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Abstract

This essay reflects on a semester-length classroom activity designed to give students an opportunity to practice their citizenship skills. We approach the problem of lack of citizen participation as a communication challenge and present our adaptation of Deliberative Polling to provide students with opportunities to: 1) research alternatives on an issue related to citizenship, 2) hone their research and critical thinking skills, and 3) participate in communication on issues related to citizenship with focused reflection on the communication processes involved. Because the topic is citizenship, students discuss issues related to political participation (e.g. voting) and are asked to reflect on their own practice of citizenship throughout the process. The activity allowed students to experience an alternative to the “either/or debate” perception of politics and gave them tools to participate in politics differently, and in more satisfying ways.

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