A Critical Role for Role-Playing Pedagogy

  • Shawna Shapiro
  • Lisa Leopold


This article draws from practitioners’ experience and from scholarship in a variety of disciplines to construct a rationale for incorporating what we call “critical roleplay” in the English-for-academic-purposes (EAP) classroom. We discuss the historical significance of role-play in TESOL and explore why this type of pedagogy has become less prominent in scholarship from recent decades. We argue for a new direction in role-play pedagogy that foregrounds critical thinking as essential to academic literacy. We describe several role-play activities that were successfully implemented in college-level EAP classes to demonstrate that academic role-play can be both cognitively challenging and linguistically relevant.
How to Cite
Shapiro, S., & Leopold, L. (2012). A Critical Role for Role-Playing Pedagogy. TESL Canada Journal, 29(2), 120. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v29i2.1104