Montessori Model United Nations: In Their Own Words

by Paran Quigley and Jen McGonagle, Inly Middle School Teachers and MMUN Advisors

In this series of articles, the Inly Middle School Model UN Team describes various facets of their experience at Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) in New York City.

IMG_1804When we pitched this assignment to the team, we were expecting some groans. After all, the students had already done a lot of writing—from the fully researched and formally written and cited action plans they wrote before going to the conference, to the daily reflections they completed while we were in New York City, to the official conference evaluations they filled out after the event—the team had already done a lot of work.

Much to our (pleasant) surprise, rather than groaning, the students embraced this article project, excited to articulate and publish their MMUN thoughts. They eagerly commenced brainstorming and dividing up the topics to write about, including:

  • How the conference works
  • Their reflections on leadership and group dynamics
  • The value of having experts as mentors
  • How they kept track of their spending
  • What they did in their “down” time in New York City
  • Why teenagers might be able to better solve the world’s problems than all the adults who are working as paid ambassadors, delegates, and entrepreneurs
  • What it was like to be part of a huge gathering of Montessori Middle School students from around the world

IMG_1602Even with all these great articles, there’s plenty that the team didn’t write about, including:

  • The major commitment of joining the team (two hour meetings after school every week for three months, plus plenty of work to complete in between meetings)
  • Rigorous academic demands (keeping up with all their regular school work and managing the workload of an additional writing- and reading-intensive elective)
  • Navigating around the city (every time we needed to get somewhere outside of the hotel, one student was given a paper map and tasked with the challenge of getting us to our destination)
  • Being away from home and mixed into so many new social dynamics
  • The four-day moratorium on social media (a big challenge for some of our more electronically connected teens)

IMG_1803While we’re impressed with the work our students do in the classroom, seeing them at work out in the world is always particularly powerful. Whether they’re interning in a discipline they may wind up pursuing as a career, pushing themselves to new physical limits while on Ocean Classroom or at Heifer International’s Overlook Farm, or working with their peers to solve major world issues, we’re always impressed with our students’ field studies work. This year’s Montessori Model UN team was no exception. We hope you enjoy hearing about it in the students’ own voices.

For more in this series, check out these links:

“Montessori Model United Nations: In Their Own Words” by Paran Quigley and Jen McGonagle, Inly Middle School Teachers and MMUN Advisors

“Montessori Model United Nations: Work Worth Doing” by Benjamin Bison ’16

“One Delegate, Two Model UN Experiences” by Jonah Lee ’15

“Developing a Global Perspective” by Alec Perez ’15

“Follow the Leader” by Emma Kahn ’15

“Are You My Mentor?” by Alexander deMurias ’15

MMUN Reflection Excerpts by Mia Bilezikian ’15

“When I Grow Up…” by Gaby Munn ’16

“Global Group Dynamics” by Marty Morris ’15

“How It All Stacks Up: MMUN Compared to Other Field Studies” by Justin Cokinos ’16

“New York, Model UN, and Middle Schoolers — What Could Go Wrong?
(Spoiler Alert: Nothing)” by Kathryn Goebel ’15


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