“As someone teaching students about international development and as a former development worker myself, I have tried many different ways of bring ‘real world’ issues into the classroom – bringing practitioners into class; bringing students to meet practitioners; problem based learning, mixed media presentations – all are useful.
But they don’t quite afford students the chance to get close to ‘doing development’, especially international development. Working with Eoghan on the ‘Water for Life’ simulation proved to be an invaluable asset. The simulation was well thought out, comprehensively presented and excellently facilitated – demonstrating the depth and breath of his development experience.
Students were given enough but not too much information; they were facilitated but not directed; they were encouraged and supported but also made realise that they had to understand problems and design solutions for themselves.
All in all it was an excellent process, an assessment reflected in student evaluations. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”
Dr. Chris McInerney
BA Politics and Public Administration,
University of Limerick, Ireland
Tel + 353 61 234800
“I have learned for life by you guys. Academic articles and seminars, all good, all interesting. But I personally prefer personal interaction and practical approaches because we can all learn from each other and there is no such thing as experience of which you guys have plenty! If I will ever end up in ‘Aidland’ or not, what I have learned this year will be helpful under every circumstance in life. Planning, awareness, interaction, teamwork, egoism. What did I forget?”
“What I learned from the whole simulation scenario even with the challenges mentioned above is that I have something to carry for a life time. I say this because at the beginning of it I was really confused, I was not sure if I could manage a project but this whole trial, even in imaginary circumstances was really helpful. … I couldn’t see myself planning for a project but with the experience I have got, it has taken away the fear and now I have knowledge of how to plan a project, and how to go about it based on the roles assigned.”
“This exercise gave me the opportunity to experience things from another perspective. By being a local official, I got the opportunity to imagine strangers entering my country and ‘fixing things for us’. I got to imagine the complexity of asking someone for help, who I at the same time experience as acting superior to me.
This form of teaching helped me learn faster and more effectively than previous modules. I feel I will certainly be able to carry the skills I have learned in this class into my future career. The simulation was organised with a laissez-faire style approach which allowed us to work on our own initiative. This self-directed learning helped me discover skills I did not know I had and also showed me where I needed to advance other skills.
The simulation provided a brilliant addition to the academic readings we do in other classes. Being able to study approaches to development and then applying them in this practical course was very useful.”
“It was obvious by my body language, after watching the recordings, that I was nervous and anxious throughout the meetings. In saying all this, I was glad that we could watch ourselves back as it really showed me where I let myself down and gives me a good insight into how I could do things differently in the future. It is normal to be nervous when speaking in public but not to the extent whereby one comes across as badly as I did. I have promised myself to try to improve on this aspect of my personality and try to be a more confident person in the future. I know that I am well capable of these things and it is just a matter of truly believing it.”