Tactical Committee Sitting
When I tell my students to bring their mouth guards and knee pads to class, everyone gets excited and everyone learns. When it comes to learning, instructors and learners agree:
Simulation is the bomb!
Learners will never forget what they learned in scenarios: on that day when they took on a role, probably someone they hope to be one day, and applied what they learned in a realistic situation with realistic equipment, props, environments, and subjects.
Simulation without the bumps and bruises
Although you cannot convert every competency to a simulation, it pays to consider the possibilities. We rarely get out the groin protection in Juvenile Supervision class; however, the learners immerse themselves in simulation during many class meetings. Each learner chooses a role to play for the semester (someone they aspire to be one day). Perhaps the learner chooses to be a social worker, a judge, a correctional officer, a law enforcement officer, or an intake worker. The learners form a task force charged with the task of assessing, developing, and implementing the community response to children involved in the juvenile or criminal justice system or at risk of becoming so involved. Throughout the semester, the task force meets to discuss relevant agenda items (strategically related to competencies and studies).
Keeping it real
To keep it real, the learners structure their contacts with each other, their classroom environment, and other details (like the provision of food for meetings) like actual task force meetings in the community. Learners have found the simulation so stimulating that they actually feel the emotions of their role to an extreme degree, invest extra (not required!) time and energy to preparing for meetings, and even take their findings to their own communities to implement in the “real world.” The classroom result? Competencies are learned, analyzed, internalized, applied, and assessed. It might not be about tussling with the bad guys, but the lessons are engraved on the mind just as permanently.