Att hantera det otänkbara : en analys av samhällskunskapslärares hantering av kontroversiella frågor
Sammanfattning: Discussing controversial issues in the classroom is important. Through discussing controversial issues students can both learn and develop a more democratic ethos. The teachers in Sweden have a clear task to defend and mediate democratic values to the students. This leads to a conflict in the duty of the teacher because the curriculum also dictates that teachers have to let the students develop a sense of critical thinking and this opens up for potential criticism of the concept of democracy when students discuss controversial issues. Another conflict in the curriculum that appears when discussing controversial issues is the fact that teachers both have to respect the student’s opinions but also have a duty to challenge these opinions. That is why the aim of this essay is to analyse how social science teachers handle controversial issues in the classroom. The study was conducted by interviewing four social sciences teachers at high school level. The result shows that teachers see controversial issues as issues that relate to human beings and that the discussion of these issues can arouse emotions and make the participants emotional. Further the result shows that teachers have a very open mind towards controversial issues and are open to discussing anti-democratic issues. In ensuring that the discussion of controversial issues leads to learning teachers mostly use strategies that ensure that student feel comfortable to express their opinions. In handling the above mentioned curricular conflicts that appear in the discussion of controversial issues three of four teachers saw that such a conflict existed. The other three gave answers that suggested that they did not think the conflict was so problematic and that their strategies for handling it where effective.
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