Session 6.3, Exploring the controversial aspects of social issues and their management in the classroom




The duration of the session is 9 hours (3 reading + 3 learning + 3 working/practicing)


The objectives of this session are:

  • Support students in developing in-depth, critical understanding of the role of education and particularly of formal education in the development of children’s / young citizens’ political socialisation;
  • Develop students’ confidence in leading initiatives and developing educational programmes on EDC/HRE/IE;
  • Familiarise students with key tools on EDC/HRE including the Council of Europe’s Framework for the development of democratic culture.
Prerequisites/Prior Knowledge

 Previous sessions of the Module

Learning outcomes

After completion of the session students will:

  1. Have a clear understanding of the notion of controversial issues and its role in the educational process;
  2. Be aware of relevant approaches to and methods of teaching or tackling controversial issues in the classroom;
  3. Be able to apply the aforementioned methods in the classroom for the development of competences for democratic culture
Basic Topics
  1. Definition of controversial issues and their value in the educational process;
  2. Teaching Controversial Issues approaches and methods.
Outcomes and CDC
  • Values
    • 8: Promotes the view that one should always strive for mutual understanding and meaningful dialogue between people and groups who are perceived to be “different” from one another (basic)
  • Knowledge and critical understanding:
    • 111: Can reflect critically on his/her own emotions and feelings in a wide range of situations (advanced)
    • 120:  Can reflect critically on how his/her own world view is just one of many world views (advanced)
  • Attitudes
    • 27: Gives space to others to express themselves (basic)
    • 32: Expresses respect for people who hold different political opinions from himself/herself (advanced)
    • 45: Expresses the belief that he/she can carry out activities that he/she has planned (basic)
    • 49: Shows confidence that he/she knows how to handle unforeseen situations due to his/her resourcefulness (advanced)
  • Skills
    • 54: Works well in unpredictable circumstances (intermediate)
    • 93: Can avoid successfully intercultural misunderstandings (advanced)
    • 99: When working with others, supports other people despite differences in points of view (advanced)
    • 103: Can encourage the parties involved in conflicts to actively listen to each other and share their issues and concerns (intermediate)
  • Kerr, D., & Huddleston, T. (2015). Living with Controversy: Teaching Controversial Issues Through Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights (EDC/HRE). Training Pack for Teachers. Strasbourg. Available from 
  • Jackson, R. (2014). Signposts: Policy and Practice for Teaching about Religions and Non-religious Worldviews in Intercultural Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Available from 
  • Kerr, D., & Huddleston, T. (2017). Managing Controversy: Developing a Strategy for Handling Controversy and Teaching Controversial Issues in Schools. A Self-Reflection Tool for School Leaders and Senior Managers. Strasbourg. Available from
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