All the Classroom's a Stage: Student Temperament and the Effectiveness of Role Playing Simulations

13 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2013


Assessment of the use of simulations in the classroom often focus on whether this technique is able to engage students in learning more deeply and therefore achieve gains in information retention, critical thinking, written and oral communication, problem solving, or the ability to understand complex systems and abstract concepts. Hidden by the measures of aggregate student achievement are the differences among students in their response to active learning methodologies. In particular, when simulations are used one might expect differences in both degree of enjoyment and in learning according to student personality traits, in particular their level of extroversion or introversion.

Using preliminary research on the use of a Reacting to the Past simulation game of political transition in post-apartheid South Africa in an introductory comparative politics class, this paper explores how simulation-based learning affects students differently. It examines in particular whether student success in and comfort with this simulation breaks down according to characteristics associated with introversion or extroversion assessed via student responses to a survey on their learning preferences. Ultimately, it considers how students who find simulation exercises more foreign to their learning style may be supported more effectively while engaging in them.

Suggested Citation

Forster Rothbart, Amy, All the Classroom's a Stage: Student Temperament and the Effectiveness of Role Playing Simulations. APSA 2013 Teaching and Learning Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Amy Forster Rothbart (Contact Author)

Hartwick College ( email )

Oneonta, NY 13820-4020
United States

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