Model Diplomacy will fit into social studies or ELA classes or after-school programs. It's a particularly good option for after Advanced Placement exams in May. The thoughtful structure, top-notch materials, pre-made assessments, and user-friendly website take a lot of the legwork out of running a foreign policy simulation.
Before diving into the PDFs of preparation materials, it'd be helpful to watch the short series of YouTube instructional videos and check out some of the teacher testimonials. These break down the Model Diplomacy process and help to make the whole thing seem less daunting. If there isn't one particular case best suited to your course, have students review the cases and vote on the one they'd like to do. Cases can be sorted by topic or region, so let students explore and build curiosity. Even if the class doesn't select their choice, students might explore their favorite scenario on their own.
In terms of the simulation itself, it'd be fun to begin with a mock electoral college (or even a mock election) simulation where students select the U.S. president (and maybe the student) they'll be advising in Model Diplomacy. Consider jigsawing the roles and completing the simulation in multiple small groups instead of one or two large groups (as recommended by the program). Also, while students will be required to research their roles (e.g., Secretary of Defense), it'd be beneficial for students to also investigate the actual person holding that role now and historically. Don't forget to ham it up by adding fun extras: official name tags and photos of current members, dressing up for the National Security Council meeting day, and hyping up the president's final decision.Continue reading Show less
Model Diplomacy is a web-based curriculum for foreign policy and diplomacy that, like well-known Model U.N. programs, uses role-play and a textual "simulation" to get students exploring and debating global issues. However, unlike Model U.N., Model Diplomacy has students take on the role of the U.S. National Security Council. The program is developed by the Council on Foreign Relations and provides high-quality content and preparation materials (ranging from videos to documents and research) to help students and instructors understand one of 16 cases, each based on a real-world scenario. Cases follow a basic flow: Students conduct research and write a memo, students participate in the role-play, and finally, they complete a wrap-up assessment. The program is adaptable to either a classroom or an extracurricular scenario, with cases ranging in topic, time span, difficulty level (to some extent), and whether they require group or individual research. Students will leave the simulation with a working understanding of the National Security Council, the process of making foreign policy, and an awareness of global issues.
The website functions similarly to Google Classroom: Students sign up and share a common dashboard with their instructor and peers. This dashboard organizes class materials, tracks progress, and features built-in assessment materials that can be modified and assigned online. Simulations (which can be toggled between high school and college level) include a case profile featuring an overview of the situation, key concepts, background information, issues to consider, and roles. The length of the program is customizable for class needs, ranging from several days to several weeks.
Model Diplomacy is a rigorous real-world simulation. Rather than being textbook- or test-driven, it's framed by actual events and guided by student inquiry, research, and discussion. It offers a strong model of collaborative learning while also supplementing the lack of current event instruction in some schools. Along the way, students hone skills that easily transfer to other settings, from researching and understanding a complex issue to preparing a proposal to presenting information to negotiating decisions.
The materials themselves are definitely aimed at advanced high school or college students. The teacher testimonials are largely from college, International Baccalaureate, or Advanced Placement instructors, which speaks to the rigor of the program. There's a lot of difficult reading, and the scenarios will stretch students' critical thinking and communication skills. While these materials might be intimidating to your students, with some scaffolding and extra preparation, they can be modified. This modification is on the teacher, however. While there are tons of options for pre-made assessments, there are no differentiated reading levels in the materials or even customized captions in the YouTube videos. Regardless of your class's level, take it step-by-step -- and there are a lot of steps -- so that students can walk away with the experience, awareness, and skills built into this strong, high-quality Model Diplomacy program.
Key Standards Supported
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Apply the understanding that usage is a matter of convention, can change over time, and is sometimes contested.
Resolve issues of complex or contested usage, consulting references (e.g., Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, Garner’s Modern American Usage) as needed.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Observe hyphenation conventions.
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Vary syntax for effect, consulting references (e.g., Tufte’s Artful Sentences) for guidance as needed; apply an understanding of syntax to the study of complex texts when reading.
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11–12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., conceive, conception, conceivable).
Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning, its part of speech, its etymology, or its standard usage.
Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.
Analyze nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.
Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
Reading History/Social Studies
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Reading Informational Text
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.
Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic; convey a knowledgeable stance in a style that responds to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
(See note; not applicable as a separate requirement)
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
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