Teaching Controversial Issues

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


Teaching Controversial Issues . Newbridge Integrated College August 2013. Aims of Session 9.30-11.00am. Raise your awareness of context and scope of addressing the teaching of controversial issues. Constraints and limitations Some examples of effective practice - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Teaching Controversial Issues

Teaching Controversial Issues

Teaching Controversial Issues Newbridge Integrated CollegeAugust 2013

1Aims of Session 9.30-11.00amRaise your awareness of context and scope of addressing the teaching of controversial issues.Constraints and limitationsSome examples of effective practiceSome ideas for the way forward(ensuring good practice is disseminated and relevant materials made available)2

InterpretationsidentityDifferent viewpoints Commemoration What makes some issues contentious? Personal somebody has invested something in them. Emotive because they are sometimes tied up with a persons sense of identity which when they feel threatened . It is often the commemoration of the significant event that is sensitive and contentious not so much the event itself.In divided societies such as NI the past is contested. Collective memory where does it come from? Where do your pupils obtain their memory of past events from parents/TV /media? Reconciliation initiatives are not so much about reconciling Protestant and Catholic but more about accepting and acknowledging diversity within the dame groups of people and challenging the dual narrative approach which at times perpetuates the stereotypical views and reinforces differences instead of similarities.3What makes an issue contentious?Relevant because of what is happening in the world nowDeal with issues of injustice, intolerance and/or sufferingDeal with religious tensionsDeal with racial tensionsDeal with treatment of others, in terms of attitudes towards, repression of or retaliation of individuals and/or groups

4The Decade of Anniversaries 2012-2022Ulster Covenant 2012Labour Movement 2013World War 1 2014The Battle of the Somme 2016The Easter Rising 2016Womens suffrage 1918The Partition of Ireland 2022

Today we will be talking about these more sensitive contentious issues which pupils of Newbridge will have to face in their lives either now or later and for you as teachers putting them in the school context of what you have to do and how we at NICIE can help building on the ethos and good work of the school in these areas.5Context and scopeWhere does the teaching of these controversial issues sit?ESAGS School Development Planning C.R.E.DDEPARTMENTTEACHER

6SCOPEESAGS 2009Quality Indicator is Child Centred Education

A clear commitment exists to promoting equality of opportunity, high quality learning, a concern for individual pupils and a respect for diversity.

7School Development Plan

1.Schedule and Requirements 2010 A statement and evaluation of the ethos of the school.2. Together Towards Improvement 2009 Under Strategic Leadership - Equality of opportunity, diversity and good relations


One of the tasks for education is to prepare children and young people for living in a society that is diverse.1.8Community Relations, Equality and Diversity is about working towards a society in which there is a sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of peoples backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar opportunities are open to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in schools, youth groups and the wider community.

This policy will complement the curriculum by providing teachers and youth workers with the capacity to address what are often difficult and sensitive issues; by ensuring good practice is disseminated and relevant materials are available; by equipping children and young people with the skills, attitudes and behaviours needed to recognize, understand and respect difference in all its forms; and by providing opportunities for children and young people to put these skills into practice.The policy will broaden this work to cover all section 75 groups, so that our children and young people can learn to handle diversity in all its various forms. It is my desire that this work becomes fully embedded into educational settings to ensure that we prepare our children and young people to take their place in society

9QUALITY INDICATORS FOR C.R.E.D. Q2a The participants work collaboratively with others from different traditions and backgrounds and gain positive learning experiences in a safe and caring environment which promotes equality, inclusion, reconciliation and values difference.

10DEPARTMENTRATIONALE MAPPING TO CRED POLICY (See quality indicators 1a and 2)See Statutory Requirements for areas of learning Northern Ireland curriculum (2006)Ethical AwarenessPersonal UnderstandingMutual UnderstandingMoral Character.

11TeacherFinding appropriate strategies which allow pupils to explore and face sensitive issues in the context of the subject.Professional training and development.

12 CONSTRAINTS and LIMITATIONSCRED 5.3.10 As such they may require teachers to explore subjects and issues which are sensitive and/or controversial. This in turn may require appropriate professional development and personal reflection.5.4.2 Bringing young people from differing religious and cultural traditions together to focus on the significant issues which have caused conflict and distress in the past is seen as an integral element of education which works toward insuring a peaceful and stable shared society in the future.

Raises the question whose responsibility is the teaching of controversial issues?13Teaching is also limited by The GCSE specifications, which make no explicit demand to examine difficult' issues.The emphasis on results, which leads to an understandable focus on the knowledge and understanding of key concepts and processes to pass the exam.A lack of time at KS4, particularly where there is a large amount of content specification to cover.Teachers' subject knowledge, which may hinder their ability to exploit potential interesting aspects of the past.Resources that focus on the exam requirements rather than encouraging pupils to explore more fundamental issues about human action in the pastTeachers' pedagogical ability to handle sensitive debates and discussions.Some teachers' unease when dealing with difficult' issues.

14Some guidance for the Community Relations Council Start from the historicalfacts;2) Recognise theimplicationsandconsequencesof what happened;3) Understand that differentperceptionsandinterpretationsexist; and4)Show how events and activities can deepenunderstandingof the period.All to be seen in the context of aninclusive and accepting society

15Some ideas for effective practiceStart the teaching of a contentious issue in history. An historically grounded approach is adopted both in terms of historical content and historical process; this would look at what happened, how we know, why there are differing accounts, why does it matter today and in the past?The use of an enquiry approach, encouraging pupils to ask and answer complex questions the human experience. History provides suitable context is provided within which to study a topic, for example a broader study of Jewish persecution to avoid seeing it as a German' problem in a study of the Holocaust. English and Media Studies provide rich contexts in which sensitive issues may be explored through texts, films, novels, plays , poems, websites. Citizenship /English/RE /Art- Stereotypes are confronted by identifying pupil preconceptions and devising exercises and examples that challenge theseDrama - Pupils are helped to access the issues through role play, reconstructions or choice of examples that are initially within the compass of a child's experience.

16Why are these issues difficult to teach?They can sometimes provoke emotional and unreasoned responses from pupils and teachers feel uncomfortable and under prepared to deal professionally with the situation. Significant events in history can be emotive and controversial whenever there is actual or perceived unfairness to people by other individuals or groups. Sensitivities exist where there are disparities between what is taught in school history and other histories such as family and community history. Often they create a strong resonance with the students. There can also be sensitivity when confronting some uncomfortable themes such as death. Exposure of teacher 17Good Practice For example, there needs to be a clear rationale in the school for teaching such issuesit is not just a matter for history teachers. The rationale needs to emphasise identity, values and diversity. Teaching emotive and controversial history is more likely to succeed when it is taught both as a body and form of knowledge, where there is a strong emphasis on independent enquiry, time to reflect and where students understand the complexity. It means building in enough time to consider multiple narratives and explore the past from different perspectives.


The T.E.A.C.H Report in 2009 recognised that things will not change without some action. More attention certainly needs giving to this area in schools and through continuing professional development. It needs to be seen as a whole-school issue to help provide coherence and progression. There also needs to be cultural changesupporting rather than discouraging debate and risk taking in classrooms. There are also resource issuesnew ones are needed to allow schools to introduce a more varied and relevant curriculum. Above all the Report is not the final word. We need to improve the research and evidence base related to the teaching of emotive and controversial history.

19Some examples of effective practice A rationale for the school that emphasises identity, values and diversity.Inter disciplinary approachesMulti dimensional approaches. Narratives, stories and biographies are used as a means of getting closer to individual experiences and providing


View more >