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The Challenge of Teaching Controversial Issues
It is eighteen years since an authoritative book appeared on teaching controversial issues. Today new and pressing issues, local and global, challenge our capacities as teachers. In England, the compulsory secondary citizenship curriculum and primary guidelines in the national curriculum have completely altered the educational context. How should we respond to children’s questions about war or refugees? How can we teach children about democracy? Or about climate change?
Children urgently need to learn about controversy and approaches to managing conflict democratically and rationally. But evidence from teachers indicates that while they believe teaching about controversial issues is crucial, they find it challenging. They want to understand their own role and be equipped with effective approaches to sensitive and complex issues. This timely book will do precisely this. International in its vision, relevant, practical, up to date, it spans preschool through to Higher Education.
Each chapter dissects the nature of a specific controversy and offers practical strategies for helping students work through possible solutions. Whether describing work with five year olds about war and peace, for instance, or exploring racism with university students in a mainly white environment in Canada, the authors draw on their own experience. The key dilemmas and suggested approaches, relevant for teachers in all educational settings, cover
· educational policy and social justice
· teaching young children about war and global conflict
· using children’s literature and drama to explore controversial issues
· teaching about climate change and sustainability
· teaching about controversial issues with post 16 pupils
Cathie Holden and Hilary Claire are internationally known for their work on Citizenship Education. The contributors are all eminent academics and teachers from the UK and abroad working in diverse fields where the teaching of controversial issues is central.