Coaching Winning Model United Nations Teams
A Teacher's Guide
Publication Year: 2013
By some counts, Model United Nations (MUN) has become the single most popular extracurricular academic activity among high school students. More than two million high school and college students have assumed the roles of ambassador from real United Nations member countries, participated in spirited debate about the world's most pressing issues, and called, "Point of order, Mr. Chairman!"
Now, in Coaching Winning Model United Nations Teams, Edward Mickolus and Joseph Brannan give MUN teachers and coaches the information they need to succeed. In this informative volume, the authors (MUN coaches themselves) provide detailed guidance for each step of the MUN path, from the first meeting in the teacher's classroom to the final days of an official MUN conference. Coaches will learn about the ins and outs of parliamentary procedure and the most effective ways to help their students draft position papers and resolutions. Most important, Mickolus and Brannan illustrate the many ways that teachers can inspire their students to take an active role in making the world a better place. By the time their students move on, MUN coaches will have instilled in them such important qualities as empathy, self-confidence, and grace under pressure.
Coaching Model United Nations Teams is a fun, useful guide for teachers and coaches who are working to help develop tomorrow's leaders today.
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
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Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication
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Since the early years of the twenty-first century, Model United Nations (MUN) hasbecome the single most popular extracurricular academic activity among highschool students. Its popularity has extended into many middle schools (grades 6–8) as well. More than two million high schoolers and college students have hadoccasion to call “point of order, Mr. Chairman!” at some point since the founding...
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Model United Nations (also Model UN or MUN) is commonly defined as an aca-demic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants aboutcurrent events, topics in international relations, diplomacy, and the United NationsWhether at a formal MUN conference, in classroom setting, or at an informalclub practice, students take on the roles of diplomats representing a nation or non-...
2 Getting Started
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So now you’re enthused, have the support of the school’s administration, and needjust one more thing: the students. Unless you’re inheriting an already formed team,you’ve got to go out and find your team members and keep them motivated andinterested once you’ve found them. Often the most receptive audience is studentswho have lived in foreign countries and are fluent in foreign languages....
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In addition to the time demands on you and your team members—who may rou-tinely be involved in numerous other activities in school and possibly several oth-ers outside of school and who will have heavy academic workloads—the other keylimitation on the extent of your program will be funding. You can respond to thisCosts can quickly add up for a team. The lowest-cost conferences we attend are...
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After you have introduced yourselves to each other and you have laid down a fewgoals for the team, you should also include in your first meeting a discussion ofwhere the team will go for its first conference(s). You can pick any month during theschool year—you’ll probably find an organization within driving distance that willbe hosting a conference (the United Nations Association of the United States [UNA-...
5 The Triangle Offense and Defense
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As part of our MUN strategy, we use an adaptation of the Triangle Offense that PhilJackson used with the NBA Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan was a team mem-ber. We call it the Triangle Offense and Triangle Defense. There are three overallparts of the Triangle system that we’ll explore: parliamentary procedure plays, pub-lic speaking styles and coalition formation in the Model UN context, and research. ...
6 Special Topics and Research
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Most conferences will provide you and your delegates with background guides—the Secretariat’s view of what the important issues that face your UN committeeare. (See Appendix C for an example of a recent background guide.) They willusually cover the two to three topics the Secretariat has deemed appropriate andtimely for your committee. Often, they will include suggestions—and even offer...
7 Care and Feeding of Your Website
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Websites offer you all manners of publicizing your team’s efforts, keeping in touchwith your delegates, and pointing them to useful research locales. You might con-• A general calendar of events that the team will attend. The calendar– A list of the delegates attending that conference, by committee. This listshould include the text of their position papers. It can also be used to...
8 What to Do at a Conference
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All of this preparation—practice and research—comes together at the actual con-ference, when your students get to try out their newly honed skills.When debarking from your buses or vans, your students should already be inyour team uniform—Western business attire and/or formal business costume foryour adoptive country. We prefer black suits for our women, dark suits for our...
9 Line of March
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Conferences usually begin with a plenary session in an auditorium, cafeteria, orsome other large meeting room. The Secretariat members will introduce them-selves, various functionaries from the host school or organization will welcome thedelegates, and a guest speaker may give a presentation. Your delegation should sitat the back of this room. This makes it easier to exit the room when it’s time to leave...
10 The Coach’s Role at the Conference
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You are there as a facilitator, an educator, and an inspiration to your students.You are there to get them to believe in themselves—that they can succeed at a ratherunnatural endeavor: speaking to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people andpersuading them to their point of view. You’re there to praise, to start them believ-ing in themselves by being the first to believe in them, to always cheerlead for them....
11 How Students Can Help Your Team Outside the Conference
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When you’re not actually researching, practicing, or performing, there are a hostof other tasks you can take on that will help everyone. There are some tasks thatan individual member of the team can take care of for everyone on the team. Forexample, not everyone needs to visit the same website to look up a particulartopic—one check by one person for everyone will do. With that in mind, here are...
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...—Coach of one East Coast high school’s MUN team during a sponsors’ meeting, NorthAmerican Invitational Model United Nations Conference, Washington, D.C., 2003Perhaps the most apparent item of 1950s technology that reveals the cultural diver-sity residing within the Great Hall where delegates to the General Assembly con-vene is the beige plastic earpiece that adorns the delegation desks that carry each...
13 The Ethical Dimension of MUN
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She left her [paper] on the chair, and someone took it and submitted it with their name on it.—MUN advisor from First Colonial High School during the Harvard Model United Nations A delegate has taken ideas from the document we are working on and . . . submitted them as their own.I snagged an idea from France. I helped him create the idea and then I didn’t like what he was doing,so I took it and went off on my own. He got pretty mad about that; he called me a cheater. I would...
Appendix A: UN Factsheet
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Attempting to wade through the mountains of information available on the United Nations can quickly erode your time for researching anything else. The following article was prepared by the State Department for its website, and provides virtually everything your students should know about the actual organization in order...
Appendix B: Awards Criteria
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Although many conferences attempt to give the impression that awards are not important and that the key reason for the conference’s existence is education, solving the world’s problems, etc., virtually all of them actually give awards to individuals and sometimes to schools. So you might as well compete for them....
Appendix C: Sample Background Guide
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Welcome to “My First MUN IX.” For most of you, this MUN Training Conference will be your introduction to Model United Nations, an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy, and the United Nations agenda....
Appendix D: Sample Position Paper
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This position paper was written by a Marshall team in preparing for the National High School Model UN’s 2005 conference. As you can see, students should always update their position papers. Just having them available off-the-shelf can quickly leave oneself open to charges of obsolescence....
Appendix E: Lesson Plans
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Model UN offers you numerous opportunities to score points by speaking. The key thing to remember: Always take the opportunity to speak, no matter how minor. Many Chairs simply keep a tally of how many times delegates speak, with no differentiation between a long, brilliantly argued tour d’horizon of the substantive...
Appendix F: Further Reading
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There are numerous websites that offer suggestions for quality delegate performance, and a few books written are for delegates. We have seen precious few books that are designed for MUN coaches per se. Among the few books/articles that might be helpful to you are the following:...
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About the Authors
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J. Thomas Brannan is the faculty advisor to the George C. Marshall High SchoolModel United Nations team in Falls Church, Virginia. He has been teachingInternational Baccalaureate classes in history and theory of knowledge at the high-school level for over ten years. In 2005 he was Teacher of the Year and in 2012 wasnamed a Teaching Fellow by the Choices Program at Brown University. The “My...
Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2013