MMUN educational benefits
The Montessori Model United Nations in many ways is structured to meet:
Elementary student’s needs
- Elementary students need a curriculum that educates the “whole child.”
Taking part in the MMUN engages elementary students in many different ways. The intellectual element, which is so crucial for this age, is present as the students research a country, write an issue paper, and prepare to debate other students on serious global issues. The social need for this age is also fulfilled by the interaction of the students from different countries, schools, and cultures. During the debate stage of the MMUN, the students’ physical needs are met, as they are encouraged to meet in small groups and move around the meeting rooms as they try to align their interests with other countries.
- Elementary students need exposure to real-world problem-solving.
MMUN allows elementary students to explore the real problems of the world and encourages them to discuss and negotiate possible solutions to global issues.
- Elementary students need a curriculum that incorporates the three-period lesson.
The preparation process phases —research, writing, debate, negotiation, and presentation— are specifically constructed to give the students short classroom demonstrations or lessons. Afterwards, they have the freedom to research and discuss the information they have learned with their peers, and then to use this information in a presentational format before student delegates of other countries.
- Elementary students need to be responsible for their own learning.
Throughout the preparation and even during the conference, the students are responsible for the project. They are the ones who complete the research and decide the best resolution for the issue, and while meeting, they negotiate with other student delegates and write the resolution for each issue without their teachers’ interference.
- Elementary students need continued practice in respect and civility.
The MMUN requires students to conduct themselves in a respectful manner towards the other delegates. Students quickly learn through role-playing that more success is achieved through civility in caucuses when important issues are at stake rather than discord.
- Elementary students need the discussion of important topics to formulate thoughts and develop critical-thinking skills.
Elementary classrooms are where the bulk of critical-thinking skills are developed. The exchange of ideas, the discussion of issues from all different aspects, and the resolution of problems, all which the MMUN requires, help elementary-age students think carefully about all the issues that surround them.
- Elementary students need to be involved with justice from an individual aspect.
Elementary-age students seek justice from an individual standpoint. They instantly view situations as fair or unfair, not necessarily from a social perspective but from an individual one. MMUN allows students to role-play a citizen from a different culture, which gives them a one-on-one perspective and understanding of any injustices suffered by the citizens of that country. This role-playing helps them see how other people endure injustices and what they do to end them.
- Elementary students need to be challenged by multi-age groupings.
As in their classrooms, elementary students enjoy and are challenged by multiple ages. MMUN continues this tradition by having elementary students of different ages working side by side, some with past experience from which new students can learn.
- Adolescents need to reinvent their own society as a fundamental need.
In middle school, the students form their own society. They create a micro-economy based on interest and a civil code of behavior for how their members should conduct themselves. The MMUN project gives them the opportunity to study how another country or cultures within that country have developed their economies and their laws.
- Adolescents need real-life experiences.
Although the main component of the MMUN experience involves role-playing, the experience involved in finding the means and funds to travel to the conferences is very real. Students become more aware of the economics involved in living and traveling to large metropolitan areas and what is necessary to survive or prosper in different components of their own culture.
- The adolescent curriculum is the medium used for social understanding.
One of the main components of the adolescent curriculum in humanities is the essence of role-playing, and the part of the dramatis personae fills this so well. For the MMUN, the students also role-play. They assume the role of an ambassador or a reporter from another country. During simulations at their schools and when they arrive at the United Nations, they portray ambassadors to protect the interests of another country. This allows them the opportunity for understanding on an international basis.
- The adolescent learns about civilization through its origin in agriculture.
Many developing countries are still encountering the problems of agriculture. The study of these societies further solidifies the students’ understanding of how societies begin, struggle, flourish, flounder, succeed, or fail. Studying other cultures helps them better understand how their own micro-economy functions and possibly make improvements to their own systems.
5. The aggregate of human society is based on the division of labor, which the adolescent comes to understand through various business ventures.
Adolescents study the development of the division of labor in humanities classes, and they experience it through their micro-economy. The study of other countries through the MMUN project allows them to study the development of other countries through the division of labor. When they study developing countries, their understanding is greater when they see that development still in process. When they study developed countries, they again see how far the division of labor and technology progress have taken human societies in other social settings.
Although upper-elementary students conduct the MMUN project in much the same way as the middle-school student, the experience is different because of their plane of development and how they approach the work. The adolescent is in the “social embryo” stage, meaning s/he is much more attuned to the problems of society. S/he has been studying society not so much as to the “what” as to the “why” and the “how.” S/he no longer gathers facts for information and intellectual knowledge as much as social understanding. On the verge of entering adulthood, the adolescent is much more aware than the elementary student in terms of social justice. The elementary student is aware of fairness from a personal perspective. The adolescent is becoming aware of fairness from a social perspective, and the MMUN project allows him to research, study, interpret, and eventually role-play that social perspective from the viewpoints of other world citizens into a better understanding of human society.