Building character: An application of Gee’s theory of situated learning to a role-playing game in an English language classroom

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Colloquia Revista de Pensamiento y Cultura
This project is an attempt to design a method of teaching English as a foreign language to Ecuadorian university students by applying Gee's theory of "situated learning”. The researcher posed the following problem: How can global empathy be incorporated into the EFL classroom so as to increase students’ intrinsic motivation to learn the language and help them to learn it better? and suggested the following answer: Through a role-playing game in which students create avatars with specific, realistic characteristics including nationality, religion, socio-economic status and gender, and place them within the context of an ethical dilemma. The game was implemeted with two groups of students, one at the A1 level (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the other at the B2 level. Preliminary results show increased global empathy and are also promising in terms of student motivation and language acquisition.
English as a Foreign Language, Role-playing games, Game design, Global empathy, Intrinsic motivation