What students need to know and do
Students need to appreciate the ways in which different political organisations and institutions interact with one another in different political systems and the political consequences of this interaction.
What are the student barriers to learning?
Coping with comparisons
When comparing the nature of Politics and IR in different countries and regions, students often underestimate the importance of cultural, national and institutional differences, assuming that politics everywhere is essentially the same. Conversely, some students can over-estimate the importance of cultural, national and institutional differences, ignoring broad similarities between politics in different countries. At its extreme, this can result in a misplaced sense of national exceptionalism, whether proud, indifferent or disgusted.
Our teaching strategies
Using case studies can assist students in examining the context of specific scenarios, policies and political systems. Academics should build comparative dimensions into the curriculum, so students develop a sense of the broad similarities and differences between different political systems.
Tutorial groups could be split into groups with each group investigating a particular issue from the context of a different political system or contextual factor. They then report back on their findings to the whole group.