During 2017 the David Mathews Center for Civic Life (DMC) partnered with communities and schools across the state to complete a total of 52 “What’s Next, Alabama?” (WNAL) forums. Thanks to a generous grant from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, the DMC will now have the opportunity to share with teachers how they can utilize WNAL in their classrooms to engage students in conversations about Alabama’s unique history and approaching future.

The workshop series, titled What’s Next Alabama?: Place-Based, Deliberative Learning in the Classroom, will be held in each of Alabama’s in-service regions during 2018 and will provide educators with the materials and skills they need to conduct place-based, deliberative discussion in their classroom.

Deliberation is a format of group discussion that focuses on finding common ground between many different approaches. The process challenges students to think in a more nuanced way about historical and current events and issues affecting their community and state. Not only can deliberation help cultivate hard skills in students, by encouraging them to think critically about data, evidence, and arguments, the process also helps students develop soft skills including collaboration, empathy, and interpersonal communication. Beyond the immediate educational benefits of deliberation, the skill prepares young people to be future civic and community leaders who can work through challenging issues in constructive ways with people who think very differently from themselves.

The What’s Next, Alabama? (WNAL) issue guide that will be featured during the workshop complements social studies curriculum and can be easily integrated into studies in state and local history, government, and economics, as well as contemporary world issues and sociology. In addition to specific instruction on how to utilize the WNAL issue guide in their classroom, educators will be equipped with the skills that allow them to utilize the DMC’s numerous standards-aligned, deliberative issue guides with their students.

Through the grant made available by Alabama’s Bicentennial Commission, the workshops will be available to educators free of charge and include a $50 substitute reimbursement and lunch. Continuing education units will be granted. All 9th through 12th-grade educators who explore these areas of study in their classroom, and those who assist in developing curriculum for 9th through 12th-grade social studies educators, are welcome to attend. For further information and to register for a workshop date, visit the corresponding Eventbrite link below:


Auburn, Alabama

Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Location: Caroline Marshall Draughon Center (Pebble Hill)

Registration: http://bit.ly/2sAgS8d


Chatom, Washington County, Alabama

Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Location: Washington County Public Library

Registration: http://bit.ly/2sEgK7N


Birmingham, Alabama

Date: Friday, April 27, 2018

Location: Homewood Public Library

Registration: http://bit.ly/2C3e7zW


Montevallo, Alabama

Date: Friday, May 25, 2018

Location: American Village

Registration: http://bit.ly/2BxL9XR


Selma, Alabama

Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Location: Selma-Dallas County Public Library

Registration: http://bit.ly/2sBMU3G


Huntsville, Alabama

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Location: TBD

Registration: https://dmcworkshopathens.eventbrite.com


Athens, Alabama

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Location: TBD

Registration: https://dmcworkshopaamu.eventbrite.com


Florence, Alabama

Date: Friday, October 12, 2018

Location: Florence – Lauderdale Public Library

Registration: https://dmcworkshopflorence.eventbrite.com


Dothan, Alabama

Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Location: Wiregrass Museum of Art

Registration: https://dmcworkshopdothan.eventbrite.com


Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Location: Tuscaloosa Public Library

Registration: https://dmcworkshopua.eventbrite.com


Jacksonville, Alabama

Date: Friday, November 9, 2018

Location: Jacksonville State University Inservice Education Center

Registration: http://bit.ly/2sAiLl0