4 What challenges are posed by teaching controversial issues?
Geography is a discipline laden with attitudes and values. There are many topics you will teach where you will have to explore a range of viewpoints and encourage students to appreciate others’ opinions. Getting young people actively involved in debating current issues, particularly those which are important to them, is a great way to build motivation and encourage students to see the relevance and importance of geography. Many current issues can be framed as being controversial but what does this mean?
According to the Royal Geographical Society (n.d.) controversial issues will:
- create differences of opinion
- have a political, social, environmental or personal impact
- have no straightforward or easy answer
- deal with questions of value or belief.