“Reacting to the Past” courses employ a pedagogy in which students learn by taking on roles, informed by classic texts, in educational games set in the past. Students learn skills—speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership and teamwork—in order to prevail in difficult and complicated situations.
Unlike in a play, the roles in the game do not have a fixed script or outcome. Students must stick to the philosophical and intellectual beliefs of the historical figures they have been assigned to play and figure out their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively, in papers, speeches or other public presentations. Plus, students must also pursue a course of action they think will help them win the game.
The RTTP curriculum was developed in the 1990s at Barnard College. It has now been implemented by faculty at hundreds colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad.
The Reacting Consortium is holding its third Winter Conference at the University of Georgia January 18-19, 2019.
Winter Conference participants will not only take part in panels and concurrent sessions on the design and implementation of high-impact learning, they will also be able to experience one of six Reacting games themselves.
“I am not sure I have ever had a deeper learning experience” –English professor James Lang, on playing Nehru during the RTTP Annual Faculty Institute, as reported in the Chronicle. “Reacting to the Past will revitalize your classroom, change you and your students—whatever you teach.” José Bowen, President of Goucher College, after playing the art critic Joséphin Péladan during the Art in Paris: 1888-1889 game, as reported in his blog.
Conference plenary sessions will feature Barnard historian Mark C. Carnes, author of Minds on Fire: How Role-Immersion Games Transform College (Harvard UP, 2014).
If you’re interested in learning more about RTTP, register for the Winter Conference now.