Teaching M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Ambrose, JoEllen


The teaching of controversial issues—those issues which have sparked a prolonged public debate or dispute, and usually, concerns matters of conflicting opinions or points of view—is a necessary and important aspect of any civics education program in the discipline of social studies. Despite this necessity and importance, research shows that teachers face many obstacles and challenges when teaching controversial issues. These obstacles include lack of training and time, fear of losing control, lack of community and legal support, the polarization of politics, access to the internet and social media, and, finally, teacher disclosure. The purpose of this thesis was to better understand these obstacles while also looking at research that shows how these obstacles can be overcome through the use of best practices. Research shows what training teachers need to receive, how they can gather community and legal support as well as how to create a safe and inclusive classroom environment. Lastly, research supports the teaching of controversial issues through the use of discussion, especially the use of deliberation, seminars, and role-plays.

Degree Name

Teaching M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis