A Holistic Approach to Teaching and Learning

Have you ever felt the things you learned in school weren’t actually all that applicable? Sure, it’s for knowledge’s sake itself. But after learning about a plethora of policy theories for the umpteenth time, I am craving a lesson on how these policies might actually play out. My frustrations with classes started years ago when I noticed a disconnect between what I was learning in the classroom and “the real world”. What I mean by this is that I wasn’t being given any indication of what I could do with this knowledge once I graduated. Fast forward to graduate school at UBC, where the first week of classes I posed the question to our MAAPPS advisor, “Can we take the course outside of the classroom…maybe to Japan?” The answer was “why not?” So thereout began our journey to take the learning outside of the classroom and into the actual policy realm.

The last ten months have been spent developing the course, and what a task that has been! A strong, motivated team of 10 MAAPPS students have been holding regular meetings to delegate tasks ranging from proposal-writing, fundraising, curriculum development, logistics planning to securing meetings with diplomats and foreign officials from Canada and Japan. This has probably been some of the most challenging months of our lives, however perhaps some of the most rewarding too.

*A word to professors who want to whip their students in shape for a life of academia: make them plan a course.

While the course development work is nearly over, the actual simulation is about to begin. Stay tuned to hear more about our daily rigorous activities, site visits, and our meetings with embassy officials and our Japanese counterparts.

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