Fake news, post-truth, and alternative facts are three buzz terms that seem to sum up this strange time we live in. It’s something that fascinates me, and as a language teacher I feel that I’m in a position where I can not only discuss this with my students of all ages, but also help them to become more critical in how they interact with the news that comes their way.
This is essentially what I have been arguing in my talk English Teaching in the Post-Truth Era which so far I have done at conferences in Brazil, the UK and Belgium. In order to support the talk I have prepared a lesson plan to be used with teen and adult students, as well as many of the resources and articles I mention in the talk. The lesson is designed to introduce students to the notion of fake news and teach them some strategies to become better, more critical readers. It is adapted from a lesson plan by the Anti-Defamation League (link) with elements taken from here.
Fake news – lesson plan
Fake news – lesson powerpoint
Note: I haven’t included any explicit language activities as the plan is designed to be used with a variety of ages and levels. I think there are numerous opportunities to include language points in the lesson depending on the needs of your learners. My suggestions are introducing relevant news and internet related vocabulary at the beginning; functional language to discuss advantages and disadvantages (before slide 4); more specific lexis related to websites (links, hyperlinks, gifs, menus etc) (before slide 6); any interesting or difficult vocabulary that emerges from the video, or that you think needs to be pre-taught for lower levels.
My lesson plan for brelt using a fake news story
Ricardo Barros’ conversation lesson on Bolsonaro’s fake news campaign
James Egerton’s lesson on fake news
Global Digital Citizen Foundation
IFLA “How to spot fake news” infographic
Project Look Sharp
Help Save The Endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
Uberfacts Twitter page
Some examples of April Fool’s pranks
Newsela – reliable news stories for young people
The Onion – satirical fake news
Facts about Dihydrogen Monoxide – a site that presents lots of facts about water that makes it look dangerous. A great example of the need for scientific literacy.
Evaluating information: the cornerstone of civic online reasoning (An executive summary by Stanford History Education Group)
News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016 (by Pew Research Center)
Post Truth and Fake News
I will attempt to keep this list up to date. If you would like to recommend a resource or let me know that a link is broken, leave a comment below.