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Real-Time Learning with Breaking News

Jeanne Olive
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero gathered in a Fountain Valley classroom to discuss the USA/China trade war.

Well, it was Global Studies freshmen who were portraying them, but these students had garnered a good deal of knowledge and expertise by exploring their characters and debating the trade war as it unfolds in real time.

Between this class and the one two days before, the issue was developing and changing rapidly. In the previous 48 hours, there had been major concessions from both China and the United States Department of Commerce. This class started with an update in which, during the ongoing negotiations, the Chinese government has offered to reduce their trade deficit with the USA to zero by 2024, which will be achieved by agreeing to increase imports from the United States from the current $100 billion.

The freshmen are tasked with critically reviewing and discussing news updates from CNBC. They are learning how the interdependence of politics, government, economies, commerce, stock markets and world-leader temperaments influence world trade, and how quickly it all can change as these forces jockey for position.

On a recent class day, two Chinese families who are considering FVS for their children, sat in as the U.S./China trade war was debated. It was difficult to read their take on the discussion, however, one of the parents gave feedback to the admission office: “This is college-level discussion taking place in the class. I know my son would be academically challenged here.”
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