The David Mathews Center’s 2018 Teachers’ Institute workshops kicked off on January 12, 2018, at the Shelby County Inservice Center in Alabaster, Alabama. The workshop, which was organized by Helena High School social studies educator Laura Barnes, focused on encouraging deliberation in the classroom, in both formal deliberative forums and through developing skills that allow students to thoughtfully consider many sides of an issue.

The workshop was attended by over a dozen Shelby County educators who hope to apply deliberative practices to the social studies courses they teach, which range from world history to government and economics. Barnes, a twelfth-grade government and economics teacher, is including the instruction of deliberation to her National Board Certification application.

Following the workshop, the David Mathews Center was invited to host a series of six deliberative forums with 197 students at Helena High Schools to demonstrate the process. The deliberations engaged students in discussions on poverty and immigration which utilized the Making Ends Meet and Coming to America issue guides from National Issues Forums.

If you are interested in attending a workshop on how to use deliberation in your classroom, check out the David Mathews Center’s list of upcoming educator workshops for dates and locations. If you are interested in hosting a school or district-wide workshop contact Gabrielle Lamplugh, Assistant Program Director, at