The Dynamic Class of International Issues

Michael Karlis

Juniors and seniors in Shannon Allberry’s International Issues class watched a video on immigration and megacities and participated in a simulation where they gave their opinions on the issues September 14 in room A105.

The focus of this course is to weigh the positives and negatives of controversial global issues. The main focus of the first unit is megacities and immigration. For example, Allberry teaches that overcrowding in megacities such as Shanghai brings in new tax revenue to help fund social services but overcrowding also can have negative effects on schools and can affect the level of education children receive.

The class makes students think critically about complex issues that often don’t have a right or wrong answer.

The second part of the class focused on a simulation in which the class was divided in half and had to discuss whether to build a wall and stop immigration or to allow immigrants into the fictional megacity of “Trumptown,” a city roughly the same size as Shanghai according to Allberry.

“More immigrants means people taking our jobs” says senior Max Mauro. “More immigrants means more tax revenue” said junior Gabby Thompson. Allberry moderated the debate but did not give any input.

Allberry said that she uses simulations a lot because “public speaking is not practiced a lot in other classes” and she said it is an important life skill.  

This course, however, was almost cancelled by the guidance department. When Allberry first arrived at Hopkinton High School nine years ago the class only had five students and not a great deal of interest. Allberry agreed to take the class under her wing and changed the curriculum to reflect a mix of “current events and Model UN,” as she is the club sponsor.

Interest in the course has grown since Allberry began teaching it. Senior Kyle Shlicke said he took the course because “I thought it would be a really interesting class to learn about issues around the world.”

Other students did not request the course but are glad they were placed in it.

Junior Lindsey Mingace said that she enjoyed the simulation and said “It was good because it gave me a different point of view”.