After approximately 3 weeks of planning, participants of MUN led classrooms as leaders,to teach students in secondary about the theme “Youth as a Global Citizen”. This preparation was all leading up to the day our school decided to celebrate UN Day on October 9th, 2015! In the 3-4 sessions of MUN before this date, we spent time brainstorming topics for classrooms that would be appropriate for the grade levels assigned. It was concluded that the topics were: impact of immigration (grades 6-7); racism (grades 8-10) and legalization of marijuana (grades 11-12). Thank you Luke and OSC’s photographer for the pictures!
I worked in a team with Ariana to teach grades 8-10 about racism in one classroom for one and a half hours, but we collaborated with the other leaders who were teaching the same topic. Together we came up with a lesson plan. In the class, we planned and did talk about our own experiences and attempted to define racism, how people are affected on a larger scale, and in order to understand our roles as global citizens, how to avoid and combat racism.
I think we finally knew how difficult it was for these children to engage themselves and to actively comment on the different videos we showed. It took a lot of encouragement to start a deeper discussion about the topics above. When we gave them time to discuss, only a few of the older kids offered their opinion. The discussions were too open ended to engage people in 8th and 10th grade. It was hard to guide their discussion and help them plan skits when we gave them free choice to do whatever they want in that period. What helped was the guidance of the teachers who were in the room who gave us advice as teachers themselves. It was a good learning experience because I never tried to teach people before in that setting about the issue of racism. I was a little afraid to respond to their comments when it seemed like they did not get the point of the exercise, because it felt like I was dictating what they should think rather than guiding their thoughts. I think that hesitation was telling of my public speaking problem/confidence which I need to work on.
Overall, I think leading UN Day in those classrooms showed that I have some potential to successfully teach a big group of people about something, though I need to reconsider how they will respond and give them more guidance in order for it to be successful and for them to learn something.The students wrote responses about what they learned which was a good exercise to see if we had been able to teach them something new. It was also a good way to begin MUN before practice debates, because it drove me to be a leader to the students and therefore speak with confidence whilst engaging in global issues.