To involve students in the process of grounding abstract concepts in their own concrete life experiences, I began working with a type of reflective exercise that I call the “political life story,” in which students create and share narratives around the political phenomena that have shaped their own lives. Building on the experiences of other political scientists who have used active-versus-passive learning to disentangle conceptual ambiguity—as well as similar best practices of student-centered pedagogy that are well established in the discipline—I offer these reflections in the spirit of deepening the conversation about methods of reflective group learning with diverse students in both classroom and online contexts. My observations reinforce the consistent finding in the wider pedagogical literature that diverse classrooms provide a conducive environment for deep learning when particular emphasis is placed on the lived experiences of students.
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