A Model United Nations (MUN) Conference for teachers, hosted by the institute of MUN for junior and senior high schools in Japan, was held and 21 teachers from 14 different schools discussed the “Syrian Situation” with the opinions of the ambassadors of the 21 different countries’ being the focus.
This institute aims to introduce and disseminate the MUN to junior and senior high school education sites, including the implementation of a nationwide educational MUN conference with 467 students from 67 different schools in August. As the necessity of global education gains attention in Japan, the value of the MUN conference and its educational effects are being widely recognized.
With this background, the MUN conference for teachers was held with the aim of spreading knowledge to teachers who have no experience in this type of instruction or the MUN itself.
The teachers gathered in a classroom and moved to the seat which had been assigned to their country. The teachers greeted each other with a smile while waiting for the MUN to start
At first, a greeting and an activity report was delivered from a teacher who is the chairman of the institute of MUN for junior and senior high schools in Japan.
Then, the teachers introduced themselves in turn.
Each teacher offered some information about their own situation. Comments like:
“Although I started MUN with the students’ requests, I have no experience. This is why I am here to study.”
“I read the materials while I was on my way to here by the bullet train.”
After each participant spoke a feeling of empathy spread through the group.
The flow of an MUN conference was conveyed along with explanations of the conference theme and other information from the conference director. “Please feel free to make a lot of mistakes in your role as students today.” Following these words from the director, the conference started.
First of all, they checked the attendance and which applicants wanted to make the first speech. Then they decided how to proceed with the meeting. The conference was mainly done with whole negotiation (Moderate Caucus), which is a method of exchanging opinions with everyone seated and Un-moderate Caucus, in which they communicate with each other freely.
Teachers become ambassadors for each country and used discussion to build consensus and learn other countries’ opinions and policies and also making a 30-second speech based on the position and current situation in their respective countries.
The conference was proceeded with the chairperson moderating important points focusing on style, rules and specific words used in the conference. Teachers deepened their understanding steadily by practicing the unique MUN conference style, often with puzzled looks, using techniques such as calls to explain their opinions, expressions with placards raised, and question and answer methods.
One teacher said:
“Since I am acting as a student today, it may be off topic, but I would like to ask a question about national interests.”
From such questions from students’ point of view, we were able to feel the passion of the teachers towards the learning styles of the students participating in the MUN Conference.
The participants gradually became more enthusiastic. Teachers and ambassadors of the countries started moving around and negotiating in the Un-moderate Caucus.
In order to prepare a proposal, they were divided into groups with two main points of discussion, and they proposed realistic resolutions while debating.
They proposed a bill describing opinions compiled by each group. Explanation from the country that wanted a speech on the resolution and voting by the participating countries, they adopted one resolution and ended the meeting. This lasted about 4 hours in total.
At the end, they received comments from the conference director which happens at the actual MUN Conference. Every teacher nodded at his words; “I am telling you this because we cannot just leave the conference after this. I can tell you what we could do and what we could not do based on the reality.”
Taking the advantage of the understanding gained in this experience, they felt the fascination by the MUN Conference and had confidence in their future instruction and a sense of fulfillment that they could support their students in their development.