Dispositions of Democratic Discussion

Posted by Debby on 26th December and posted in EDC 664

B&P set the stage for democratic discussion in their classes by introducing what they call “dispositions of democratic discussion”. These basic premises are essential to helping students create an environment where open dialogue is welcomed and encouraged.

Notes from the book

bullet1.gif An atmosphere in which people feel invited to participate.
bullet1.gif Mutual receptivity to new ideas and a willingness to question even the most widely accepted assumptions.
bullet1.gif Works best when students participate on many different occassions with respect to many different issues, and when what they contribute adds depth and subtlety to the discussion.
bullet1.gif Being aware of the whole conversation.
bullet1.gif Doing what one can to ensure that the discussion doesn’t get bogged down in the consideration of issues that are of concern to only a very small minority of participants.
bullet1.gif The willingness to admit that one’s knowledge and experience are limited and incomplete and to act accordingly.
bullet1.gif If we admit the limits of our knowledge and opinions, we are more likely to work authentically to create greater understanding among group members.
bullet1.gif It is in the interest of all to care as much about each other’s self-development as one’s own.
bullet1.gif The willingness of participants to discuss issues as fully as possible by offering arguments and counterarguments that are supported by evidence, data, and logic, and by holding strongly to these unless there are good reasons not to do so.
bullet1.gif A commitment to rethink, reexamine, or reformulate issues or problems in the light of new experiences or new lines of though.
bullet1.gif Openly expressing our appreciation for one another engenders a kind of joyous collaboration that is characteristic of the most productive and most democratic of communities.
bullet1.gif AKA “democratic faith”
bullet1.gif Faith suggests that people have the capacity to work through their own problems and that each person has something worthwhile and important to contribute to increasing understanding or to resolving conflict.
bullet1.gif An individual can claim that “this is what I believe in and stand for at this particular point in time.”
bullet1.gif The responsibility to take a stand, however temporary this may be, remains one of the foundations of democratic and moral deliberation.
bullet1.gif Allows for opportunities for growth and self-development, partly dependent on the clash of contending wills.

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