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2005 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Track Summaries: Track Three: Experiential Learning

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2005

Lynda Barrow
Coe College
Daniel Hofrenning
St. Olaf College
Jocelyn Parkhurst
Soka University of America


Teachers usually turn to experiential education when they are dissatisfied with the so-called traditional classroom. At its worst, conventional teaching dissects the political world into an array of component parts. Sometimes students read the latest scholarship, but the treatment of politics is often either blandly descriptive or too abstract. This type of teaching can rob politics of its pulsing energy, which, ironically, attracted many political scientists into the field. While most political scientists find politics exciting, the norms of the discipline can enervate the importance and drama of politics. Student calls for more “current events” are a frequent response to these academic experiences.

© 2005 The American Political Science Association

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