Fighting Fake News
Teaching Students to Identify and Interrogate Information Pollution
- Jeffrey D. Wilhelm - Boise State University, Idaho
- Michael W. Smith - Temple University, USA
- Hugh Kesson
- Deborah Appleman - Carleton College, Minnesota
Includes 20+ Lesson Plans
Critical Thinking | English/Language Arts (Middle/High School) | Thinking Skills
Driving while texting is dangerous; but so is sending our students on the digital highway without critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking and online reading need to go hand in hand—but they often don’t. Students click, swipe, and believe because they don’t know how to do otherwise. At times, so do we. And that’s a problem. Fighting Fake News combats this challenge by helping you model how to read, myth-bust, truth-test, and respond in ways that lead to wisdom rather than reactivity.
No matter what content you teach, the lessons showcased here provide engaging, collaborative reading and discussion experiences so students can:
- Notice how teacher and peers read digital content, to be mindful of how various reading pathways influence perception
- Identify the author background, the website sponsor, and other evidence that help set a piece in context
- Stress-test the facts by evaluating news sources, reading laterally, and other critical reading strategies
- Use “Reader’s Rules of Notice” to learn to identify common rhetorical devices used to influence the reader
- Be aware of how for-profit social media platforms feed on our responses to narrow rather than widen our reading landscape
We are still in the wild west era of the digital age, scrambling to impart a safer, ethical framework for evaluating information. Thankfully, it distills to one mission: teach students (and ourselves) how to think critically, and we will forever have the tools to fight fake news.
Knowing Your Own Mind
Despite the immensely powerful manipulations of artificial intelligence (AI) and social media, and the cognitive biases embedded in our minds, research does show that we can be more consciously aware, reflective, and rational about news and other forms of information. It all begins with knowing your own mind. Explore a lesson from Fighting Fake News to learn the questions to get you and your students started.
Guide to Lessons
The Case for Teaching Critical Reading and Fighting Fake News
In this introduction to Fighting Fake News, the authors explore fake news and where we find it, how it can affect us, and why it can be dangerous and problematic for today’s students.
“If I were in charge of the world, every school would have a required media studies course, and every faculty would do a book study around Fighting Fake News. This book is an essential tool in helping students to be more consciously aware, reflective, and rational about the waves of news and other forms of “angertainment.” I lost count of how many times I said, 'Yes!' while reading this book.”
“Fighting Fake News is a must read for every teacher. I plan to read it and reread because I know each time, I will be able to glean better information. I would love to have the opportunity to see this kind of instruction be put in to place.”
“Talk about timely! Fighting Fake News begins by describing the cognitive short-cuts we all (not just the fringe) are prone to—how we so easily fit information to pre-existing biases. The authors show how digital media exploit this tendency by directing us to sources that feed these prejudices. And they provide carefully crafted lessons to promote critical analysis and thoughtful citizenship. It's the book we need now.”