University of Wisconsin Professor Diana Hess has published Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion (Routledge, 2009). The longitudinal study of high school students that is a major source of data for this book was partly funded by CIRCLE. Hess argues that planned, moderated discussions of controversial issues teach essential democratic skills. She provides research-based advice about how to define “controversial issues” and handle them in classrooms.
According to my blurb on the back cover:
- Controversy in the Classroom is a model of scholarship. Diana Hess combines her personal experience as a teacher with rigorous qualitative and quantitative data and philosophical argumentation to conclude that students must learn to be citizens by discussing controversial issues. This is an important and neglected finding that should influence parents, teachers, and policymakers.