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The Deliberative Classroom: Topical Debating Resources and Teacher Guidance

The Deliberative Classroom is a project to support teachers to lead knowledge based discussions and debates with students on topical issues relating to fundamental British values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs), citizenship and equality.

This project comprises of:

  • A General Guidance booklet for teachers with advice for leading knowledge based debates to sensitve and topical issues, together with links to curriculum subjects
  • Three short films to build teacher confidence in addressing controversial issues in the classroom. The films illustrate whole school strategies and classroom approaches and strategies used by teachers in two different schools to demonstrate how they create a safe space for debating controversial issues, avoiding polarisation and promote the fundamental British values.

Two Debate Resource packs have been developed on different themes to support teachers in developing their subject knowledge and to further exmplify using deliberative discussion and debate in the classroom.

  • A Debate Resource Pack on the topic of ‘Religious Freedom’, includes: a teacher topic briefing, lessons and student resources
  • A Debate Resource Pack on the topic of 'Democracy, Protest and Change', includes: a teacher topic briefing, lessons and student resources 
  • Discussion-based activities can help build resilience through the development of knowledge to support students think critically and increasingly independently about the challenges facing the UK as a complex and changing democracy. The lessons and activities in the Resource Packs and illustrated in the films are designed for pupils in key stages 3 and link to the subjects of Citizenship, RE, History and English.

The debate resources have been written and developed by the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT), Middlesex University and the English Speaking Union (ESU).

The three films and the 'Religious Freedom' teaching pack have been developed with support from the Department for Education (DfE).

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