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Equipping students to think through and debate the key issues we face in the world is at the heart of the AVID approach.

AVID school Victoria University Secondary College believed that a model United Nations conference would give their students the opportunity to do just that and so they decided to host one.

The event took place recently and gave students the chance to act as if they were in the general assembly themselves. While representing one of 28 member nations, students debated Zero Hunger: Addressing Global Poverty and Universal Food Security and tried to pass a satisfying resolution.

AVID Coordinator, Kristy Muratore, said she was impressed by her students’ ability to make the most of this learning opportunity.

Whilst there were certainly nerves, students were very impressive in acting as delegates of their country and representing their country’s specific needs and priorities, she said.

The caucus session was very lively, with many delegates making interesting and insightful comments and directing relevant and complex questions to other member-states present in the caucus.

Students used their WICOR learning strategies to prepare for and participate in the event. Kristy said that one of the key focus areas, for staff, was to ensure that students use evidence to justify their opinions.

To negotiate and make decisions in a global policy-making context such as the UN, requires students to both have a strong argument and be able to back it up with evidence.

The model UN conference provided the ideal learning opportunity to walk students through that process.

We used scaffolding activities such as the ‘writing in the margins’ strategy and summary templates obtained from our AVID resources to help students.

All of that preparation and support paid off when we saw how well students were able to collaborate and think critically about the issues they were debating.

One student, in particular, typifies the student growth Kristy has observed over the course of this journey.

Samira Zudeski applied to join the Year 8 AVID class in 2018. Samira excelled during the model United Nations conference, speaking as a delegate on behalf of her country, France, and presenting her country’s position statement.

It was fantastic to see Samira’s confidence on the day and her collaboration with classmates.

VU Secondary College will host a model UN conference again in 2020, with an AVID Symposium planned for 2019.

Read the original story in the Star Weekly.