When I say, “roleplaying”, what do you think of?
For many people, this word conjurs up images of weird people sitting around a table in the wee hours of the morning rolling dice and talking funny. However, roleplaying and its good friend simulation are taking their place in both the classroom and corporate learning environment as useful teaching tools.
When we engage in roleplay, whether for imaginative play or for a deliberate teaching or problem solving purpose, what we’re doing is haptically working out something. It might seeing how a new role or personality fits us. It might be working through as many possible scenarios for a given situation as we can think of. It might be for learning how to manage conflict. When we roleplay, we walk away changed.
Roleplaying is the ultimate application of the magic circle. You not only step into the area of play, but you effectively leave your self outside the circle so you can take on the roles that you need to in the play. It’s not easy, especially as we get older and more settled in our definition of who we are. We often don’t have the mental flexibility that powers children’s roleplaying. But we need to be able to be flexible in order for the roleplaying to have its proper effect. Remember, every time we step into the magic circle of roleplaying, we should step out a different person because of the experiences we had in the roleplaying, and isn’t personal transformation a goal of learning?