Controversial issues in social studies education: A comparative study in subject didactics
This project investigates topical controversial issues in curriculum guidelines and teaching practices in geography, history, religion and civics in school years 7 to 9.
When classrooms are increasingly culturally diverse and the society and public debate are becoming more polarised, it is essential to develop didactical knowledge about ways to teach and learn controversial societal issues. However, we know very little of how this is done in Swedish schools. This study will inquire occurrences of topical controversial issues in curriculum guidelines and teaching practices in geography, history, religion and civics. What controversial issues occur in classroom teaching and how are they taught? What do teachers and pupils stress as important with controversial issues education and what are the problems? What similarities and differences between the subjects can be found? This four-year study is based on data from curriculum guidelines, a teacher questionnaire followed-up after three years, and 12 case studies through in situ classroom observations and interviews with teachers and pupils. This comparative study will employ the analytical lens of major functions of education: qualification, socialization, subjectification, and existensialization. Thereby the project will contribute to knowledge of controversial societal issues in social studies education and to comparative social studies education research.