Friday, April 26, 2013

Guest Blogger, Kelly McNaughton- Model UN and Student Driven Learning

My name is Kelly McNaughton and I took part in the Model United Nations Novice Conference that took place at my school, New Milford High School. I was given the amazing opportunity to be one of the Chairs of the Security Council Committee. This conference was my second conference, so I would definitely consider myself a novice. My co-chair Max and I worked hard on background assignments and quickly realized that being a chair was a lot of work. I was excited and up for the challenge of chairing one of the most interesting yet complicated committees. 

On the first day of the conference, I had to make a speech as Director General along with the Secretary General of the conference. Although this was only the opening speech, introducing our guest speaker, I was nervous all day. When the time came to speak it was an amazing feeling to be a part of the opening ceremonies. Next, it was time to meet our committees. Security Council, a typically small committee . My co-chair and I quickly got the delegates into debate and next thing I knew, topic one was resolved. Listening to the members of my committee speak, taught me so much about how the issue that I research affected each country involved. Two members of my committee in particular, really came to win, and we extremely well versed in the topics given. This type of student driven learning is extremely effective, because it’s contagious. Once the two better prepared students began to debate, the other two, shyer students began to take the initiative and debate. Even when put into “crisis” situations, which couldn’t have been prepared for, everyone did a superb job in coming up with solutions on the spot. It was invigorating to see how everyone in my committee helped each other and worked together to solve the issues at hand.

The second day of the conference, my committee had two less people, due to a family emergency and traffic, so we joined with another committee UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development).  I surrendered my chair status and became a delegate from the Philippines. I quickly researched the Philippines’s position of the topic, which was environmental regulations, and before long I was jumping into debate alongside everyone else. While debating, seeing everyone’s face light up when they make a good point or the applause when a final resolution is passed, is how I know that all of the students are bright and eager to learn. The fact that the learning is self driven and self achieved makes the accomplishment that much greater.

This experience taught me so much, because I learned how to lead a group, as well as be a part of one. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the conference, because everyone there was knowledgeable and came ready to learn and debate. If all education was more student driven, students would learn more because they would be interested and feed off each other’s ideas. If schools gave students the opportunity for more flexibility in learning, for example topics taught, or classes offered, I feel that you’d see an average student become a superior student.