Ideas based on recent Twitter Session sponsored by WorldGeoChat and the Newseum.

I wanted to personally thank all of you who were kind enough to tweet “Likes” and responses to me during the Twitter session on WorldGeoChat on Tuesday. Given the technical problems I had, it was especially gratifying to know that a few people were responding.   There were a few ideas that didn’t get tweeted, or that would be more meaningful if they were fleshed out, so I thought I’d use a long form style of communication to convey some thoughts about teaching international subjects:

1/ If you have not looked at the Pulitzer Center, you’re missing some great ideas for lessons.  There are a great number of pre=-written lessons on many subjects. Or there is a program that helps you writes your own.   The subjects covered range from gold mining in Peru, to Indonesia’s textile boom. So you can always find something to liven up a unit. There are quite a number of documentaries on a vast array of subjects.   Fareed Mostoufi, who coordinates teaching outreach at the Pulitzer Center, will help you get a visit or Skype session with a reporter, and that can be exciting—especially when the reporter has just come back from or is in the field. There is something compelling about these sessions.  So check them out:

2/ You are probably familiar with the Choices Series from the Watson Center at Brown University.   Their booklets (or PDFs) that contain useful simulation ideas are very useful. but also there are interesting videos and shorter exercises based on recent news. I particularly like using the “options” in the simulations packets.   I teach one-semester classes, so I don’t have time to use the whole booklets.   So what I do is to just pull the options and set up the class in various ways. Most often I divide the class into groups, give them a few minutes to discuss the option they have received, and then have them choose one speaker, who appears on a TV type panel.   (I choose one or two student moderators to ask questions…)   This is a popular activity and gives the students a sense of completion at the end of a unit.   They feel intelligent enough to comment on US foreign policy on China or Nigeria….

3/ I know the World Affairs Council came up during the Twitter session, but I wanted to reiterate how useful your local council can be.   If you live in the vicinity of a local WAC, they are happy to provide speakers and to give you a hand in many ways.   They also sponsor “Academic WorldQuest”, which is an interesting quiz game held on the local and national level.   So if you have not checked them out, do so.

4/ I’ve learned a good deal from FPRI over the years.  They are a moderate to conservative foreign policy think tank based in Philadelphia, who make a strong effort to reach out to teachers.  They have great conferences, all over the country,and usually they archive their talks, so they can be used for flipped classes or extra credit. They also sponsor trips to Japan, Korea…..  so if they are not on your radar, they should be.

5/ Travel: There are so many opportunities to travel: A yearly tour of Germany sponsored by the Goethe Foundation TOP program is one of the best.

Some years, not this year unfortunately, the Turkish Cultural Foundation sponsors a trip to Turkey they have some helpful resources on their page.

The UK Parliament Education group has an annual event and each year they allow two Americans to attend. there are many more…. I have colleagues who have been to Korea, to Saudi Arabia,

I hope at least one of these ideas proves useful.

Thanks again,