Unit 5 – Hunting fake news through critical reading

As a teacher who is committed to Global Citizenship Education, one of your aims is to develop a critical approach and to promote your students’ independent thinking as well as critical attitudes and behaviours. The focus of this module is thus to provide you with guidance, training, and resources to learn and teach how to analyse critically what the mass media – such as newspapers and the Internet – widely disseminate and share. The activities have been designed to give you tools to identify fake news and hoaxes, to analyse the linguistic strategies employed in these texts deliberately meant to mislead and manipulate readers, and to check their sources.

Learning Objectives

This module aims to:

  1. Provide teachers support and guidance to become critical readers by:
    • questioning the information;
    • drawing inferences and implications;
    • identify persuasive tactics;
    • checking the source.
  2. Provide teachers support and guidance to understand how media works and how it is often deliberately designed to influence, mislead, and manipulate readers.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module, you will:

  1. Be able to:
    • Skills n.1 Promote students’ critical and independent thinking;
    • develop students’ ability to challenge and reflect on what they read in newspapers or on the Internet.
  2. Skills n.2 Have the proper tools, strategies and resources to engage critically with mass media and become aware of its influence on people’s thinking and attitudes.

Activities

Activity 1: Text analysis and multilingual competence
Estimated time
80 min
Learning objectives
  • Develop a critical attitude towards the text by:
    • questioning the content of the article;
    • analysing the persuasive strategies employed;
    • inferring the purpose for which the text has been written.
  • Improve your multilingual competence.
Resources needed
  • Internet connection.
Activity 2: Critical analysis of sources
Estimated time
30 min
Learning objectives
  •  Understand how important it is to question a source of information before considering a news item to be true and reliable.
  • Develop skills and strategies to analyse the source of information effectively.
Resources needed
  • Internet connection.
Activity 3: Towards a definition of fake news
Estimated time
70 min
Learning objectives
  • Reflect on and analyse what are the typical elements and features of fake news.
  • Develop some skills and useful strategies to spot fake news.
Resources needed
  • Internet connection.
Activity 4: Spotting fake news in your own discipline
Estimated time
40 min
Learning objectives
  • Reflect on the areas within one’s discipline where fake news appears more often.
  • Reflect on the importance of focusing students’ attention on fake news within one’s discipline.
Resources needed
  • Internet connection.

Additional external resources

Additional ideas for other disciplines

The same activities may well be carried out using articles regarding other topics (e.g., historical events, scientific discoveries, political issues, etc.) or written in a foreign language.

Suggested readings/References

Glossary entries

  • Fake news
  • Hoax
  • Critical attitude
  • Independent thinking