"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead

What are civic skills?

In general, a skill is an ability to act or perform that has been acquired and developed or honed through experience and practice.   Examples of civic skills include:

  • being able to participate in collective reasoning:  collaboratively identifying, giving and receiving, and weighing reasons with others (deliberating)
  • being able to listen for comprehension (dialogue)
  • being able to speak in public with confidence, clarity, precision, and tact.
  • being able to examine problems from multiple perspectives:  individual, social, cultural, economic, political, etc.
  • being able to separate “fact” from hypothesis, probability, conjecture, speculation, received wisdom, anecdotal accounts, etc.
  • being able to identify weaknesses in one’s own and others’ deductive, inductive, and practical arguments (errors in formal logic, inductive reasoning, and informal logic)
  • being able to synthesize and reconcile conflicting views, values, priorities, etc.
  • being able to see logical, causal, and associational connections between problems and between explanatory factors and consequences.

Return to the Frequently Asked Questions page.