Teaching the Controversies

Preparing Students for Life, Work, and Citizenship

by Teaching the Controversies

How do you deal with controversial issues in the classroom and with the challenges they raise?  Things can get controversial when students have competing values and interests. Perhaps there are disagreements about politicians or policies. Some topics arouse strong emotions. Controversies may relate to events in the past, to a current state of affairs, or to some future desired outcome. They can arise in any grade level, from kindergarten to graduate school. 

​When young people learn to engage across their differences, they start to see that conflict and controversy are normal parts of democratic life. But how do educators scaffold meaningful, rigorous dialogue in increasing polarized societies?

Join us for the launch of Medialogues on Propaganda in this special one-hour program that features America's leading educational expert on the role of teaching the controversies, using dialogue and discussion in the practice of civic and democratic education

NEW DATE: Thursday, October 7

TIME: 18:00 PM CET / 12:00 PM EST

LOCATION. Online. Click here to register.

​Featured Speaker: Diana Hess

Diana E. Hess is the dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin (UW)–Madison and holds the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education. The UW–Madison School of Education takes seriously its commitment to preparing excellent teachers for Wisconsin schools. It is one of the best Education schools in the nation: the secondary teacher education program currently ranks second in the United States and the elementary teacher education program ranks fourth. These teacher education programs prepare hundreds of students each year to join the ranks of the professional teaching force.  Dr. Hess’s research focuses on civic and democratic education. Her first book, Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion (Routledge, 2009), won the Exemplary Research Award (2009) from the National Council for the Social Studies. Her second book, co-authored with Professor Paula McAvoy, titled The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education (Routledge, 2015) won the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award (2016) and the Grawemeyer Award (2017). Dr. Hess also received the Jean Dresden Grambs Career Research in Social Studies Award from the National Council for the Social Studies (2017). In 2019, Dr. Hess was elected to the National Academy of Education. Her research has been funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Dr. Hess is currently the principal investigator of a multi-year study of The Discussion Project, a professional development program that aims to help instructors create inclusive, engaging, and academically-rigorous discussions in higher education courses. Formerly, Dr. Hess was the senior vice president of the Spencer Foundation, a high school teacher, a teachers’ union president, and the associate executive director of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago. Dr. Hess received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1998.