Just a word about role-playing through blogs... Through the examples and ideas of two former classmates at the U, Dr. Rick Beach, and our text for this semester, I have developed some role-playing activity ideas for next semester. Here is a brief description of one of them:
The seniors colonial / post-colonial literature unit leads them into a mighty discussion about what writers of fiction are obligated to do. We discuss issues of universality, audience, and truth. Then, I ask them to read works of fiction for comparison. Heart of Darkness (Conrad) and Things Fall Apart (Achebe) bring the students to look through the post-colonial lens and ask themselves questions about racism, cultural understanding, the importance of language, the interpretation of a work in its own time period and in the decades and centuries following, and so on. Although I did not use an on-line role-play this semester, I have plans to use one during the next post-colonial literature unit. I feel that the literature we read on white privilege and the subsequent study of Conrad's work juxtaposed with Achebe's work will lend itself well to a role-playing scenario. When assigned to read each novel, read Achebe's essay about Conrad, read some essays about white privilege, and discuss the implications of the post-colonial theories, the students engaged with energy as they then wrote their ideas about whether or not Conrad should still be read and studied. A role-play, with some of them taking the voice of author's such as Conrad and Achebe, with some taking the voice of parents, high school students, English and history teachers, and even school board members, will be, I predict, an excellent avenue to make this dialogue even more intense, more immediate, and more interactive. I look forward to trying it next semester.