Teaching through simulations, games and academic debates

The 5th ECPR Teaching and Learning summer school

6-13 July 2020, Bratislava, Slovakia

In light of current uncertainly over international travel due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the 5th Teaching and Learning Summer School will be held virtually. For registration and more info please visit https://ecpr.eu/Events/145

Call for applications

This call was announced: 12 November 2019

Application deadline: 16 February 2020

Expected notification of applicants about the results of their application: 31 March 2020

This is the call for applications for the 5th ECPR Teaching and Learning summer school. The purpose of this summer school is to enhance participants’ teaching practice by introducing them to the principles of student-centered education. It draws upon best practice in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and will offer a combination of practical and theoretical sessions. The summer school is jointly convened by the Teaching and Learning Politics (TLP) standing group of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and Faculty of Arts of Comenius University in Bratislava. It is intended for early-career Social Science teachers.


The summer school is organized around the effective use of three methods— simulation, games and academic debate—and invites anyone who are interested in enhancing their skills regarding these methods to participate. Before the summer school, participants will be provided with a reading list to get acquainted with the above-mentioned methods and will be assigned a few reading-related tasks. During the first part of the summer school, session leaders will introduce the methods through engaging participants as students who learn via these methods. In the second part of the summer school, in small groups participants will have an opportunity to design and facilitate sessions using these methods. They will receive detailed feedback from the session leaders and other participants.

A short report from the previous summer school is available here.

Structure and methods

The summer school runs for eight days. Each day consists of up to three 80-minute sessions. All sessions are organized in an interactive way, encouraging the connection between theoretical knowledge and its practical application in various fields of the Social Sciences.

See here what participants from the previous ECPR Teaching and Learning Summer School have to say about their experience.

Applicants should be PhD students in the later stage of their study or recent PhD graduates (with no more than 6 semesters of full-time teaching experience) working at any academic institutions in Europe or beyond Europe. The summer school targets PhD students and young professionals from various Social Science disciplines, including, but not limited to, Political Science, Sociology, Area Studies, Psychology, Anthropology, Ethics, Law, and Economics. While teaching experience is not a prerequisite, we prefer that candidates have at least one semester’s experience in teaching at the university level.

The language of instruction is English. Therefore, applicants should have appropriate proficiency in the English language. A strong research or publication record is not required of applicants.

About 15 participants will be admitted to the school.

Summer school instructors
The summer school’s team of instructors consists of the following experienced international tutors:

  • Dr. Kevin Coffey, INSEEC London, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Gabriela Pleschová, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Dr. Agnes Simon, Masaryk University, Czech Republic
  • Dr. Eszter Simon, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom

A short biography of each instructor can be found here.

All who have successfully completed the program shall receive a certificate of completion. To be awarded the certificate, the participants should attend and actively participate in all the summer school sessions and complete summer school assignments, including the reflection paper. This summer school is worth 5 ECTS credits.

Fees and grants
An institutional grant from the ECPR shall cover most of the summer school’s costs. In 2020, each participant is expected to contribute with a modest fee of €270. This fee covers the full cost of accommodation in a double room in Comenius University’s hotel Družba, Botanicka 25, Bratislava (about 10 minutes by public transport from the venue of the summer school), lunches, dinners, coffee breaks, tuition, readings in electronic format and a trip to Eszterháza, UNESCO world heritage site. A limited number of single rooms is available for an extra fee. Participants are responsible for covering their own travel costs.

ECPR offers two individual grants for applicants from ECPR member institutions mainly to cover their travel costs. In previous years the individual grant was around €200. The list of the ECPR member institutions is to be found at the ECPR webpage. These grants are available for those applicants who are able to demonstrate how their work could benefit from participation in the summer school, but who would otherwise be unable to afford to participate. The organizers acknowledge the ECPR for their support. To apply for the grant, prospective summer school participants should indicate in their motivation letter (see ‘application procedure’ below) their reasons for why they should be awarded the grant.

Application procedure
Applications should include:

  1. a brief cv (max. 2 pages including teaching-related responsibilities);
  2. a motivation letter of 350-400 words in which applicants explain why they would like to attend the summer school, demonstrate their eligibility, and clarify why they should be chosen (over other candidates). Applicants are expected to show what motivated them to apply to the summer school and how it could make a difference in their professional lives;
  3. a teaching philosophy of 600-800 words in which the applicants explain what they aim at when teaching, what they think about the teaching and learning process and their job as teachers. They should illustrate their beliefs with particular classroom examples. In other words, they are expected to explain how they translate their beliefs about teaching into classroom practice.

When writing their teaching philosophy, the applicants are suggested to discuss some of these issues:

  • what they think about learning in higher education, about the teaching process, and their job as a teacher,
  • how they try to attain the aim(s) of their teaching in their everyday teaching,
  • how they believe student learning should be assessed,
  • any educational theory or principle they feel particularly important for and try to incorporate in their pedagogic practice,
  • what they consider major challenge(s) while teaching, specific to their discipline, for them as a beginner teacher, for their institution, etc.
  • how they attempt to address these challenges (describe the occasions when they felt they have/have not achieved their aims and discuss possible reasons of their and their students’ success/failure),
  • links between their research and teaching,
  • how and why they would like to change their teaching in the future,
  • any need they feel for your development as a teacher.

How to submit the application
The applications should be submitted by email to gabriela.pleschova@uniba.sk, preferably as one file (for example one Word or rtf. document including first the CV, the motivation letter [including a request and reasons for an individual grant if applicable] and the teaching philosophy). The application files should be named using the following format: applicants’ firstname_surname.doc, e.g eszter_simon.doc.

All data provided by the applicants will be handled in harmony with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Criteria for selecting the participants
All applications will be reviewed by a committee, which will assess applications by the following criteria:

  • applicants’ level of interest in participating in the program, as seen in the reasons given for wanting to participate and in the overall consistency of the application,
  • applicants’ level of commitment to work as a teacher, as seen in applicants’ reflection on their past teaching experience, both positive and negative, as well as in their future plans,
  • general quality of the application, as seen by the overall consistency of the application, the quality of writing, and the length and completeness of ideas.

All inquiries should be directed to Gabriela Pleschová at gabriela.pleschova@uniba.sk.

All session leaders are looking forward to meeting with the new cohort of dedicated teachers.