03 February 2014

IB Global Politics: Monday Current Events

"Do citizens have a moral obligation to overthrow an unjust government?"

Mondays have become particularly interesting in the Year 1 class of IB Global Politics. A few months back, the students asked if we could dedicate one day per week towards the discussion of current events. We came up with a plan where the students themselves would lead the discussion or activity, as well as choose a set of articles from different sources based on the previous week's news. This plan has led to Mondays becoming everything from a conventional, Harkness-style seminar to game based play on the week's news. Today's class sustained the trend to "be different" as we ran an abbreviated debate on whether citizens have a moral to overthrow an unjust government. The class was led by three students who are also active in our school's debate team; they also planned the format, facilitated the rounds, and managed the fist phase of debriefing. From an instructional perspective, I was able to work the room to listen to students ideas, answer questions, and run the "meta" debrief on the process itself. What I find most appealing about classes like this is the quality of thinking that occurs when students take on the opportunity to design, facilitate, and then reflect on their learning. My guidance came in the form of providing feedback to the students on how they can improve their ideas or the need to incorporate real world examples into their argumentation. However, the real learning comes from the students themselves in the way they themselves construct their learning environments, basis for and modes of inquiry, and how they report and evaluate their own and their colleagues learning through discussion and action. Well done!