Instructional Materials for Teaching Controversial Issues

The following partial list of instructional materials, published by commercial or non-profit organizations, will be useful for implementing most approaches to teaching about controversial issues.ACCESS Resource Briefs present impartial two-page overviews of major events and developments in international affairs today. Recent editions looked at U.N. peacekeeping operations, international terrorism, and political and economic reforms in Brazil.

Contact ACCESS, 1511 K Street, N.W., Suite 643, Washington, DC 20005-1401.The Bill of Rights in Action, published three times a year by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, focuses on controversial law-related issues. Each edition includes a set of content overviews and teaching activities for integrating law-related topics into U.S. Government, U.S. history, and World History curricula. The Fall 1995 edition focused on domestic and international terrorism, conspiracy theories, and talk radio. Contact Constitutional Rights Foundation, 601 South Kingsley Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90005.Choices for the 21st Century is a project of the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Institute for International Studies at Brown University. The project has created 15 units on contemporary and historical U.S. foreign policy issues. Each unit includes background information, descriptions of options available to the U.S., and extensive teaching suggestions. Recent units are titled "Keeping the Peace in an Age of Conflict: Debating the U.S. Role" and "Ending the War Against Japan: Science, Morality, and the Atomic Bomb." Contact Choices for the 21st Century Education Project, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, Box 1948, Providence, RI 02912.Close-Up Foundation is a civic education organization designed to encourage responsible, informed participation in the democratic process. Since its inception in 1971, it has brought over 350,000 middle and high school students to Washington to attend seminars and observe government in action. Central to the methodology is active learning about contemporary public issues. Close-Up Publishing offers a variety of issues-oriented booklets on social and international affairs that contain background information and a debate section. Special editions of the booklets adapt the materials for lower level readers and for Spanish-speaking students. Contact Close-Up Publishing, Dept C26, 44 Canal Center Plaza, Alexandria, VA 22314-1592.Decisions, Decisions is a series of 12 software-based classroom kits that combine role-playing, debate, and decision-making about historical and real-life dilemmas. Available for Mac, Apple II, or MS-DOS. Contact Tom Snyder Productions, 80 Coolidge Hill Road, Watertown, MA 02172-2817.Great Decisions, published yearly by the Foreign Policy Association, provides clear, concise, and impartial analyses of eight of the most important international issues facing the U.S. and the world. Each volume contains background historical text and policy options about regional disputes, international organizations, and international economic and social developments. The 1996 topics include "Mexico, Embattled Neighbor" and "NATO, What Future Role in Europe?" Contact Foreign Policy Association, 470 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-6819National Issues Forums (NIF) consist of more than 5,000 civic and educational organizations that invite citizens to deliberate on issues affecting their communities. Each year conveners choose three issues and use common materials-issue books and videocassettes-designed to promote dialogue about the issues. Classroom activities and issue books for lower reading levels are available. Recent issues include health care, the federal deficit, criminal violence, and the boundaries of free speech. Contact National Issues Forum in the Classroom, 100 Commons Road, Dayton, OH 45459-2777 or Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 4050 Westmark Drive, P.O. Box 1840, Dubuque, Iowa 52004-1840.The Opposing Viewpoints Series, published by Greenhaven Press, contains more than 70 volumes covering contemporary and historical controversies. Each title explores a specific issue by placing expert opinions in a pro/con format, exposing students to the many sides of a debate. Contact Greenhaven Press, P.O. Box 289009, San Diego, CA 92198-9009.The Public Issues series, adapted from the original Harvard Public Issues Project by the Social Science Education Consortium, includes 9 titles on persisting issues in American history, ranging from the legitimacy of governmental authority during the American Revolution to conflict between public and private interests during the rise of organized labor. Contact Social Science Education Consortium, 3300 Mitchell Lane, Suite 240, Boulder, CO 80301-2296.Reasoning With Democratic Values, written by Alan L. Lockwood and David E. Harris and published by Teachers College Press, is a series of 50 case studies of ethical conflicts in United States history. Each case study includes a description of the historical case and a set of questions that highlight the ethical dilemmas in the case. Sample cases feature the Salem Witch Trials, Thomas Jefferson, Chief Joseph, My Lai, and John Dean. Contact Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027.The Taking Sides series, published by Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc., contains 10 volumes with clashing viewpoints on issues from American history and contemporary American society. Each volume includes background introductions, postscript summaries, and pro/con essays from leading social scientists and historians. Contact The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc., Sluice Dock, Guilford, CT 06437.