MUN conferences have been organized across the globe for so many years. Recently, it is getting one of the most popular events in private and even public schools in Turkey, which I believe proves that MUN conferences have been inspiring the schools and motivating students to be the part of this world although it requires a high level of English, oratory skills, international relations and many more.
Contrary to this, it is believed that you are bound to go through a torturous process to be able to be a fluent speaker of a foreign language.
Undoubtedly, MUN refutes this argument.
In this article, I will be sharing the effects of MUN on my students’ language development that I have been witnessing for so many years. However, it would be wise to see the big picture instead of magnifying each and every entity of the language that is meant to be developed through the MUN process.
To start with, one of the fundamental effects of MUN is that it creates a genuine atmosphere for students to use the target language meaningfully. In other words, students find themselves in interaction, producing the language naturally rather than feeling bound to say something in English to pass their turns. Moreover, there is no one standing right next to them to spot the mistakes for the sake of correction or ‘teaching’ proper English. What-to-say is important rather than how-to-say as long as the message is through as in real life.
To continue, it is needless to say that MUN has a huge impact on vocabulary development besides other elements of the language. One of the language development requirements is to have vocabulary competence so you can communicate appropriately and effortlessly. MUN supports students to develop their active vocabulary in contexts, not just passive vocabulary which refers to words that they know but they are not ready to use. Consequently, it triggers their motivation; the more they get motivated the better they become in language learning.
As it is slightly mentioned above, language appropriateness is another aspect that is acquired through MUN journey. That’s to say, students have the opportunity to learn how to be interactional and linguistic appropriate for a particular purpose and particular audience while they put their communicative competence into practice during their social and academic MUN experiences, which cannot be learned easily through regular language education.
Finally, yet importantly, students become independent/autonomous learners because MUN actively involves students in learning and equips them to improve their searching skills, which brings a sense of discovery and joy into their language learning process. It means now they are the ones who are aware of their needs, who set their objectives and who know the strategies to be followed, which is the ultimate goal of education.
All things considered, MUN itself is a method/event cultivating self-taught students, motivating students to study willingly and cheerfully beyond the classroom and beyond the level, they have been tagged in contrast to the general belief of language learning process.
Put it differently, MUN journey is like watching an egg turning into a flying bird. Teachers take the initiative to get it started and in no time they watch students take it over successfully. On students’ hands, it becomes a %100 student-centred learning process in which students do not need teachers’ direct teaching anymore.
Fundamentally, as educators we should come up with these questions to check what kind of opportunities we offer to students;
What should be included in a student profile?
What does the future life require from upcoming generations?
Do you think the present education system would meet the requirements?
In the constantly changing world, nobody knows what the future holds; however, there are some must-have skills to put on your resume, which are autonomy, flexibility, life-long learning. I have witnessed students developing all these skills and many more during their MUN journey effortlessly and joyfully.