Pedagogies of the Street – in the Classroom

July 19, 2012, 8:30 am-4 pm
Registration required ($30; $20 for students)

This session is a pre-conference learning exchange
before the Frontiers of Democracy conference

Educating for democracy involves the examination of and dialogue about tensions between individualism and the common good, equality and liberty, and participatory and representative systems. It cultivates in students political judgment and skills to engage in public discourse, problem-solving, and collective decision-making. It includes the study of both democratic theory and practice. As Parker Palmer wrote in Healing the Heart of Democracy, students learn not only from what is taught but how it is taught. In grappling with tensions inherent in a democracy, students can explore their own potential, meaning, and purpose as members of a larger civic community.

In this learning exchange, participants will examine promising curricula and pedagogies for democratic education, with a particular emphasis on “pedagogies of the street,” the tried and true approaches to public engagement that are already being used in communities nationally and internationally. Imagine study circles as course design, public conversations in classroom discussions on political controversies, issue forums as labs, and intergroup community-university dialogues, to name a few. Our goal will be to create a repository of learning outcomes, interdisciplinary course modules, sample syllabi, assignments, case studies, and experiences that faculty can adapt and use.

Questions about the learning exchange can be directed to The Democracy Imperative.


A pre-conference workshop at Frontiers of Democracy 2012
Tufts Medical School, 145 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA
July 19, 2012, 8:30 am to 4:00 pm

8:30 to 9:00 am  Welcome, introductions, agenda review, and introduction to the topic (light breakfast provided)

Tell us a little about yourself and why you are interested in this topic.
What do we mean by “pedagogies of the street?”

9:00 to 10:30 am  Learning exchange

Share some examples of a moment in a deliberative process that really “clicked.”

What are some experiences or ideas that you have had or use, innovative approaches to practicing democratic pedagogies in the classroom and “on the street?”

10:30 to 10:45 am    Break

10:45 to noon          Open Space

Small group exchanges based on participants’ interests: What would you like to know more about?

12:00 to 1:00 pm    Lunch (provided)

1:00 to 2:15 pm    Messy moments — World Café

What are the most challenging parts of this work?  Large and small group exchanges on mistakes, barriers, and difficulties – including strategies for addressing those challenges.

2:15            Break

2:30 to 3:30 pm    Building capacity

What new capacities can come out of this conversation?
How do we begin to expand the capacity for this work, beginning with us?
What would the content be?
What can we, as a group, do?

 3:30 to 3:50 pm    Taking democracy to your street – personal commitments, next steps

Large group brainstorm on personal action ideas and strategies: what can each of us do?

3:45 to 4:00 pm     Closing reflections