Controversial Topics in Social Studies Teaching in Sweden
Abstract: In recent international educational policy discussions, the importance of schools and teachers dealing with controversial societal issues has been highlighted as the role of such issues in the liberal democracies has been discussed. However, we do not know much about the present situation in schools; which controversial issues that teachers choose to bring up in teaching, and how these are related to the curriculum. In this article, we present, based on 80 teachers’ survey answers, which controversial issues are being dealt with in Swedish social studies subjects in grades 7–9, and we analyse them comparatively between the subjects and in relation to the curriculum. The study shows that teachers in different ways combine topical problems with curriculum objectives in their transformation of contents into classroom teaching. Based on how the findings of this study can be related to previous discussions about controversial issues education, we argue that to be able to explain the teachers’ choices, we need to develop the conceptual and educational theories on this matter to more involve what takes place among the students and in everyday classroom realities.