The Matters of Opinion series examines a range of significant issues that affect teenagers today. Each title is structured to introduce the broad problem and then pose challenging questions to encourage readers to think about both the pros and cons of each issue. Commentary to inform the development of an opinion scaffolds critical thinking and examines a range techniques of across the books e.g.: bias, scare tactics, scapegoating, using testimonials and authority that inform the points of view presented. Titles conclude with steps to develop an essay to help students express their own view point and how to use examples to support their arguments.
This series is American and therefore timelines, statistics and examples are drawn from the US. However, the topics are global and relevant, and sourcing similar or related material based on the Australian scene would add a strong research purpose for students to explore these topics to develop their own reasoned opinions.
Smoking – Explores several smoking-related issues including: personal responsibility, corporate responsibility, second-hand smoke, and banning smoking.
Bullying – Bullying issues covered include: whether the internet is to blame, if schools are doing enough to prevent it, and punishments associated with bullying.
Cell Phones – Explores pros and cons of several issues related to cell phones including: the effects they pose on relationships, if they are addictive, and if children should be allowed to own them.
Video Games – Issues related to video games include: whether video games cause violence, discourage exercise, and require proper regulation.
Recycling – Recycling issue covered include: if it benefits the environment and is it economically efficient.
Obesity – Explores several issues related to obesity including: is the food industry at fault, can the government help prevent it, and effective treatments.
Food in Schools – Explores the pros and cons of several issues related to food in schools including: whether people have the right to eat whatever they want, and whether the federal government should control what students eat and weigh.
School Violence – Issues related to school violence include: is a violent culture to blame, are schools secure enough, and are non-violence courses a solution.
Cheating – Covers the pros and cons of several issues related to cheating including: how widespread it is, why it happens, and ways to prevent it.
The Matters of Opinion series provides relevant and contemporary debate on a range of 21 Century issues. They support the investigation of a several health related topics in the HPE curriculum, English in regard to persuasive writing and debating, along with several of the General Capabilities, most prominently, Critical and Creative Thinking. The language and layout is suitable for Years 7 to 10, however, some topics may be more appropriate for older students.