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But What Is the Truth?

The falling of the leaves heralds in the election cycle and all of its verbosity that clamors for one’s vote. Each election cycle I am reminded of perhaps the most important job I had during my teaching career: to prepare students to be critical thinkers in their roles as citizens and voters. I would like to share with you a resource I recently came across that has great teaching ideas that accomplishes this goal nicely.

AVID Open Access contains both educator programs and classroom resources that bring together best teaching practices and innovative ideas for teachers to access on a variety of topics. They’ve developed a great strand of activities and articles that help to give students the skills to separate fact from fiction.

To do this, five steps need to be taken:

1. Identify misleading information. Students must understand the existence of this type of information.

2. Identify the forms misleading information takes. Once students understand the existence of misleading information, they need to know it can come in the form of a manipulated image, clickbait, propaganda, disinformation and more. In order to properly evaluate material, we have to be aware of the disguises misleading information takes.

3. Identify bias. Learners need to know that bias exists everywhere, even in trustworthy sources, and can be used to convey a message in ways that may intentionally mislead. This particular skill is one covered in both language arts and social studies curricula, so it fits right in with lesson planning.

4. Pop your filter bubble. Filter bubbles form when people only see and hear narrow points of view and surround themselves with like-minded people. We all need to seek out dissenting views in order to more clearly see an issue.

5. Be a credibility detective. Once students understand the existence of misleading information and how it presents itself, the most important thing for them to be able to do is to critically think about what they are hearing, viewing, and reading in order to attempt to determine which information can be believed and which needs further questioning. By evaluating the author, bias and content, they can make a decision about a source’s trustworthiness.

To get further information and teaching ideas, click on each step and you will be directed to the AVID Open Access site. Free teaching posters are also included thanks to the generosity of the AVID team.


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