Many months passed between the first meeting for thrashing out rough ideas and visions for an ERASMUS project and getting the final go-ahead. But all that intense creating and rejecting of concepts, the regrouping and coming up with new plans proved worthwhile. As a result, we’ll kick off the project titled „#TEVIP – Translating European Values Into Practice” in September 2017. Our partners are Youth of Europe (Poland), CEO – Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej (Poland), Rete Educare ai Diritti Umani (Italy), Agape Centro Ecumenico (Italy) and the Dare network (Belgium and Germany).
If it says planpolitik on the tin, there’ll be plenty of interactive inside: this project will involve simulation games and other methods for large groups of up to 100 people as well as many other interactive formats aiming to make abstract European values like liberty, equality and solidarity tangible for young people by highlighting their significance in everyday conflict scenarios. This will allow the kids to link to their own reality, enabling them to integrate the European idea in their own everyday experience. At some point in 2020, the TEVIP materials will be made available for multipliers in extracurricular education free of charge – in German, English, Polish and Italian. More on this in the future!
Having spent more than ten years developing simulation games on a large variety of topics and for hugely diverse target groups, we are slowly but surely gaining a certain reputation in the world of simulation games. The first eight months of this year alone have us writing five articles, be it in a volume on the simulation of political decision-making published by colleagues at the University of Antwerp, for a series of publications by the Federal Agency for Civic Education or for “Unterricht Wirtschaft+Politik”, a journal aimed at political science teachers. In every paper, we address highly intriguing questions relating to simulation games as a method that force us to reflect on our many years of distinctly practice-oriented work: What makes simulation games such a good method? How can we produce evidence of the supposedly better learning effect? We are also able to expand our status as experts on online and blended formats.
There is an ironic side to our return to producing research papers. After all, we started planpolitik 12 years ago precisely because we realised that we prefer teaching to research and writing. Now, it seems that due to all our practical experience, we have made a name for ourselves, to the extent that this year alone we have been asked to contribute to two academic volumes – in both cases, as the only authors not working in academia. From a financial point of view, this activity yields little reward, but we are making great new contacts at home and abroad, and a few first joint projects with colleagues from academia have already been completed. Perhaps that PhD will materialise after all…
You can view some of our publications here. Not all of the latest contributions have been published yet. We will keep you posted.
Throughout the “European month” of May, our colleagues Annegret Schneider and Helen Böhmler, i.e. planpolitik’s Europe Department, as well as numerous freelancers are busy travelling the land. Their mission is to give pupils a closer understanding of the European Union. Apart from simulation games, our core EU experts will facilitate ten coaching sessions in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The commission by NRW Centre for Civic Education is a particularly tasty one: we are to guide and monitor team leaders of the NRW Europe Team in facilitating the simulation game “Asylum in Europe – from an idea to European law” (created by planpolitik…) and provide them with useful advice. Experience from earlier coaching sessions shows that even experienced members of the Europe Team benefit from this exchange and view the support as valuable. Together, aspects such as fine-tuning and game timing, communications with co-facilitators and getting a sense for when to intervene and when not to interrupt the game’s flow can be optimised most effectively.
Generally speaking, demand for different modes of coaching has risen sharply in recent times. A clear signal for us to extend our range accordingly and support all those interested in completing the journey from an initial idea to facilitating a simulation game.
How does development cooperation actually work? Addressing that question is our new simulation game “Help for Karisia”, commissioned by Engagement Global, a non-profit association that provides information and training in the field of development cooperation, targeting NGO employees, foundations, businesses or state institutions. Many participants of Engagement Global events go on to become active in development cooperation abroad.
The simulation game took place at the end of April – with a target group that was as unusual for Engagement Global as it was for us: the German army. Just over 20 officers of the general staff training unit at the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces – mostly majors and captains with experience of working abroad – entered the world of development cooperation, experiencing a rather unfamiliar change of perspective during the game.
The simulation covers a period of several years. It is set in a fictional development country, based on the situation in Afghanistan and Mali. The participants take on the roles of several different aid and development organisations as they try to help rebuild the war-ravaged country. There are plans to establish the simulation game as a regular fixture within Engagement Global’s work for the German army. We will attend at least one more run of the game at the Staff College in autumn.