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Shakabuku Infographics Video

Who Believes “Fake News”

Reading Fake NewspaperFake news and the effects of its wide acceptance has concerned many, including the U.S. Army [https://goo.gl/cx6hAC]. Recent research at Yale University (described in PsyPost) has added to our understanding of why people believe things that are not true. The author of the study, Michael V. Bronstein, says, “Some false beliefs are relatively harmless (e.g., children believing in the tooth fairy), while others might cause significant distress (e.g., incorrectly believing that others are trying to hurt you) or may be potentially harmful to society as a whole (e.g., false beliefs about global warming or vaccines).”

I have long maintained that analytical/critical thinking should be considered a core part of basic literacy and that we should help our students to habitually practice these habits of mind in every subject and throughout their schooling. But Bronstein’s study has found that people who are not actively open minded or dogmatic by nature are more likely to believe fake news than people who are open to alternative explanations and evidence that revises their beliefs.

If true, this speaks poorly for the homogenized curriculum being legislated for our classrooms and regulated with high-stakes standardized tests. There’s not much room for being open minded when each question has only one acceptable answer. Aren’t we teaching students to believe what their told, when they’re only told what is acceptable to the state standards-based tests.

 

Comments

  • Victoria Milano

    I am very intrigued by your view about “fake news” imposing upon the rigidity of our standards and curriculum. W. James Pophem comments, “curriculum-teaching, if it is effective, will elevate students’ scores on high-stakes tests and, more important, will elevate students’ mastery of the knowledge or skills on which the test items are based” (2001). I commend your comment that we are educating students to know the one acceptable answer. With this point, teaching to the test limits our students’ view of being openminded, and therefore refusing to accept evidence towards alternative views. It can be difficult to implement student opinions and reflective processes while maintaining the mastery of each standard that will be tested.


Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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