Dealing With Controversial Subjects

It is all but impossible to avoid controversial subjects or topics. And there is a wide range of opinions on how to handle things when they come up. Having a plan in place ahead of time can help.

It’s always a good idea to check with your principal or administrator to see what the school’s policy is regarding controversial topics.

resource URL thumbnail

Dealing with Controversial Issues

The Annenberg Foundation's encourages teachers to use past controversies to teach students how to see different points of view, separate fact from opinion, and develop skills for dealing with controversial subjects.  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Guidelines for Discussing Difficult Topics

Topics come up out of the blue, and an immediate response is usually called for. This article from the University of Michigan suggests taking these 3 steps.. Acknowledge the student who raised the issue while noting that students may vary in their responses. Decide whether you are ready and willing to engage with the topic…  learn more

resource URL thumbnail for Educators, Librarians, & Administrators

ProCon's goal is to promote "critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, and primarily pro-con format." They have an extensive set of free resources, including lesson plans, critical thinking how-to's, and critical thinking quotes.  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Teaching Controversial Issues

The authors of this British site feel that controversial topics will come up -- they can be found in some curricula -- and they should be tackled head on. They feel students "should not be sheltered from difficult issues – it is important for them to clarify their emotions and values and learn to think…  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Teaching Controversial Topics

These workshop notes from Carilton College looks at the some of the issues surrounding controversial topics -- pre-held beliefs, biases and stereotypes, and all or nothing attitudes -- and how to deal with them. Includes details and strategies on teaching evolution and environmental issues.  learn more