Building Character

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

  • Janine Berger


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. 

Dec 3, 2019
How to Cite
BERGER, Janine. Building Character. Colloquia, Academic Journal of Culture and Thought, [S.l.], v. 6, p. 11 - 27, dec. 2019. ISSN 1390-8731. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 05 oct. 2023. doi: