As a teacher (Felia Allum), who researches organised crime, I wanted to re-invigorate my teaching approach and reach out more effectively to my students. In previous years, when I have taught this unit I have sought to teach my students about the different cultural and economic conditions that surround Italian mafias, to understand why individuals become mafiosi, what decisions do they make and why? What cultural values shape their world view? What economic activities do they undertake and why? Why do mafiosi seek out politician and businessmen?
Should I record all my lectures so my students can see me on video rather than in the flesh? Should I mix up lectures and seminars using Skype discussions, video, Twitter and chat rooms or should I go back to the drawing board to find another interesting and effective way of teaching organised crime?
I went back to the drawing board and (re)discovered 'role plays'. Then redesigned the unit curriculum based on role play pedagogy that included students as active designers of the role play scenarios. This blog documents our journey through learning and teaching Organised Crime with role play.