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Teaching Controversial Issues in a Divided Society: Learning from Northern Ireland

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McCully, Alan (2005) Teaching Controversial Issues in a Divided Society: Learning from Northern Ireland. Prospero, 11 (4). pp. 38-46. [Journal article]

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Abstract

AbstractThe paper draws on the author’s professional experience as teacher, curriculum developer, researcher and teacher educator working with controversial issues in the context of the Northern Irish education system during thirty years of conflict and subsequent peace-building. It argues that while teaching controversial issues in any educational context offers challenges particular difficulties are faced in a society characterised by violent divisions around national identity, ethnicity or religion. Such situations can generate deep emotional reactions in students that override their capacity to engage in rational dialogue, or cause them to avoid such discourse at all. Facilitating understanding in these conditions requires specific responses on the part of the practitioner in order to establish a conducive and trusting environment for interaction. Arising from the collective experience of three major curriculum initiatives in the field the paper identifies ten points on which to build effective practice. In the conclusion these are placed in the context of recent writing on the relationship between education and divided societies.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Controversial Issues Educational responses to conflict
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences
Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Education
ID Code:14805
Deposited By:Dr Alan McCully
Deposited On:09 Aug 2010 11:33
Last Modified:15 Jun 2011 10:44

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