By Andrew Pillow
When I first became a teacher, I figured my job would consist solely of teaching my students new material.
I was wrong. Unfortunately, a very large portion of my job has become combating the other ideas and the material that it is already in my student’s head. Rather it be the tales of “illuminati” or the rebirth of the flat earth conspiracy, my students soak up wrong information… and its making my job harder.
I am not alone.
NPR covered this topic in their article, The Ongoing Battle Between Science Teachers And Fake News:
“Every year Patrick Engleman plays a little trick on his students. The high school chemistry teacher introduces his ninth-graders in suburban Philadelphia to an insidious substance called dihydrogen monoxide. It’s “involved in 80 percent of fatal car crashes. It’s in every single cancer cell. This stuff, it’ll burn you,” he tells them.
But dihydrogen monoxide is water. He says several of his honors classes decided to ban it based just on what he told them.
The lesson here isn’t that teenagers are gullible. It’s that you can’t trust everything you hear. In a time when access to information is easier than ever, Engleman says that his current students have much more to sift through than his past students. These days kids come in with all sorts of questions about things they’ve read online or heard elsewhere.”
Teachers have to prioritize teaching students to differentiate between sources in the age of the internet.
Read more here. (NPR)