Controversy in the Classroom. The Democratic Power of Discussion


  • Tilman Grammes



“One warm day in the spring of 2006, I visited a U.S. History class at a public charter school in a large Midwestern city …” (p. 1) This is the beginning of Diana Hess’ book about the methods of democratic discussion in classroom and it indicates its strong narrative quality including several teacher portraits and scenic vignettes. The book is winner of the 2009 “Exemplary Research in Social Studies” award from the National Council for the Social Studies. In an interview with Kerry G. Hill for the campus journal (School of Education, University of Wisconsin the author roots the book’s content back to her own biography and socialization: While growing up in northern Illinois, Diana Hess recalls members of her family engaging in lively, raucous political discussions. “Disagreement wasn’t a negative thing,” she remembers.