Helping students rehearse for the real world through role-playing is a powerful teaching activity that provides students with the ability to learn a new skill set in a safe learning environment. When I think about role-playing, a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin comes to mind, “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn.” What better way to involve your students than by giving them the opportunity to physically rehearse various roles and situations that they will encounter throughout their careers.
The benefits of role-playing are vast. It creates a safe learning environment, provides students with the opportunity to understand the views and feelings of other people, builds confidence, and helps them develop their listening skills and creative problem-solving skills.
Role-playing activities can easily be integrated into the classroom and/or student salon while teaching. Topics could include client consultation skills, how to deal with dissatisfied clients, retailing, rebooking, asking for referrals, job readiness/job placement, and client greetings, just to list a few. The possibilities are endless.
Here are some helpful best practices for effective role-playing:
- Make it FUN!
- Create a safe environment by creating groups or pairing-up students.
- Never embarrass students, not all students enjoy getting up in front of the room.
- Integrate role-playing into the context of the lesson. Use this activity to bring life to your lessons.
- Let students master these skill sets in the classroom before they move on to working in the student salon.
Your job as Master Educators when integrating role-playing into your lessons is to set up the situations, provide clear directions to students, create a safe environment, manage by walking around, listening and observing, and to provide students with constructive feedback.