In the classroom, young people can learn about the issues as well as be guided by a skilled teacher in discussing them. Constructive participation requires the ability to work with people one disagrees with in a respectful way and in a spirit of progress toward mutually beneficial outcomes. This involves skills of civil discussion and compromise, and also the ability to advocate and deliberate effectively and tenaciously about important issues. Deliberation requires that individuals assert positions they feel strongly about through reason and persuasion. By learning how to deliberate about controversial political issues, students also learn how to hear the opinions of others with an open mind, weigh diverse opinions and ideas, wrestle with a clash of principles that may never be resolved, and ultimately find a way forward. Schools should prepare students for constructive civic life by embracing political controversies and disagreements in the classroom and using them as a teaching tool.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Civic Education and Deliberation
Stanford's Center on Adolescence held a February conference on civic education has a report titled Youth Civic Development and Education. One passage deals with deliberation: