Role play is an effective teaching and learning technique. This paper discusses the purpose, design, implementation and value of an issues-based role play exercise in a first-year undergraduate topic at an Australian university. The exercise requires students to consider the implications for environment, economy and culture of a large-scale tourist development on the small South Pacific island of Rarotonga. Students work together in small groups developing a particular point of view and presenting their arguments to the whole class. The paper is based on the first two consecutive years of development. Changes were made in the second year following students' and tutors' comments on the initial exercise. The results of these changes, and the students' reactions to their learning, are discussed. Students' identification of the skills gained and their satisfaction with the exercise are analysed and suggestions for successful running of similar exercises are outlined.
- Group work
- Role play