In today’s society, young people regularly encounter a range of local, national and global issues that are sensitive and controversial. These include genetic engineering, stem cell research, euthanasia and abortion.
In Northern Ireland, controversial issues often relate to the more recent past, religion, culture and identity. These issues can cause strong emotional responses and they can contribute to division and tension. Therefore, we need to prepare our young people to engage with these issues by supporting them to:
- handle disagreement;
- peacefully resolve conflict;
- be reflective and think critically;
- challenge assumptions; and
- develop and voice their own views.
This training programme supports a whole-school approach to teaching controversial issues. Curriculum leaders can adapt the training materials and use them as part of their school CPD programme.
The training programme aims to:
- acknowledge the importance of providing opportunities for pupils to engage with controversial issues; and
- support teachers to successfully teach controversial issues that may arise through the Northern Ireland Curriculum and CCEA GCSE qualifications by developing their confidence and professional competencies.
Training Guidance Notes
This guidance helps principals, school leaders, managers and teachers to plan and develop approaches to teaching controversial issues at whole-school and classroom levels.