- Am I doing it right?
- What can we learn from them?
- What distinguishes VIP?
I have designed a study of European history covering the inter-war years from an international relations perspective revolving around the aims of the post WW1 powers, their ideological struggles in Germany as a case study, and how they would cope with the changing security balance sheet in the post Depression years. These themes largely mirror the predominant ideas of Cold War history after 1945.
Pedagogically, I am experimenting with using the Model LON Conference (Model UN Conference) to simulate the topics covered. By doing so, I hope to encourage perspective taking when students are assigned countries, independent research when students have to infer country positions on issues of the inter-war years (eg. no one possibly know how Spain reacted to the Locarno Pact except to guess from her previous dealings and the beliefs of the government in power, and how they are likely to be affected; and no one country would have totally similar perspective with another) and opportunities to articulate their views and be involved negotiation and problem solving.
However with 6 periods a week and a topic each week and only 6-7 effective weeks in a term, how will I go about delivering it? I have to scaffold the pedagogy starting with the basics like source research and linking to topic, understanding the main ideologies of a post WW1 world, and attempts to get students to recognise their own ideological persuasions. These had to be done before we embark on assigning countries, undertaking country profiles, research issues as we move along with the topics each week, writing position papers on a landmark topic (eg. enforcing war reparations from Germany, an issue that would preoccupy the LON for a good part of the 1920s) before they can start delivering them in the form of opening addresses and formal debates. This course as I have designed it is unique, as are every other course. A course argument comes from the perspective of the course teacher.
But what I want to find out from VIP are the functionals and systemics. Am I doing it right. What can I bring back from my observations?