Using the role-play at the lectern: developing “work-ready” and confident professionals
School of Arts and Humanities
As Waters notes, the role-play is not traditionally used as a teaching technique in law schools. Educators utilise role-play in many disciplines, including health, business, psychology, economics and literature; yet apart from clinical settings or for teaching practical legal skills, the role-play seems to be underutilised in legal education. An empirical study of 67 law students from the University of Western Australia (UWA) Law School set out to investigate the utility of the role-play as a device for instilling confidence in students and assisting them to prepare for professional practice. Although the classroom and class size were large and teaching took place in a lecture theatre, the role-play worked effectively. Students reported greater knowledge, understanding, confidence and skill with conducting themselves in a professional practice context. The study shows the need to embrace the role-play as an experiential learning technique that can work as effectively in an intensive, large-class setting as it does in smaller or clinical classrooms. The study revealed that the role-play technique worked very well and that the role-play is a versatile and very much “alive” pedagogical technique of value to any law school.