New and innovative approaches on dealing with controversial issues in the classroom are spreading across the Nordic and Baltic countries, allowing teachers to feel confident in making the classrooms a safe learning space for all.
The last time the group of 18 teachers, school leaders and teacher trainers met was in September 2018, where they participated in the training course “Teaching Controversial Issues in the Nordic and Baltic countries” at Utøya outside Oslo. Since then they have organized a variety of different activities in their own institutions, and on May 10thEWC brought everyone together in Vilnius to share best practices and lessons learnt. The activities presented ranged from small workshops with colleagues and students, to efforts on how to mainstream handling of controversial issues within larger school projects.
“I applied to be a part of this project because I felt that I, and my school, needed tools on how to deal with difficult situations that so often arise I a big school like ours,” says Petra from the Andersberg school in Sweden. All participants emphasized that the ability to create safe spaces for learning is closely linked with teachers having the right tools to deal with controversial issues. “These tools, and the confidence on how to use them, was exactly what I got,” Petra added.
The project, which followed the EWC pilot on teaching controversial issues in the Nordic countries in 2017, is now completed, and the participants are in close contact and are planning the continuation of exchange and cooperation.