Meeting Report: Inaugural CNS Roundtable on Nonproliferation Pedagogy

May 25, 2023

In 2021, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies launched a project on nonproliferation pedagogy. Its purpose was to determine what techniques and approaches are the most effective for teaching students how to think, not what to think, about issues relating to the achievement of general and complete disarmament under effective international control. To accomplish this goal, the Center established a program of work focused on (1) assessing where and how instructors in different educational settings currently teach students about weapons of mass destruction and the means for their control; and (2) convening workshops for these instructors to exchange views on best practices, share classroom resources, and discuss pedagogical techniques with the goal of filling gaps in knowledge and advancing the state of the field.

On December 9-10, 2022, CNS held the first of these workshops, bringing together nonproliferation instructors from diverse educational settings to both review the state of the field and to discuss challenges and opportunities they saw for the nonproliferation classroom.

This report summarizes the results of this initial roundtable discussion. It addresses topics ranging from specific pedagogical techniques, such as simulations, to ways to introduce new students to the field. It highlights approaches to nonproliferation education that instructors agree are effective, as well as areas for further exploration. It concludes with a series of preliminary recommendations and next steps that capture insights shared by the participants.

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