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A Sympathy Protest: Simulations and Role Play as a Vehicle for Language, Culture and Content in the Language Classroom 

Simulations and role plays can be used to great effect in the World Language classroom. Students can take on the roles of characters in a historical event, a work of literature, or any story and, by taking on new identities, they can delve more deeply into diverse cultural perspectives. Accompanied by real-world tasks and critical thinking activities, simulations can be engaging, pedagogically sound, and fun! Below is information about one classroom simulation for intermediate Spanish students called "The Politics of Art - A Sympathy Protest." Included are resources for designing and developing a simulation or role play for your own classroom.



Resources for the "Politics of Art/Sympathy Protest" lesson

          Watch the video: In this lesson called “The Politics of Art,” students researched a contemporary Latin visual artist online, sent an email to the artist, and then took on the persona of the artist in a role-play exhibition of their art. The class then read and discussed a letter written by Colombian artists and intellectuals protesting recent changes in European immigration policies that required Colombians to acquire a visa to travel to Spain. Next students were told that they were members of a fictitious group, “Cooperativa de Artistas Panamericanos” that was invited to show their work at a major exhibition in Spain. Students discussed and debated the topic and formed small groups based on whether they sympathized or not with the Colombian protesters. After debating all points, students decided that the Cooperative would boycott the Spanish exhibition in support of the Colombian protest. As a culminating activity, students wrote a new letter to the Spanish government to explain and support their reasoning for their boycott.


Using Simulations and Role Plays in the Language Classroom