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May 11th-12th, 2013: Reacting to the Past workshop at Sophia University

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Dr. Nick Proctor (Simpson College, Iowa), Dr. Stephanie Jass (Adrian College, Michigan), Dr. John Moser (Ashland University, Ohio), Drs. Bettina Gramlich-Oka and Mathew Thompson (Sophia University, Japan)

Reacting to the Past (RTTP) is an exciting educational approach that uses content to get students to engage in debates, research and prepare papers and speeches, in a way that allows students to develop invaluable critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork skills. It was developed by academics looking to improve these skills at Barnard College (Columbia University) in New York, and quickly spread to more than 300 colleges and universities. In this workshop, three RTTP experts came from different colleges in the US to lead participants through one of three RTTP “games”.

Attendees participated in roles with detailed character descriptions based on real historical figures. Through the game format, they gave speeches and participated in debates based on actual historical events. It was an excellent opportunity to learn an innovative way to put students at the center of the action, having fun, and potentially rewriting history!

The participants were given links to the RTTP Teachers Forum on Facebook as well as a Certificate of Participation. We hope this is the start of an annual event!

Event schedule:

Saturday, May 11

12:30                  Opening of the doors – pick up your nametag; opportunity to chat freely with RTTP experts

13:00                  Keynote: Nicolas Proctor – Introduction to RTTP

14:00                  Game session 1 (2 hours)

Option 1 Greenwich Village  (GM: Stephanie Jass)

Option 2 Pearl Harbor  (GM: John Moser)

Option 3 Akō (GM: Bettina Gramlich-Oka and Nicolas Proctor)

16:00                  Break – drinks, snacks

16:30                  Q & A with the GMs

17:30                  End of the first day

Sunday, May 12

9:30                    Opening the doors

10:00                  Game session 2 (2 hours)

12:00                  Lunch (obento)

13:00                  Game session 3 (2 hours)

Including Postmortem

15:00                  Break

15:30                  Information sessions for RTTP in Japan

Challenges students face (Q&A with students)

Final Q & A

17:30                  Finish

The games at the workshop included:

  • Greenwich Village 1913: Suffrage, Labor, and the New Woman– run by Dr. Stephanie Jass, Adrian College (Michigan) – RTTP pioneer

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  • Japan, the West, and the Road to World War, 1940-41– run by Dr. John Moser, Ashland University (Ohio) – RTTP pioneer and creator of the game

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  • Legacy of the 47 Ronin– run by Dr. Bettina Gramlich-Oka, Sophia University, and Dr. Nicolas Proctor, Simpson College, Chair of the RTTP Board

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