Simulation: a pedagogical tool for Sciences Po Students

published by Equipe FORCCAST on 08 Dec 2017

filed under Activities · Events · Simulations

In August 2017, before the start of the current academic year, Forccast project orchestrated a training programme for 340 new Sciences Po students.

 

Marrakesh, November 2016: the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) is in full swing. At Sciences Po Reims campus, Forccast team re-creates the on-going negotiations in a simulation for 120 undergraduate students, giving them the first opportunity to collaborate.

Given the success of this event, it was agreed that experiments of such kind would be repeated.

Reims, August 2017: The simulation that has recently taken place during the  welcome programme (28th of August-1rst of September), on the eve of the academic year, strengthens the collaboration between the two campuses.

For several years now, Forccast has been organising a debate week on controversies for all new students registered at the Sciences Po campus, in Paris. Each year, this module is proposed before the start of the academic year. It prepares students to public speaking, as they have to impersonate key protagonists in situations marked by uncertainty and confronted with dossiers marked by important scientific and technical issues.

The 2017 Reims experiment opens a new path: It refers both to the International negotiations simulations and to the debates on controversies, Sciences Po has previously organised at the Paris campus. The purpose is for the students to immerse themselves for five days in International negotiations within a simulated context, that of the World Summit on the Future of Food. It is a complete experience, in the sense that it creates a framework within which students learn to negotiate on complex issues, while also organising the acquisition of in-depth knowledge of the dossiers as well as an initiation to public speaking.

Throughout the week, the 340 students of the Europe-North America Exchange program who have just joined the Reims campus at Sciences Po were excited about the World food summit. The coordination with the local team had to prove excellent, since the simulation gathered numerous participants. For this reason, 12 instructors were mobilised. Henry Landes, then project manager on Learning through simulations at Forccast, recruited and coordinated the team.

In addition to attending plenary session negotiations and workshops on many different themes (like Preserving the Ocean, Sustainable ways to distribute food, Sustainable livestock farming, Food safety), students participated in media or humorous events, such as a CNN debate or Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show”. The life of the campus was paced by these events throughout the last week of August. Students were able to apprehend the theme of the Summit after attending the inaugural conference given by several experts on the subject, the claims of whom would highlight the controversies the participants would explore later on.

The teaching staff proposed Public Speaking Initiation Workshops. All the staff members were trained by Stanislas Roquette, a comedian and stage director. In addition, Stanislas regularly takes part in Forccast activities at Sciences Po.

To keep track of this experience, Forccast hired a crew who filmed the whole experiment, including during moments of informal negotiating. A trailer is already available. A 15 minute documentary will be presented in a future communiqué, to highlight the quality of the exchanges and the depth of the learning.

Let’s hope that this simulation and the experiences collected in the documentary will trigger more collaborations of this sort with Sciences Po and will give new partners a taste for this experience!