Last Friday marked the end of the Advisor Institute at Georgetown University. The Advisor Institute, which is part of the Model United Nations Institute, allows advisors to simulate their students’ MUN experience and learn information that can greatly improve their club. Although we could tell you all about the Advisor Institute, it is better coming from someone who actually attended it!
Chad Wright is a History and Social Sciences Teacher at Kettle Run High School in Fauquier County, Virginia. In addition, he serves as the Model United Nations Advisor at Kettle Run. Mr. Wright established the Kettle Run High School Model UN team in 2009 as a way to expand on the geopolitics course he was teaching at the time. It was a way for students to expand class discussions and debate on International Relations beyond the structure of the course into a club format. In 2013, the club had some ambitious students who wanted to take the club to the next level by creating a team to compete on the Northern Virginia Model UN Circuit. Since 2013, Kettle Run has attended over 25 conferences in the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region. Mr. Wright recently attended the Best Delegate MUN Advisor Institute at Georgetown University in hopes to learn the processes of Model UN to become a better advisor and coach to help his students build their academic skills and continue growing the Model UN program.
What did your week at the Advisor Institute consist of?
Throughout the week we learned what it is like to be in our students shoes in preparing for a Model UN conference. At times it felt like a pressure cooker that students are often put in to complete their research and papers in a timely manner, especially first time delegates. This was a valuable learning experience as it will help to make us better coaches as MUN Advisors because we now know what it feels like from a student perspective. We learned all aspects of the Model UN process: What MUN is, Why do you do it, research, hosting a conference, and building a club. We also learned the SPEAR (Speeches, Programs, Events, Agreements, and Reports) process which allowed us to learn the fully optimized research process and simulate an actual conference experience. In regards to public speaking a big takeaway was the Hook, Point, and Action that Ryan Villanueva taught us. Outside of the MUN classroom setting, the advisors from around the world were able to network with each other, debate ideas about developing clubs, and cultivating a culture of student leadership. Finally, we participated in a DACOR (an organization of foreign affairs professionals) event which allowed the advisors to meet retired foreign service officers to speak on foreign affairs and Model UN.
Why do you think it is important to simulate what your students go through every conference?
Simulating the conference experience really helps advisors become better coaches for the students. Knowing what our students go through during their process leading up to a conference can help foster development of new members as well as experienced delegates. The idea of learning the process from the beginning to end allows the advisors to better recruit and explain MUN to school administrators and community partners.
What sparked your interest in going and enabled you to attend the Advisor Institute?
What piqued my interest in the MUN Advisor Institute was when one of our delegates attended the Best Delegate Crisis Program last summer at Columbia University. I witnessed improvement in the performance of this delegate in all aspects of Model UN especially in regards to leadership. In January, I signed up for the program and applied for a grant from our local education foundation that provides grants to teachers to attend high quality professional development opportunities. In partnership with the Fauquier Excellence in Education Foundation, I was awarded a grant in April to attend the MUN Advisor Institute. I want to thank Best Delegate and the Fauquier Excellence in Education Foundation for affording me this high quality professional development experience. Their support in this unique experience will directly impact our students at Kettle Run and Fauquier County Public Schools.
How do you see the Advisor Institute benefiting you and your club moving forward?
The path forward for Kettle Run Model United Nations focuses on effectively training our delegates through the MUN process in partnership with Best Delegate. Our goal for the 2017-2018 academic school year is to build our club in order to host our first annual conference: KRUNMUNI. Networking and working with Best Delegate will help open the door for our students to Model United Nations in elementary, middle, and high schools in Fauquier County Public Schools.
Would you recommend attending the Advisor Institute to other teachers/advisors? If so, why?
I would highly recommend attending the MUN Advisor Institute to other teachers/advisors interested in developing a club or applying what they learn to their classrooms. The value of learning about MUN from Best Delegate as well as the shared passion in networking with other advisors from around the world is a worthwhile experience and helps foster professional development. More importantly though is the academic skills that our students gain from Model UN which is instrumental to their futures. Model UN empowers students to build their skills in communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. These skills create leaders that are resilient, goal directed, and ethical global citizens who become problem solvers to our global issues. Model UN teaches future skills that employers want from their employees. Model UN students are college-, career-, and civic-ready to enter our increasingly globalized world and workforce.