Peter Adams of NLP on Why to Teach Media Literacy

I appreciated this recent EdSurge podcast interview with Peter Adams, VP of the News Literacy Project on the challenges of teaching news literacy. Lots of great quotes that I’m going to want to come back to later.

Peter talks about what he has observed in how young people are consuming media:

The other thing I worry about when it comes to media literacy education broadly is that we teach students skepticism, but we don’t make them cynical. We don’t want students to think that all information is somehow out to manipulate them, that everything is tactical, every headline, every straight news piece wants something, has some ulterior motive because that’s really pushing them into a kind of disempowering cynicism, that opens them up to a lot of disinformation and conspiratorial thinking. And so I think helping students be skeptical and critical in ways that don’t tip over into that territory is something that we really work hard at.

Peter Adams

Here’s his response to why teachers need to be tackling news literacy in this time in particular.

So information is sort of the foundation of our society, right? It’s the very stuff of democracy. It’s the way people make decisions and the decisions they make determine their actions. And so if we don’t empower students to evaluate the quality and credibility of the information around them, again we are actively disempowering them or disabling them from making the best decisions for themselves, for their families, for their communities and for the country and the world. And not to mention, they are also grappling with the largest and most complex information landscape in human history. Not by a little bit, by many, many magnitudes.

Peter Adams

Check out the complete interview here.

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