Social Studies Teachers’ Perceptions on Teaching Contemporary Controversial Issues
Dr. Taghreed Abu-Hamdan, Dr. Fakhri Khader

The aim of this descriptive study is fourfold:(1)to illustrate how social studies teachers perceive teaching the contemporary controversial issues, (2) to investigate the support and opposition faced by social studies teachers when handling controversy, (3)to review the theoretical aspect of controversial topics; and (4) to delineate research-based pedagogical practices for instruction. Teachers’ perceptions concerning the circumstances of teaching controversial issues were captured by applying qualitative and quantitative approaches. Data were gathered from 10 middle basic cycle schools through survey questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, and classroom observations. Following the survey questionnaire, teachers were interviewed and allowed the researchers to observe their classrooms and collect field data. The three tools were administered among a cohort of 24 social studies school teachers (14 females + 10 males) in Amman/Jordan. Member checking and peerdebriefing were strategies used by the researchers to ensure validity. The data obtained were categorized and analyzed in terms of teachers’ perceptions and classroom practices. The results of the study have shown that although teachers have favorable perceptions toward teaching controversial issues, a disparity between their perceptions and practices exists. Most teachers shared feelings of uncertainty and caution about discussing controversy in the classroom. Furthermore, the results have shown that teachers had some reservations and were not inclined to take on hot topics due to several constraints. Results were discussed followed by relevant implications and suggested recommendations for further studies and solutions.

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