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Using Current Events to Develop Classroom Simulations
Unformatted Document Text:  Step 3: Let the Students Work it Out. On the day of the simulation, the students should congregate according to actor into mini-summit groups so that each actor invited to the summit is represented in each group. The students can then be assigned to role-play as a different actor than the one they did their research on. This is a particularly interesting twist to throw into the simulation. The students are already prepared with the arguments and positions of the actor they researched; by forcing them to represent a different actor, the students’ predispositions and ways of thinking are challenged. At this stage the instructor should hand out the one-page synthesized position papers and let the students have a few minutes to become familiar with the new actor they are representing. It is important that the professor not interfere too much at this stage of the simulation. The students should be given plenty of time to address each of the issues on the table and to work on solutions. Sometimes students may come up with solutions that never occurred to the instructor—this is the beauty of the classroom simulation. It is often surprising the concepts that students will bring to bear on the issues at hand. For instance, one summit group may decide that the al Qaeda representative they invited to the table is being uncooperative and thus exclude him. Groups may come up with solutions that change the payoff structures of the actors, or they may provide side benefits for defectors from the insurgency. It is important that the students have some freedom in working out their own solutions. Discussions of feasibility can be left for the next step. Step 4: Discussion. Approach 2 is a much more involved simulation process than approach 1, and discussion may have to be left for another class session. Instructors may find it valuable to hand out some discussion questions similar to those suggested in approach 1 at the end of the simulation and ask students to think about their answers and be prepared to discuss 9

Authors: Glazier, Rebecca.
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Step 3: Let the Students Work it Out. On the day of the simulation, the students should
congregate according to actor into mini-summit groups so that each actor invited to the summit is
represented in each group. The students can then be assigned to role-play as a different actor
than the one they did their research on. This is a particularly interesting twist to throw into the
simulation. The students are already prepared with the arguments and positions of the actor they
researched; by forcing them to represent a different actor, the students’ predispositions and ways
of thinking are challenged. At this stage the instructor should hand out the one-page synthesized
position papers and let the students have a few minutes to become familiar with the new actor
they are representing.
It is important that the professor not interfere too much at this stage of the simulation.
The students should be given plenty of time to address each of the issues on the table and to
work on solutions. Sometimes students may come up with solutions that never occurred to the
instructor—this is the beauty of the classroom simulation. It is often surprising the concepts that
students will bring to bear on the issues at hand. For instance, one summit group may decide that
the al Qaeda representative they invited to the table is being uncooperative and thus exclude him.
Groups may come up with solutions that change the payoff structures of the actors, or they may
provide side benefits for defectors from the insurgency. It is important that the students have
some freedom in working out their own solutions. Discussions of feasibility can be left for the
next step.
Step 4: Discussion. Approach 2 is a much more involved simulation process than
approach 1, and discussion may have to be left for another class session. Instructors may find it
valuable to hand out some discussion questions similar to those suggested in approach 1 at the
end of the simulation and ask students to think about their answers and be prepared to discuss
9


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