Professional Development

Close Up empowers educators nationwide to facilitate meaningful conversations among students in any classroom setting.

We're meeting the challenges of a shifting landscape.

Political polarization and ever-changing state and district policies have made classroom discourse on current issues more challenging than ever. Many educators want these conversations to be part of their instruction, but they have concerns about biases, backlash, and antagonism between students.

Close Up, however, is committed to supporting educators who recognize that student discourse is essential to individual growthcritical thinking, and active engagement in democracy. Our professional development is built on over 50 years of experience in facilitating discourse across differences, giving teachers the training, materials, and support they need to engage with current issues in class.


Professional Development Workshops

Navigating Challenging Election Issues at School

This workshop is designed to help teachers and administrators across all disciplines frame and respond to discussions about complex social and political issues.

  • Explore strategies for navigating controversial election topics by helping students focus on issues instead of candidates.
  • Learn practical techniques to establish norms that foster empathy and civil dialogue.
  • Apply a values framework to multiple policy issues to engage in productive discourse.
  • Develop the skills to lead students in a critical analysis of election media coverage.


Facilitating Productive Civil Discourse in Your Classroom

Teachers will gain practical tools and explore resources and strategies for taking a multipartisan approach to complex issues such as criminal justice reform, immigration reform, climate change, and economic inequality.

  • Learn a values framework for examining political disagreements.
  • Learn and model the key structural differences between discussion, debate, and deliberation.
  • Explore a set of scenarios on the topics of criminal justice, COVID-19, and protest, and learn actionable techniques to keep students on track when discourse breaks down.


& Citizenship

Teachers will examine the concepts of media literacy and participate in activities that help students engage with a wide range of media sources, read critically, and identify efforts to mislead.

  • Examine the role that media plays in our interpretation of historical events.
  • Model lessons that provide real-world applications of the eight major media literacy concepts.
  • Learn to use readily available online tools to enhance media literacy skills in class.


Community-Engaged Classrooms

Using a proven framework for action from Close Up’s Impact programs, teachers will learn to foster students’ civic and political efficacy and help them take real-world action on issues they care about. 

  • Examine a series of youth-led initiatives to learn how community projects enhance learning.
  • Use a community inventory to help students develop responsive community engagement projects.


Tutorial on
Using Current Issues

This tutorial gives teachers direct instruction for using Close Up’s Current Issues resources and civic readiness curriculum.


  • Walk through a sample of one of the dozens of Current Issues topics and learn the best ways to engage students in respectful discourse that incorporates multiple perspectives.
  • Examine a series of lesson plans to ready your classroom for discussing complex current issues.
  • Explore multimedia content (including videos from policymakers, podcasts, and recorded seminars) and learn about national online student deliberations available for your classroom.


On-Demand Workshops

Our short, on-demand sessions are ideal for individual educators looking for self-paced training and PD recertification.


What makes Close Up PD different?

Our professional development workshops, conducted online and in person by instructors with student-facing experience, give teachers the capability and comfort to engage with current issues.