Category: International Relations

Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Two – Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

This week we continued to explore chemistry, using exciting experiments ranging from dissolving magnesium in acid to inflating balloons with dry ice to learn about solution concentration, gas laws, electromagnetic radiation, and the organization of the periodic table! I was very impressed with the students’ commitment to laboratory safety. Their curiosity about the world around them continues to encourage and inspire me!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

Students shared their first finished fiction piece this week and participated in a writing workshop. In the writing workshop, the class was respectful, collaborative, and communicative. I am impressed with their feedback and creativity! In addition to workshop, they have become more comfortable with literary analysis. Overall, this was a great week! I am looking forward to seeing the class grow in their writing as the summer continues.

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

This week we continued learning about communication in society by learning about logical fallacies that often pop up in arguments to distract audiences from the main purpose of a message or to attempt to defend a weak position. If an audience can recognize fallacies, they can better analyze the true purpose behind a speaker’s message. After learning about persuasive techniques last week and logical fallacies this week, students wrote a letter of application for acceptance into a zombie-proof compound during a zombie apocalypse, hoping to convince the staff at the compound of their value to the community and the future of humanity. This week, students will vote based upon the merits of the contents of the letters, which are written anonymously using fake names and identities.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

For week two, the students chose to focus on gender issues, the details of which appear in the day-by-day breakdown. The week went well.

Monday: I carried over one of the concepts from Freud by explaining one of the most famous psychological assessments—the Rorschach Inkblot Test. That test dates back to the early part of the 1900s, when Hermann Rorschach borrowed Freud’s concept of projection (seeing our own faults in others rather than in ourselves). He constructed blots of ink as ambiguous stimuli and asked psychiatric patients to interpret these images. The test became very popular and continues in the present, although its validity as a psychiatric diagnostic is questionable.


Tuesday: We began the material on gender with an examination of gender stereotypes and how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination. We also reviewed the history of gender stereotypes and how those beliefs still echo in our society. Our discussion included both how men and women are subject to stereotyping, as well as prejudice and discrimination based on these stereotypes.


Wednesday: I led them through a review of the “bad old days” when sex discrimination was legal and some of the changes that have occurred as a result of legal changes.


Thursday: We ended the week with an assessment that I intended to test how well they had paid attention and remembered some of the terminology that we discussed.


Our continuation of the topic of gender consisted of a discussion of some of the big changes that have occurred in gender roles and how those changes are well-accepted by some people but not others.


The students asked for next week’s topic to focus on mental disorders, which is always of interest.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week we discussed three major paradigms of international relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism). We discussed the rise of weapons of mass destruction and the impact they had on conflict and diplomacy during the Cold War and in a post Cold War environment. Coercive diplomacy, the use of force, and interstate conflict were explained. Students learned about game theory and how it relates to conflict including the Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chicken, and Stag Hunt games. Bargaining theory and a basic theorem for bargaining was introduced.

Readings for the week included: Arms and Influence, Chapter 1, by Thomas Schelling; Night of the Living Wonks by Daniel Drezner in Foreign Policy, June 15, 2010; Leashing the Dogs of War, Chapter 2, International Sources of Interstate and Intrastate Conflict, by Jack Levy, 2007.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

This week was great! Students shared their flash fiction pieces. They were enthusiastic, focused, and collaborative. They effectively communicated their goals for each piece and provided constructive feedback for each other as a class. They are making progress in their writing and I am excited to see them continue to grow as writers.

 


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week One – Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors. We will be posting the first issue of The Thinker (the student newspaper) as soon as the online version is ready.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

We had an excellent first week in science. The students were each assigned a plant for the summer, and they were asked to choose any ONE aspect of its care to change — we’ll compare each plant’s growth to a control plant over the course of the summer. The kids got pretty creative, from watering their plants with Gatorade instead of water to depriving their plant of light. In class this week, we carried out experiments to explore important topics in chemistry such as density, precision versus accuracy, and acid-base reactions. We are emphasizing laboratory safety, scientific note taking, and above all, excitement and curiosity about the world around us!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

During the first week of class, students were exposed to major literary genres. They discussed and analyzed works of short fiction and wrote stories of their own. Students are becoming more comfortable with their own writing and the class atmosphere is encouraging and community-focused. Students have been excited to share their work aloud with the class and their feedback has been constructive and thoughtful. Overall, this was a wonderful first week of class! I am impressed by the students’ creative ideas, writing capabilities, and critical thinking skills!

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

We all differ in our beliefs and values, holding a wide diversity of opinions on everything from politics to popsicles. While these differences could and should present opportunities for fascinating, engaging civil discourse, a quick peek at Facebook proves that instead of celebrating and embracing others’ views and taking the time to find commonalities, many of us instead attack and disparage one another. It should be clear to anyone living in our society today that humanity as a whole needs better communication skills.

Considering the need for better communication skills overall and as a foundation for continued discussion, this week the Humanities I class has focused on the art of discussion and persuasion, identifying various means of conveying one’s message. We’ve considered various categories of thought and evidence, including illogical, emotional reasoning, scientific reasoning based on empirical proof, and philosophical reasoning based on subjective but logical assumptions. We then explored the three primary categories of rhetorical appeals used in persuasion (logos, pathos, ethos) to equip students to recognize them in texts or media and to use them for developing their own arguments.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Psychology includes a wide range of topic, which even a full college semester cannot cover adequately. No chance to do so during the 6-week GPGC session. Therefore, I chose to ask students what they were most interested in so that we could cover information about their interests.
I began by showing them a 40-item True/False quiz that includes some of the “myths” of psychology—things that are “common knowledge” yet incorrect. As expected, the students did poorly (but I did not score the activity or count it for a grade). The activity worked to prompt a discussion that covered many topics in psychology.


I asked students to write down topics that were covered in the quiz or that they had heard about and wanted to know more. This list forms the basis for the class this summer.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

Students watched the movie Dr. Strangelove. It provides an understanding of the Cold War international system and brinksmanship. The class engaged in a discussion regarding the Russian invasion of South Ossetia and Abkhazian regions of Georgia in 2008, the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, and the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The students started the state development project on Friday. Each student will run their own country and engage in international relations with the other countries in the fictitious international system.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

During the first week of class, students were introduced to creative writing! We discussed genre, craft, and literary elements of fiction. Students were introduced to flash fiction this week. They read, analyzed, and discussed three pieces of flash fiction in class, as well as an article relating to craft. In addition to literary analysis, students participated in daily writing activities. Overall, this was a great first week of class! Due to the small size of the class, every student was able to share their work aloud and receive constructive feedback from each other! The work each student produced this week was creative and included strong sensory details and imagery. Each student has their own style of writing rooted in tone and interest! I am proud of their participation this week and very excited to read more of their work as their writing progresses in my class!


Weekly Reports – Grad Classes

Our older students (9th and 10 graders usually) are called “Grads” here at the Program. That’s a long story for another day but these students take college-level classes in the morning. This summer we are offering English (Creative Writing), Psychology in Film, and International Relations. Here are reports from Weeks One and Two for each of those classes.

Creative Writing (Mr. Thomas Parrie, Instructor):

Week One: 

This week we began the poetry unit by talking about how to “turn something on its head.” The “theme” for the class is an attempt to “make the familiar new again.” I’ve been giving them poems published by acclaimed poets and we’ve been discussing them with an eye for craft as well as vision. They’ve also been writing poems in class based off of a prompt in which they take an image that is ordinary and they give it meaning that is unique to them. Next week we’ll begin workshopping their original poems.

Week Two:

This week we read and discussed several poems from a diverse group of poets. They turned in two original poems for workshop. They analyzed and critiqued the poems by looking at content and craft with an eye on how to implement the most impressive elements into their own works. We also focused on social justice and what it means today in the world as well as in 21st century America. We also explored poems that are more cerebral and poems that are light hearted, yet are thought provoking or makes commentary on the human experience in the modern world.

International Relations (Mrs. Jessica Markstorm, Instructor):

Week One:

Students were introduced to basic concepts of International Relations such as power, purpose, and institutions. Basic types of actors were discussed and students were able to provide common examples of each type of actor. Students were able to take theories and international law on the recognition of statehood and apply it to modern issues (i.e., Palestine). A brief explanation of world history occurred with a focus on sovereignty, imperialism, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, mutually assured destruction, and decolonialism. At the end of the week students were assigned hypothetical countries in which they decided their government regime type and began interacting with each other to simulate a world environment.

Week Two:

Students were introduced to paradigms and theories this week. The major prevailing paradigms of international relations, realism and liberalism, were explained with in-class activities, historical examples, current event examples, a short movie celebrating the 15th anniversary of the World Trade Organization, a short movie on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas, and scenes from the movie “Mean Girls.” In addition to discussing the major assumptions of each paradigm, hegemonic stability theory, balance of power theory, complex interdependence theory, and liberal institutionalism were all incorporated into the class lectures.

Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor):

Week One:

The topic of this year’s Psychology class is “Psychology Through the Movies,” which will consist of an examination of a selection of topics within psychology illustrated (sometimes inaccurately) in movies. The areas revolve around social psychology, Freudian theory, mental disorders, and treatment of mental disorders.

 

We discussed images of psychology and how strongly media depictions of psychology influence those images—which focus on psychology as treatment—lead to distorted images of psychology. Students’ most prominent image of psychology resembled Sigmund Freud, whom we discussed briefly; I pointed out that Freud was important to developing the notion of talk-based treatment, but he was a neurologist, not a psychologist.

We explored the professions of clinical psychology and psychiatry, comparing and contrasting the two professions in terms of background and training, theoretical orientations to treatment, and employment. We briefly discussed how one of the traditional differences—prescription privileges—is no longer restricted to MDs in some states. We also discussed the many degrees that confer the title of Dr. on recipients and how MDs are not the only profession that should be addressed with that title.

 

We extended our discussion of mental health care professions by covering counseling (both school counseling and licensed professional counselors) and social work, detailing the background and training for these professions. I presented the definition of psychology, which says that psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes, not the study of the mind. We discussed some of the challenges and misconceptions of psychology as a science.

 

We began considering the many areas of psychology that are not related to treatment, most of which fall into the research areas, including social psychology.

Week Two:

We discussed the social psychology point of view (to which the kids showed some initial skepticism). That view holds that people are more affected by their social surroundings than by personality factors. As an example of how powerful surrounding are, I had chosen the Stanford Prison study. We saw scenes from the movie, The Experiment, which is a fictionalized (sensationalized) presentation of this study.

We continued our discussion about the Stanford Prison Study and saw additional scenes from The Experiment. The focus was on the ethics of the experiment, and I asked students to identify differences between the movie and the study. This line of questioning led us to the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines on the Protection of Human Subjects (HHS Title 45, Part 46), which was not in effect at the time of the Stanford Prison Study but which Zimbardo followed in terms of informed consent and right to withdraw. The portrayal the study in The Experiment contained many violations of research ethics, which we discussed.

 

We discussed Asch’s study on conformity, including a class re-enactment (which we all enjoyed) and a video clip from Candid Camera showing the power of others’ behavior to provoke conformity, even without a word spoken. I asked a question about using this powerful force to encourage good behavior rather than bad, which resulted in an interesting discussion.

 

Students saw 12 Angry Men and came to class ready to discuss the group processes in the movies, which seemed to include a situation similar to Asch’s conformity study. However, the jury situation includes persuasion, and we discussed some of the factors that contribute to group decision making, such as group polarization (the tendency for groups to adopt more extreme solutions than individuals would). We talked about what would increase this phenomenon and what might decrease it in government and business settings.