It It Possible to Teach the Art of Conversation and Civility?

Alissa Wilkinson thinks so. A writing instructor at The King’s College in New York City and an accomplished writer in her own right, Wilkinson believes it is both possible and beneficial to teach students, not only how to write decent prose, but also how to communicate effectively in today’s world.

The Washington Square Arch, through which you can see the "tiny" Empire State Building, the "campus" of The King's College

Wilkinson is especially concerned that her students understand the impact of the Internet on their public lives:

Ostensibly, I teach for my students’ future public lives. But the Internet is a dangerous place for those who have not formed good communication habits. And if they are winsome in the future, but not now, the permanency of the new digital public square will come back to haunt them.

Wilkinson’s approach to teaching the art of conversation and civility includes a surprising assignment, one that some of her students hate. Her approach got me thinking about how I communicate in this blog and in other settings. I’d encourage you to check our her article, “Teaching the Art of Conversation and Civility” at the Capital Commentary website.


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