Learning to Make a Difference at the Model United Nations

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Calum G. C. Adamson, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi High School


Japanese language students have few opportunities to use English in authentic settings and, for many, the view of English as an academic subject to be studied rather than as a language to be spoken is limiting and damaging. A Model United Nations (MUN) event is a simulation of a challenging authentic environment that can provide meaningful learning contexts that go beyond the logistic and metaphysical constraints of the classroom. This paper illustrates how preparing for and participating in an MUN provides strong motivation to communicate and allows students to improve language and critical thinking skills while achieving a challenging, realistic objective. More importantly, the experience opens a door to a world where it can be seen how proficiency in English really makes a difference. Practical advice explains how to incorporate an MUN into a curriculum.