The growing popularity of Model UN as a “smart sport”, an exercise for smart students with social skills, has attracted more and more educators, teachers, and younger students to integrate Model UN into their academic curriculum or extra-curricular activities. Educators and teachers-alike call for Model UN to improve student’s public speaking skill, research skill, as well as confidence and interpersonal intelligence as early as at junior high/middle school.
However, unlike college students, sometimes they are not prepared with a basic, preliminary understanding of international issues, such as how the United Nations works. So it can be a serious challenge to directly bombard younger students with pain-staking rules of procedure and difficult, serious topics on Day 1, such as Iranian nuclear program or agriculture trade liberalization. Here are some useful tips to introduce much younger generation to the amazing world of Model UN:
1. Prepare signature Model UN goodies
Younger students are easily impressed by several signature Model UN goodies, such as international flags and colorful placards. If you are a coach or a teacher, you can also prepare small souvenirs from past Model UN conferences for those who perform well, so they are more motivated.
2. Prepare Crisis Committees
More and more Model UN conferences adopt crisis committee as a new approach to represent a more dynamic international relations. Why not bring it up to classroom too? Pick a fun topic to begin with, such as dealing with the aliens from Planet Coconut, the melt of all chocolate tree, or Death Eater’s invasion to Hogwarts. It can be a fun way to introduce rules of procedures, as well as to hone necessary skill, without worrying about researching for difficult topic.
3. Team Up!
Younger students may be shy or pressured to speak in front of their friends while “representing nations and people on their shoulder” (sounds “big”). Or, they just do not know what to say on certain motion or topic. The solution is making a grop of two or three students during training simulation, so they have partner to deliberate and exchange roles of speaking. Of course, when they get serious, there is a certain strategy to succeed as double delegation in real Model UN.
Model UN is addictive, y’know. Introduce them with step-by-step skill and upgrading it as they develop will make them craving for more. There will be the time when they say, “Oh, c’mon, let’s just talk business” or “We want more!”. And there you go, you are the best teacher on earth!
Do you have any more tips or experience to share about coaching Model UN? Share your thoughts in comment box below!