by Anat Yarden, Rachel Cohen & Eran Zafrani (Weizmann Institute, Israel)
Teachers in Israel participated in a Professional Development (PD) course which was conducted in the framework of the PARRISE project. The teachers, working in groups of 5-8, were involved in a “mapping the controversy” activity at one of their December 2015 sessions. Each group was asked to prepare a controversy map around a topic of their choice, according to instructions prepared using the information received from two PARRISE WP4 (Upper Secondary Education Teacher Professional Development in SSIBL) team partners: Gregoire Molinatti (France) and Christine Heidinger (Austria).
The teachers were briefly introduced to several worldwide challenges, such as hunger in the third world and the possibility to spread the idea of using Spirulina as a solution, a project that is running for several years in the Gimazia Herzelia high school in Tel-Aviv. One of the activities that took place in the PD asked teachers to reason about how Social Science Issues can be characterized and how the controversies involved can be mapped. In the course of the activity teachers were asked to choose a controversial topic, identify the social public agenda actors and their interrelationships.
The controversy map was prepared by five high school biology and environmental sciences teachers from different schools in Israel. The teachers spontaneously raised social issues and analyzed them. One of the groups raised the issue of immunization, which is on a public debate in Israel in the recent years. This teachers’ map, shown in its original form in Hebrew and also translated in English, addresses the problem of vaccination (or unwillingness of certain parts of the population to get vaccinated) and its impact on the population.
For instance, in the case of PARRISE TPD courses at the Weizmann Institute, the group of teachers who participated in the TPD courses was divided to four sub-groups and each sub-group was asked to prepare a controversy map around a topic of their choice. This TPD activity was organized and conducted according to instructions and information we received from two WP4 team partners: Gregoire Molinatti and Christine Heidinger, who have also employed the same cartography process as part of their TPD courses. An exemplary concept map derived from a subgroup of teachers, who participated at the PARRISE TPD courses at the Weizmann Institute appears in Figure below.