frequently asked questions  frequently asked questions

Why can't the students be assigned their roles the week before?

They can be, but if you give out the roles the week before, there's a chance that sickness may deprive you of one or more of your essential characters for the debate, in which case you will have re-assign roles anyway. In our experience, not knowing which part they are going to have strongly encourages students to read all the roles, many of which contain important information not merely about the 'historical' relationships between the characters but also about the 'plot' itself.

What do I do if a student asks me how to say 'serial womanizer' in Spanish?

Well, this is obviously up to the classroom teacher. However, we would strongly suggest that you resist the temptation to provide an instant translation and instead tell the student in Spanish to find a way to work around the difficulty. This exactly what he or she would have to do in the Spanish-speaking world. The linguistic feedback offered by the teacher at the end offers an opportunity to answer such lexical questions after the valuable skill of coping has been practised.

Is it part of the teacher's role to enliven discussion if it begins to flag?

Yes, of course, though we would suggest that the teacher do so only in Spanish and preferably by entering into the fiction as adviser/stirrer/know-all/asker of awkward questions!

How should I structure my feedback in class?

Well, what you should not do is interrupt the simulation to correct linguistic errors. These should instead be noted and dealt with at the end of the class. Experience shows that feedback given in the reflective period after the simulation is far more effectively absorbed and retained by students than distracting interjections during the simulation itself.

One useful approach to giving feedback is to remind students of specifically how they made certain points during the simulation and to ask them how they might better have expressed them. This provides an opportunity for dealing with lexical, grammatical and stylistic issues as well as any points arising from the management of the simulation's 'plot'. 

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