IntroductionThis document evaluates the research methodologies and analysis strategies used in two research papers; Controversial issues, to teach or not to teach is a research paper by Sarah Philpot, Jeremiah Clabough, Lance McConkey, and Thomas Turner presented at the University of Tennessee, 2011 and Developing Authentic Instruction in Social Studies by Patricia Avery and Carol Freeman presented at the university of Minneapolis, 2002.Controversial Issues, To Teach or Not To TeachControversial issues, to teach or not to teach is a research paper by Sarah Philpot, Jeremiah Clabough, Lance Mc Conkey, Thomas Turner at the University of Tennessee.
This paper focuses on the issue of controversy that arises upon discussion of some topics in a classroom situation, creating concern on whether these issues need be discussed or sidelined completely from the education curriculum. In the research, controversial issues are defined as issues that polarize the classroom or on which every individual student have a different perspective. This research seeks to delineate the potential divisive nature of controversial issues and provide a framework for handling discussions in classrooms. This framework will overcome the obstacles that are caused by the teachers own biases on the controversial issues and lack of confidence that may arise if the teacher is not familiar with the issue.
The approach to teaching however does not deal with the role of the issues in the curricular which may vary with the education systems. Importance of research outcomesThrough this research paper, the strategies that teachers employ when including controversies in their lesson plans are elaborated. The paper further gives guidance on making decision that will meet policies in teaching controversial issues. It is clear that everyday life is full of controversy with deeper controversy existing in social sciences such as history.
It is impossible to avoid in totality the teaching of controversial issues alongside the appropriate classroom instruction. The skills gained after teaching controversial issues involve critical and rational thinking and reflection of personal perspectives and contrary perspectives from other people. The students will hopefully develop the ability to make intelligent choices and demonstrate democratic values such as tolerance and participation in the political arena. Students are therefore able to question and express their concern in the comfort of the classroom which creates a deeper development of social skills such as the ability to listen to one another and dealing with difficult topics.
This is important as controversy is part of the human society and the schools are secure and unbiased grounds for discussion. Knowledge of the teachers’ ideological stance will be useful to students, as a way of reinforcing confidence in the delivery of content. It is almost impossible to conceal the personal beliefs as these obviously come out in the verbal and non-verbal cues.
It is imperative that the teacher makes their stand clear at the beginning of the discussion so that bias and ideological standpoints of the teacher are known. The students will only open up if the teacher has opened up in the first place. Analysis of the Research