Practitioner Enquiry

Diana Laffin

Senior Curriculum Manager - History


Using extended role play to develop confidence in learning Tudor history









  • to identify the factors which hindered student participation in AS Tudor History lessons
  • to explore how extended role play could be used to improve student engagement in lessons by overcoming those barriers.

Key Actions


  • In the spring term all the students chose and researched characters. They were then asked to vote in role about issues and policies during the module on the reign of Henry V111.
  • The voting patterns of the students were recorded electronically and used by the students in a plenary discussion.
  • A final questionnaire was completed as well as a ten minute whole class discussion recorded on video.

 Key Findings


  • Many students strongly dislike being asked questions directly in whole class discussions, especially if they have been given no preparation time.
  • Willingness to participate was linked to their interest in the topic but students would contribute even to more dry subjects if the activity was fun. 
  • Giving the students more responsibility and choice increased their motivation to join in.
  • Role play increased the confidence and participation of the class.
  • Building in some transition into the role play, such as swapping roles or changing from individual to group voting, added more depth and challenge to the activity.
  • The success of the role play was reliant on student preparation. Larger classes and less motivated students needed careful management to ensure that all students could vote with understanding and knowledge of their roles.
  • Electronic remote voting was not essential for the role play but added a valuable visual element and motivated the students to join in.