A review on the opinions of social studies teachers on teaching controversial issues

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Uludağ Üniversitesi, Turkey

Approval Date: 2015

Thesis Language: Turkish




Today, one of the primary aims of education is to raise individuals as qualified citizens who have a global perspective and high communication, thinking, problem-solving and questioning skills. Discussing controversial issues in a class environment is important in providing students with such skills. In this regard, presenting the ideas and approaches of social studies teachers towards teaching controversial issues in class environment is the main goal of this study. In order to serve this goal, mixed research method was used in the study. Population of the study was formed of 768 Social Studies teachers from 17 different districts of Bursa. Surveys were conducted with 140 Social Studies Teachers who were chosen by purposive sampling method and 10 teachers from among these 140 teachers were interviewed. Data obtained from surveys was transferred into SPSS and data from interviews was analyzed by content analysis method. Arithmetic means, standard deviations, frequencies and total scores of each entry of the surveys were calculated and data obtained was interpreted. Data obtained from surveys was deeply studied by content analysis method and it was interpreted with survey results. According to research findings, terror is the most controversial issue while belief is the least controversial issue. In addition to this, teachers prefer discussing issues that are related to social studies program and suitable for readiness levels of children in the class, while they don't want to mention issues that are unsuitable for their developmental levels. Another result of research findings shows that controversial issues help students acquire skills critical for their developments like high-level thinking and communication skills, give them perspectives and make them grow up as qualified individuals. Another result shows that teaching controversial issues is related to social studies course and it is important in reaching the objectives of the course. Another significant result of the study shows that teachers have low self-efficacy levels on teaching controversial issues. As a conclusion, it is possible to say that discussing controversial issues systematically in the class is generally positive in terms of affective and behavioral attainments of children.