I had a big week. Actually, we had a big week.
Thursday was Global Classrooms conference #2, the Regional Conference (5 schools, 250+ students). I was in charge of running a committee of about 50 ninth-grade students who were discussing– in English– the topic of Universal Healthcare and the related Millennium Development Goals. Yeah, you can be impressed.
Those bored looking students in the front row? They’re mine.
We left Ría del Carmen at 8:30am and took some buses to the nearby town where the conference was being held. It’s hard to describe what happens during a conference, but I’ll give it try:
First, we take roll call (calling off the name of each country or NGO that is represented by the students) and make the speakers list.
Then, the kids read the speeches they’ve prepared about the topic.
After every few speeches, we pause for a moderated caucus or unmoderated caucus – which is time when the students can ask each other questions, make alliances between countries, ask for help, offer help, etc.
The unmoderated caucus is by far the favorite part of the conference, because you can get out of your seat, move around to talk to your friends and ask other countries for money. Let’s be real, it’s mostly about who has the money (which was Norway and Sweden, at least in our pretend world).
Finally, my personal favorite, resolutions. During the unmoderated caucus, the good students are working hard on writing resolutions with other countries (…and the other ones are goofing off with their friends, somewhere in the back of the room. Fourteen year old boys will act like fourteen year old boys, no matter which country you’re in.). Our committee produced a total of 12 resolutions, mostly thanks to the hard-working delegation of Peru. Voting is fun too, because each country gets to vote “yes”, “no”, or “abstain.” The first two resolutions passed, but then the kids discovered the power of the veto and decided that it would be really fun to start voting “no”. So, out of the next ten resolutions? Just one passed. And a few countries even decided to vote against the resolutions that they had signed.
Here’s an example of one of the resolutions that didn’t pass but really should have:
It was a good day-
But even better was Friday, when I got to give everyone awards and candy in class. Some were serious awards- Most Elegant Delegation (The Maldives), Best Pronunciation (Vietnam), Most Resolutions Signed (Tunisia, with six), Best Teamwork (The Philippines); and some a bit more light-hearted- Poorest Country…with the Best Solutions! (Somalia), and of course, The Best Country (The USA)!
March 14 is the next- and final- conference, in Santander. Each school sends a few representatives, and it’s an honor for the students who get to attend. But in the meantime, I’ll be traversing the French countryside and basquing in San Sebastian (pun intended, I just couldn’t resist!) with The Boyfriend – who arrives in Spain on Thursday!