Your Roadmap for Teaching Controversial Issues

Professional Development

Today’s polarized climate may seem intimidating for teaching controversial issues, but it also makes it all the more important. With the right approach, classrooms can be welcoming spaces for students to test-drive their ideas and to see disagreement as an opportunity to learn, not as a form of conflict. Classrooms are ideal incubators for facilitating constructive dialogue on today’s most divisive issues—from immigration… to religious and cultural tolerance… to the relative powers and functions of our three branches of government.

New to this work? Or not sure how to get started? We have created five Teacher Guides and a series of brief informational videos (3-4 minutes) to help you prepare for teaching controversial issues in your classroom. Here is how to get started:

  1. Go deeper with the free Teacher Guides below. Each covers an essential topic to help get you started.
  2. Explore the free Video Series. With shared experiences from educators in the field, the videos offer guidance, encouragement, and inspiration.
  3. Use our starter lesson, Stipulating Speech. The lesson provides background reading on hate speech and the First Amendment to address the issue: Should public colleges allow hate groups to recruit on campus?


Click "Download Resources" to see the Teacher Guides: