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Home » Professional Development » Workshops & Courses » Workshop 1: Teaching Controversial Issues for Social Studies

Workshop 1: Teaching Controversial Issues for Social Studies

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IMG_8372sThis course aims to help Social Studies teachers effectively facilitate the discussion of controversial issues in their classrooms. Teachers will learn how to construct the rules and norms for deliberation and discussion, ask probing questions that are aligned to the goals of the discussion, and ensure equality of participation.


Instructor: Professor Diana Hess, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dates: 16 & 17 Aug 2010 or 19 & 20 Aug 2010

Time: 9am - 4pm

Venue: One-North Executive Centre, Slim Barracks Rise


Course Overview

In order to become active and informed citizens, students should learn how to be effectively engaged in the discussion of controversial issues. Therefore, it is important to teach both with and for discussion, particularly in Social Studies classrooms. Given the shift towards an issues-centered Social Studies curriculum, this course will be particularly useful in helping Social Studies teachers structure their curricula and teaching methods to improve their students’ ability to discuss issues in the classroom.


Course Description

Teachers will learn how to facilitate lively, in-depth, and high quality discussions of relevant and authentic issues. Through discussions, participants will acquire a deeper understanding of the concept of controversial public issues, identify and critically evaluate the different rationales for the inclusion of these public policy issues, understand how their views inform and influence their teaching, and evaluate a variety of curriculum resources and programs on controversial issues.


About the Trainer

Diana Hess is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr Hess is a highly regarded discussion leader and trainer, and has conducted ground-breaking research on the discussion of controversial issues in the classroom. She is the author of Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion and is a recipient of the 2009 National Council of Social Studies Exemplary Research in the Social Studies Award.


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