Skip to content

Welcome to Teaching The Practice of Politics!


Students, parents, employers and governments are increasingly interested in employability: ‘a degree by itself is not enough to get a student a job, and it certainly isn’t enough to ensure they get the best job that enables them to practise what they have learnt at university both effectively and ethically.’* However employability was not on the agenda when most of the academics now teaching at universities were undergraduates themselves so it is hard to imagine how to teach in a practical or applied way.

Guest speakersCommunication gamemedia trainig Youtub politics degree


What this site offers: a library of teaching resources on the practice of politics and international relations

This resource site is designed to help. It provides a library full of teaching resources for enrolled users for a course called The Practice of Politics which can be copied or adapted for teaching a similar course or just one part of it. These include power-point slides, workshop handouts, workshop preparation, group exercises, assessment details; sample syllabi; teaching tips; and resources including adverts for jobs in politics and IR, links to media and practitioner articles and videos and relevant academic literature.


  Enrol and get viewing


'An amazing resource...will change political science much for the better - it will finally allow us to start to bridge the practitioner/academic gap' (Dr. Lindsey Te Ata o Tu MacDonald, University of Canterbury).


‘A phenomenal pedagogical support service to a community of scholars, practitioners and students around the world.’ (Associate Professor Alex Marland, Newfoundland University, Canada)


‘The world of PoliSci teaching owes you a tremendous debt for curating this fabulous collection…The teaching resources are FANTASTIC. .’ (Associate Professor Laura J Sheppard, UNSW, Australia)



Use it for one off workshop, part of a course, or beyond politics

Users can take and adapt all the resources to create their own version of The Practice of Politics and IR course. Or they can take just bits of it to integrate within their own traditional courses, at graduate or UG level, or offer as non-assessed workshops. Or academics interested in practical or applied teaching outside the discipline of politics and IR can adapt the core ideas can easily be adapted to suit a course such as The Practice of Law, The Practice of History, or The Practice of Business.


'The practice of politics could so easily be “the practice of experiential internship” (Associate Professor Martin Tolich, Otago University, New Zealand)


‘Made me think about things I might do in at least two of my writing courses’ (Dr Stephen Turner, Auckland University, New Zealand) 


* Cleland, Alison and Jennifer Lees-Marshment (2015) 'Applied academic teaching and learning: How and why you should introduce real world teaching' in Insights into Practice: Teaching Cases for student engagement and achievement edited by Cathy Gunn and Liz Ramsay, CLeaR


What the Practice of Politics covers

The Practice of Politics aims to develop the skills and knowledge that students need to practise politics and IR effectively, with four key parts.

  • Working in Politics and IR: This explores the motivations for working in politics and IR; skills gained from a politics and IR degree; the range and nature of jobs related to politics and IR; the highs and lows of working in politics and IR; work life balance; job satisfaction; and individual suitability for different jobs.
  • Careers in Politics and IR: This covers personal brand or skills audit and development plans; applying for jobs in politics and IR; interviewing for jobs in politics; and networking.
  • Effective Practice in Politics and IR: This is about skills - workplace writing such as writing memos, advisory reports, best practice reports, policy briefs; and communication skills including media, presentation, listening, relationship building; and team work and leadership.
  • Ethical Practice in Politics and IR: This covers ethical behaviour in the workplace; supporting diversity; and balancing principle and pragmatism to achieve change in politics and IR.

The aim is to help students develop the insight, skills and knowledge they will need to work and succeed as practitioners in politics and IR. The general approach to teaching is based on active learning via workshops and authentic applied assessment, which includes workrelated skills but within a political context, given that research shows that skills development in a disciplinary context is more efficient than without that context (Jones 2009 and Leston-Bandeira 2013).


Leston-Bandeira, C. (2013), ‘Methods Teaching through a Discipline Research-Oriented Approach’, Politics, 33 (3), 207–219.

Jones, A. (2009), ‘Redisciplining generic attributes: the disciplinary context in focus’, Studies in Higher Education, 34 (1), 85–100.



Teaching resources for Teaching the Practice of Politics & IR: Introduction and Access

Teaching resources are available to users once they enrol in the course. They include:

  • PowerPoint slides including class discussion exercises
  • Workshop handouts
  • Suggested workshop preparation or essential reading
  • Further resources to use in writing your own classes/give to students to explore, including job ads and practitioner profiles; links to job sites, practitioner perspectives, and academic literature
  • Assessment resources include assessment advice, handouts, details of assessments and a feedback form for marking
  • Sample course outlines or syllabi
  • Teaching tips


  Enrol and get viewing


Teaching the Practice of Politics Creator

JLM presenting

I developed the Teaching the Practice of Politics website  to support and promote the teaching of practical politics in political science around the world when I held CLeaR (Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education) teaching fellowship in 2015.

Matthew Wyman at Keele University first came up with the idea of doing a Practice of politics course and when I introduced my version in New Zealand I was greatly helped by Mathew sharing his concept and resources. So I wanted to do the same for anyone else who might think about doing their own version.

Feel free to get in touch on or see

Jennifer Lees-Marshment, Associate Professor in Politics at The University of Auckland


Edit page
Add paper Cornell note Whiteboard Recorder Download Close
PIP mode