Deliberation Reflection

For the past few weeks, we have been working on preparing to facilitate a deliberation with our peers and other community members. Many times, discussions like these turn into debates, where certain people can’t share their beliefs without others coming back with attacks, and nothing is truly accomplished. Our goal for this project is to facilitate a deliberation, in which we can discuss our topic with a wide variety of people, ultimately coming away with a greater understanding of all the different sides of the issue, and every person’s perspective.

We were given this task of facilitating other people having this conversation and have focused our effort largely on how we can get the members of the community to have a productive conversation about our topic. In order for us to experience the other side of the deliberation, we were required to attend and participate in a deliberation of another group. I chose to attend one before our deliberation, so I could see how best to facilitate our own.

This past weekend, I attended a deliberation that focused on the learning objectives of the modern classroom. There were a good amount more group members at this deliberation, so they were able to spread themselves around the room. Walking in, I liked how they seemed like they were a part of the deliberation as much as we were.

The values that they focused on were traditional individual learning, critical thinking, and community based learning.

They explained that traditional individual learning centered around memorization and general knowledge acquisition. We talked about how it is important to have a base knowledge of a subject before you are able to take the topic any further than simply memorization. We got into a discussion about what the base knowledge includes, and how it should be assessed. Standardized testing came up a lot and we discussed the pros and cons of the common core and what we could do to change it.

After we talked about what the base knowledge everyone should have is, we then touched on how best to utilize this knowledge. We talked about how classrooms could better foster critical thinkers, rather than students who simply memorize and regurgitate information. Students should be able to take risks and shouldn’t be afraid to be wrong every once in awhile. Critical thinking is hugely important for any type of forward movement of our current understanding of the world.

Community learning was the third approach, and focused on the logistics of how to change the common classroom into something more tailored to life-like group efforts. Collaborating with others and using their creativity and critical thinking is much more beneficial than trying to fix problems on our own.

Overall, I thought that the group did a great job leading the conversation. Their approaches all fit together nicely, and kind of followed the flow of the conversation in a way that mirrored our thought process of the issue.

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