make them
Production of bakery products by the students
Cleaning the equipment
This was a clear structure for both the staff and the students.
To enhance independence of local trainers from the western expert they were involved right from the inception of curriculum development. As soon as the lessons and the hand-outs were ready, they were handed over to the local staff and used without supervision of the expert.
For the practicals a well-equipped bakery was available for both manual and automated production. A number of books on baking technologies and reference works were available to the training staff and the student in the library of the Kiambu Institute.
During the six years of the project it was evaluated three times. The students, graduated students and employers were interviewed several times. There was regular contact with the baking industry to evaluate the course and to make adjustments.
A craft like bakery can only be learned by performing a good deal of practicals and on-thejob training, even at secondary education level. However, often these practicals have very low priority in a course and preference is aiven to the theory.