Discussing Controversial Issues:
Introducing Discussion

In conversations with opinion makers and educators in Colorado throughout 2003 and 2004, CELD staff found widespread support for improving discussion of controversial issues in our state’s classrooms. Coloradans want young people to be engaged in deliberation on important issues because the ability to take part in civil discussions of controversial matters is essential to citizenship in democracy. Coloradans also recognize the need to provide teachers with high quality professional development and materials that will assist them in their efforts.

The highly regarded The Civic Mission of Schools report (Carnegie Corporation and Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 2003), highlights six promising approaches that are effective in developing students' civic and political knowledge, civic and political skills, and civic attitudes. The report identifies classroom discussion of current local, national and international issues as one of these promising approaches.

This web module is a first effort to address the need for materials and professional development electronically. The Discussing Controversial Issues module provides a variety of tools that can be used by individual teachers or by educators planning professional development focused on discussing controversial issues. To learn about the benefits of using discussions and to find out how this module can help you use discussions in your classroom, please click here.

This module was developed by Laurel Singleton, CELD Associate, with the support of the Center for Civic Education. We welcome your feedback. Please send comments to: CELD.