The Instigator
voltaxx
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
DSky25
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Should Controversial Topics be Discussed by Instructors?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
DSky25
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,883 times Debate No: 55459
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

voltaxx

Pro

Usually, instructors avoid speaking about controversial topics since they lead into many disagreements between students or even worse having the instructor fired or some students getting bullied by others who have different opinions. From my perspective controversial issues have to be discussed in schools and universities for four good reasons.
The first reason is that , controversial topics enhance analysis and critical thinking and help students develop better study and problem solving techniques; for instance: in 1992 The University of Berlin conducted a study on both high school and elementary school students who were exposed to controversial issues scored higher on their exams than the ones who weren't. The second reason is that, through out every country they are included in the curriculum, and many of the topics have been proven to be true i.e. : the theory of evolution. The third reason is that children want learn about everything because when they become adults they will be working in professional environments which requires them to be educated and handle harsh topics. The fourth reason is that children hold the future and they will be forced with making tough decisions and responsibility when they mature enough because repression will cause failure ; for example: Eastern countries are a failure because no one is allowed to think for themselves; Another example is that sex education should be taught by parents and not by pornography or abstinence since societies with no sex education have a high rate of rape, child molestation.
In conclusion, controversial topics need to be openly discussed. I recommend for educators to start discussing them openly by speaking about both sides.
DSky25

Con

I am basing my argument on the assumption that we are referring to grades K-12 and not undergraduate or graduate curriculum. I will address and present the definition of "controversial" prior to stating my position on any claims. First, I will present my arguments and hopefully the Pro will concur to having round 2 be the rebuttal phase for the arguments presented in round 1. So, in this round I will not make any attempt to refute what Pro has outlined.

Definition
Controversial: relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument : likely to produce controversy
http://www.merriam-webster.com...


P1:
It is important to understand the nature of the controversy behind each individual matter. We should understand this controversy in order to better decipher between what is at the moment inaccurate, lacking empirical evidence, and what is controversial in terms of a "taboo" or "potentially offensive". I believe the subjective controversy ("taboo":"potentially offensive") makes sense for implementation if it has empirical support. I do not believe that objective controversy (lack of evidence) should be implemented without necessary scholarly acceptance.

P2:
In order to better understand the implications of teaching controversial topics in the classroom, it is important to note that controversial topics are just that; controversial.
There exists a consensus among academic officials on material that is generally accepted. The material is then filtered in a manner that allows the student to have exposure to the necessary building blocks of any given subject (history, science, English, etc.). More often than not, controversial topics lack the necessary scholarly approval in order for the topic to be considered relatively valid and necessary for classroom implementation. Almost every foundational component of any basic subject has undergone a stage of controversy prior to the necessary supporting evidence for collective academic approval.

P3:
Basic academic fundamentals are the conditioning element for students so that they are better prepared for the real world. These are only baseline understandings of broad subject matter that allow students to make calculated and objective decisions when presented with controversial topics. This is the reason for pre-collegiate academia and why the curriculum remains congruent with academic acceptance. Exposure to controversial subject matter will inevitably find most people at one point or another. Expediting the process would not ensure a more refined ability to approach a divided understanding within history or science. By focusing the instruction on development for a firm grip on the foundations used to produce such controversial topics, one can better understand the way in which the topic was derived. The end result will be a more well-rounded individual who has all the necessary tools to objectify any such controversial issue.

P3:
I pose a question to the Pro and hope that it can be addressed if you have time. During the developmental stage of adolescence, children are more apt to believe in the unbelievable, and have a stronger predisposition to manipulation (I can speak from personal experience). Is it possible that exposure to controversial subject matter could inhibit a greater possibility for blind acceptance? This is not to imply that an instructor would partially present the material with an agenda to push his/her own beliefs (although this occurrence could be highly possible), it is to say that the student could misunderstand or conform to one side that ultimately is deemed incorrect. Then, having been conditioned during our susceptibility stage (adolescence), it would seem plausible that the ability to change his/her understanding of the matter would be much more difficult.

Debate Round No. 1
voltaxx

Pro

To be honest I agree with most of your argument, but for P1 , some topics which are considered "taboo" need to be discussed openly and pupils should learn more about the taboo subject,for example the subject of sex should be openly taught by teachers because some students especially boys view their female classmates as sex objects, or may learn about sex through porn.
For P3: Children and adolescents are indoctrinated at a young age by their parents , however they should be taught controversial subjects because they will help them decide for themselves.
For P2: Pupils are not sure about what career they should choose or college major , so they should be exposed to different fields .
DSky25

Con

Thank you for maintaining a constructive and rational demeanor, as it keeps the focus relative to the topic and astray from any irrelevant harshness.

I do appreciate your willingness to concur with some of my points but I must correct you on a few of your inferences that may have been misread.

P1: My disposition was that topics possessing a "taboo" element should be discussed if they accompany empirical and scholarly support. So, I believe that the basic premise is something you were in agreement with me on. Now, to move forward and address the situational example you have put forth, there seem to be a few hasty conclusions drawn from the circumstances. You have proposed the subject of "sex", which is a very general category of interest. To the best of my understanding, it seems you are referring to how students learn the interpersonal and physical components involved with sexual intercourse. Based on assumption (and possibly personal experience), you have asserted that teachers should teach moral solidarity to students, especially young boys, due to your inference that young boys are conditioned to view girls as sex objects and possibly learn inaccurate moral solidarity through pornography. I would have to disagree with you on this. What is the collective normative understanding for how to engage, view, and address sexual intercourse? I do not believe there is one due to the very private matter that it inherently is. The affirmation of privacy would be the collective normative understanding and is usually approached as such. Now, teaching young boys that women are not sexual objects is a rational position, but to assume that boys have a predisposition to treating women as sexual objects cannot be supported with empirical data. The other conclusion that you have drawn is that boys may learn about sex through porn. This is a potential occurrence but it cannot be used as a justification for implementing a system to correct it if no reasonable empirical evidence would suggest a need for the correction.

P3: You are correct, children and adolescents are indoctrinated at a young age by their parents but the parents are not isolated contributors. The entire socialization process is a multifaceted web of indoctrinating providers and parents are only one provider out of many. I just do not understand how this is a reasonable causality for implementing controversial subjects. I believe you are saying that children do not get a chance to decide on controversial subjects because their parents do not allow exposure. I would ask, on what grounds do you believe children have the developmental capacity for critical decision making? Disregarding guidance and knowledge of the people who have more experience on controversial subjects would seem somewhat short sided in my opinion. In certain circumstances, children are capable of choosing for themselves as long as they are at a stage of calculated competence.

P2: I do not disagree with you at all because I was exposed to different career and academic fields during my time in K-12. Are referring to controversial career and academic fields? If so, the only career fields that I could think of as controversial are either illegal or along the lines of an exotic dancer or IRS agent.
Debate Round No. 2
voltaxx

Pro

voltaxx forfeited this round.
DSky25

Con

Pro has forfeited this round and I have no further information to provide at this point.
Debate Round No. 3
voltaxx

Pro

voltaxx forfeited this round.
DSky25

Con

Pro has forfeited this round. I will have a concluding argument in the final round.
Debate Round No. 4
voltaxx

Pro

voltaxx forfeited this round.
DSky25

Con

DSky25 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
voltaxxDSky25Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Con. Pro forfeited R 3, 4, & 5. This is rarely acceptable conduct in a debate. For that, Con is awarded Conduct points. I would caution Con though for forfeiting in the last round as well. I understand that at a certain point it seems useless to post again, but you should always type "Extend Arguments" when faced with a situation like an opponent who FF's alot. S&G - Tie. Neither made any major spelling or grammatical errors. Arguments - Con. Pro needed to maintain his position, and failed to do so. Con provided rebuttals and arguments that remain standing unchallenged by Pro. Therefore, Con wins argument points. Sources - Tie. Neither utilized sources in this debate. Con did source for his definition. If the debaters wish me to award points for that, please PM me.