Simulations have become a regular component of teaching toolkits. They provide teachers with a platform to take students’ knowledge and understanding of subject materials beyond the classroom. In doing so, simulations fulfill a critical pedagogical purpose in that they need to construct a learning space; one more efficacious in delivering learning opportunities than traditional modes of instruction. In order for simulations to be effective, students need to be able to place themselves in role. The more closely the students identify with their topic (the greater their affection for the subject), the closer the alignment between the exercise and the intended learning outcomes. This article considers how an affective learning environment can be created with simulations. The lens for this analysis is an international model European Union simulation that has been running in Hong Kong and New Zealand. Our argument is that the more affective the simulated environment, the more realistic it will be perceived to be by the participants. However, contrary to the prevailing literature, our findings suggest that affection does not necessarily have to be positively constructed in order for simulations to be effective pedagogical tools.
- active learning
- affective learning