Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home
Dealing with Controversial Issues.
Exploring the Issues.
Applying What You've Learned.

Exploring the Issues

Notes: As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.  

Identifying and Clarifying an Issue

Ms. Adler.

"Students are developing their knowledge base, but too often social studies is taught as a series of facts. But knowledge is more than that; it's understanding the ideas and values that form an ideology."
-- Susan Adler, Director of Teacher Education, University of Missouri, Kansas City

Wrestling with the Issue

  • Why is it important for students to develop a knowledge base about an issue? How do you assess students' knowledge?
  • How do you help students build their understanding of a controversial issue?
  • How do you ensure that students distinguish between fact and opinion in their research?

Understanding Various Perspectives

"These issues will help students develop the skills needed to consider multiple viewpoints, consult multiple sources, articulate ideas, and support opinions with facts. These are the skills that will make them effective citizens."
-- Wendy Ewbank, Seventh- and Eighth-Grade History Teacher, Edmonds, Washington

Ms. Ewbank.

Wrestling with the Issue

  • Why is it important that students use multiple sources, including primary sources, when studying controversial issues?
  • How does role-playing help students understand multiple viewpoints -- especially ones they oppose?
  • How do you ensure that students consider different points of view?

Supporting One's View

Mr. Yell.

"We want students to approach an issue in a fair-minded way. Critical thinkers consider opposite viewpoints and ask themselves, 'Is that view more coherent than mine? Is it more precise?' and they'll change their perspective if necessary."
-- Michael Yell, Seventh-Grade History Teacher, Hudson, Wisconsin

Wrestling with the Issue

  • How can a teacher ensure that students explore multiple viewpoints?
  • How do you encourage students to revise their viewpoints in light of new knowledge?
  • When should you express your opinion on an issue? What are the risks and rewards of revealing a bias?

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