Civitas World Congress: Cape Town, South Africa
May 27 – June 1, 2009
CELD participated in the Center for Civic Education’s thirteenth annual World Congress on Civic Education held in Cape Town, South Africa. The conference theme was “Civic Education: Reconciling our Past, Building a Democratic Future."

Our Civitas partnership presented a session, "Discussing Controversial Issues in the Classroom." Although many studies recommend discussion of controversial issues as an effective strategy for promoting positive, democratic political attitudes, some suggest that controversy has no place in the education of youth.

In this session, participants developed a list of controversial issues and criteria for including them in classroom discussion. The session also introduced participants to several models for discussing controversial issues in the classroom and suggestions for teacher professional development.
  Goals of this session were to have a professional exchange about the place of controversial issues within civic education and to:

• to provide a rationale for including controversial issues in civic education programs;
• to apply criteria for selection of controversial issues in civic education programs; and
• to evaluate models for including discussion of controversial issues in professional
development programs.