Teaching for Historical Understanding through Role-Play, pp. 5 of 14

Lesson design and implementation

The target groups for this lesson package included one Sec 2 Express class and one Normal Academic (NA) class. Students in both classes enjoyed working in groups. Students in the Express class (2Exp) were outspoken and liked role play and acting. Students in the 2N(A) class were less vocal and preferred anything to writing. Students from both classes had very little prior knowledge on political issues, but Express students were better at reading and comprehension. With their profiles in mind, a series of lessons was designed and carried out over the course of 4 weeks (actual contact time was around 1.5hrs per week).


Lesson Focus

Method / Activity


Concept Teaching:

Elections, Communism, Democracy, Political consciousness and Constitution

  • Direct Instruction on content concepts in the context of Singapore’s post-war developments e.g. strikes and Anti-National Service Riots
  • Assessment of learning through concept cartoon quiz



Aspirations of the different political parties and activists:

SPP, LF, PAP, Trade Unions and Chinese students

  • 2Exp: Conduct research based on character cards based on political leaders and activists
  • 2NA: Direct instruction on aspirations of the various groups


  • 2Exp: Role-play and present campaign speech with poster
  • 2NA: Recap on the different aspirations and summarise them in a table


Elections and the responses from the people of Singapore

  • Group discussion using character cards based on ordinary people in Singapore
  • Groups share reasons for their choice of political party to support.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with new journal issues!