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Fighting Fake News! Teaching Critical Thinking for Students

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Fighting Fake News

Fake news is usually shared online to increase web traffic and generate extra ad revenue. Sometimes, false news stories are spread to discredit a public figure, specific political movement, or a company. They influence people’s thoughts about some issues and manipulate our opinions. In recent years, fake news has become a significant problem that needs effective solutions. But before we consider the ways to fight fake news, let’s find out why it looks so compelling. 

How fake news works

Fake news is usually not about facts but stories. Human beings are storytellers by nature since narratives have been an essential part of our life for thousands of years. Hence, levels are compelling when it comes to persuading someone. We believe in them more eagerly than in data, so journalists often abuse this feature of our personality by presenting misinformation in the form of a story.

Even professors usually deliver lectures in the form of a story to make them more memorable. To learn how storytelling affects us, explore a topic more deeply with essays on fake news written by students from top US universities.

What’s more, we tend to believe fake headlines when they are repeated. High exposure to misinformation affects our judgments and decreases the likelihood of double-checking facts. As the level of skepticism drops, the sensitivity to fake news grows.

Now that you realize how fake news becomes compelling, you probably wonder how to distinguish it from the truth. The most effective way to identify a lie is by using critical thinking. Read on to learn how to teach students this valuable skill. 

fake news

Developing critical thinking

Ask questions

Open questions are great tools to support the enhancement of critical thinking. Start each class by asking questions that will inspire your student to explore and discuss. Don’t let them give ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Instead, encourage students to brainstorm original ideas and deeply reflect on issues. Finding new approaches to common questions is essential for improved critical thinking. 

Discuss classics

Classical literary works are quite difficult to read, so they perfectly train our brains. To enhance student thinking, create special lessons where they analyze classics. You can give them tasks on revealing character motivation, predicting a plot, or anything like that. For resources, you can use 

Shakespeare and Critical Thinking, The Critical Thinking Community and Skeptic North. 

Start a project

To make your students more engaged in the learning process, offer them a tremendous project. For example, they can define what aspects make a country. In the process, they will master their critical thinking skills and learn history, politics, economics, geography, and other disciplines. To implement this idea, you can turn to the following web resources: The Geography Site, Could You Start Your Own Country, or How to Start Your Micronation.

Create peer groups

In today’s digitized world, students lack teamwork, which also boosts critical thinking. Divide your class into groups and give them a task that needs collaboration. Communication with peers can be a great source of knowledge, engaging questions, and problem-solving techniques. So don’t neglect the opportunity to make use of student gatherings. 

Try exercise

There is a wide range of exercises that improve critical thinking, for example, one sentence. To complete it, ask students divided into groups of 5-7 to write one sentence describing a specific topic on paper. Then, each of them needs to pass that piece of paper to the next student, who adds their understanding of the subject in one more sentence and folds it down to cover the first phase, so only the last sentence is visible.

Each time a student passes a paper to another individual, one can see only a single sentence. Students will learn to read between the lines and express their thoughts as clearly and concisely as possible with this exercise. 

Challenge with problem-solving

Educators say that critical thinking and problem-solving are two phenomenons that are inextricably linked with each other. By developing one skill, the other one is also influenced. Try to give complicated problems to your students and set a time limit for solving them. The speed and depth of their thinking will improve as well their perception of consumed information. 

Conclusion

There has been some deliberate or unintentional misinformation for as long as there has been news in different forms. The best way to deal with poor-quality journalism is using critical thinking. Since not all young people have this valuable skill, it must be taught in schools or colleges. Hopefully, this article has provided you with helpful tips on how to improve critical thinking in students. 

Author’s BIO 

Michael Turner is a writer and journalist at one of the most popular online magazines in the United States. He publishes articles on critical social and financial news. In his work, Michael pays special attention to fact-checking and does his best to prevent the spreading of fake information. 

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