As experienced delegates, we passionately debate about resolutions, skillfully craft perfect clauses to address various topics, and we learn more about our countries through research. But, what happens when you are selected to be a teaching assistant? What happens when you have to teach middle school students about the world of Model UN? How will you teach the future MUNers to unleash their diplomatic potential?
I felt nervous and confused initially when my MUN director offered me a position as a teaching assistant for the middle school MUN club. I had no teaching experience, but most high schoolers came to me for advice usually. While teaching middle schoolers about MUN, I learned about my leadership potential and how middle schoolers looked up to me as a positive role model in MUN. As I got better at teaching middle school MUN, I decided to provide five basic tips for high school students that will teach middle school students about Model UN.
1.)Keep it simple- Middle school students will struggle to understand the complexity of the Model UN world or any other international relations issues if complicated language is used. Hand out activity sheets that have definitions of MUN terms. For presentations, use sentences that have a simple cohesive flow and avoid using high school/college vocabulary. If you want to practice simulations, I suggest simplifying topics in order for middle school students to get a brief understanding of the main issue. For example, a high school MUN topic would be “Coordination and Responsibility regarding the humanitarian aspects for boat refugees”. Instead, simplify the topic to “Universal Rights of Migrants”. The main idea is to make sure that your middle school students understand the basic Model UN terms and have a brief understanding of global affairs without being confused.
2.)Be creative about your lesson plans-Middle school students will get frustrated if you hand out repetitive sheets or even worse, bored, when there’s no fun involved. Instead, do research on interesting debate prompts or classroom activities online. Ask previous MUN directors or MUN peers at your school for activity suggestions. Introduce a warmup exercise like Best Delegate's Current Events activity.
Throw in fun topics to debate about (for example: fruits vs vegetables)! Don’t forget to add simulations and presentations on specific MUN skills in the mix! A balanced curriculum consisting of debate exercises/classroom activities, skills presentations, and simulations will keep students eager about Model UN!
3.)Be open minded-Receive feedback from your students and MUN Director, be open to suggestions on how you can improve your teaching or lesson plans. If your students are too shy to provide feedback, set up a Google survey online or an anonymous feedback box. Ask your MUN director about your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher. You will learn more about yourself and how you can further develop your teaching potential. Also, you will be surprised by how you can make a difference in your students’ lives!
4.)This will get better-It’s common for teachers and teaching assistants to worry about the progress of their MUN students or what students think of their teaching quality. But, remember this, with each MUN session, you are gaining teaching experience. Reflect on each session by journaling. Focus on other hobbies such as reading to get rid of the stress.
5.)Teach with passion-The last but most important tip. Teach because you are passionate about MUN. Be energetic and creative while teaching future MUNers. The world of MUN is a world that encourages everyone to be more aware of global issues. Your future MUNers will be engaged and heavily involved if you teach MUN with pride!
Overall, today's MUNers can learn how to empower and interact with the younger generation.There are many non-traditional ways with getting involved in the MUN community. I strongly encourage teaching younger MUNers through blogging, high school MUN tutoring, and many more activities! As a MUN coach, I learned a lot about my teaching potential. We, as a MUN community, should promote the art of MUN among the younger generation.
Photo Credit: MUN Institute