From Beginners to Advanced: Selecting a Committee Topic for MUN
Model United Nations is not easy in many ways. You have to know many things, from the topic at hand to the foreign policy of a country and what other countries might think about the issue. As such it is important to have the right topics for the different levels of knowledge and skill that your children might have. This is a simple guide to verify your student's skills and choose the right topic for them to practice.
What is my Student's Level?
First, it's important to know your own students. What grade are they in? What politics or government class do they take at school? What is their level of English? What topics do they prefer to discuss about? How much experience do they have in actual conferences? How much of the UN do they know? These are some of the simple questions you can ask before crafting your curriculum. For example, grade level and age is important as it is usually correlated with how much knowledge and experience they have. English levels are also important in that even if they are great critical thinkers, if they can't express those thoughts in English, she/he will have a hard time in the actual conferences.
MUN Beginners are usually those who have just started MUN. They might be bright and smart and great and public speaking, but do not know the Rules of Procedure or how the debate flows in general. For these students, don't make it too complicated. Start from simple topics, in which the purpose is not debating about the topic itself but actually knowing how the actual discussion is done. Some topic examples can be 'the best ice cream flavor in the world' or
'The most popular celebrity in America'. These topics require no resolution but more discussion and can be done without specifically representing anyone. These topics are good to demonstrate what are motions and the types of different caucuses. The next level topics include 'what to do in a zombie outbreak' or 'What to do in the next world Ice Age'. In this case, students can start representing people and the process of resolutions can be explained, as they require to represent a country and suggest possible actions to be taken. At this stage, make sure that your topics are ROP-centered and make sure that your students master the flow of debate.
The Next Level
When your students master the procedures, it's time to practice the actual debating. At this stage, you have to start with the easy topics and proceed to the harder ones. Age and grade are still important factors in this step. For example, it's good to start with environmental and social topics as no special knowledge is needed and debating can be done with a little research. The problems that the environmental sector is facing is not complex in terms of critical thinking and students from all grade levels can engage in it. Some of the other topic areas with these characteristics can be the social topics like women's rights, refugee rights and children's rights. Social and environmental topics are the first step; if your student has mastered this area it's time to move on. Military and political topics are next on the list. These need a little more intensive researching involved cause usually the topic itself is a little bit more complicated. Topics in this area can involve territory conflicts, decolonization, demilitarization and denuclearization, terrorist crisis, like ISIS and more. In this step of debating, make sure that your students know how to research the topic and their country, make sure they know how to craft arguments that back-up their country's foreign policy and craft suitable policies and make sure they get enough practice voicing up their ideas into the crowd.
When you have students with high level MUN skills, you are challenged to provide them a good enough topic to practice with. These kids are usually on the upper grade levels and have amazing critical thinking skills with persuasive speech skills. For them, give them a topic in the economic area. Economic topics usually need some background information on economics to be able to participate in discussion and give plausible resolutions. Topics like trade wars, protectionism, cryptocurrencies, and the world wealth gap are some that can help your students master the last steps of MUN. There are other topics and models for the one seeking to master MUN, which are special committees. Special committees in MUN are committees with different topics or have a different way of proceeding with their conference. Therefore, the way that students have to debate, research and speak might be different from the regular MUN sessions. Some examples can be the special historical committee, Court of International Justice and Model ASEAN.
Don't Know Where to Start
Starting an MUN for your school can be a difficult task. You have to master all these skills yourself and choose the right topics for the right students. However, you are not alone. MUN inc. can and will help you; from creating a MUN team to hosting your own conference with special committees. Just contact us for more.
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