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Controversial Issues

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Ben Nicol

on 9 September 2012

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Transcript of Controversial Issues

Teaching Controversial Issues
& Values Education affinity diagram role play debating group work personal reflection jigsaw simulation consequence chart floor storming surveying writing student research guest speakers class discussion fieldwork PBL case study Biophysical Interactions Case study investigating ONE issue:
greenhouse warming
biodiversity, land clearing
coastal sediment budgets, drought
soil erosion, degradation, salinisation Global Challenges Cultural integration, spatial inequality, refugee migration, social and environmental impacts of population changes, development geography SGP Ecosystems at Risk Management, land use, heritage, utility/intrinsic values Urban Places Megacities: challenges and responses
World cities: urban planning, globalisation, ecomonics, culture
Urban Dynamics: planning, social justice, environmental impact, spatial exclusion, cost of living, urban poor People & Economic Activity Land use. monoculture, land degradation, food miles, economics, trade, sustainability
Local case study Stage 4 4G1: key geographical questions, world heritage sites
4G2: changing global environments
4G3: impacts of globalisation, global inequalities, global organisations
4G4: global geographical issues Stage 5 5A1: Aboriginal experience, natural hazards
5A2: changing Australian communities
5A3: geographic issues affecting Australian environments
5A4: regional and global links, migration, defence, human rights, reconciliation Why use controversial issues in the classroom Topical issues that have the potential to affect students' lives

Of interest and engaging to students

Students build skills in: identifying bias, perception, synthesis, evaluation, understanding of multiple views and building of values

Strategies to deliver the issues require Higher Order Thinking.

Provides opportunities to promote civics and active and informed citizenship
The Melbourne Declaration (MCEETYA, 2008):
Goal 1: Promoting equity and excellence in Australian Schooling
Goal 2: Supporting all young Australians to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens Geography as a discipline Geography provides a unique opportunity to incorporate topical issues into teaching and learning. Perhaps much more so than other high school subjects:

Interdisciplinary nature

Focus on interconnectivity and interactions

Emphasis on the contemporary Values Bias... Controversial issue It is important points of view! to consider multiple Different
perspectives Code of Conduct 4.1 As a departmental employee, you are expected to:
v. act honestly and in good faith in providing advice or service that is honest, impartial and comprehensive, irrespective of your personal views on a matter Rational discussion presupposes that there is open communication and the freedom to voice another point of view. Such a discussion should not involve verbal abuse or physical intimidation. For example, you may criticise a person’s ideas but you should not criticise the person; and you should not verbally abuse, vilify or belittle students or colleagues (including your supervisors) personally or to others. References Gilbert, R., & Hoepper, B. (2011). Teaching Society and Environment (4th ed.). Melbourne: Cengage Learning.

Killen, R. (2009). Effective teaching strategies: lessons from research and practice (5th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Marsh, C., & Hart, C. (2011). Teaching the Social Sciences and Humanities in an Australian Curriculum. Sydney: Peason.

MCEETYA. (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.

New South Wales Board of Studies. (2006). Geography 7-10 Syllabus.

New South Wales Board of Studies. (2009). Geography Stage 6 Syllabus.

New South Wales Department of Education and Communities. (2012). Code of Conduct.

New South Wales Department of Education and Training. (2003). Quality teaching in NSW public schools: A classroom practice guide.

New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards.

Tidsskrift, G. (1996). On the Object and Subject of Geography. Danish Journal of Geography, Bind 96 Retrieved from http://e-tidsskrifter.dk/ojs/index.php/geografisktidsskrift/article/view/2116/3671 Planned or "off-the-cuff" You can plan to include controversial issues in advance using developed and well thought out strategies and resources.

But due to their nature these controversial issues are likely to be simply brought up out of the blue by students.
Be aware of current events and how these things are related to geography: if there is a connection students are likely to bring it up in class.
Make a decision on an appropriate course of action as it arises: it could be a valuable teaching moment, it may be unrelated, it may be too sensitive and inappropriate. Based on this, the teacher will need to be decisive and carry out a course of action that is appropriate.
It is about knowing your students and how they learn (NSW Institute of Teachers)

In either case valuable, topical, meaningful, related and engaging teaching and learning can occur using controversial issues as a catalyst. Remember the code of conduct. Don't expect students to see eye to eye with your own views. Value the contributions of students. within reason BALANCE INCLUSIVITY ATTITUDE SYNTHESIS Values "principles and fundamental convictions which act as general guides to behaviour, the standards by which particular actions are judged to be good or desirable." (Helstead and Taylor, 2000 as cited in Marsh and Hart, 2011).
Values are different among people
Values are linked to worldview
Values can be changed or altered

Ethics can be thought of as the link between values and actions. For example if an individual values justice their guiding ethic will likely include treating others in a fair manner.

Religion (10 commandments)
Global institutions (UN Declarations)
National ideals (legislation and policy)
Cultural ideals (fair go, mateship)
Education (National Declaration on Educational Goals, school motto)
Socialisation (our upbringing, home life, friends, community) Values in education "... because values are also contested in the community, values education involves the exploration of controversial issues." Marsh & Hart (2011: 156).

All schools "foster, promote and transmit values to all students and education is as much about building character as it is about equipping students with specific skills" (Curriculum Corporation, 2003 as cited in Marsh and Hart, 2011).

Then it is important for teachers to instil values in their practice:
Whose values?
What are some strategies?
How do I link this to the curriculum? Approaches to incorporating values in pedagogy Teaching ABOUT values: engage students in clarifying their own values, analysing the values of others and the beliefs that influence them, and searching for the evidence for those beliefs.

Teaching THROUGH values: making particular values the basis for classroom behaviour, and identifying the choices made in classroom bahaviour (link to Educational Psychology and behavioural approaches - Choice Theory, ABA, etc.)

Teaching FOR values: providing opportunities for students to make reasoned value judgements

Democratic process
Social justice
Ecological and economic sustainability
Peace 6-stage inquiry process for values teaching (Welsford 1994) 1. Identifying and clarifying values
2. Comparing and contrasting values
3. Exploring and understanding feelings
4. Exploring conflicting values
5. Considering alternatives and their implications
6. Making a plan of action Controversial Issues? An integral and inescapable part of teaching HSIE
These can be thought of as "unresolved issues"
Looking at these issues includes
What has happened
The causes of the current situation
The desirable ends to work towards
The appropriate course of action to be taken
The likely effects of that action

These steps loosely relate to some of the steps in geographical inquiry, the the teaching of controversial issues seem to nestle comfortably with the geography classroom and the realm of the geography teacher. Approaches to teaching controversial issues As the name suggests, controversial issues are predicated on the presence of some sort of disagreement
This is simultaneously the reason why they are engaging to students and fraught with risk on the part of the teacher
There are a range of teaching strategies suggested for delivering controversial issues (which will be outlined later)
The work done by Stradling, Noctor and Baines (1984: 113-14 as cited in Marsh and Hart, 2011) outlines four basic principles that are useful in conceptualising different teaching situations involving controversial issues 1 2 3 4 Distancing procedures:
Some issues are controversial at certain times and are topical. Discussion on these topics often polarise the class or upset some members of the class.
In response to this the teacher can "distance" for re-frame the the issue by using analogies or parallels. Contemporary procedures:
When members of a class have strong opinions that are ill informed or ignorant, or where a majority is dominating in discussions.
In response, the teacher can start to point out contradictions in points of view, demythologising, debunking or providing factual evidence, being the devil's advocate, utilising role reversal Empathetic procedures:
Issues that are far removed from a students' own experiences, or about a group that is perceived as "unpopular".
In response to this the teacher can use role reversal, for-and-against lists, vicarious experience through film, novels, or music. Exploratory procedures:
When issues are complex or not easily defined.
Teachers can use guest speakers, experts, research on factual evidence so that students can grasp the issue. Or the use of structured role-playing. Outline Values in education and Geography

Controversial Issues in the Geography classroom

Pedagogy of values and controversial issues Teacher-centred
Student-centred Linking controversial issues to outcomes and the Syllabus National Curriculum? (NSW DEC, 2012) Tidsskrift, 1996
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