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Bringing Peace to Yorkania: Using Simulation Teaching for International Relations Dr. Audra Mitchell Lecturer in International Relations University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Bringing Peace to Yorkania: Using Simulation Teaching for International Relations Dr. Audra Mitchell Lecturer in International Relations University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bringing Peace to Yorkania: Using Simulation Teaching for International Relations Dr. Audra Mitchell Lecturer in International Relations University of York

2 Why use simulation teaching? Employability Student aspirations for employment: Major int’l organizations (EU, UN) Government departments (DFID, MOD, FCO) Major int’l ‘NGOs’ (Amnesty International, Save the Children, Human rights watch)  Increasing competition  The need for specialized practical skills/experience Ethics Demand for fieldwork (to meet employer expectations) BUT: Difficulty of ensuring ethical practice ‘war tourism’ My research (Mitchell, 2012) can be mutually traumatizing Fieldwork provides a good skillset in research and adaptation, but not specifically: -Conflict analysis -Crisis management and response -Team-working -Negotiation Simulations can be designed to develop these skills

3 ‘Violence and International Intervention’: The concept A term-long, multi-actor simulation -Many simulations are only for a few days -Tend to focus on one set of actors (e.g. UN)  VII takes students from the moment a conflict breaks out to the negotiations over its resolution Multiple groups -Government - guerrillas -Paramilitaries -NGOs/donors -international diplomats Capstone negotiation session  Run for 2 years at York ( / )

4 Teaching Approach and Materials Teaching techniques Lecture/seminar (1 hour); simulation (1 hour)  Removing lecture to focus on interactive seminar/more simulation time Tutor participation (‘advising’ groups, but also throwing spanners in the works…)  Providing feedback in-class Materials: Country profile Group profiles Y1: entirely student guided Y1: problem-based learning scenarios (Sydney’s talk) VLE: weekly group reports to support simulation narrative

5 Group profiles Size Location Demographic composition Resources Reasons for fighting Points system (to insert realism into negotiations)  Goals attached to points  students must gain a certain number of points in final negotiation Providing enough information to get students started/give the simulation structure  Expectation of independent research/study on groups of this kind (with more or less success depending on group/year…)

6 Country profile Drawn from a selection of ‘real life’ countries, but not a single country  Decreases creative/analytical thinking  tendency to find out ‘what happened’ rather than think about ‘what might happen’ Basic stats from real sources (e.g. UN, World bank) -Population -GDP -Infant mortality -Gender index Etc… Students encouraged to become an ‘expert’in their own ‘real life’ scenario  Formative assessment

7 Assessment Formative: Weekly group blog  Peer assessment (limited success)  Tutor feedback in class Simulation itself (tutor involvement/feedback) Y1: country profiles  Low rate of participation/uptake of feedback Y2: formative essay – ‘country briefing’ Capstone negotiation: peace proposals + negotiation session Summative Standard essay, but reflection on the simulation required (Y2)  Incentivizes critical reflection on learning

8 Evaluation Challenges: Fitting within a 2-hour teaching slot Low rate of reading/participation in seminar VLE use variable  Y1: very active/creative, but unfairly distributed  Y2: consistent, but not particularly engaged Adapting to larger/multiple groups Strengths: Strong participation in non-traditional/diverse ways Opportunity to assess comprehension/critical thinking in action Use of simulation in essays effective Opportunities for robust tutor involvement (e.g. ‘advising’ groups) Opportunities: More rigourous ‘PBL approach’ (e.g. research-based) VLE training and ‘top tips’ for creative use Mandate peer assessment/reading of other group blogs Devote more in-class time to simulation (recorded lectures, etc)

9 Bringing Peace to Yorkania: Using Simulation Teaching for International Relations Dr. Audra Mitchell Lecturer in International Relations University of York


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