One important role that the teacher plays when using simulations is as an explainer. In this role, the teacher helps the students understand the basic rules of the simulation and helps them understand what they need to do in order to engage with most of the activities (Joyce et al., 2009). As an explainer, the teacher does not want to give away hints for the students to be successful, rather he/she must simply give enough direction for the students to get started.
A third role the teacher plays is as a coach. While students are interacting with the simulation, the teacher needs to offer support and facilitation to the students, allowing them to learn from their mistakes in a safe and supportive environment. As a coach, the teacher's job is not to discipline for mistakes, but rather help guide and support students once those mistakes have been made (Joyce et al., 2009).
The second role the teaher plays when using simulations in class is as a referee. Particularly when the simulation is in the form of a game, the teacher's job is to ensure that the rules of the simulation are followed. However, much like the referee of a sporting event, the teacher needs to maintain the integrity of the simulation without actually interfering with the simulation itself (Joyce et al., 2009).
The final role the teacher plays when implementing simulations in the classrooom is as a debriefer. This very important role is where much of the learnign on contextualization of the activity takes place. The teacher must facilitate a discussion where students reflect on their successes and difficulties while engaged in the simulation. In addition, the discussion should help students to make comparisons of the simulation to real life situations and course content (Joyce et al., 2009). The discussion facilitator is undoubtedly one of the teacher's most important roles as students begin to make connections between the activity and discipline-specific knowledge.