ABSTRACT

This chapter considers one way of enriching the teaching of history – role play. For the purposes of this chapter, role play means the active engagement of both teacher and pupils in the interpretation of the past. Despite the promotion of ‘active history’ in the past twenty years, role play remains an under-utilised method of delivering history. Much of this stems from a perception that ‘acting out’ an aspect of history is a distraction from the development of pupils’ historical understanding. In addition, some teachers may believe that preparation and classroom management issues make drama a time-consuming luxury. These concerns, it will be shown, can be avoided if lessons and activities are properly prepared and pupils understand why they are engaged in a particular activity.