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The Democratic Classroom: Sharing Power to Improve Learning and Educate Citizens
Unformatted Document Text:  Democratic Classroom 14 In order to describe specifically what learning partnerships look like in practice, Baxter Magolda provides examples from experiences the study participants had in undergraduate and graduate study, work, and community life. The undergraduate example is from a zoology course taken by several of the participants. As “Erica” reports, the instructor in this course exemplified the learning partnership approach because “he wants you to feel that you are on the same level as him, not as in as far the same knowledge, [but rather that] he wants the atmosphere to be such that you feel comfortable asking him or talking to him in any way” (Baxter Magolda, 2004b, p.37). At the same time, Erica recounts that the instructor also encouraged and helped students work independently. This was achieved through having the students research primary literature on a topic of their choice, present it to the class as one would at a professional conference, and write a mock grant proposal to fund the research questions that emerged during the first two phases. The instructor behaviors that made assignments like this successful were the “emphasis on integrating multiple disciplinary perspectives [since some questions could not be researched without engaging other disciplines], [recognition] that facts are tentative and subject to revision [since even the primary source literature provoked further questions], and [engagement of] students in thinking like scientists” (2004b, p. 48). Baxter Magolda emphasizes that these practices both achieve course objectives and help students achieve self-authorship. In this specific case, the students were able to learn how to think like scientists (one of the course objectives) and also envision their future role in science (the goal of self-authorship). While this example makes it clear that the learning partnership approach can be an effective practice with positive implications for individual development, how does Baxter Magolda connect the model to citizenship education? To do this, she outlines how the epistemological, intrapersonal, and interpersonal foundations of self-authorship overlap with

Authors: Price, Christopher.
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Democratic Classroom 14
In order to describe specifically what learning partnerships look like in practice, Baxter
Magolda provides examples from experiences the study participants had in undergraduate and
graduate study, work, and community life. The undergraduate example is from a zoology course
taken by several of the participants. As “Erica” reports, the instructor in this course exemplified
the learning partnership approach because “he wants you to feel that you are on the same level as
him, not as in as far the same knowledge, [but rather that] he wants the atmosphere to be such
that you feel comfortable asking him or talking to him in any way” (Baxter Magolda, 2004b,
p.37). At the same time, Erica recounts that the instructor also encouraged and helped students
work independently. This was achieved through having the students research primary literature
on a topic of their choice, present it to the class as one would at a professional conference, and
write a mock grant proposal to fund the research questions that emerged during the first two
phases. The instructor behaviors that made assignments like this successful were the “emphasis
on integrating multiple disciplinary perspectives [since some questions could not be researched
without engaging other disciplines], [recognition] that facts are tentative and subject to revision
[since even the primary source literature provoked further questions], and [engagement of]
students in thinking like scientists” (2004b, p. 48). Baxter Magolda emphasizes that these
practices both achieve course objectives and help students achieve self-authorship. In this
specific case, the students were able to learn how to think like scientists (one of the course
objectives) and also envision their future role in science (the goal of self-authorship).
While this example makes it clear that the learning partnership approach can be an
effective practice with positive implications for individual development, how does Baxter
Magolda connect the model to citizenship education? To do this, she outlines how the
epistemological, intrapersonal, and interpersonal foundations of self-authorship overlap with


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