Best negotiation course wrap-up exercise ever!

Check this out: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2419712

I've always thought that end-of-course activities should go far beyond the classic wrap-up – a teacher reviewing what s/he thinks was included on the curriculum and conveyed to students in a 5 minute speech at the end of the last class. At the end of class, it is time for students to decide and demonstrate for themselves what they've learned, what they've retained, and (perhaps most importantly) what they've found helpful and important. In that sense, a good end-of-course exercise is at least as valuable for teachers as a well- filled-out student evaluation. When students are truly engaged in summarizing for themselves, each other, and their teacher, their take-aways from the course, the results are always surprising.

Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in an exercise which involves creativity and whole-material synthesis – presenting your approach to negotiation, framed in the form of a recipe: ingredients, quantities, sequencing and instructions.   This was a fascinating exercise – and here’s what the outcomes looked like, when a group of 20 negotiation professors and professionals did the exercise. Given that the exercise requires synthesizing all the elements of a comprehensive approach to negotiation, of the type that we hope our students have at the end of a course, this exercise makes for an excellent end-of-course wrap-up exercise, and all it requires is 10-20 minutes of time during the last session. In addition to sharing the results in class on the spot, teachers can easily collate the responses (as was done in the document I referred to above) and provide students with a neat wrap-up and an amusing memento of the course at the same time. Colleagues have already used this at the end of their negotiation and mediation classes, and I have as well. Try it out!

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