Educational Resources Lets Talk Science Challenge participants

People connected together (Gordon Johnson, Pixabay)

People connected together

Issues & Stakeholders

What Is It?

This is a critical thinking strategy used to help students “unpack” a controversial topic by identifying the issues and the key stakeholders who are involved with the topic.

Why use it?

  • To enhance critical thinking skills
  • To identify and consider different perspectives on a topic
  • To increase awareness of the connections between science/technology and society

Tips for success

  • For the first time using this strategy, you can have the class complete the chart together using an interactive white board.
  • Practice identifying stakeholders using a situation familiar to students (e.g., getting a new pet, etc.).
  • Help students to understand that stakeholders are not always mentioned but can be inferred (e.g., live in an affected area; have family or friends who may be affected, etc.).

How do I use it?

  • Students will read a series of articles and/or watch a series of videos about a controversial topic (e.g., GMO foods, nuclear power, stem cells, etc.). The articles or videos must identify a variety of issues with the topic and include the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders
  • As a class, brainstorm three to four key issues associated with the topic (e.g., for nuclear power the issues could be accidents, waste storage, cost, etc.). Have students write these issues in the Key Issues column of the reproducible (see image at right).
Issues & Stakeholders Reproducible Template
Issues & Stakeholders Reproducible Template
  • In small groups, have students identify the people/groups whom they think would care about the issue (Key Stakeholders). These are typically individuals, groups of people or organizations who have something to lose or gain related to the issue. The stakeholders should be listed on the lines provided in the column marked Key Stakeholders. The same stakeholder can be listed for more than one issue.
  • Next, have the same small groups identify why each of the stakeholders would care about the issue and record this beside the stakeholder’s name in the column marked Stakeholder Interests.
  • Bring the class back together to discuss the results and add to each other’s charts.

Variations

  • A single article/video could also be used as a long as it includes a variety of issues and stakeholder perspectives.
  • The issues could be distributed to small groups of students so that they only look at one of the issues, rather than all of the issues.

Extensions

  • To demonstrate understanding, students could write a short opinion piece about one of the issues, taking the perspective of one of the stakeholders.
  • Students can share their own personal opinions about each of the issues, including which of the stakeholders (if any) they identify with.
  • Hold a mock town hall meeting in which students role-play the various stakeholders.

 

Using this Strategy

Create Your Own

Issues & Stakeholders Reproducible Template [Google doc] [PDF]

Create Your Own

Issues & Stakeholders Reproducible Template [Google doc] [PDF]

Ready to Use
Ready to Use
Issues & Stakeholders Student Samples
Issues & Stakeholders Student Samples

References

Misfeldt, C., Browne, C., Smith, D., Sclater, K., Hughes, L., & Windsor, V. (2002). Brazilian rain forest. Critical Thinking Consortium.

Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies. (2012, November 28). Understanding stakeholder perspectives. University of Kentucky.