Rousseau in the Gallowgate:

Using drama-based pedagogies with first-generational political theory students

The newly formed Teaching Political Theory Network and UCL’s Centre for the Pedagogy of Politics (CPP) recently co-hosted an online panel event on the theme of ‘Methods and Challenges in Teaching Political Theory’. In this guest post, one of the panellists at that event, Ruairidh Brown (Forward College, Lisbon), offers further reflections on using drama-based pedagogies to overcome barriers to the study of political theory facing first-generational students.

“Well, I would like to see Mr Rousseau come down and do a shift with me in the Gallowgate; soon see how long he holds on to those views.”

The Gallowgate is a street in Glasgow known both for its association with Celtic football club and for its reputation as one of the roughest streets in the city. It was where the student quoted worked as a barman when not studying for his politics degree. He was a mature student, older indeed than I was at time of teaching, and had disclosed over our seminars a hardened pessimism cultivated over many years serving pints in Glasgow’s roughest bars.

It was no surprise he had found Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s claim that ‘men are naturally good’ ridiculously absurd.

I nevertheless endeavoured to explain Rousseau’s optimism. I related his thought against the backdrop of the French Enlightenment; as reversal of the Christian tradition of original sin; as a seminal moment in revolutionary socialism. He was buying none of it. Whatever framework I placed it in, he insisted such philosophical optimism would collapse at the threshold of his Gallowgate bar.

In truth, the more I gave intellectual context the more I lost him, as the more ‘intellectual’ I made it the less relevant it appeared to him. I needed to change track: reconstructing the world of Rousseau would not help my argument, I needed instead to make it more relatable to the world of my student – I had to bring Rousseau into the Gallowgate.   

The Portal Between Worlds  

We can think of the interpretation of political thought as a portal: the historical world from which the thinker writes at one side, the contemporary reader at the other. The text is what connects them; interpretation taking ideas from one side and translating them into the other. 

The attention we pay to each side is, however, rarely equal. As academics, and teachers, we frequently prioritise the world of the thinker, with emphasis being put on reconstructing their historical context in order to gain accurate interpretation of their meaning.

This is in part the legacy of Quentin Skinner’s Cambridge School, hallmarked by a meticulous dedication to reconstruction of the political and linguistic context in which a past author wrote as to determine exactly what he or she could, and could not, have said.

Political Theory – and especially International Political Theory (IPT), in which my specialism lies – does have its issues with Skinner, especially on how such focus on history can be reductive, eclipsing consideration of contemporary relevance to the point of collapsing the portal between worlds.

Nonetheless, whilst IPT does aim to highlight the relevance of historical thought for the present, it still puts incredible emphasis on the need to reconstruct the historical context first before translation into the present can be attempted. Interpretatively, there is a soundness to this as it prevents us projecting ideas into the past and becoming guilty of anachronism.

Pedagogically, however, this can create a challenging environment for students as they are left with a forest of intellectual, historical, and linguistic context to navigate through before relatable ideas can be located.

The study of Thucydides, the embarking point for most IPT programs, gives clear illustration of this. Before we can even begin discussing ideas, students must quickly orientate themselves in a very strange and alien world: Corcyra and Corinth? Mytilene and Melos? And Lacedaemon, that’s Sparta? And that is before students even get to concepts rooted in the Classical Greek linguistic context, like Nomos and physis. Students’ very first encounter with IPT is thus being thrown into a dark wood of unfamiliar places, people, and words.

Importantly, not all students are thrown in with equal navigational tools. Typically, those who are ‘first-generational’ – those whose parents did not receive higher education; received State education; and/or are from low-income backgrounds – do not have the same background knowledge or tools to quickly reconstruct this historical linguistic context as, say, those who went to private schools with Greek on the curriculum. Nor do they have as much time to dedicate to this reconstruction, often having to work one, or even two, jobs to maintain their studies. They often instead feel alienated by theory classes, failing to see the relevance behind the thick phalanx of contextual tress, and abandon theory for something ‘more relevant’ to their world.

Providing the right machete that will allow the student to cut through these trees and uncover the core relevance needs to be an educator’s primary aim.

Finding Relevance   

Alcohol was the machete that came to mind for my Glasgow barman.

I asked him if alcohol made the behaviour of his clientele worse.

Worse of course, he conceded.

And did poverty and disadvantage turn many to drink?

Yes, indeed, it was intergenerational.

We were thus able to turn our conversation into a discussion about the ‘nature’ of his customers versus the structural factors that led them to behave this way (though admittedly I was borrowing a lot from T.H. Green here, inspired as he was by Rousseau, rather than explicitly the Genevan himself).  

Turning to J.S. Mill the next week, we centred the liberty principle on a debate over minimum pricing, not only as it was a current hot topic amongst my students at the time, but also as we could build on the entry point of alcohol and responsibility from the previous week.

For the following week on freedom of speech, I let the class identify and vote on a topic. They voted for the controversy over a planned Orange March in a neighbouring town. I created a role play for that week, where they simulated the local council deciding whether to let the march go ahead or not.

I found this approach resulted in greater participation amongst my students. The Glasgow barman notably had a lot to say on these subjects, but I also found students who had up to that time been largely silent get more involved; for, whilst they may have struggled to grasp aspects of the philosophy, they often had views on these local issues and, from these, I could introduce the main points of theory on more familiar and accessible ground.

The Most Simple Encounters

I have since then endeavoured to make my students’ first encounters with thinkers occur on more familiar ground. This often involves drama-based learning, where I reconstruct a relatable scenario in which they can first discover ideas.

This can of course be challenging and intensive work, as it requires changing classes according to students’ concerns and having some knowledge of these concerns. This arguably worked well with a largely homogenous Scottish audience, whose concerns I had a degree of familiarity with as a fellow Scot. This can be more difficult, if not impossible, in more heterogenous classrooms or with demographics more distant from the teacher – as I would learn when I left Scotland to teach in mainland China.

Nonetheless, one does not always need an elaborate pedagogy or classroom plan based on familiarity with students’ present concerns to learn from this. It simply requires one to be more sensitive to the situation in which the students are encountering these works. This can be achieved, I have found, by simply distilling a concept to its simplest and most relatable articulation for that audience – our machete to make first cuts into the forest of ideas.

The Idea of a World Government

In my Introduction to International Relations class, I have been running for the past few semesters a last-day exercise with my students, in which I ask them to envision a genuine World Government (not the United Nations in its current form). This serves four purposes: 1) It gets their creative juices flowing; 2) it allows for a stand alone exercise without having to do much prep; 3) it provides an outlet for “global problems need a global response”; and 4) it asks of them to challenge a core premise in international relations: anarchy, as the absence of world government, on the international stage, and subsequent assumed state behaviors. What would a world government look like to “make away” with anarchy?

Continue reading “The Idea of a World Government”

Online panel event: Teaching politics through games and simulations (1 May, 3.30 – 5.00pm)

This academic year, the UCL Centre for the Pedagogy of Politics (CPP) is hosting a series of online panel events that bring together a mix of political scientists and political theorists to discuss their work and thoughts on a particular pedagogical theme.

So far, we have held events on ‘Using technology to teach politics’ and ‘Liberating the politics curriculum: theory and practice’. 

Our next panel event is on the theme of ‘Teaching politics through games and simulations’ and is taking place on Wednesday 1 May, 3.30-5.00pm (UK time). The panel includes some ALPS stalwarts:

Simon Usherwood (Professor in Politics & International Studies, Open University) 

Amanda Rosen (Associate Professor & Interim Director, Writing and Teaching Excellence Center, US Naval War College) 

Frands Pedersen (Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Westminster) 

Tomer Perry (Assistant Professor of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Minerva University) 

We hope for a wide-ranging discussion on the use (and abuse) of games and simulations for the teaching of political science and political theory with plenty of time for audience Q&A.

The event is aimed at political scientists and political theorists who have an interest in pedagogical scholarship and/or who teach and are interested in more practical tips and insights. 

If you would like to attend, please register beforehand on the following event page, whereupon you will receive access details: UCL CPP panel event: Teaching politics through games and simulations.

Wargaming for Learning: A robust examination of how educational gaming adds value to traditional instructional techniques

My latest article is out in Journal of Political Science Education and I’m excited to share it with ALPS readers. Alongside Dr. Lisa Kerr, also at the Naval War College, we set out to do a robust examination of whether educational gaming is worth the extra time it takes; in other words, do students learn more by playing a game (in this case, a bespoke war-game called War at Sea) when they’ve already encountered the material through traditional methods of learning such as reading, lecture, and discussion of a case study? Our research says yes.

Continue reading “Wargaming for Learning: A robust examination of how educational gaming adds value to traditional instructional techniques”

Reflecting on the “World Climate Simulation”: Extra Credit? Bueller? Bueller?

I am following up on an exercise I introduced a few weeks ago (see this post from Nov 3, 2023). Strangely enough, for the first time ever, it did not go entirely as I thought it would. To remind you, I provide two incentives for the classroom while they try to stop climate warming and get it below a 2-degree temperature increase by the year 2100.

  1. If the whole class manages to get below the desired temperature increase, everybody receives an extra credit point.
  2. The group with the least amount of commitments receives an additional extra credit point.

Based on prior experiences, what usually happens is that students are initially confused by the exercise, the numbers, and the task at hand. Through two rounds of thinking, talking to their teammates, and then later negotiating with the other countries’ team members, they eventually manage to figure out a way to slow down climate warming. Largely, this happens because they realize that if they do not manage to find some compromise and agreement, no one will receive an extra credit point. They eventually accept that not everybody can commit the least, and they are willing to take that hit in exchange for everyone at least receiving one extra credit point on their final grade.

Image: Media for Literacy Blog, Reggie Grant

Not this time. Although after two rounds of negotiations, my students were stating that an agreement had been reached, when the first group provided their new commitments on carbon emission, deforestation, and afforestation they apparently provided not the numbers that had been agreed upon. This in turn prompted ALL the other groups to renege on their climate commitments, and the class did not manage to decrease climate warming below the desired temperature point. And this outcome genuinely surprised me.

Granted, simulations are never guaranteed to provide a desired outcome. I operate in a realm of unpredictable actors (aka my students) who do not live in my head and know what is “best”. I know that when I provide these two types of incentives, I pour fuel in the fire. But I incorporate them to simulate more clearly the need to overcome a collective action problem. In the case of “solving” climate warming, the countries represented harbor historical, economic, and cultural tensions that require taking the high road to address this transnational problem, which will ultimately affect all countries around the world.

I was comforted in the past by the students’ realization that the breaking of the fourth wall in the simulation was necessary (overcoming their obstacles and motivations to receive all the extra credit points) to receive at least some of the carrot that I was dangling in front of them. One extra credit point –in the past – was better than no extra credit point.  This semester, though, that realization never materialized. This is truly strange to me. A debrief after the exercise showed that the students did not consider the fact that they would not get any extra credit at all. They were largely motivated by the second additional extra credit point, without realizing that they came together. There was just a lot of frustration going around on how the first team reneged on the initial agreement. It surely was an interesting lesson in the trust component in international agreements.

Although I want to continue this exercise next semester, I wonder if this was a fluke, a fault in the set-up, or a changing understanding of what it means to cooperate transnationally.

A Game Design Checklist

As usual, teams of students in my economic development & environmental change course are building games in a semester-long project. I created this game design checklist as an individual low-stakes assignment. I told students to share their checklists with teammates so that they could collaboratively identify faulty aspects of their team’s game and fix them. My hope is that the checklist will help ensure that students follow the design criteria that I have specified, something that has previously been a problem.

I have twenty students in this course. Seventeen completed the assignment. Of those, one uploaded a blank checklist to Canvas. Another copied and pasted my design criteria into the checklist and did not write anything specific about the game her team is building. So a total of five students, twenty-five percent of the class, earned a zero on the assignment. Looks like the pandemic of learned helplessness continues.

Thanksgiving Duck and Running Large Classroom Games

First, what is everyone thankful for this year? Share your comments! 🙂

I’m thankful for my family, working with great colleagues, and the two ducks thawing in my fridge. My wife and I have never liked turkey, and aside from trying turducken (too dry) and goose (expensive duck) once each, we’ve roasted up two ducks every Thanksgiving since 1996. My wife loves post-Thanksgiving sandwiches the best, where she layers duck, stuffing, and cranberry sauce between two thick-cut slices of buttered and lightly toasted bread. The look she gets on her face with the first bite is best described as rated PG-13.

Next Wednesday, I kick off Cold Winter, my end-of-course exercise for POLS 131: Current World Problems (think intro to IR and CP for non-political science majors). POLS 131 sections range from 100 to 200 students, so it’s quite a handful to run even with my TAs and ~2 student assistants. Students form six-person teams early in the semester and design a state, IGO, or NGO using the DIME model (diplomacy, intelligence/information, military, economic). It is straightforward for the state teams, but the IGO and NGO teams must think creatively about how the model fits their structures (for example, economic for an NGO might mean how they solicit donations, and military might mean how they hire security). Aside from using real-world cities for their state capitals or headquarters, the teams otherwise create everything from scratch (albeit they can use real states, IGOs, and NGOs for inspiration).

Discord sreenshot from a previous Cold Winter exercise

During the exercise, the teams react to an evolving international crisis. It’s usually a zombie apocalypse, but I’ve run it with evil robots, too (at some point, I’ll use vampires or werewolves). Why a speculative crisis? It encourages students to think outside the box without preconceived notions and avoids partisanship associated with real-world issues. I know how the scenario starts, but I improvise the rest based on how teams react and apply course concepts. It’s four days of absolute chaos, but feedback from previous semesters suggests that the students love it–it makes the course material come alive.

I use Discord to manage the game, which is fantastic for running large and specific events (in contrast, I don’t like using Discord for day-to-day communication). I set up channels for each team, a news and intelligence channel where I post scenario updates, a request for information channel for teams to ask questions, and a white cell channel just for myself and my assistants. I deputize my TAs and student assistants to adjudicate questions and events as they circulate around the room, which I then add to the scenario. Even with students using Discord, the room is a raucous cacophony of shouting and hustling students.

Students are not graded on their in-game performance; rather, they submit an after-action report essay in which they reflect on their team’s strategies, failures, and successes. This way, they can take risks during the game without worrying about grades.

I’d love to write this up for, say, the Journal of Political Science Education or International Studies Perspectives, but the hard part is conveying the improvisation required. I can teach someone how to build the exercise, but I don’t know how to teach someone how to be a dungeon master (it’s a skill I picked up over many years. That, and I don’t get stage fright). I’m open to suggestions and a co-author on the subject of improv!

Using the “World Climate Simulation” in Class

When teaching International Relations, the issue of climate change is unavoidable. I found myself a couple of semesters ago in a position where I got frustrated about my stale lecture on this issue. Climate change is man-made, the world is one fire, and our students are experiencing it daily. How can I add to this in class without just shouting “look at the data”?

The internet came to the rescue: I found the “World Climate Simulation”, a role-playing game from Climate Interactive (MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative; UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative). I will forego, explaining the simulation in detail, because the simulation’s website is exhaustive enough, and I would end up simply copying what they already explain. Instead, I will briefly go through some key points and considerations that I have, after conducting the simulation now three times in different learning environments.

C-Roads Interactive Climate Change Simulation Dashboard

  1. The purpose of the simulation is that country and region representatives (i.e., the United States or Other Developing Nations) come to an agreement to lower and slow down the warming of the globe. The simulation illustrates that if all countries around the world won’t change any of their behavior by 2100, the global temperature will increase by 3.3 C, which will have detrimental and irreversible effects on human existence and the global biodiversity. Negotiations and discussions between the global players aim to bring the rate to below 2 C.
    1. The simulation provides character sheets for each country/region. They are adaptable to class size (I use six; but that is not necessary).Students must make decisions on when their country/region will reach peak emission rates, when/if they will reduce emission levels, by how much, and whether they will support afforestation and prevent deforestation (and at what rate).
    1. The simulation also provides great slides that allow you, as the educator, to set the scene.
  2. I pair the simulation with two readings/media:
    1. Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons”An episode of the New York Times Daily Podcast (“Who pays the bill for climate change?”, 2022).
    1. With both of these, students are exposed to both the ideas of free riding, collective action, and inherent conflicts regarding the responsibility to tackle climate change.
      1. Based on these readings, I add two specific incentives for the students throughout the simulation:
        1. If they can change the trajectory of climate warming by 2100 to below 2 C, the entire class gets 1 Extra Credit Point.
        1. The group that commits the least will get an additional Extra Credit Point.
  3. Depending on how long your class sessions are, you can easily adapt and change the simulation to your needs.
    1. My broad structure is:
      1. I email character sheets out prior to meeting, urging them not to share their sheets with others.Class begins with a first initial meeting within the groups to establish who they are, what their country is doing, and what is feasible in terms of their own commitments to slow down climate change.As a group we collect in the interactive dashboard (see picture above) all of our countries/regions initial commitments, assessing by how much/if at all we were able to change the trajectory of climate warming.Then, the student groups briefly strategize, and then they disperse to speak to other groups to move the needle in any direction.
        1. Depending on how much time you have, you can do multiple negotiation rounds.
        After the negotiations, we collect again in the dashboard feasible commitments, and evaluate where we are.
      1. We debrief. This includes asking questions about how they felt getting the initial tasks, how the negotiations went, and discussing why it is difficult to make any global agreements on climate change.
  4. Thoughts on how the simulations have gone so far:
    1. The more time you can dedicate to it the better. I have played around with different structures anywhere between 60 minutes to 2 hours, and obviously, the longer session had better discussions/negotiations.
    1. In most cases, students will find that balancing national interests vs. global commitments is quite difficult. Countries tend to be selfish, and no one wants to make the biggest contributions right away. The debrief is key here, because it allows you to combine the students’ experiences with the readings and illustrate the thinking/obstacles that exist in global politics to overcome transnational problems.
    1. Take the time to walk around while the students are negotiating. They take it seriously, and the things they say to one another are both profound and amusing at times!

Basic Tools for Planning and Designing Classroom Games

Planning and designing classroom games doesn’t require boxes of custom Meeples, fancy boards, or a degree in graphic design. Rather, I recommend having the following stash on hand to help you think through your design:

  • Deck of playing cards: card decks are great! You can use suits to represent teams or events, use cards face down to represent a hidden and abstract map, or use cards as randomizers in the place of dice.
  • Dice: in addition to number generation, you can also use dice as markers with count numbers, using the face numbers (pips) to represent the number of turns left, the amount of resources a player has, and so on. I recommend having at least a dozen six-sided dice and one set of seven polyhedral dice (Fig 1).
  • Post-it Notes and index cards: create simple maps, organize a narrative storyboard, and re-create an abstract layout of your classroom so that you can visualize teams and movement.
  • Whiteboard and plain or graph paper: sketch your game. I recommend plain or graph paper since they encourage using the entire sheet and breaking lines.
  • Pennies: pennies are great as general-purpose markers! They’re versatile despite their size and also have some weight and feel substantial (tactile elements are essential, which I’ll cover in a later post).
Figure 1: Polyhedral Dice. Photo by Armando Are from Pexels

Let’s play together! Takeaways from five collaborative online simulations

This guest post is by Simon Fink at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Peter Bursens at the University of Antwerp, and Lars Harzem at Planpolitik!

Online simulations are an attractive tool for active learning because they allow student groups to collaborate over long distances, exploiting their diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. As students don’t need to be in one place, teachers can merge groups from different universities for a joint simulation experience. Having supervised five online simulations between the Universities of Antwerp and Göttingen using Planpolitk’s Senaryon platform, we report on some lessons we have learned.

Background

Using the platform Senaryon offered by Planpolitik, we performed a simulation of policymaking and lobbying in the sphere of EU environmental policy. The participants were approximately 40 students from Antwerp (Master of political science) and Göttingen (mostly BA of political science). While both programmes have an international student body by themselves, the joint online game further enhanced the international experience, involving intensive collaboration among students from all over the world.

The simulation is divided into two consecutive parts, with each part lasting one week. In the first week, half of the participants play members of different services of the European Commission. Their task is to draft measures to combat climate change through a decrease of CO2 emissions by cars. They start with vague tasks (develop overarching goals) and work towards concrete policy proposals. In doing this, they have to coordinate within the Commission, reconciling the interests of trade, industry, and climate services, while at the same time interacting with lobbyists representing green, consumer, and industrial interests.

The lobbyists are played by the other half of the participants. Their job is to also work from broad principles towards concrete policy advice, and try to communicate their positions to the Commission. Both sets of roles work in small teams, e.g. DG Environment, Greenpeace, Airlines for Europe, etc. The participants´ tasks are split up into small sub-tasks that are immediately commented on by the supervisors, so that participants can use concise, hands-on feedback to guide them through the next steps of the simulation.

All the interactions between the participants happen online, using joint text pads and a chat system, allowing us to staff all simulated teams with students from both Antwerp and Göttingen.

The final product of the first simulation week is a Commission proposal for legislation on climate change, taking into account the input by the lobbyists to underpin the legislation with facts and arguments, and support for the implementation.

In the second week, the legislative proposal proceeds to the next legislative phase in the European Parliament. At this point, participants switch roles: The former members of the Commission become lobbyists, while the former lobbyists now are Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), organised along political groups. The team logic also applies to the latter: if, for example, the European People’s Party has five MEPs in the simulation, this will be a mixed Göttingen-Antwerp group.

The participants’ job is similar to the first part of the simulation: The MEPs work on the legislative proposal, trying to turn their broad ideological backgrounds into concrete amendments; the lobbyists try to influence the MEP using good arguments. The outcome of the second week is a resolution of the EP, reflecting the amendments of the EP to the Commission proposal of the first stage of the game.

The simulation ends with an encompassing reflection essay, in which students reflect upon the outcome and what they have learned from the game.

What have we learned?

A couple of conclusions are clear. The online simulation is an excellent format for mixing student groups from different universities. Asynchronous communication between the participants is key: students need to devote sufficient time to monitor and digest posts from their colleagues, draft reactions and post contributions themselves. It is crucial to keep all participants active throughout the entire trajectory, ensuring collaboration within and across groups that embody the actors in the game.

While there have been critical comments by students on nearly all aspects of the simulation – students find the time pressure and the word limits for the tasks too restrictive – mixing groups was always the part of the simulation that the students liked. The tasks of the simulation force them to work together in small teams and divide up the work, e.g. one lobby team member doing the research, another team member reaching out to Commissioners, and a third member communicating with other lobby groups.

The asynchronous chat system supported this kind of work-sharing between Antwerp and Göttingen. Crucially, students were not in the same place, and they did not need to be “in the simulation” at the same time. Instead, typical conversations were “Have contacted Commissioner – now I need to go to class – can you make the follow-up? – I´ll be back at 4pm to work on the press release.” Due to the tight deadlines, we did not have the common problem that asynchronous online simulations are sometimes slow. Instead, the deadlines generate a fast-paced simulation. And due to the clear and small tasks the teams had to work on, we also had lively online discussions.

When instructions in the online platform are clear and precise, supervisors can take the back seat during the game and restrict themselves to troubleshooting and providing feedback on students’ input. 

It is important to acknowledge that students are used to working in online environments and on small tasks. If simulation instructions are given in small and intuitive chunks, the simulation is nearly running by itself. Students got clear deadlines, clear tasks, and an online environment in which everything was in one place. They could work from task to task, deadline to deadline, and get feedback from the instructors at fixed intervals (after completing the tasks). Senaryon includes a chat system to request supervisors’ help, but this was seldom used.

We also noticed that the usability of the system is paramount. The fact that students are used to working in online environments also implies that they have specific and outspoken ideas about how such an online environment should look: students’ expectations are formed by user experiences established by large-scale internet companies. This means that the look and feel of an online simulation needs to evolve along with these expectations. If not, there is a risk that students will “leave” the simulation environment and outsource their bilateral and informal interaction to other platforms. This would undermine one of the main benefits of the online simulation, which is that supervisors can monitor how students interact with each other within their teams. Students must have the impression that the communication tools within the platform are the most effective and pleasant way to coordinate. In this respect, quick and responsive technical support from Planpolitik in case of platform issues was very important.

In addition, offline instructions are vital for managing expectations. The online simulation is demanding: Students have tight deadlines, they have to work on complicated policy issues, and they have to coordinate team efforts over two universities. The two simulation weeks are demanding and stressful. Although the simulation itself is self-explanatory once it has started, good offline instructions before the start are vital to set the expectations. On top of a joint introductory session, including a recording, we therefore made sure to extensively brief our respective student groups about the learning objectives, the potential challenges (coordination within the groups, tight deadlines), the topic of the simulation, and the functioning of the platform.

Finally, the teaching staff responsible for the evaluation needs to have user-friendly access to all the content the students have submitted during the game. A valid evaluation of students’ performance, both in terms of skills and knowledge, cannot be done without a clear view of their input, including the conversations that led to positions, amendments, and policy proposals.

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