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Global citizenship education and MUN
Maria Bastakion 8 May 2014
Transcript of Global citizenship education and MUN
Maria Bastaki, PhD researcher
University of Birmingham,
School of Education
Supervisor: Dr. Michele Schweisfurth
Dec 1, 2012
A Model United Nations Student Conference is a simulation of the United Nations forums
Hundreds of senior high school students don the role, as well as attire, of professional diplomats.
Greece for Greeks
Global citizenship education will help students open to the world and acquire these social skills that are necessary to face global problems successfully (Osler & Starkey, 2005).
Empathy and sympathy are indispensable capacities for modern citizens so as to gain a deep insight into the plight of fellow global citizens and act accordingly (Hanvey, 1975; Nussbaum, 2007).
can act responsibly and consciously towards the creation of a diverse and equitable world, empowered by education and collaborative action
Young students are expected to construct and reconstruct their self-schema so that they conform to societal needs (Giddens, 1991)
Simulations and Active Learning
stimulate interest in the subject
enhance learning and knowledge retention
Critical pedagogy helps individuals :
reshape their lives,
realize their cognitive potential,
re-create democratic spaces
build communities of solidarity
'What constitutes elitism is contingent on historical moments, structural conditions, cultural understandings, and immediate actions - as well as subjective definitions' (Charmaz, 2008:173)
Private schools in Greece, in big urban centres may offer
exchange programs with foreign schools
international education programmes
homogeneous composition of student body
The Greek educational system is highly centralised, the educational policy formulated by the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs.
There are state and private schools (7%)
a private non-profit educational institution
founded by Greek/French catholic monks,
located in a quiet residential area in Athens
1660 children attend the primary, junior high and senior high school
The MUN project identity
A qualitative longitudinal case study,
started in October 2011,
has 3 phases during Model United Nations School Conferences in Athens, Greece:
March 2012 (pilot study)
• semi-structured interviews
• focus groups
• observational field notes
The study aims to examine:
a)to what extent this critical engagement has an impact on the participants’ self-concept, and perception of global citizenship identity in terms of skills, attitudes, knowledge and behaviour,
b)what effect ongoing participation in this simulation has on the students’ personal growth and development, if any, and what other factors might facilitate or hinder this change.
Purposive sampling, or “information-oriented sampling” (Flyvberg, 2006)
Small group of Senior High School students (15-18 years old)
Small group of MUN organisers/teachers/ex-delegates
participants voluntarily recruited, informed consent forms signed
students protected from any kind of psychological or bodily harm
Anonymity and confidentiality respected
informed consent form signed by minors' parents
The researcher’s role: a multi-layered identity :
Model United Nations Advisor
The pilot study
16 – 18 March 2012, during Model United Nations Conference 1, in Athens, Greece
17 participants (15 girls, 2 boys, 15-16 years old)
semi-structured participant observation
Pilot study findings
participation in the MUN offered the opportunity to hone their social skills
the students conducted their first literature review and researched their subjects in an original way
all participants experienced an improvement in their self-concept and tried to find ways to cope with this realisation
research project initially identified as a participatory action research study
with the pilot study, in no way did the participants conceptualise their engagement as an involvement in a participatory scheme with their teacher
what monopolised my concern as a researcher was the participants’ change through the simulation, not mine
Data analysis methods & NVivo
inductive reasoning approach (reading and annotating, creating categories and assigning codes, designing maps and matrices
NVivo offers the opportunity to bind all sources into a whole, without worrying about the technicalities of the abundance of material
Findings concerning elitism and the MUN
Q: Do you believe that the MUN is an elitist educational tool?
Both adult organisers and adolescent participants mentioned the the MUN is not an elitist educational program, in the sense that anyone can participate in it, as long as they can afford it. All students are capable of belonging in the MUN team provided they get the proper training and support by MUN advisors. Unfortunately, the Greek state school system cannot afford to support such costly programs and state school teachers usually lack both the motivation, the skills or the time to engage in a conference.
'...it is a costly experience, if you want, in a way, to build up a career in MUN, it will cost you quite some money, for that reason it is an elitist activity, however, MUN itself is not, I think. It is not, and everybody should be allowed and be able to join, of course it is part of our job, the MUN advisors to make sure they get their equal share, whatever the structure of the MUN itself is...' (DSAMUN Adult Organiser 1)
'...many friends of mine attend state schools, they are not different, we are exactly the same, we go to the same places, the live in the same way, I just happen to attend a private school and there are teachers who are willing to join the MUN, and the school pays for us, I am just lucky, not a part of the elite...' (adolescent participant 1)
'...no, I don't feel I belong to the elite class, my parents are middle class employees who work hard to offer me this kind of school, I am lucky because my school provides the MUN opportunity for me and there are teachers willing to work, without pay, that's all...' (adolescent participant 2)
'... the truth is that our world, here in the school, is well protected from the crisis and the poverty, yes in this sense, we belong to the elite class of students; however, I consider myself a regular adolescent who just happened to attend a private school that offers opportunities...' (adolescent participant 3)
although the MUN adolescent participants attend a private school, they cannot perceive themselves as members of an educational elite
they attribute the school's success to its policy and the MUN advisors' willingness to work hard and make a difference in their lives
participating fees in the MUN Conference are high but not forbidding for some
the advisors' agency and self-efficacy, as well as their pedagogical principles and values facilitate participation.
The findings of this research, either positive or negative, might prove inspirational for other
foreign language teachers,
citizenship education teachers,
school curriculum designers
who would like to
enrich their lesson plans,
incorporate simulations in their teaching and programmes,
urge their students adopt a critical global mindset.
Bazeley, P. (2007). Qualitative Data Analysis With NVivo. London: Sage.
Charmaz, K. (2008). "Reflections from the Middle: Making Sense of Elitism in Our Midst." The American Sociologist 39(2): 169-180.
Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). "Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research." Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2): 219-245.
Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity : self and society in the late modern age. Stanford, Calif., Stanford University Press.
Hanvey, Robert G & Center for War/Peace Studies (New York, N.Y.) (1975). An attainable global perspective. Center for War/ Peace Studies.New York
Nussbaum, M. C. (2006). Frontiers of justice : disability, nationality, species membership. Cambridge, Mass., The Belknap Press : Harvard University Press.
Nussbaum, M. (2007) Cultivating Humanity and World Citizenship. Forum for the Future of Higher Education. Excerpted from Forum Futures 2007. Cambridge, Mass.
http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ff0709s.pdf , accessed July 2, 2012
Osler, A, Starkey H. (2005) Changing Citizenship: Democracy and Inclusion in Education. London: Open University Press.
A private non-profit educational institution,
Located in a quiet residential area in Athens
Greece for tourists
education is the key to empowerment (Nussbaum, 2004)
Model United Nations Conference 2
Athens, 18-20 October 2012, Phase 2
400 students, 40 schools (17 foreign, 23 Greek)
22 private, 1 state school )
As the next phase of the project is going to take place in March 2013, some participants have already decided to join in the MUN school team again. To what extent will this ongoing involvement impact on their attitude towards elitism?