Democratic dialogue

Posted by Debby on 22nd December and posted in EDC 664

I am reading an interesting book called Discussion As A Way of Teaching by Stephen Brookfield and Stephen Preskill. It was recommended to me by Rena Paloff at the League conference. So far it is proving an interesting read. One question I will keep in the back of my mind as I read through this is how I can apply to principles of discussion to an online class, where the spontaneity of discussion is tempered by asynchronous modes of communication.


Brookfield and Preskill strongly believe in the ability of discussion to add depth to subject matter by letting the participants explore different ideas and viewpoints. Learners can explore a “diversity of opinions” (p. 3) as they seek to develop further understanding of the topic. B&P link disucssion and democracy as “inseperable because both have the same root purpose – to nurture and promote human growth” (p. 3).
I like the definition of growth the authors share, one John Dewey was quoted as saying. Growth is “the development of an ever-increasing capacity for learning and an appreciation of and sensitivity to learning undertaken by others.” Growth is not having learned all there is to learn, growth is the expanded ability to learn more.

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