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Inviting Dialogue in Higher Education

Does note-taking on a laptop inhibit classroom discussion and learning? What about the smart phones in students’ pockets during a seminar? In a recent New York Times article, five neurologists went back to nature to discuss whether unplugging from the digital feed could improve attention, learning, and memory. Another approach that fosters deeper learning and promotes more focused, thoughtful exchange of ideas is facilitated dialogue.

Key questions: What does dialogue make possible for college campuses?  Can it teach critical thinking and reflection? Increase opportunities for creative problem solving? Improve civic engagement? Strengthen campuses while supporting opposing viewpoints? We believe it can.

Working with the national Difficult Dialogues Initiative and the Clark University chapter, the Public Conversations Project engaged eighty educators from across the Northeast to discuss the potential for dialogue to help renew the deep purposes of higher education.

Check out this series of blog posts to learn more about this inspiring project covering the conference including reflections from participants, pictures, and video highlights.  We very much hope you will share these resources (feel free to repost on your blog!) and to help us continue the conversation about how dialogue is making a difference in higher education.

For more information, please email Julie Ebin.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. The ability to engage in civil discussions is an essential civic skill. ADP salutes the Public Conversations Project’s efforts to increase opportunities for students to develop this important civic skill.


    August 31, 2010

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