Speak Your Piece. Exploring Controversial Issues. A Guide for Teachers, Youth and Community Workers

Alan Smith, Alan McCully, Marian O'Doherty, Paul Smyth, Una O'Connor

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Speak Your Piece originated alongside the Channel 4 television series as a research and development project based at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. It was founded on the principle that educators have a positive contribution to make in helping young people engage with controversial social, cultural, religious and political issues by: - enabling dialogue which is forthright and inclusive - providing alternatives to violence and avoidance as a means of resolving conflict - facilitating participatory decision-making which encourages democratic processes To support those working with the programmes 20 youth and community workers and teachers from 20 schools were involved in a pilot phase of the project. The pilot phase was concerned with the development of methods and processes for handling controversial issues. The work of the project supported the cross curricular themes of Education for Mutual Understanding and Cultural Heritage. The project encouraged an appreciation of the shared and distinct characteristics of cultural traditions in Northern Ireland and provided opportunities for the exploration of controversial social and political issues. Teachers of English, History, Religious Education and Personal and Social Education were actively involved in the developmental work. The project also supported community relations work within the Northern Ireland Youth Services. It had particular significance for those working with young people on issues of human rights, democracy, justice and conflict resolution. Beyond Northern Ireland the project was relevant for Irish studies, for the themes of Citizenship and Community Understanding in England and Wales and for the Civic, Social and Political Education programme in the Republic of Ireland. Speak Your Piece was funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Department of Education for Northern Ireland and the Youth Council for Northern Ireland in partnership with the University of Ulster, Ulster Television and Channel 4 Schools.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUTV
Publication statusPublished - 1996
EventTelevision Series - Northern Ireland
Duration: 1 Jan 19951 Jan 2000


  • education northern ireland mutual understanding peace controversial issues


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