ERIC Number: EJ1130517
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
Does "Reacting to the Past" Increase Student Engagement? An Empirical Evaluation of the Use of Historical Simulations in Teaching Political Theory
Weidenfeld, Matthew C.; Fernandez, Kenneth E.
Journal of Political Science Education, v13 n1 p46-61 2017
Within the teaching of political theory, an assumption is emerging that "Reacting to the Past" simulations are an effective tool because they encourage greater student engagement with ideas and history. While previous studies have assessed the advantages of simulations in other political science subfields or offered anecdotal evidence of their effectiveness in political theory courses, less attention has been paid to the empirical assessment of simulations in political theory. This study uses data--in the form of presimulation and postsimulation surveys, as well as focus groups--collected from two political theory courses in order to gauge levels of student engagement inside and outside of the classroom. We ask if students' levels of engagement increase during the simulation in their political theory courses. We also explore the mechanisms involved in driving higher levels of student engagement during the simulation. We conclude by arguing that it is the liminal nature of the "Reacting to the Past" simulations that most likely explains increased levels of student engagement.
Descriptors: Learner Engagement, Simulation, Political Science, Focus Groups, Surveys, Student Attitudes, Teaching Methods, History, Active Learning, College Students, Course Descriptions, Western Civilization, Statistical Analysis, Correlation, Quasiexperimental Design
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A