Are there short-cuts to creating critical readers?

Clio et cetera

Daniel Willingham recently shared a piece of research by a group at Stanford led by Sam Wineburg. Wineburg’s work is well-known in the history education community, and has helped a generation of history teachers and history education researchers to think through what is going on when someone reads a source or an interpretation. The article shared by Willingham focused on the extent to which young people (high school and college students in the USA) uncritically accept what they read online. The poor results will come as no surprise to anyone, although Wineburg et al’s research helpfully shows the scale of the problem.

What I found a little less convincing was the suggested solution, which was derived from studying the practices of professional fact-checkers. These practices gave three recommended steps for critical reading: (a) cross-reference with other sources, or ‘read laterally’, (b) more judicious use of Google, particularly in terms of…

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