The prime objective of this Jean Monnet Chair is to develop and implement teaching tools that foster skills and attitudes in the context of the European Union (EU). It aims to focus on skills and attitudes that make students experience the necessity of democratic decision-making and good governance within the EU context. As not only students will profit from a better understanding of the democratic procedures of the EU, this project also targets other societal groups, especially secondary school pupils.
The Chair aims to develop and implement innovative teaching methods and evaluation forms to obtain the following four main objectives:
Lifting academic teaching on the EU to the next level, in particular regarding simulations of EU negotiations and debates. Enhanced simulations will be implemented in courses on European Integration, not only in bachelor and master programs in political science and international relations, but also in other disciplines (such as environmental studies, law and economics) and at the level of executive masters (in public administration). The innovation will be disseminated on an international scale through EuroSim.
Developing academic skills exercises in EU advocacy and advising. Most skills teaching in EU studies is limited to simulating political and diplomatic negotiations. Real life politics, however, also involves private actors and public administrators. The Chair develops exercises in advocacy (such as writing positions papers and lobbying) and advising (such as writing policy briefs), in cooperation with the University of Göttingen and Planpolitik.
Assessing the learning effects of academic skills teaching. While both teaching staff and students report to enjoy skills teaching, the effects on cognitive, affective and regulatory learning outcomes have not yet been empirically tested in a systematic way. The Chair is involved in multidisciplinary research (combining political science and educational science) to test the claims that simulations indeed render positive learning effects.
Involving other levels of education. New simulation tools developed for students in higher education are translated and adapted to the level pupils in secondary and even primary schools. The introduction of skills and attitudes to these target groups will enable a better understanding of European democracy and governance at an age that trust in democratic institutions is starting to take form.