Reacting to the Past is an active learning pedagogy of role-playing games designed for higher education. Reacting promotes engagement with big ideas, and improves critical, practical, intellectual, and academic skills.
HOW DOES REACTING WORK?
Class sessions are run by students. Instructors advise students, and grade their oral and written work. Reacting roles and games do not have a fixed script or outcome. This is not re-enacting. In Reacting games, students are assigned character roles with specific goals and must communicate, collaborate, and compete effectively to advance their objectives. While students are obliged to adhere to the philosophical and intellectual beliefs of the figures they have been assigned to play, as well as the context and facts of the historical moment, they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively in papers, speeches, or other public presentations. Students must pursue a course of action to try to win the 'game.'
Students learn by
taking on historical roles informed by classic texts
making decisions in a historical role in elaborate games set in the past
developing skills such as speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork
working to prevail (win the game) in difficult and complicated situations
SEE REACTING IN ACTION
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