Talking issues with the century;Reviews;Books;Personal, social, and health education

16th April 1999 at 01:00
TALKING POINTS SERIES. Alcohol. Animal rights. Divorce. Genocide. Homelessness. Mental Illness. Charities. Slavery. TWENTIETH CENTURY ISSUES SERIES. Censorship. Crime and punishment. Medical ethics. Poverty. Racism. Women's Rights. Wayland pound;10.99 each.

Teaching controversial issues is never easy, and as we move into the "citizen-ship era" these two series should prove helpful. Both target 14 to 16-year-olds and offer a hard-hitting but always thoughtful approach to difficult topics.

The Talking Points books are visually striking with many provocative photographs. The text is mature and does not talk down to the reader.

Facts, statistics and case-studies are well integrated. Students are required to con-sider central issues by way of quotations which prompt debate and discussion. There is a global dimension to each vol-ume, and examples are up to date: the book on animal rights has sections on BSE and cloning.

Each volume has been produced by a writer and "consultant", and there is often a link with a relevant organisation. More activities could have been built into the text, but these books would still be a useful resource for PSHE, RE, humanities and GCSEs in sociology and social science.

Twentieth Century Issues has a more historical focus but will also challenge many students. The books contain less quanti-tative data than their companion series but compensate with an overview of the topic in question across the whole century.

Mike Moores is a lecturer at Weald College, Harrow, north-west London

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