Society and Environment
Fact, Fiction or Opinion?
or, how to provide learning opportunities for all students so they examine their opinions and make them "smarter", through being challenged and perplexed about what they believe, so their opinions become a more reasoned judgement.
In an age where information abounds, students need to develop a range of new and different critical literacy skills.
Primary school libraries have a wealth of secondary and tertiary resources, such as non fiction books and encyclopaedias, to support, amongst other curriculum areas, the study of society and environment, but often lack a range of prime source materials, such as journals and diaries. In contrast, the Internet has a wealth of prime source material. This allows students access to a range of facts and opinions from diverse perspectives. It also requires students to be critically discerning of the information they encounter in this new information landscape. Issues of plagiarism are also critical, and students need to develop a range of new skills in sorting, sifting, managing and validating information, citing sources in bibliographies and asking permission from copyright owners to use their material.
According to the American Library Association's Information Literacy standards information literate students are able to-
- Access information efficiently and effectively
- Evaluate information critically and competently
- Use information accurately and creatively
As students become immersed in experiences that require them to develop better questions, to examine bias, prejudice and assumptions, they will gain a deeper understanding of how societies and their environments interact and initiate actions as a result of their research.