The Town Hall Meeting: Imagining a Self through Public-Sphere Pedagogy
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What lasting impact could a required general education writing course have on students’ well-being? We examined this question in the context of the California State University– Chico Town Hall Meeting, a campus event sponsored jointly by the Academic Writing Program and the First-Year Experience Program from 2006 to 2009. In the Town Hall, first-year students in over twenty sections of our required writing course gathered together in small groups with upperclassmen, faculty, staff, and community members to share their research on pressing public issues. They emerged from that required first-year writing course, Academic Writing: Writing in the Public Sphere, having experienced the intertwined processes of inquiry, dialogue, writing, and action that we believe are central to the formation of rich civic, academic, and emerging adult identities. The Town Hall component of this writing course is just one example of an approach to teaching we call Public-Sphere Pedagogy (PSP), which focuses on developing student well-being through purpose-driven dialogue and democratic participation.
Swiencicki, Jill; Fosen, Chris; Burton, Sofie; Gonder, Justin; and Wolf, Thia (2011). "The Town Hall Meeting: Imagining a Self through Public-Sphere Pedagogy." Liberal Education 97.2, 40-45.
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