Teaching Controversial Issues

Teaching Controversial Issues
Mark and Russell
Teaching Controversial Issues
Teaching Controversial Issues
“But my Mum says….”
Depersonalisation – eg. through citing of
conventions, law and legal frameworks
Teaching Controversial Issues
Single Equalities Act 2010 - equal treatment
irrespective of protected characteristics –
age, sex, race, religious belief, disability,
sexual orientation, gender re-assignment,
marriage/civil partnership,
Teaching Controversial Issues
‘The content of the curriculum has never been caught by
discrimination law and this Act now states explicitly that it is
excluded. However the way in which a school provides
education – the delivery of the curriculum – is explicitly
Excluding the content of the curriculum ensures that schools
are free to teach the full range of issues, ideas and materials
in their syllabus, and to expose pupils to thoughts and ideas of
all kinds, however challenging or controversial, without fear of
legal challenge based on a protected characteristic. But
schools will need to ensure that the way in which issues are
taught does not subject individual pupils to discrimination.’
(DFE – Advice for Schools Leaders – ref 2010 Equalities Act)
Teaching Controversial Issues
DFE Teachers’ Standards
“Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and
maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour,
within and outside school, by:
treating pupils with dignity, building
relationships rooted in mutual respect, and
at all times observing proper boundaries
appropriate to a teacher’s professional
Teaching Controversial Issues
showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of
not undermining fundamental British values,
including democracy, the rule of law, individual
liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those
with different faiths and beliefs
ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in
ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might
lead them to break the law.
Teaching Controversial Issues
‘Fundamental British values’ is taken from the definition of extremism
as articulated in the new Prevent Strategy, which was launched in June
2011. It includes ‘democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and
mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs’.
(‘DFE Teachers’ Standards from Sept 2012’)
Sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996.
The act forbids “the promotion of partisan political views” and confers on
schools a duty to “secure that where political issues are brought to the
attention of pupils… they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing
Teaching Controversial Issues
Rights and Responsibilities of Teachers and
Students –
The right toBe heard
Be respected (no bullying or victimisation)
Teaching Controversial Issues
The responsibility to –
Show respect
Teaching Controversial Issues
Classroom practice:
Agreed Ground rules based on RnR’s
Teacher Role Neutral chair /Debate – structured
or structured.
Teaching Controversial Issues
Structured Debate
teams, roles, audience, time limits,
research, points scores (for
teamwork, quality of evidence ,
counter arguments), penalties
Teaching Controversial Issues
Unstructured Debate
Chaired discussion
Fair hearing for all (Dimbleby role)
Teaching Controversial Issues
Devil’s Advocate…
United Nations Convention on the Rights of
the Child….?
“Children have few if any responsibilities so
why should they have rights…?”
Teaching Controversial Issues
Pause – Resources/Ideas that work/
Q and A
Teaching Controversial Issues
Resources and Schemes…
Mobiles Money Mayhem
Identity and diversity
WDWTWA- through Geography
We All Came Here from Somewhere
Teaching Controversial Issues
Ethical Consumption
Teaching Controversial Issues
EDL – on You Tube
Teaching Controversial Issues
Questions /Comments?
Teaching Controversial Issues
Karl Sweeney
[email protected]

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