Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations
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Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations

Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon

With a focus on providing concrete teaching strategies for scholars, the Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations blends both theory and practice in an accessible and clear manner. In an effort to help faculty excel as classroom teachers, the expert contributors offer representation from various types of institutions located throughout the world. Split into three distinct parts, this book discusses curriculum and course design, teaching subject areas and in class teaching techniques.
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Chapter 36: Political science and the scholarship of teaching

Jeffrey L. Bernstein


In 2006, I was working with advanced undergraduates on a teaching collaboration (more details on this work are provided in Gutman et al. 2009). The students were working as quasi-teaching assistants in my introductory American Government course, facilitating student simulations of the legislative process. The students in the course were required to read and synthesize articles – from diverse genres, ideological positions and levels of quality – on pressing political issues. The students would write papers on these political issues, and then would engage in simulations in which they attempted to change (or beat back changes in) policy on these issues. One day, over breakfast with two of the facilitators, I asked them a simple question. Was I ‘better’ than our introductory level students at the tasks required to write the papers – reading material, synthesizing perspectives, and weighing the quality of methods and arguments? Yes, of course, my students replied. I am the professor, they are intro students who don’t know about these issues (or about political science). I clearly am better than them at the tasks required to do these papers.

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