Many beliefs in American society have become politicized and school environments naturally foster discussions around such issues. As a result, opinions are freely expressed regardless of depth of knowledge. Whether a conversation about free speech, the upcoming presidential election, or if vaccines are necessary, just about everyone is ready to express an opinion. Texts, statements, videos, photographs, and eyewitness accounts offer support for facts, yet constructing knowledge requires going beyond conjecturing for strengthening information literacy skills. Here are some basic tips:
In making these tips practical for students, consider applying information literacy skills to everyday life. Did someone send a mean text? Well, who is the author? Who is the intended audience? What was the purpose? A discussion can then take place on what friendship is and a possible remedy for the situation. Similarly, this conversation can take place when opinions are expressed about a sports team.
Challenge students to support their opinions with knowledge gained from several sources.
What is the evidence? What are some other viewpoints? What authority is contributing to your knowledge? Everyone has an opinion about something but whether they can use knowledge to defend that opinion is something else.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources