College of Education brings WAYS Camp to campus

Published: July 24, 2023

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This July, Auburn’s College of Education hosted a small group of 10th-12th graders on campus for the World Affairs Youth Seminar, or WAYS, led by Jesús A. Tirado, assistant professor of secondary social sciences education. The program used the Model United Nations forum to examine this year’s issues — human trafficking and arms trafficking — in a global context.

The high school participants, who came from all over the country, stayed on campus for the week of July 9-14, living in the Hill dormitories and getting a glimpse of college life. At the beginning of the week, each camper was randomly assigned a nation and spent the next several days engaging in research, lessons and moderated forums to understand the issues from their nation’s point of view. Then, throughout the week, the campers were tasked with accurately representing those views.

“I enjoyed meeting like-minded people who have the same interests as me, and then working with them to meet common goals and try to solve real-world problems,” said Everett Sjolseth, a rising 11th grader from Auburn High School who represented Mozambique at WAYS camp.

The camp used structure from the Persistent Issues in History Network to ensure participants were able to examine the global issues within an ethical framework and understand the complexities of solving problems around the world.

In addition to working with each other in discussions and negotiations, campers heard from outside experts via Zoom and attended lessons taught by current students in the College of Education. This provided Auburn University students an experiential learning opportunity to practice teaching and giving one-on-one student aid in a real-world scenario.

“For our Auburn University students, we’re hoping that they’re seeing and experiencing non-traditional modes of learning and ways they can help their future students think and act more complexly,” said Tirado. “Not a lot of places run camps as a lab experience for students, and we see it as an opportunity for our students to see that K-12 students are capable of learning through super complex and engaging content.”

The goal was for campers to gain valuable practice in deliberating with others and experiencing different styles of teamwork. Ultimately, participants walked away from the WAYS program with a better understanding of how complex the world really is.

More information on the WAYS program.