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Abstract

Inspired by the Citizens Initiative Review Process in Oregon, Healthy Democracy, and the Living Voters Guide, this paper proposes that undergraduate educators should teach, practice, and perform deliberative democracy in the classroom. This paper will identify deliberation as a tool for resolving difficulties in current democratic practices and propose a specific classroom activity to teach deliberative skills. The sample undergraduate activity involves student research, local political leaders coming to speak and answer questions, and in-class deliberations. Using survey data collected from the students/participants, it was found that the activity had positive learning outcomes for students. Students reported feeling more knowledgeable and informed about the democratic process the ballot measure on which students deliberated (Missouri’s Proposition E from the 2012 election). Results also suggest that this activity allowed for students to learn about and gain confidence in argumentation, advocacy, deliberation, and democracy.