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Oluwatosin Adedeji-Fajobi March 2014

Professor Bedell CAS138T



Deliberating Class Civic Issues Forum on higher education

Introduction:
Communication is very important and vital with in our daily lives. Nothing can take place
without some form of communication that is being used to express ourselves for whatever
purpose.
We are therefore constantly using some system of communication or another to send a message
from one place to another. Today there are many different forms of communication. Without
these different methods of communication available today, it would be more challenging for us
to carry out business or relay a message as efficiently as it is done today and with the same
speed. Communication is a very important and vital to life here on earth. There are many
different forms of communication such as writing, oral communication and non-verbal body
language.
Written communication is usually used when you have to provide comprehensive information
such as facts. It is also generally used to create documents, books, letters and other important
materials which could be stored for later and referred to easily as it is recorded. It can be seen in
recent years, however, that verbal communication has been replaced to a great extent by a faster
form of written communication and that is email.
Oral communication is one of the most used forms of communication. The skill to communicate
ones self effectively orally is very vital. People are continually use words verbally to notify
others of a decision, provide information, tell a story, etc. This can be done either by phone or
face-to-face. It is important that the person on the receiving end is able to exercise much
attentiveness to ensure that he/she clearly understands what is being said. This shows therefore
that you would need to develop both listening and speaking skills, as you would have to carry out
both roles, with different people.
Gastil refers to what is called the ideal speech situation, this is where two or more persons
could infinitely question one anothers beliefs about the world until each perspective had been
fully scrutinized, leaving only a limited set of valid statements on which to base ones
conclusions about an issue. He later goes on to say that this can be seen as the ideal of a
rational exchange of views resulting in enlightened understanding. From this it can be said that
if all the elements are correct an ideal speech situation can be/ make room for a productive
deliberation.
When people are able to communicate clearly and effectively this creates room for
deliberation. Deliberation can be defined as an approach to decision-making in which citizens
consider relevant facts from multiple points of view, converse with one another to think critically
about options before them and enlarge their perspectives, opinions, and understandings.
One of the most important forms of deliberation is deliberative democracy. This form of
deliberation strengthens citizen voices in governance by including people of all races, classes,
ages and geographies in deliberations that may directly affect public decisions such as education,
the environment and taxes. As a result, citizens have the ability to have an impact their own lives
and community and at the same time they are able to see the result of their influence onthe
policy and resource decisions that influence their daily lives and their future. Deliberation places
an emphasis on the use of logic and reasoning to make better decisions. These decisions can be
about important public issues like health care and immigration.
Deliberation as a Class:
Day one:
In our group on the first day we discussed option 1 which said Higher education should help
ensure that our economy remains competitive in a tough global marketplace- and that means
recapturing our lead in science and technology. Countries like China are transforming their
systems to educate more high-tech professionals, and we should too. Its our nest chance to keep
our economy growing.
Our group started off with one of the first points mentioned in the chart which was create a solid
information base: discuss personal and emotional experiences. We started the conversation by
going around the circle and stating our majors and the different stakes we all had in the issue.
For the most part there was a general agreement that although STEM majors are important the
arts are vital as well. This goes along with some of the social processes of deliberation, as set by
Gastil. We stated out valid points like Scientists have to put whats in their head out to the
public, and then were socially we were able to adequately distribute speaking opportunities
when someone had a point they were not dismissed instead we built on what the previous
speaker had said. For example after stating that Scientists have to put whats in their head out to
the public someone else spoke about communication being a major issue within the science
industry and how many times people are not able to understand what a scientist is trying to
communicate because of the complex language used.
Our group was also very analytical when speaking. We were able to weigh the pros, cons, and
trade-offs among solutions. An example of this was when we stated One possible way to
implement this proposalis to provide more options for STEM minded people earlier in their
educations. This idea was debated and it was said that These dull studies are still necessary.
Also we as a group we were able to prioritize the key values at stake ( Gastil, Figure 6.1) . We
said things like A Bigger issue than higher education is getting kids interested at a lower level
and supported it by saying If we force a bunch of kids who are interested into these subjects,
then they wont like it. This helped to focus our attention and also build upon a certain idea in
order to come up with a solution. Again we weighed the pros and cons when we said At the
same time, higher education science does not help maintaining passion in math and sciences
while countering that with comments like Boring classes, weed out classes, huge classes, you
dont get to know your professors
In general on the first day we were all in general agreement that although the STEM majors are
important so are the liberal arts and is important to maintain a balance. Our group was overall
able to communicate pretty well and have a fluid deliberation. There were some times where
there were gaps and some people did jump from one point to another but the conversation was
able to move, and we were all able to understand one another and come to some form of a
consensus.

Day 2
On the second day we discussed option two. Similar to the first day we went around the group to
see how each person felt about option two. This option dealt more with diversity and teaching
values. This option contradicted option one because Option one dealt with competing
internationally to avoid dilution, while Option two suggests more of a focus on
teaching integrity and respect within school. The values proposed in Option two seem to be less
concrete than Option one.
During the conversation on day two, we were able to share our own personal experiences
because we all attend the same university we were able to relate to what each person was saying.
Someone within the group mentioned that our school is very diverse, and has a large amount of
international students and people from other races. We all agreed with that and then someone
brought up the point that although our school is very diverse most of the time students coming
from similar backgrounds tend to socialize with one another and not really make an effort to
communicate with people unlike them. We related this back to how it was said that employers
wanted workers who are able to work with people from different backgrounds. In this example
our group was able to take a well-known fact ( Penn State has a large percentage of international
students- which was used as a solid information base) and analyze it be bringing it home
and relating it to our everyday lives. Also we were able to build upon this and while not
completely negating it we further discussed it.
The conversation on this day did not flow as well as it did on the first day, but as a group we
were able to come to a consensus/ solution. As a group we listened to others and even though
there were pauses in the deliberation it was good because it showed that we were listening to one
another and processing/ thinking about what was just said.
Day 3:
On the final day of deliberation we discussed option three. This option was more focused on
equal opportunity. On this day we used facts to prioritize key values and consider what would be
the best possible decision. An example of this would be when we stated that the percentage of
people who have student loan debt is the highest it has ever been and it is only increasing, we
also said although there is a large amount of scholarships available they are not always easily
available to everyone and may be very time consuming. This was one of our key points our
solution was that schools need to spread the awareness of opportunities that kids could have and
also that the government should give more money to scholarships instead of going straight to
colleges.
Overall:
Our group was able to implement all of the elements needed in a deliberation. Being in small
groups really helped because we were able to speak to the group and listen to what each person
had to say. Unlike in a big group we were not fighting to speak and have our opinion herd. Also
each person was able to state their idea clearly and if someone did not understand it was no
problem to clarify. Also, we built on what each person was saying and did not jump from one
point to another. Everyone voice was herd right from the start when we began each day by going
around a circle. Each one of the social processes was exhibited within our deliberation.
Also in our groups we did not state only one solution per option but gave varying solutions.
The moderator in the group played a vital role. They helped to keep the group on track and kept
us from going off on a tangent. Also they listened to the group and when there was a long pause
they were able to bring up a new idea while still relating it. This is very important because the
moderator kept the conversation going and helped us to stay away from easily debatable topics.
Deliberation is a very important type of communication. Deliberation assumes that many people
have pieces of an answer to a workable solution. In deliberation, you must listen one another so
that you may understand and find meaning in agreement. Deliberation in our group was
collaborative and built a common understanding. Deliberation in general can be used for a
variety of reasons: to resolve conflicts and bridge divides; to build understanding about
complex issues; to foster innovative solutions to problems and launch action; and to reach
agreement on or recommendations about policy decisions.

Works Cited
"Tutorials Point Simply Easy Learning." Communication Methods. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar.
2014.
"What Is Deliberation?" What Is Deliberation? N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.