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School teaches pupils about finding the truth

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Leah Hamblett

A SCHOOL is drawing up plans to teach pupils how to separate fact from fiction in the modern world.

Brighton College wants students to think critically about the information they are bombarded with every day.

It will be running a programme next years which will feature the words of high profile figures ranging from ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to current US President Donald Trump.

Deputy headmistress Leah Hamblett said she had the idea to teach pupils about fake news after a discussion with headmaster Richard Cairns on talking to pupils about recognising truth.

She said she wants pupils to understand how to spot “what is real and what is true”.

The philosophy teacher said: “I want to teach them to go looking at resources, looking at where the source comes from and is it respectable?

“If you’re going to read something, check it out on a few different platforms.

“Don’t necessarily think it’s true because it’s come through social media.”

Ms Hamblett also said human beings have a “natural inclination” to believe the written word.

She said it took analytical skills to question and establish if what students are reading is true.

Ms Hamblett said: “We are in an unprecedented era where news and ‘facts’ are available at the swipe of a smartphone, which the majority of secondary school children possess.

“Yet until now we have not taught children how to be discerning.

“We have a responsibility as teachers to make children more savvy about what they hear and read.

“They need to know they can’t trust everything that pops up on their phone and learn how to form opinions.

“The course we are introducing will ask has fake news always been around under another name? and will use Aristotle’s standard model of truth to help pupils unravel fact from fiction.”

A report published by the National Literacy Trust earlier this year warned children and young people in England do not have the critical literacy skills needed to identify fake news.


Source: The Argus