Controversy mapping also works in school!
For 2 years now, different french schools in partnership with FORCCAST have been testing out new class formats, therefore implementing controversy mapping. Civil education, supervised personal work, history-geography- all have become applicable fields for the FORRCAST pedagogy.
Controversy mapping offers a procedure, a framework and a set of activities that can be perfectly adapted to secondary education’s objectives and programs. FORCCAST’s partners include the Microlycée 93 (le Bourget), the Lycée Jacques Brel de la Courneuve and l’Internant d’Excellence de Sourdun. The Lycée Camille Sée de Colmar has also joined the adventure thanks to the initiative of several professors. Since the beginning of the school year 2012, several tests have been led within different classes in order to find appropriate formats in relation with the curriculum programmes. The aim of these experiments is not only to explore a knowledge area from the starting point of a controversy, but also to acquire digital knowledge and practices, such as web documentary exploration, website publishing, videoproduction on mobile phones. At last, it aims at creating a critical mind and an aptitude to contribute to public debates by publicly arguing different positions in a simulated controversy.
Such innovations are being tested in the Microlycée 93- a public school structure built on an experimental approach…
At the Microlycée 93, FORRCAST teaching engineers are working with a class of 11 graders specialized in Economy and Social studies, in the preparation of their TPE (monitored personal work). In addition to theoretical training on research methodology and operational documents, the program conducted with the Microlycée 93 results in an outdoor workshop week. This year they were received at Sciences Po, where they met students who won the mapping controversy contest. Students participated in workshops on public speaking, on interview preparation and short movie making. This week has also allowed them to simulate a full-scale debate on palm oil, each student embodying the position of an actor he had previously studied.
These innovations are also being tested in a polyvalent school!
Controversy mapping has found quite another application in the Lycée Camille See in Colmar. It is used in the ECJS course taught to those in Literary and Economic & Social curriculums. Since 2013, two 12th grade classes have been evolving in the uncertain world of controversies. Students are distributed very specific roles in order to explore a chosen question:
– a cartographer in charge of creating a joint document of collection sites made by specialists
– a historian in charge of creating a timeline indexing all the events related to the subject
– a media specialist in charge of following the evolution of opinion
– a stakeholders expert in charge of identifying the actors of the controversy (specialists, citizens, politicians…) and to determine their position
– an ethics/ philosophy expert in charge of identifying different philosophical arguments at play
– a religion expert in charge of identifying the point of views scholar of different religions
These missions can be performed by one or more students, and feedback sessions are regularly organized to disseminate the amassed knowledge. This pace and quality of supervision provided by teachers aims at a critical use of search engines and online resources. The search for information, critical analysis of used websites and the hierarchy of information depending on the source are all integral elements of controversy mapping, as applied in Lycée Camille See.
In the overview of this experiment (available here), teachers give positive feedback about the students new info-documentary skills, the development of their participation in democracy, their ability to think, their autonomy and, generally, their training towards citizen life.
Convincing results coming in various forms
After an experimental phase conducted by secondary education motivated and identified institutions, the FORCCAST team offered to collaborate with the Ministry of Education in the training of teachers to this method. This can be particularly relevant in the framework of media and citizenship education, especially in the recent context that requires a reclaiming of fundamental citizenship by students through an active learning approach rooted in their own skills.
FORRCAST methods target more specifically controversies in Science and Technology, which raise contemporary and multidisciplinary issues, often affecting our daily lives. The scientific and technical knowledge should not only be perceived as something repulsive or reserved to specialists. Controversies allow students to understand that they need to form well-argued opinions from already existing debates between scientists or engineers before making hasty or stereotyped judgments. They take a liking to these debates and understand that the whole society participates already.
If you are a school teacher enthusiastic about this new method, please contact us. We are there to assist you in the process.