Using Role-Play to Foster Transformational and Social Action Multiculturalism in the ESL Classroom

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Abstract

This article discusses the use of role-play as an effective strategy for enhancing the quality of multicultural curricula in the English as a second language (ESL) classroom. The author critiques the use of the simplistic additive approach to multicultural instruction and furthers the work of those theorists who advocate the use of the more substantive paradigms: namely, transformational, social action, and reconstructionist multicultural curricula (Banks, 1991, 2006; Epstein, 2010; Pinet, 2006; Sleeter & Grant, 2003). The article discusses evidence, obtained through action research, that contextualizing language teaching through role-play enables teachers to render ESL multicultural instructional objectives more significant and classroom activities more meaningful and engaging. It provides an overview of oral and literacy activities as well as literacy scaffolds and assessment tools developed in conjunction with multicultural role-play units. Included with the text are some instructional materials used in two elementary and secondary level units: Exploring Aztec Roots of Mexican Culture and Amending the U.S. Constitution.

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