My husband was online when he saw a news report claiming that the F.B.I. had just released that they found something in the newest batch of emails that they would not be finished investigating. The report stated that it would take a few months to complete the investigation. The reporter made is sound really bad for Hillary and at first I was dumfounded. Then I realized that I did not recognize the news organization, which doesn't mean a lot with the number of outlets that have popped up online. I told my husband that we needed to turn on the local news and see if it was running there so we could compare the stories. Of course, the story running on the local channels was completely different and showed that the F.B.I. had released that there was nothing to find in the new batch of emails.
As I thought about all this, the real importance of teaching students research processes and reliability of sources hit me. I always understood why it was taught, I was an English teacher, but the sheer number of conflicting stories that are out and available is astounding. Students need to be able to sift through so many resources to determine what is true, but is that what they do? Twitter and other social media outlets have become some of the fastest sources for news. When a story is posted, how many people dig around to see if the story posted is reliable?
I think this election is a great way to really get students considering how to determine what is really true and teach them how to find good reliable sources. To do this, the classroom culture has to be one that focuses on the difference between the facts and opinions and students have to be able to have a discussion about these items without reverting to the name calling and mud slinging that is found in the election itself.