Lesson 3: Identifying Issues Requiring Political Courage


To identify a current issue requiring political courage. 
To apply the concept of political courage to a contemporary or historical person.

Note to Teacher: Think/Pair/Share method ensures appropriate time for thinking/reflection as well as offering everyone in the class an opportunity to engage in the discussion. Students are asked first to think about the topic or question on their own, then pair off with a partner to discuss their thoughts, and finally to share their responses as part of a class discussion.


  1. Think – Ask each student to think about an issue requiring an elected public official to act courageously. Ask them to think of one or more actions an elected official may take or is taking to address this issue.

  2. Pair – Have the students discuss their issue and strategy with another member of the class.

  3. Share – Bring the class together to discuss the issues, proposed strategies and some of the costs or rewards for a political leader addressing such an issue. Who might he/she offend or appease by proposing or pursuing such an action? You may wish to have students compose a letter to an elected official or the editor of a local newspaper about an issue of concern to them. Post the responses on a classroom blackboard under the title "Making a Difference."


Have students read past winning essays to identify issues addressed by elected officials who have demonstrated political courage. Encourage students to analyze how the official demonstrated political courage and the costs and rewards involved in addressing the issue.