Social sciences education based on social issues or controversial issues: State of the art and a research results

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Social studies education based on social issues has its origins in Dewey's proposals, that where mainly applied in history courses in the 50's and 60's of the last century. Later on, there was made a distinction between two teaching and researching lines. One line is focused in the process of researching, or in the methodology. This line is related to the problem-based learning, such, per example, as the problem situation model, mainly developed in Canada and France, and in the work based on history and geography labs, developed in Italy. Another option is grounded on critical theory and is focused on knowledge, because it considers that history and social studies education must be focused on social issues or controversial issues, terms used by the critical social studies approach in the US. Another thinking movement, known as socially acute questions, appears in France in the first years of the present century and can also be related to critical theory. In the research group GREDICS we have been researching on social studies teaching and learning based on social issues or socially acute questions. In that case, we present the results of a research that aims to analyse the development of critical thinking skills of secondary school students, with the implementation of a didactic sequence hinged on a social issue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-79
Number of pages23
JournalFuturo del Pasado
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Controversial issues
  • Critical theory
  • Critical thinking
  • Issues-centered education
  • Socially acute questions


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