Information, fake news and no shortage of opinion... | Portsmouth High School

Information, fake news and no shortage of opinion…

In a world where there is a wealth of information at our fingertips, fake news and no shortage of opinion, we need children to grow up with a healthy measure of scepticism. It is problematic for us all to sift through everything we hear, read and see. Discovering what is truth or making decisions on our own thoughts about an issue, based on hard evidence, is one of the most difficult things that we undertake.

For children this is particularly challenging. From the earliest age they are conditioned to accept and follow those around them and learn by observation and repetition. It follows then that they will mimic behaviours of their close adults and peers, regardless of whether it is good modelling being exhibited. Opinions are included in this, with many young people repeating those of their parents, grandparents and other significant people in their lives.

So how do we go about helping them to think for themselves and navigate a world full of information. In this teachers have a particular responsibility, with their views holding particular sway as many parents will attest. I experienced this myself with my own daughter. Before five o’clock in the afternoon I was a teacher and therefore to be listened to, after five I seemed to become a father again and my comments carried far less gravitas.

These are the reasons that make questioning of vital importance. I hate to think how often I have asked the question “well what do you think?” and seen the look of frustration that fleets across the face in front of me. We cajole, guide and steer children but rarely, if ever, impose our own opinion upon them. This is all to the good, I want to see our girls have their own thoughts, views and feelings, even if they might be challenging.