Step aside, Spielberg…

It’s always with a certain reticence that I tell people about my one video on Youtube, both because I’m a generally unassuming sort of person and because I know it’s not a great piece of work.  However, I’ve reached the point in the year where it gets a dusting-down and is shared with my students.

The video marks a key transition point in my negotiation module, from theory to practice, from me teaching to them learning directly.  Based on a real-life experience of mine in Istanbul, it shows that even with a lot of knowledge about principled bargaining (not least from teaching it for several years), it is not always easy to apply that knowledge to actual negotiations.

Using a video allows me to do some things that would otherwise be very difficult to do.  When analysing negotiations, you typically need a considerable block of time to read the relevant materials and reflect, time which is in short supply in my case.  The alternative of having students engage in their own negotiation scenario similarly takes up a bigger block of time and I can’t be certain about what will happen (i.e. will it cover what I need it to?).  Thus, showing a video allows me to present my central point (the shortcomings of theory) in a time-efficient and focused way.  Moreover, as a novel teaching method (for all involved), it has consistently made an impression on students, who can recall the key points even at some remove.

It’s not something that I have made a habit of, since I think it really only applies in some specific contents, but it’s certainly worth thinking about doing, especially if you want to move students out of their habitual patterns. Technically, it’s very simple to put together and share with other. Plus, you can always disable the comments function.

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