Sixth-Graders Put a Focus on Biased Information

Global Thinking students learn to recognize information with an agenda.
 
With online news at our fingertips and around-the-clock cable coverage, information about the world is easier to find than ever. Finding reliable, non-partisan sources, however, can sometimes be more difficult. 

In this morning’s Global Thinking course, sixth-grade boys worked together to define the hallmarks of biased information, ways to recognize it and why it’s important to be aware of when learning about the world.

“The danger with bias is that it can be undetected,” said Derek Porter, Middle School history teacher. “It would be great if they can find even low-level examples of bias, which is why we’re doing the activity today.”

Working together, students analyzed a variety of stories to determine levels of biased information. Boys wrote stories to a certain level of bias using a scale of one to ten, ten containing the highest level of bias, and their classmates then read and rated them. 

The exercise involved learning about ways that information can be distorted, such as selectively relying on partisan sources, omitting facts or using subtle phrases to influence the audience. By learning to read or listen carefully, students will be better equipped to make sense of the world around them and be better informed.

George Julias ‘26 believes that it’s important to know how to recognize the nuances of bias when reading the news online. “They could be telling you a lie and you wouldn’t even know.”   

Porter hopes that his class helps his students realize that not all information is created equal and that it’s important to know that sources can sometimes present information that’s intended to influence the audience. “You’d love for someone to be an informed citizen who’s grounded, but in order to do that, you have to be able to recognize the facts and evidence behind someone else’s worldview.”
 
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