Using Dating as an Analogy to Teach IR Theory
Active learning techniques tend to emphasize simulations, research projects, and the use of popular media to the relative neglect of problem-based approaches. This paper introduces a new problem-based exercise specifically for teaching international relations (IR) theories that builds on existing problem-based approaches by incorporating analogies and an exemplar-based approach to concept learning. Teaching complex IR theories to students, who are often early in their academic careers, can be a challenge for many academic staff. Our approach uses a carefully structured analogy, based on a dating scenario, to challenge students to explain and theorize the behaviour of the key actors in a way that is transferable to an IR analysis of state behaviour. The exercise yields an intuitive understanding of core theories that facilitates subsequent learning and application.
European Political Science
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