Resource

Teaching Controversial Issues

Overview

This training pack is a professional development programme for teachers, which is designed to support and promote the teaching of controversial issues in schools across Europe.

Why is this pack needed?

Learning how to engage in dialogue with people whose values are different from one’s own and to respect them is central to the democratic process and essential for the protection and strengthening of democracy and fostering a culture of human rights.

Yet in Europe young people do not often have an opportunity to discuss controversial issues in school because they are seen as too challenging to teach, e.g., issues to do with extremism, gender violence, child abuse, or sexual orientation. Unable to voice their concerns, unaware of how others feel or left to rely on friends and social media for their information, young people can be frustrated or confused about some of the major issues which affect their communities and European society today. In the absence of help from school, they might have no reliable means of dealing with these issues constructively and no one to guide them.

The idea for this Pack came out of a call from policy-makers and practitioners in a number of European countries for more effective training for teachers in the teaching of controversial issues. (You might also find Managing Controversy in Schools useful, which is aimed at school leaders and senior managers.)

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