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Best Resources on Talking to Students About Controversial Issues

Teachers play a significant role in helping students navigate this complex world that we live in. And that is why many students see their classroom as a place where they can consider alternative perspectives and get more information about controversial issues. Students need to have an opportunity to interact with their college classmates who have opposing views to understand others better and practice civil discourse skills. 

Although nowadays, in this increasingly polarized and politicized world, some teachers who want to engage their students in conversations about controversial issues have to face students’ resistance to critical thinking. And unfortunately, even if their approach is nothing but good, they still end up with negative feedback such as: seeking to indoctrinate students or that they have politicized classes.

However, as bad as that is, it is still important that teachers discuss it. There are many ways and practices for managing controversial issues in the classroom that can be of huge help.  

One of the best strategies for teaching controversial issues is to use authoritative resources. The difficulty is just finding the best out of the many websites that attempt to do that. So, to make things easier for you, we will share the three best free websites. Each of them has concise background information on every issue and presents the issues by explaining opposing positions. 


An independent non-profit website founded by Steven C. Markoff that provides resources for critical thinking. It provides student-oriented information on almost 40 current controversial issues, including political cartoons, infographics, and videos. Each of those issues contains a core question and many sub-questions that address ethical, policy, and constitutional issues. Also, each question has a list of pros and cons arguments from experts, and they even offer lesson plan ideas. They also rate every source with 1-5 stars. The only drawback of this website is that they are not offering hyperlinks to the original source.

Short Stories and Essays on Psychology

When talking about controversial issues with students and children, it is vital to check out their reaction to the topic. Depending on visual clues, a teacher can choose the right words and approach to the conversation. Resources that provide free samples on psychology like https://writix.co.uk/essay-examples/psychology usually help both professionals and students learn how to conduct such discussions. Moreover, when talking about controversial issues one usually wants to prove their point and only knowledge of psychological tricks can help you take over your opponent.


It is known as the Wikipedia of debates. It is an encyclopedia containing con and pro quotes and arguments created by the international debate education association. They use Wikipedia technology and have unlimited guidelines for discussions that are constantly updated. Although, they also allow the students to add their own content. The drawback of this website is that they don’t offer enough background information, and they don’t get deep enough into some of the issues.

National Discussion and Debate Series

This program contains text, videos, and links from debates from the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. They created it to encourage discussions on the national stage and give great information about the major current issues. They mostly share live footage of debates between well-known experts, in which they also give great examples of debate techniques and civil discourse. They also provide their users with a high-level academic background for every issue. The only drawback may be that it is designed for high-level readers who already have some knowledge about the issue. 


Controversy in the classrooms is nothing new. If you were a student in the 1960s, you would have to discuss topics such as “should the United States fight in the Vietnam war” Controversy has been a part of education since forever. However, the way that teachers use to teach and address it is constantly changing. Therefore, before using the three resources, make sure they are appropriate for you and your classroom.

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