Learn to Discern – Media Literacy Training
On March 22, 2019, NPR published this article, “Students In Ukraine Learn How To Spot Fake Stories, Propaganda And Hate Speech” in which Sasha Ingber discussed a recent report by the global education organization IREX.
Sasha explains that the report says “students in 8th and 9th grades were better able to identify false information and hate speech after teachers integrated the organization’s media literacy techniques into their lessons. Students were twice as likely to detect hate speech and 18 percent better at identifying fake news than students who missed out on those lessons, according to the report.”
The Listen to Discern media training program was designed by a group of fact checkers, journalists, and teachers. Teachers wove this training into existing lessons plans which then helped students identify disinformation, propaganda and hate speech.
The IREX report concluded that students that participated “performed better in all media-analysis skills, such as distinguishing facts and opinions, identifying hate speech, and noticing where information had been omitted.”
Need for Educating Adolescents on Fake News and Propaganda
Today, fake news and sophisticated disinformation campaigns are especially problematic. Young people are more likely to get their news through online sources and need training so as to identify propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation.
There has been a surge in fake news and, by design, it is hard to distinguish such counterfeit information from the real thing.
Part of Open Minds’ mission is the targeted education of 12 to 14-year-olds about undue influence, manipulation, and fake news.
Successful programs such as IREX’s Citizen Media Literacy Project – Ukraine (CMLP) should be promoted and copied.
More customized training programs designed to teach individuals at a young age how to identify and examine propaganda, along with critical thinking skills, are needed. These programs work, as seen in the Ukraine.
About the author: Read more about Kimberly O’Donnell’s story in the Atlantic