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Role Playing games- Teaching through immersive story-telling

Once upon a time in Soverato, storytelling and Role-Playing Games (RPGs) merged to create a new way of teaching!
Not very long ago the marvelous world of role-playing games was generated, captivating the hearts and minds of adventurers everywhere. From humble beginnings with games like Dungeons & Dragons in the 1970s, RPGs have grown into a vibrant tapestry of storytelling, imagination, and collaboration. These games, with their rich narratives and dynamic characters, offer a unique bridge into the enchanting realm of storytelling. But beyond the confines of game nights and fantastical quests, RPGs have found a new home: the classroom.

And that is exactly what happened at jump during the training session on the second week of May, storytelling and RPG gaming have been combined and shaped in a suitable form to enrich any teacher’s tool kit.
The course, tailored for a Polish delegation of pre-school teachers, started by introducing the meaning of story telling and mental conceptions. It investigated how our world is made up of stories and the way we share such stories, every day, with people around us!
Elements like the five senses, colors and proper acting have all been taken in to account and combined with the essential structure of the “Fable” so that teachers could start to get the grasp of writing their own stories with educational objectives in mind.
Bringing things to the next level, modern tools like Canva have been explored. The latter has, in fact, been used to generate a whole visual Fable that could be shown through a screen or published as a book.

Bu then… Things have been brought up to a whole new level through the introduction of Role Playing Games.

In order to understand what we are talking about, we have to say that RPGs first ventured into the educational arena in the early 2000s, when innovative teachers recognized their potential as powerful teaching tools.
For example, a pioneering project in Denmark used RPGs to teach history, allowing students to role-play as historical figures and witness events unfold through their characters’ eyes. This approach breathed life into dusty textbooks, making learning an adventure rather than a chore.

The benefits of RPGs in education are manifold. For starters, they foster creativity and critical thinking. Students must navigate complex scenarios, solve problems, and make decisions that impact their stories. This process enhances their cognitive abilities and teaches them the value of strategic planning.

Moreover, RPGs are excellent for social development. They require players to work together, negotiate, and empathize with different perspectives. These skills are invaluable both in and out of the classroom. Teachers, too, find themselves honing their storytelling and improvisational skills, which can reduce burnout and reignite their passion for teaching.

But now, let’s explore how RPGs could be integrated in the school’s regular curricula, fear not!
Here are some practical ways to bring the magic of RPGs to students of all ages, from pre-school to primary school.

Language Arts: Imagine a game where students create characters and embark on a quest to find lost words and rescue kidnapped letters. This can help pre-schoolers with phonics and vocabulary. For older students, crafting detailed backstories and writing journal entries from their characters’ perspectives can enhance their narrative skills and grammar.

Mathematics: Picture a scenario where students must solve riddles and puzzles to progress in their adventure. These can include math problems tailored to their level. For instance, young adventurers could count magical stones, while older ones could calculate the trajectory of a spell or the loot they’ve gathered.

History: Transform your classroom into a time machine where students role-play as historical figures during significant events. They could debate policies in ancient Rome, strategize in medieval battles, or explore ancient civilizations. This method makes history tangible and memorable, far beyond the pages of a textbook.

Science: Set up a quest where students are scientists in a fantasy world, tasked with saving their realm from ecological disaster. They must learn about real-world scientific principles, like the water cycle or renewable energy, to complete their mission. This approach not only makes science fun but also underscores its real-world applications.

Keep in mind, these games are not just a source of entertainment but a wellspring of educational possibilities. By integrating RPGs into your teaching toolkit, you can inspire a love of learning, foster essential life skills, and create unforgettable classroom experiences.

So, gather your dice, craft your stories, and embark on this educational adventure. After all, the future generation’s success is the ultimate treasure, and with RPGs, the journey to find it can be just as rewarding as the destination.


Author: Giuseppe Perrotti, JUMP Trainer