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Learning Democratic Citizenship: An Experiment in Teaching Deliberation
Unformatted Document Text:  Method We posed three essential questions in our research: First, what is happening during the college years that either encourages or discourages students to be involved in politics and in their communities? Second, do students who learn how to deliberate about public issues develop different sensibilities about their roles as democratic citizens than their peers who had not had this experience? Finally, what are the effects of context on the deliberative experience; does it make a difference if students deliberate with each other in the classroom, with their peers on campus, or with diverse citizens in the community? In this paper we will focus on the last two questions which are most directly related to the interests of the Teaching and Learning Conference of APSA. 1 We pursued these questions by gathering data from several sets of students as they made their way through four years of education at Wake Forest, a private, liberal arts college in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 2 The first group was 30 students who were recruited from the entering class in the fall of 2001 to participate in a Democracy Fellows program. These students were enrolled in a first-year seminar entitled Deliberative Democracy and participated in various activities over their four year career that provided them the opportunity to experiment with democratic decision making. In the first year seminar, students learned the theory and practice of deliberation. At the end of the class they learned to frame an issue and identified a campus issue for study. They then researched and wrote an issue book about the issue to be used in a campus deliberation that was held in their sophomore year. Next, they studied the Winston- 4

Authors: Harriger, Katy. and McMillan, Jill.
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Method
We posed three essential questions in our research: First, what is happening
during the college years that either encourages or discourages students to be involved in
politics and in their communities? Second, do students who learn how to deliberate about
public issues develop different sensibilities about their roles as democratic citizens than
their peers who had not had this experience? Finally, what are the effects of context on
the deliberative experience; does it make a difference if students deliberate with each
other in the classroom, with their peers on campus, or with diverse citizens in the
community? In this paper we will focus on the last two questions which are most
directly related to the interests of the Teaching and Learning Conference of APSA.
We pursued these questions by gathering data from several sets of students as
they made their way through four years of education at Wake Forest, a private, liberal
arts college in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The first group was 30 students who
were recruited from the entering class in the fall of 2001 to participate in a Democracy
Fellows program. These students were enrolled in a first-year seminar entitled
Deliberative Democracy and participated in various activities over their four year career
that provided them the opportunity to experiment with democratic decision making. In
the first year seminar, students learned the theory and practice of deliberation. At the end
of the class they learned to frame an issue and identified a campus issue for study. They
then researched and wrote an issue book about the issue to be used in a campus
deliberation that was held in their sophomore year. Next, they studied the Winston-
4


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