Swine Flu and Media Literacy
Chances are, your students have heard a lot about swine flu in the past few days. While they’ve probably seen a significant amount of media coverage on the subject, which messages do you think they’re absorbing?
Taking time to discuss current events in the classroom can be a terrific way to engage students and help them develop critical thinking and analytical skills. When it comes to a topic that may be frightening and confusing for some students, like swine flu, a class discussion may have the additional benefits of allaying fears and empowering students to know which preventative measures are appropriate.
When you do discuss current events, start out by having your students share what they’ve already heard or seen. What conclusions did they draw? Can they remember or identify the source? Which types of sources do they find credible and why? Did they come across any editorialized information that conveyed a particular point of view? How do they think different groups of people might interpret the same event? Discuss how students think pork producers, travel industry personnel, mayors, doctors, or foreigners, might react differently to coverage of the swine flu outbreak.