A quick update on the Mock Parliament I ran for my POE 206 Classs this term. My students said they enjoyed the exercise. However, they said they were prefer to be assigned to a political party during the role play that was not of their political orientation. In other words, during the survey at the beginning of the course, if they identified they were of Conservative leanings, they would prefer to have played the role of a Liberal or NDP member of parliament. From a pedagogical perspective, I ahve to agree with them. They would not only learn about their own poltical orientation, but also the opposite point of view. The students also suggested arranging 2 short half hour prepatory sessions to get organized for the Mock Parliament. They felt the online discussion forum I ahd set up was insufficent for real time discussion. Again I ahd to agree. So much of politics is about real time interpersonal communication.
From my perspective, I thought it went well although there was some administrative glitches:
1. The students presented a bill that no-one had actually addressed as an issue.
2. The governing party did not prepare hardcopy versions of their bill, something Parliament requires.
And just like in the real Parliament, the oppositon had a lot to say about the bill but on the governemtn side, repsonse came from a few “leaders”. The back benchers were quite like the real world. The government in this case was Conservative and they kept true to Stephen HArper’s government stance.
Now I am waiting for the students Concept Maps and Final reports based on the issue area they chsoe to discuss this term.