Controversial subjects are often a hot topic of conversation in schools, as educators, parents and students attempt to determine how to handle them in the classroom. While some believe that these topics should be avoided, others think they can lead to valuable learning experiences. In this article, we will explore the debate around controversial subjects in schools and examine each side of the argument.
Why Are Controversial Subjects Sometimes Avoided?
There are some topics in schooling, such as abortion or religious matters, which can be controversial or divisive. As a result, some people believe that these should be avoided in order to avoid offending or alienating any students or parents. By doing this, arguments or debates about these topics can be avoided before they even have the chance to start. Alternatively, some educators might choose to acknowledge the presence of the subject, but not delve too deeply into it to enable all students to remain safe and comfortable in the classroom.
What Are The Pros Of Discussing Controversial Topics?
On the other hand, there are those who think discussing these topics can be hugely beneficial to a student’s education. Knowing how to discuss controversial topics is an important part of developing critical thinking skills – being able to empathise with another viewpoint and present your opinion in an educated manner can help when approaching difficult conversations in adulthood. Looking at both sides of an argument and considering different perspectives can encourage students to develop their own views on a topic, rather than simply adopting the opinions of those around them.
How Can Controversial Subjects Be Discussed Safely?
If a school wishes to introduce controversial topics into the curriculum, there are a few things they should be aware of in order to ensure it is done in a respectful and productive way. First of all, it is important to ensure the classroom is a safe space where everyone feels comfortable to express their opinions without fear of judgement. The structure of the conversation should also be taken into consideration – teachers should set out the ground rules at the beginning and ensure all students take turns to speak.
In addition, it can help to provide students with different resources and materials to read beforehand, as they can provide an interesting and more detailed insight into the topic. This can also help to focus the discussion away from personal, emotional points of view, and instead aim for a more factual approach.
What Does The Debate Over Controversial Subjects Mean For Schools?
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to discuss controversial subjects in the classroom is one which can be faced with much disagreement from members of the school community. Schools should consider this debate carefully, weighing up the pros and cons of both sides, and deciding which approach is most appropriate for their institution.
At the very least, it is important for schools to recognize the importance of critical thinking skills and providing students with the tools to constructively converse on certain topics. Whether or not this should include controversial subjects is something which must be considered carefully by the school – but either way, it is important to foster an environment in which students can explore difficult issues in a respectful and open manner.
What Issues Do Schools Need to Consider When Discussing Controversial Topics?
When approaching controversial topics in the classroom, it is important for schools to be mindful of the potential for triggering students or furthering social tensions within the school environment. Educators must ensure that topics are handled with respect, and that everyone in the classroom has the chance to express their opinion without fear of judgement.
It is also important to consider the influence of modern media when discussing controversial topics. Before introducing any topics into the curriculum, educators should consider how the media portray such issues, as this can potentially create an unfair bias in the classroom.