Facilitation of deliberation in the classroom: The interplay of facilitative technique and design to increase inclusiveness

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Widespread global interest and adoption of deliberative democracy approaches to reinvigorate citizenship and policy making in an era of democratic crisis/decline has been mirrored by increasing interest in deliberation in schools, both as an approach to pedagogy and student empowerment, and as a training ground for deliberative citizenship. In school deliberation, as in other settings, a key and sometimes neglected element of high-quality deliberation is facilitation. Facilitation can help to establish and maintain deliberative norms, as well as assisting participants to deliberate productively and achieve collective goals. This article draws on our experience as scholar/practitioners running a Deliberation in Schools program in Australia to explore challenges and strategies for deliberative facilitation. The challenges we discuss are power, inequality, diversity and boundaries, disagreement and integration and these are discussed in the general context of inclusiveness. We highlight two facets of deliberative facilitation – technique and design – which are important for dealing with these challenges and increasing inclusion in school deliberation and in democratic deliberation more generally.
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Archival date: 2020-09-09
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