Have you ever had your child come home at the end of a day, make a statement to you that they believe is true, and you can’t help but respond, “Where did you hear that?”
Having been an English teacher, I have spent time trying to teach students how to tell good information from bad information when doing research. But, because of the prevalence of highly biased information these days, I actually went to an expert I just happened to work with at El Cajon Valley High School (ECVHS), to find out how he teaches kids to identify false from real information.
Before Mr. Trump ran for President, I didn’t realize there was any such thing as “fake” news. Sounds rather naive, now, doesn’t it? But since he became President, I have found more and more information that wants you to believe it is real, when it is more often than not either partially or completely false. (Doesn’t this sound rather biased? It is. I am blaming Trump for the increase in “fake” news, and he really can’t be blamed for it. I am also not showing other possible reasons for “fake” news.)
Anthony Devine is the librarian at ECVHS. He has also spent much time learning about how information can be presented to make people want to believe it. I asked him to show me what he teaches students about how to tell a good source from a bad source (good information from bad). It really comes down to a few die hard rules.
- Read the information. Does it balance one side with the “other” side, or just give one side of the story?
- Who wrote what you are reading? Could they be part of a political group? Does the writer have an “agenda?” Is it written by a trained journalist?
- Are the claims the article or post makes backed up with evidence?
- All information has a bias, BUT…it must also be willing to discuss opposing views on the subject.
What you see above is just a small part of what kids are taught at ECV. Kids must be able to discern good from bad information, because they will make life decisions based on what they believe to be true! As a parent and grandparent, we can help our schools teach this to our kids. I am sure Anthony, as well as hundreds of teachers and librarians, would be quite happy if we could reinforce what they try to teach at school.
Look at this link for an interesting and informative article on identifying good from bad information, and why we are drawn to certain information:
Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.