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13 January 2014

IB Global Politics: Current Events Dodgeball

Our Monday morning current events briefing became a lot more competitive this week. Today's articles from the BBC, The Economist, and the UN News Centre covered the removal of chemical weapons from Syria. The Year 1 folks did a great job in facilitating & participating in a game of intellectual dodgeball (thanks @thiagi) to parse through the material found in the articles. While the game itself was fun to observe and participate in, the best part of the class (as always) was the debriefing. Specifically, students felt that the rules of the game were such that everyone had to focus on generating fact based questions at the expense of asking analytical, higher order questions. Students suggested that we revise the game for future use to include mechanics that would incentivize the creation of more complex questions to answer and debate, rather than simply try and see who-could-stump-who with random trivia from the weeks events. This is exactly the sort of thinking that's consistent with findings on student engagement. Students prefer tasks that are behaviorally stimulating, emotionally supportive, and cognitively challenging. Our task as instructors and facilitators is to provide students these opportunities each and every day, let our learners explore and play with new experiences, and then help them to make sense of what they've learned through reflection and debriefing. Next week's current events briefing may have a completely different set of mechanics and flow, but I'm sure that the students will chose something equally if not more engaging to play with.