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How to Evaluate an IF Policy Possibility—Part 2

Once you have a basic understanding of the policy possibility---what it says and what it doesn’t---the next step is to understand why someone might actually propose it. In order to do this, you will typically need to go beyond the description of the policy...

What is Poetry?

When Robert Frost was asked ‘What is poetry?’ he replied ‘Poetry is the kind of thing that poets write’. A natural response to such a definition might be a knowing smile and a barrage of questions that try to get at the core of what poetry is or what it might be....

Dealing With Difference

Difference is a fundamental fact of human life. There is similarity too. But difference is the reason why we need to have discussions about public policy. It is also the reason why they should occur face-to-face, over extended periods of time, and with the...

Losing Sight

During the last few weeks of my IF course, I have been struggling to understand just how well students are developing discussion and facilitation skills. Even though students have engaged in several weeks of discussion, some members dominate the conversation more...

Public Discussion: We’ve All Done It Before

Some people think there’s something magical or mystical about IF-style citizen discussions.  Others think they’re just plain mysterious.  They are none of these things.  In fact, they’re a lot like the kind of thing most of us do on our own when faced with...

Lauren’s Story

The entry below is another story from my colleague Jack Byrd about student experiences with a student-centered discussion class. It might help you think about the ways that discussion facilitation differs from making an oral presentation. You might also think about...