Teaching Political Science: Accomplishments and Challenges

Article excerpt

These are exciting times for those interested in the pedagogy of political science. The Political Science Education section of the American Political Science Association has established a new academic journal and annual conference, both devoted to the scholarship of teaching and learning in political science. Furthermore, there has been an appreciable increase in interest and awareness among political science instructors regarding teaching techniques, curricular development, and pedagogical innovation in general.

Indeed, this special issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly is a testament to the depth and breadth of work being done in political science education. The articles in this issue address both macro- and micro-issues of political science pedagogy. Murphy and Reidy explore the signature pedagogy of political science in comparative perspective, while White, Malik and Chrastil examine International Studies as an emerging interdisciplinary major. Hamann, Pollock and Wilson empirically analyze the effectiveness of on-line learning in political science, while Gordon and Gillespie utilize a survey to demonstrate that extracurricular activities such as Mock Trial can benefit students' learning outcomes. Wilkerson and Fruland describe a promising Web-based virtual legislative simulation, and Wheeler discusses the potentials and pitfalls of using simulations and role-playing exercises. Engstrom demonstrates how the standard American government class can benefit from international and comparative examples, and Brown and Paul discuss their success in improving their teaching in a course on interest groups by assigning and discussing a highly satiric novel.

The rigorous and thoughtful articles in this issue demonstrate the health of the subfield of political science pedagogy. …