On 29 June and 21 September WCIA held an online professional learning for teachers on Dealing with Difficult and Controversial Issues. 15 teachers participated in this course.
The aim of this INSET was to support teachers in dealing with such issues as part of the curriculum – so that children and young people are informed but not overwhelmed, are able to see things from different perspectives and feel empowered to act as ethical, informed citizens to make a difference.
Participants heard from colleagues who have developed projects in their schools, learnt about free resources and initiatives that can support them and had time in smaller groups to discuss aspects of dealing with difficult and controversial issues.
Issues dealt with during the training included: the importance of ground rules, how to combat stereotypes and prejudice and to support students in accessing reliable information, exploring the role the teacher plays, an overview of some methodologies and resources that can support critical thinking, and how to encourage young people to take action as ethical, informed citizens.
During the training in September participants heard input from a teacher from Maesydderwen School who had used a case study from the ‘Non-violent Action: A Force for Change’ pack to look at the issue of conscientious objection through the case study of Emrys Hughes, a CO from Abercynon who suffered imprisonment in WWI and later became MP for Ayreshire.