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Using Current Events to Develop Classroom Simulations
Unformatted Document Text:  Once the list of invitees is finalized, the class should begin brainstorming about what issues need to be addressed at the summit. These can range from the simplistic (stop people from fighting) to the complex (decide on a degree of federalism for the new Iraqi government) and, at least in this initial stage, all suggestions should be considered and discussed. There is a lot of learning going on for upper-division students at this stage—they are not just giving answers they read in a text book, but are really thinking about concepts and applying them to real world problems on the spot. Instructors should be patient with this process and use it as a time for discussion in the class. But the process may need to be helped along with suggestions and probing questions (What about the oil revenues? Is anything currently being done about power sharing? What issue do you think is most important to actor x?). After the brainstorming session, the instructor can select as many or as few of the actors the class came up with, as well as 3-5 key issues that need to be on the table for the “solve Iraq” summit. In the next class, the students are divided into relatively equal groups representing each of the actors invited to the summit and then presented with their research assignment: identify and explain the position of your actor on each of the major issues to be discussed at the summit. The students can work on their own or in groups, it is up to the instructor, but each student/group will turn in a paper on the positions of their actor for the “solve Iraq” summit. One may also find it helpful to have the students present their conclusions in the form of an in-class presentation, but again, this depends on the preferences of the instructor. At this point the efforts of the instructor are required to synthesize the information in these papers into short (one page long) summaries for the students to use while negotiating at the summit. These are the all-important “position papers” discussed in approach 1. 8

Authors: Glazier, Rebecca.
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Once the list of invitees is finalized, the class should begin brainstorming about what
issues need to be addressed at the summit. These can range from the simplistic (stop people
from fighting) to the complex (decide on a degree of federalism for the new Iraqi government)
and, at least in this initial stage, all suggestions should be considered and discussed. There is a lot
of learning going on for upper-division students at this stage—they are not just giving answers
they read in a text book, but are really thinking about concepts and applying them to real world
problems on the spot. Instructors should be patient with this process and use it as a time for
discussion in the class. But the process may need to be helped along with suggestions and
probing questions (What about the oil revenues? Is anything currently being done about power
sharing? What issue do you think is most important to actor x?).
After the brainstorming session, the instructor can select as many or as few of the actors
the class came up with, as well as 3-5 key issues that need to be on the table for the “solve Iraq”
summit. In the next class, the students are divided into relatively equal groups representing each
of the actors invited to the summit and then presented with their research assignment: identify
and explain the position of your actor on each of the major issues to be discussed at the summit.
The students can work on their own or in groups, it is up to the instructor, but each student/group
will turn in a paper on the positions of their actor for the “solve Iraq” summit. One may also find
it helpful to have the students present their conclusions in the form of an in-class presentation,
but again, this depends on the preferences of the instructor.
At this point the efforts of the instructor are required to synthesize the information in
these papers into short (one page long) summaries for the students to use while negotiating at the
summit. These are the all-important “position papers” discussed in approach 1.
8


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