Series: CPS/CERG Civic Discussion Videos

The Importance of High Quality Discussions
Lesson Objective: Civic discussion and deliberation leads to improved communication, critical thinking skills, civic knowledge, and a higher chance of future civic engagement
Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

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Thought starters

  1. What are the benefits of civic discussion and deliberation for student learning and engagement?
  2. How can civic discussion and deliberation extend and deepen students’ learning?
  3. How can educators make their classrooms productive spaces for students to voice their opinions and perspectives on issues that matter to them?
12 Comments

What are the benefits of civic discussion and deliberation for student learning and engagement?

Discussion of highly controversial political issues animates contemporary democracy.  We want young people to learn how to talk to one another especially with people of differing views.  It is the teacher's role to move students from materials, to small group discussion, to large group discussion, and to demonstrate what discussion really looks like.  The classroom is a microcosm of our world.  Students bring their lived experiences with them into the classroom.  Classrooms needs to mirror these experiences.  A classroom is a safe space where students can express themselves and how they feel, to learn about the history that forms their future, and how to participate in a democratic society.   Students want to be partners in learning.  Give them the space to speak their minds so that they will be more receptive to a teacher's message and the teacher will learn to become more receptive to what students are telling them.  Teacher and student relationships develop when students feel they are being heard which is the root of social justice.

How can civic discussion and deliberation extend and deepen students’ learning?

Listening closely to people sends a powerful message.  The message is that what they have to say is important to you and what they have to say is important.  When you do this in your classroom, students feel very empowered.  Civic engagement begins with the feeling of empowerment.  Students who participate in highly engaging discussion enjoy their classes more.  Students report that they learn more when  they are allowed to speak on issues.  Every student has a voice and every voice matters so we, as teachers, need to ensure that all students are engaged in the voicing of opinions.  Students that feel heard are more politically engaged, tend to pay attention to the news around them, and don't demonize differences like students who did not have high quality classroom discussion do.  Teachers need incorporate discussion into their instruction methods so that students can learn to discuss certain topics and still get their points accross in a respectful manner. 

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I really like classroom discussions. It is hard for me to participate because I'm really quiet and shy and it gives me anxiety. However, I always think of what others are saying and I make an argument in my head or I think about their points. I have always liked discussions with others if they are respectful and it is good because it brings in new points of view.

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Class room discussions is very important to further the education of each and every student. During these class room discussions, it is important that these students reach out of their comfort zone and share their ideas and give their opinions. These discussions are also a great opportunity to learn from one another and listen to everyone’s ideas. It also allows the students to learn without the feeling they are being lectured too.

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This is only fjor testing.

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Classroom discussion is definitely something that can help students out and help them form thier own opinions. Giving students freedom to talk is how they start to get comfortable and learn because it allows them to have thier own opinion but also causes them to hear bothsides of the perspective on the certain topic. Which can cause students to evolve thier own original opinions.

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