Teaching Controversial Issues in New-Bridge

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Teaching Controversial Issues in New-Bridge College

Two groups of Year 8 pupils were photographed by the Multi Media team from CCEA as they demonstrated some of the work they are currently doing in English and Personal Development. The photos will be used as part of a new resource on Teaching Controversial Issues which CCEA is producing for KS3 teachers and pupils. Dr. Alan McMurray is Director of the project for CCEA which will provide guidance and case study examples for teachers across a range of learning areas.

Mrs Dawn Manson and her group of Year 8 pupils participated in a wide range of strategies beginning with a spectrum debate using a controversial statement from the novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. This required pupils to stand at one end of a line of continuum depending on whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement. What made this lesson different for the pupils was their first use of new kindles to find relevant pieces of text from the novel to support their arguments. Other strategies demonstrated were small group discussion work around themes from the novel and the use of a wire cage to encourage pupils to write with empathy and understanding about contentious issues of the Holocaust. This work is part of connected learning project involving RE, Drama, Art and English departments.

The second photo was with a group of Year 8 pupils with Art teacher Mrs Eimear McKeown who was teaching a Personal Development lesson on diversity with Year 8 pupils. She was using art as a medium to demonstrate how pupils might express differences about themselves and others. The pupils had created a tree on which they had placed visual images of their hands showing aspects of diversity such- as language, culture and interests. Some of the pupils involved in the discussion came from Canada, the Philippines and other parts of the UK.


The images portray how the teachers demonstrated the use of Keys, a set of core principles about teaching controversial issues drawn up by the school’s CRED team, which the teachers may refer to during lessons on controversial issues.


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