Evens Foundation
Living together harmoniously in Europe

Difficult topic. Deal with it!

Difficult topic. Deal with it!
How to deal with controversial topics in the classroom? How to talk with students about difficult and important topics, no one really wants to tackle? The aim of the project is to design and test new methods and problem solving techniques helpful when talking about difficult topics in the Polish school environment.

In the last years in Poland we receive signals of radicalization of young people. Research confirm that there is a high number of students of secondary schools (38 %) who do not value democracy anymore and the radicalization of right wing ideologies deepens as well. Teachers also observe the increase of xenophobic and aggressive behaviors as well as the use of hate speech. They also declare that they need support and tools to use in schools in order to counteract this phenomenon.

Constructive debate on difficult and controversial topics is getting increasingly difficult when the political views are more and more radical. We can observe it during the migrant crisis that influenced the whole Europe. The public debate about refugees in Poland shows a number of problems: prejudices against the theoretical newcomers, stereotypes, general difficulties in exchange of opinions and substantive discussion on controversial topics – in the school environment and outside of it. Also media concentrate on distinct and radical opinions, do not provide reliable information, antagonize instead of fostering the process of mutual understanding.

We are more than sure that the change is possible only by good education of broad audiences – teachers and students. Schools may also have indirect impact on local communities – families of students who take part in the projects, and on other citizens via local debates and social campaigns.

Students and teachers need good examples, proven and various methods of wok and communication of controversial and difficult topics, as well as support of the experts from different fields. What we need is taking real actions in the local communities supported by clear and explicit information in the media – electronic and traditional.

General aims of the project

The main aim of the project is to create a platform of conversation on controversial topics and taking constructive actions in the school and local environment.

  • Enabling discussions on difficult topics based on mutual respect.
  • Sharing with teaches proven and ready to use materials and methods of work in the situation of crisis .
  • Encouraging teachers to take actions around difficult topics – initiating conversations, debates, social actions, mediation and workshops.

In this project we will work with teachers of history, civics, Polish, foreign languages, form masters, librarians and guidance counsellors, as well as students from primary and secondary schools all over Poland.


In the preparatory stage of the project we will conduct a diagnostic study among teachers and young people in the whole country. The results of the research will help us to define the most difficult and controversial topic areas, stirring up public opinion and young publicity. Basing on the answers we will prepare a list of the problems useful in the project work.

Students and teachers will choose a model they would like to work with, within the project based methodology. The best solutions, best practices and effects are going to be evaluated and published in the form of ready to use toolkits with exercises and audiovisual materials. We are going to disseminate them in Poland and Europe. In the next stage of the project, we are going to invite 200 schools affiliated with the program to use the toolkits in their educational practice. This stage of the project will be accompanied by the social campaign directed to school environment and the parents.

More info and application procedure: trudnytemat.ceo.org.pl/

This project is initiated by Evens Foundation and realised in partnership with the Centre for Citizenship Education