Controversial Issues In The Social Studies Classroom

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Controversial Issues In The Social Studies Classroom

  1. 1. Controversial Issues in the Social Studies Classroom Conducting beneficial discussions of controversial issues is an art that requires skill and practice… Modified from Controversial Issues in the Classroom by Angela Harwood and Carole L. Hahn
  2. 2. <ul><li>Selecting Issues </li></ul><ul><li>consider their students' interest </li></ul><ul><li>experience, and expertise regarding the issue </li></ul><ul><li>the relevance of issues to their students' lives </li></ul><ul><li>their students‘ maturity level and </li></ul><ul><li>the significance of the issue to society </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Preparing Students for Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>teachers must be willing to invest time to train their students in discussion techniques. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Providing Adequate Information Sources </li></ul><ul><li>students need to be adequately prepared </li></ul><ul><li>teachers need to provide informational resources, and that students have an opportunity to acquire background knowledge prior to the discussion. (through readings, lectures, films, guest speakers, or field trips) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Establishing an Open Discussion Climate </li></ul><ul><li>creation an intellectually safe environment for student participation </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers should model appropriate discussion </li></ul><ul><li>behaviors by carefully listening to and respecting students' contributions. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers must tolerate widely divergent views and encourage expression of them </li></ul><ul><li>Students must understand that they may not interrupt each other's comments, and that they may disagree without being disagreeable. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Maintaining Focus and Direction </li></ul><ul><li>Stay on topic </li></ul><ul><li>Use the blackboard or an overhead projector to summarize and organize student contributions </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Ensuring Intellectual Balance </li></ul><ul><li>ensure that students are exposed to the full range of perspectives on any issue considered. </li></ul><ul><li>solicit a wide array of opinions about discussed issues, and expose students to a best case, fair hearing of competing points of view. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Encouraging Equal Participation </li></ul><ul><li>draw reticent students into the discussion and to limit the contributions of more outspoken students </li></ul><ul><li>The establishment of a participation system (ex: tokens) </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The Expression of Teachers' Personal Views </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers who take a stand on controversial issue in their classroom must be willing to clearly indicate that it is only one opinion, and must be willing to provide the evidence on which their decision was based. </li></ul><ul><li>teachers must be careful, however, that in so doing they do not adversely affect the ability of their students to freely examine the issues at hand. </li></ul>

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