Students Share DL Experiences in Global Politics Class

This week was all about connecting with each other again. In Global Politics, we explored different waves of feminism and how it contributes to development and sustainability. At the end of the week, we will continue our long rigorous process of the Engagement Activities (EA). Even though most of us are back to school, some of our class members are still continuing their Distance Learning experience.

Here are three different perspectives on Distance Learning from three different parts of the world:

First is Thao Pham. She is currently back with us at UNIS Hanoi. Here she shares her experience…

“Distance Learning always seems like a challenge for all of us but as long as we push ourselves and become independent we can achieve all our goals. For me, it was great seeing all my friends again even though we still need to practice social distancing. Teachers and staff are extremely helpful during school as they instruct me what to do. Being back at school means a lot to me and I have learned how to appreciate the times that I am at school engaging with all my friends and teachers. At the beginning of the week, we started discussing the Emergency Relief Fund and Giving Tuesday and what effect it will have in our local community. During the discussion, we talked about poverty in Hanoi and how the government practices responsible sovereignty and the responsibility to protect. We also incorporated different concepts that we have learned throughout the year into a fruitful discussion. I have learned a great lesson from this experience and how it can make or break a person”.

Next is Sohan D’Silva who is currently in Singapore shares his experience…

“For me, distance learning in GPS has been at times hard, but mostly manageable. I’ve been able to keep up with the work that has been set, and I like how we get the independence to manage our own time, with occasional check-ins. Mr A is always there for us if we need any help, and now that School has started, we have come up with a check-in every few days after school so that Mr A can catch us up on anything that we need to do. This has been incredibly helpful, and even though, at times, we tend to get a lot of work and struggle to manage our time, Mr A is there to help and support our needs even though we are not physically there in class”.

Moeka is currently in Japan and she’s missing her friends…

“It is wonderful to be back to Japan with all my relatives; however, I miss all the friends that are returning to School and engaging with each other, especially my Global Politics class. Everyday I look out the window and see each bloom of the Sakura opens and miss the summer heat in Hanoi. Distance Learning is somewhat a wonderful experience for me because of how it gives me the confidence to manage time as well as engaging with my teachers more. Whenever I join the call for GPS, I see all of my classmates through my screen and what we have been through in order to get here. There isn’t a significant difference in the timezone here and Hanoi so that is a relief for me. This also means that I wake up the earliest in UNIS Hanoi, what a great achievement. Whenever I need help, Mr. A is always online to give me feedback as well as further explanations. I am forever grateful for everyone that supported me all the way through. I hope that the disease will be contained and I can be back in Hanoi with all my friends”. 

Discussing Human Rights in Global Politics and Society

In our Global Politics and Societies class, we explore key topics and concepts, such as power, sovereignty, legitimacy, etc. Our current unit is human rights, in particular, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

Before the winter break, each student investigated one human rights article of their choice in-depth and presented it to their classmates in a GIFA presentation. These articles included the Right to seek asylum (article 14), the Presumption of Innocence and International Crimes (article 11), the Right to freedom of opinion and expression and 27 others. In these presentations, a number of interesting discussions came to life and great knowledge was shared between the class comrades. 

In addition to the GIFA presentation, the students created a fact sheet about their human rights article, which contained information about the rights genealogy, key concepts that are at stake and the case study. 

This week the students of the Global Politics and Societies class had the opportunity to give their class comrades feedback for their factsheet. As a class, we went over some student’s factsheets together and discussed its strengths and possible improvements. 

Another highlight in this week’s Global Politics class was the visit from Mr. A’s father, who came to visit his son from America for a few weeks. The students had the opportunity to hear about his experiences about missile attack drills throughout his time as a student. This led to a discussion about the United States-Vietnam War and the current conflict between the United States and Iran. 

Please feel free to pop into one of our lessons anytime at B5-G29 to experience one of our political discussions in person!

Written by Josefine Schmitz

Global Political Thinkers

Last week, we began to wrap up the topic of Understanding Liberal Democracy focusing mainly on human rights. We will begin our second set of GIFA rounds in the week of Dec 1, 2019, this time on Human Rights. To begin our process, each one of us has chosen an article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that we will individually cover in our presentations.

This week we began the day off discussing about THIMUN, which took place last week, and the participants shared their experiences as well how the issues in their committees connected to the concepts that we learn in class such as sovereignty, power and legitimacy. 

The next topic of discussion was the introduction of a field trip which will take place on January 15, 2020 to the US Embassy at Rose Garden. There we will learn about global, international and domestic relations of a nation state on a global stage, how they handle their relations with the rest of the world and how they handle different issues.

To prepare for the next set of GIFA rounds. We looked over examples of fact sheets and discussed what the content for it should be as well as how we should make an outline for it. Later, we did a 5 for 5 where we checked in on each other on how well we understand our articles as well as how well we did our research. The 5 for 5 contains questions we ask each other on these topics and while one student is speaking, the other scribes constructive feedback to help improve and understand where they are at. 

Our global political thinkers doing research on their human rights article and case study

Understanding Legitimacy in Global Politics

This week in the Global Politics and Societies class, the students had an engaging discussion on the topic of legitimacy. In the discussion, different types of legitimacy was introduced such as traditional, charismatic, rational-legal, consent, and power legitimacy. Many interesting questions were brought up during the discussion, from a simple definition on the textbook to a broader question, all encouraging students to break ideas down and think critically. Because of this fruitful discussion, every student walked out of class with a thorough understanding of this topic.

Another highlight was the 10th grade carousel which took place in the beginning of this week, where several student volunteers promoted the Global Politics and Societies class to future IB students who might be considering to join this class next year.

We also had multiple unique topics brought up in the Global Politics Institute of Foreign Affairs (GIFA) presentations this week. Child marriage in India, lone wolf terrorism and Japan’s population decline was this week’s topics. Students were able to develop their Personal Political Paradigm (PPP) by thinking about diverse topics introduced by students from different cultural backgrounds.

In Thursday’s class we had our last GIFA rapporteur present in class.

At the end of this week a student-led class picnic took place, where students were able to deepen class spirit as we head into the core, and more difficult topics in the upcoming months.

An Engaging Week of Discussion in IBDP Global Politics

It has been a busy week in IBDP Global Politics, with a variety of interesting GPS Institute of Foreign Affairs (GIFA) presentations and an ongoing discussion of sovereignty.

Two GIFA rapporteurs gave informative presentations related to human rights in China, one being about the one-child policy and the other about the Chinese organ market. Both raised questions about responsible sovereignty and human rights which resulted in lively discussions. Students also participated in discourse following a GIFA presentation about Germany’s role in the Paris Climate Agreement, a relevant topic as 2020 approaches.

Throughout the week, students were engaged in group discussions of sovereignty. With one facilitator moderating each group, students had the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the key concepts to their peers. They compared and contrasted the ideas of sovereignty and self-determination, and were able to relate these terms to this week’s fitting GIFA presentations. Students were also able to discuss the results of their research on a particular GPS theorist, including Ernest Gellner and Machiavelli.

In upcoming classes, students will be analysing school constitutions and beginning to look at human rights in more depth.

Sovereignty in Global Politics Class

Last Monday the school celebrated a wonderful UN day full of waving flags and a mixing pot of cultures making for a truly momentous day. But for global politics class  this made for a very insightful and pertinent discussion topic throughout the week. Especially due to how recently in class we have been delving deep into the key topic of sovereignty and what truly makes a country a country. The week started off with an intriguing discussion points focusing on a shift in perspectives while looking at an issue. We used UN Day as a frame in order to peer into the concept of sovereignty in more detail. A very robust conversation was had about many hot button topics in today’s society such as the Kurdish and Hong Kong issue which all relate back to the concept of sovereignty.

By the end of the discussion people all walked away with a different understanding of sovereignty than before. Sovereignty to us is now a lot more complex. The term itself is described as a nation states independence and control over its territory and ability to govern itself and its people. However, there are different forms of sovereignty such as absolute sovereignty or relative sovereignty and sovereignty on different scales such as individual, group, organisation and corporate and although our understanding has been broadened immensely.  We as a class still have much more to learn about this topic in the coming weeks.

Power Discussion in IBDP GPS

This week in IBDP Global Politics, students engaged in a variety of activities such as having interactive discussions on the types of power and how it functions, as well as joining and stay connected through the GPS Facebook forum. Apart from focusing on the concept of power, students also have discussions on state sovereignty and raised the controversial question of whether or not should a region be independent.

According to Eric Liu, power is the ability to make others do what you would have them do. The IB GPS handbook notes that our existence is dominated by “power interactions”. There will be power interactions between friends, colleagues, family, teacher and more. The 4 types of power that have been covered in class include soft power, hard power, sharp power, and smart power. These types of power exist in our everyday life in relationships, family, and society.

There will be more interactive discussions held in upcoming GPS lessons on different concepts!

A Week of Global Politics and Society

During this week, GPS (Global Politics and Society) students have discussed on a variety of topics prior to the student-led presentations such as the Central American Immigration Crisis, how Brexit affects people in the Netherlands as well as the rest of the world and about the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

For each class, there will always be one person being a rapporteur to lead a discussion for the first ten minutes in class. Their job is to deconstruct, assess & evaluate the media’s portrayal of significant events that have a personal connection to them and discuss with the class. Other people would be note-takers of the topic mentioned and will contribute as well by asking “tricky” questions every now and then. After the discussion, the note-takers give feedback to the rapporteur. As the concepts of each person take a role to lead one topic, this is a great opportunity for all the members to be used to the summative tasks and improve their leadership, speaking and improvising skills.

Not only that but they also discuss the concepts of power. Answering the questions, “What is power?” “What are power relationships?” in pairs of two with examples. They defined power as an ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality. There are different types of power included soft (the ability to influence without using the threat of military force), hard (a coercive approach to international political relations, especially one that involves the use of military power), sharp (the use of manipulative diplomatic policies by one country to influence and undermine the political system of a target country) and smart (combination of hard power and soft power strategies).

Well done GPS Scientists!

Written by Phuong Thao Pham

International Relation Discussions Continue…

The first cohort of the IBDP Global Politics class has been exploring different concepts relating to international relations. Through interactive discussions, these political scientists were able to challenge themselves with these concepts that require an abundance of knowledge. The discussions involved concepts of sovereignty and self-help through the lens of power.

In this week’s lessons, these political scientists have demonstrated the skills to reflect upon their own work as well as their peers’. After a successful week of indulging in the “Diplomacy” simulation, these political scientists have utilised their negotiation and critical thinking skills to gain alliances and explore the major basics of Global Politics.

Written by Kiet Nguyen

Simulation Leads to Stimulation about International Relations…

The DP Global Politics (GPS) in a Risk Society Year 1 are busy exploring the nature & behavior of nation-states on the world stage through the international relations simulation “Diplomacy”.

No dice are involved; just focused diplomatic skills, a willingness to collaborate towards achieving a strategic vision & the occasional broken agreement & metaphorical “backstabbing”.

Over the course of the simulation, participants come into contact with, address & discuss fundamental GPS key concepts such as “security dilemma”, “anarchic state system”, “self-help”, “power relations” & “Westphalian State System”.

Even professional gamer Mr. Fleming joined in this “clash of civilisations”.

GPS meets in room B5 G29. Come join us.