1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    An interesting reaction against fake news and conspiracy theories comes from Italy, where a new school program attempts to inoculate an entire generation against disinformation by giving them a toolbox of techniques for spotting it.

    The initiative is being watched as a kind of pilot project by other European countries, and by origanizations like Facebook that have a fake news problem. Facebook is helping promote the program.
    Great intentions, but it will be very interesting to see how it pans out over the first year. One also wonders how such a program might come across in the US in the current political environment. Conspiracy theorists themselves are quick to label news they do not like as fake news, but would they be suspicious of a school program that attempted to teach children to verify information for themselves? "Do your own research" is a popular refrain - but is often applied backwards, meaning "watch research or propaganda videos created by others". How would those people feel when they children came home from school newly skeptical of their parent's YouTube knowledge?
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017 at 11:31 AM
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  2. DJC

    DJC Member

    Terrible Idea .90% of the news is fake falsified embellished or out right lies ..i dont know any politician that tells the truth they all have zero credibility .there are more agendas being paid for and more corrupted information or straight propaganda that is coming from their own teachers for whatever country they live in ...this is just more brainwashing to fit the agenda the powers that be want to push . way too intrusive and personal and a very slippery slope for any parent to let this go on ...
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  3. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    I think high school is the perfect age to teach critical thinking skills as they relate to media. High school kids don't typically idolize their teachers, if you wait till college to teach "communications", students are more likely to idolize their "professors" and fall for the professors biases. I think college kids fall for this because there is a suggestion that they are now adults and professors view them more as equals.. where in high school the kids know the teachers don't view them as equals; so I think high school kids, in general, are more skeptical of what they are taught.

    Basically I think more high school students (than college students) will use the skills the teacher teaches to 'debunk' the teacher. Cause that is the age kids have been 'awakened' to the fact that adults are stupid, and they start to question everything adults say.
  4. DJC

    DJC Member

    Basically I think more high school students (than college students) will use the skills the teacher teaches to 'debunk' the teacher. Cause that is the age kids have been 'awakened' to the fact that adults are stupid, and they start to question everything adults say.[/QUOTE]

    i agree it seems in high school you are somewhat smart and free thinking and these college kids get hypnotized by these professors and adopt their ideology .
  5. cloudspotter

    cloudspotter Senior Member

    I'm not sure I follow your logic here. News is fake and politicians lie so teaching people that information can be manipulated and that sources and evidence should be be checked and verified is a terrible idea?
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  6. DJC

    DJC Member

    YES , its a very slippery slope ...Who will decide whats real, you ,me? our opinions are not the same and the next 100 peoples wont be either ...So who will write the curriculum ...Oh thats right the lying propaganda pushing government ..See the problem? ...unless they are going to make a simple motto ...QUESTION EVERYTHING ..or believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear ..then you leave the kids open to be manipulated and conditioned to believe what you teach them is right and everything else is wrong ..because you think so ..
  7. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    fact checking is not about opinions. fact checking is about checking facts. The curriculum would be (should be) just teaching children fact checking skills and how not to fall for advertisments (product sales) that disguise themselves as real news articles. You see this sales tactic used on Yahoo News all the time.

  8. txt29

    txt29 Active Member

    DJC, it appears to me that you are shooting yourself in the foot. On one hand you tell that news are full of lies and propaganda (which may be well true sometimes), and on the other hand you seem to be upset that students are going to be tought to verify news. It makes no sense.

    Would you perhaps prefer that children are let in the dark and tought to accept all news without asking any questions at all? Or do you want that they are careful with accepting news selectively (for example distrusting/verifying only official news, while accepting without hesitation "alternative" news)? If so, then by which pattern? It makes no sense to me either.
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  9. DJC

    DJC Member

    No sir i made it clear ...if they were going to make a blanket statement to believe nothing without investigation and not go down the obvious slippery slope of telling them what is and what isnt fake ..then great ..but we both no this will not happen ..as almost everything we are taught in government run schools is propaganda ..its happening now .
  10. cloudspotter

    cloudspotter Senior Member

    Something like

    you mean?
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  11. DJC

    DJC Member

    and how can you create a discussion or start any kind of dialogue if you didnt share unverified news? isnt that what this site is based on ?
  12. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Don't worry there will always be people incapable of critical thinking who will continue to spread bunk.
  13. SR1419

    SR1419 Senior Member

    citation needed.
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  14. cloudspotter

    cloudspotter Senior Member

    That's not what this article is about at all.
  15. Inti

    Inti Active Member

    As a former teacher in government funded schools in the UK, for decades, and having been involved in running courses to train teachers, I can assure you that this is not true, in my extensive experience.

    Teachers have very often been more than willing to encourage children to think critically about all the views they encounter, and to gain the skills to question alleged facts effectively..

    On that theme, on what evidence did you base your claim that teachers will not do so? Did you apply your own advice to accept nothing without question to that view?
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  16. DJC

    DJC Member

    imagine you had 2 classes one teacher was pro life pro guns anti vaccine didnt believe in global warming didnt believe in evolution and was a conservative

    in the other class you had the opposite

    which news do you think would be fake in each class?

    like i said .. slippery slope
  17. Rory

    Rory Active Member

    As long as they were both pro-facts, and somewhat able to keep their opinions and psychologies out of it, I guess it would be okay. :)

    Anyway, can you think of a better way?
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  18. cloudspotter

    cloudspotter Senior Member

    The one that didn't have evidence to support it
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  19. MikeG

    MikeG Senior Member

    I am late to this discussion, but thought I'd add a few ideas.

    I have been teaching college for 23 years and might be able to speak from a bit of authority.

    You seem to be wedded to a series of basic, black and white concepts that don't really reflect reality. "Almost everything we are taught in government run schools is propaganda"? Really? I teach in a state college and my curricular choices are my own. We offer multiple sections of American history, for example. In mine, I address foreign affairs, governance, and social movements. When students write (and we do emphasize writing skills as well as logic) their essays, they choose one of the three topics.

    I ask them to apply simple logic in the process. 1) Make a claim; 2) Offer a proof. Answers are evaluated not on their agreement, but on the completeness of their logic. That way, students can pursue a variety of perspectives that follow a valid process. That approach is thousands of years old.

    That said, you seem to think that faculty simply imprint their own biases on unwitting students. I am not going to argue that we are models of objectivity, but there are constructive ways to teach.

    Rather than blame the media, or the government, or teachers, I would ask that you keep an open mind.

    Better yet, try your hand at teaching someday and see how it works.
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  20. Inti

    Inti Active Member

    If I was "the opposite" teacher, I wouldn't just try to indoctrinate the class in my view. I'd start out by giving them examples of opposing views and guide them in identifying how they could look for evidence that would help them decide between them.

    I'd tie that in with learning how to evaluate how reliable different sources are, I might also get teams of students which already identified with one side of the argument to work on making the best case they could for the opposing view.

    And when it comes to science based issues like climate change, I would aim to help them understand that there isn't really "conservative" and "liberal" science, just good, evidence-based and bad, ideological science.And we would look at how we can tell the difference.

    When I taught history, for instance, I did an exercise on the Katyn forest massacre of Polish prisoners. Was it committed by the Nazis or the USSR? At that time, that was still an open question.

    I gave them summaries of the points of evidence implicating each government, had them identify the points, categorise which pointed to each possible perpetrator and reach reasoned, argued conclusions.

    Most decided that it was the Soviets who murdered the prisoners. I didn't tell them this, they questioned and judged for themselves.And most decided it was probably the Soviet government, which we all later found out was correct, when new evidence was revealed after the Soviet Union collapsed.

    What's more, the majority of students enjoyed doing this mire than if I'd just given them lists of facts to memorise. They learned something about doing real history, and real critical thinking.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017 at 2:54 AM
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  21. DJC

    DJC Member

    You sound like a good teacher ...and how you approached the subject and the direction you gave was great ...if this is the norm then why would they need to set a curriculum to learn this ? and the orders come from the government . havent we already established that they are all liars and push their own agendas ? there are too many controversial subjects to get into but in every one there are two sides .and you wont be able to sway either one back to the other ..unless this is meant just to have one side and to teach impressionable kids this side ...the side you want them to know
  22. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Because the program is how to tell what is real and fake ON THE INTERNET.

    Which of these three examples are REAL news?




  23. Inti

    Inti Active Member

    Thank you, but I have to say that your view of the way things work greatly oversimplified at best. No, we haven't established that the government are all liars, for instance. Yes, governments, and members of governments, do lie sometimes. But we can't simply assume that everything they say is a lie. That is just turning naive acceptance on its head. Simplistic cynicism is just another kind of naivety.

    And while governments may have lines they want to push, it isn't true that "the orders come from the government. Teachers, for instance, still have a good deal of choice about what they teach, and how, though that has been somewhat reduced in recent times.

    And I have even done some research, paid for out of government funding. Yet nobody told me the conclusions I had to reach.

    I have to emphasise that I'm no simple minded defender of any government. I've been a radical and active critic of my own government, and others,.

    At one time, I even had reason to fear that I might be falsely accused of aiding terrorists, as others had been (as in the case of the Birmingham bombings). I have also had guns (not just rubber bullets but rifles and submachine guns) pointed at me by the RUC in the North of Ireland, on a peaceful civil rights march. I had only to turn my head to see the place a short distance away where the British Army's Parachute Regiments hot down 28 unarmed demonstrators 9 years earlier. That makes the question rather personal. So, like other people discussing here, I'm not closed minded or a shill or a blind defender of the status quo. But I do want to base my beliefs about politics and history and science and so on on sound, testable evidence.
  24. Inti

    Inti Active Member

    Do why do you say that? Actually, there can be more than two sides, of course. And I have described how I didn't try to sway impressionable kids to one side, but to give them the tools to judge and question for themselves.
  25. NoParty

    NoParty Senior Member

    Was this your experience?
    (it sure wasn't mine).
  26. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    colleges in general do tend to be very liberal/progressive. Although there are some conservative professors for sure!

    and @DJC some of the biggest Conspiracy Theorist leaders were college professors Fetzer, James Tracy, Eowyn from Fellowship of the Minds are 3 that come to mind.

    add: and David Hodges.. he is even teaching in high schools now.

    But the topic of the OP is high school.