Deliberative learning: Connecting international urban planning theory and practice through a case study, peer-learning approach
One of the key challenges for internationally oriented urban planning courses is the difficulty connecting classroom learning to the realities of professional practice, particularly when field-based courses are costly and time-consuming. As pedagogy in professional fields shifts towards service learning and experiential education models, international planning educators must develop more flexible, in-class pedagogical techniques that will immerse students in the unique contexts and scenarios they may find themselves in as working professionals. With the support of the TLTC Program Quick Wins funding we are developing a new teaching methodology that combines peer-learning with a rich set of international case studies created specifically by development professionals for use in international planning graduate instruction. The methodology will allow students to apply abstract development theories and concepts to real scenarios and projects, debate alternative planning approaches with their peers, and expand their geographic and institutional knowledge base. The approach will allow instructors to connect theory to practice through robust case studies and to quickly identify which concepts students are struggling to understand or put into practice. The evaluation of this project aims to assess the degree to which interactive, case-based peer-learning exercises advance urban planning pedagogy in general, and improve learning about international planning specifically. In addition to publications on student learning, dissemination will include a guide for educators interested in replicating the approach or developing their own cases to include in a publicly available, web-based library. Ultimately, we hope that the integration of peer-based instruction and practice-based case studies throughout international urban planning education will foster more insightful professional judgment and bring forth more creative solutions to today’s toughest global planning challenges.
Lesli Hoey, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning