Last weekend, I visited Umeå University in northern Sweden, where I had the honour of co-chairing a panel discussion about a pair of recent Model Arctic Council conferences at the Ninth International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences. My co-chair, Mr Jeff Kormos of the University of Northern British Columbia, and three other panellists first considered lessons from the postgraduate-level UArctic MAC at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I then gave a short presentation about my secondary-school-level Norwich Model Arctic Council (NORMAC), together with two pupils from Norwich School who helped me organise and run the second NORMAC conference this past April.
The discussion focused on the MAC as an experiential learning tool, and all panellists agreed not only their great pedagogical value, but also how inspiring and enjoyable their MAC experiences were. We identified some interesting similarities and differences between postgraduate and secondary-school MACs. Mr Kormos and other panellists also offered some suggestions for improving the next UArctic MAC, to be held at Oulu University in Finland in autumn 2018.
For my part, I concentrated my brief presentation on three challenges to running a successful MAC at secondary-school level, and how to deal with them. I’ve discussed some of these challenges in a past publication on the NORMAC concept, and I hope to take up the theme in a future publication as well.