Silly questions

1280px-2006_sardines_can_openA short one from me, as it seems I’m less free from the joys of Brexit than I imagined.

Tuesday afternoon found me on a very slow-moving train, with many, many other people, all trying to get home on what was the hottest day of the year. As is traditional, this meant the trains were all messed up, hence the sardine-packing, something that us Brits love, because it forces us to confront our profound horror of others within our personal space. Especially when they’re all sweaty.

Ugh. Continue reading

Academic Controversy

We’ve talked about Elizabeth Barkley’s Student Engagement Technique book on this blog before (here and here). I thought I’d share another activity from the book that I used in my class last term, along with some thoughts on how the activity went.

Brief description of the activity: “Student partners review material on a controversial topic in the field that has two opposing sides (A and B) and brainstorm arguments to support their assigned position” (Barkley 199). In my experience, it works well as an impromptu class debate on a topic that doesn’t have a clear answer. In my Human Rights class, I had the students debate the U.S. response to the Rwandan genocide. The instructions for the technique suggest crafting mini-cases describing the controversy to print and distribute. I simply distributed one line prompts and expected the students to come up with the arguments based on readings and prior class discussion. Continue reading

ALPS Summer School

Scribe PortraitAre you interested in turning a classroom experience into a journal article? If so, we’d like to help. If you send us a rough idea of your topic in the form of a guest post, we will publish it. We will then provide feedback in the form of either comments or a series of subsequent posts. You will have the opportunity to respond. The end goal is to workshop the idea and help you produce a manuscript on pedagogy that can be submitted to a journal like PS, Journal of Political Science Education, European Political Science, or International Studies Perspectives.

Send your ideas to us at