About The Choices Program
The Choices Program is non-profit organization based at Brown University. We develop curricula on current and historical international issues and offer professional development for educators.
Choices materials incorporate the latest scholarship from Brown University and beyond to draw connections between historical events and contemporary international issues.
In each unit, a central activity challenges students to consider multiple viewpoints on a contested issue. Students examine the historical, cultural, and political background of the issue to prepare a coherent presentation.
Follow-up discussion demands analysis, and evaluation of conflicting values, interests, and priorities. Ultimately, students are expected to formulate persuasive arguments and express their own views.
The program seeks to empower young people with the skills, knowledge, and participatory habits to be engaged citizens who are capable of addressing international issues through thoughtful public discourse and informed decision making.
Teaching Resources Are Grounded in Scholarship
Choices curriculum units feature rich content, drawing on the best scholarship available. You'll find historical and contemporary primary source documents, including maps, images, and editorial cartoons. A growing library of Scholars Online videos, aligned with printed units and embedded in our iBook Textbooks, brings content experts directly into your classroom.
Common Core, C3, and State Standards
The teaching resources and pedagogical approach of the Choices Program align with Common Core and State Standards for social studies. Our materials have always stressed textual analysis and the consideration of multiple perspectives. Choices resources also address a range of 21st Century Skills including:
- Critical thinking
- Creativity and innovation
- Media and technology literacy
- Global awareness
- Civic literacy
The Structure of a Choices Curriculum Unit
There are two kinds of units—those that are shaped around an unresolved current issue and those that are shaped around a historical turning point. All units involve students in a dynamic conversation connecting the past and the present. Units provide readings and student-centered lesson plans, including a deliberative activity in which students consider divergent views. See a chart comparing the Choices approach to current issues and historical turning points.
What Research Says
- Teachers using Choices curriculum resources report positive academic outcomes for students.
- Choices materials and pedagogical approaches work well with students of varied academic ability levels.
- Students in Choices classes appreciate the opportunity to engage in serious discussions in which the views of students take center stage.
- Students in Choices classes form rich conceptions of what it means to be engaged citizens.
- Research findings are drawn from a longitudinal study (Discussing Controversial Issues) housed at the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For complete results see What the Research Says.