Discussing Controversial Issues

Teaching students how to deliberate highly controversial political issues is recommended as a potent form of democracy education, yet it's challenging to teach students how to engage effectively in such discussion. This study focuses on the influences of issues deliberation on young people. Two research questions guide the work: 1. How do high school students experience and learn from participating in social studies courses that emphasize the deliberation of controversial international and/or domestic issues? And 2. Do such deliberations influence students' political participation after they leave high school? If so, what are the pathways to participation? The major purpose of the study is to identify the ways in which issues deliberation in social studies classes influence what students learn and how they act politically.


Completed on May 31, 2008