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Challenging Disinformation: Teaching About the Russia-Ukraine War

February 21, 2024

Challenging Disinformation: Teaching About the Russia-Ukraine War

Explore strategies for teaching about the Russia-Ukraine War, enhancing media literacy, and fostering empathy among students in the face of disinformation.

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As we mark two years since the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, it's more important than ever for educators to guide students through these complex times with clarity and understanding. Reflecting on my previous blog, the need for critical media literacy and empathy in teaching about the Ukraine crisis remains paramount. Here's how we can continue to enlighten and empower students amid an era of misinformation and quickly evolving U.S. foreign policy.

Simplifying the Situation

Ukraine continues to face ongoing Russian aggression in a devastating conflict to preserve its independence. The nation is in dire need of increased support from the international community, particularly from the U.S. and the European Union. Misinformation, disinformation and media bias complicate the picture, affecting not just public opinion but also policymaking. As educators, we play a crucial role in demystifying this for our students. Here are some targeted strategies you can employ in your classroom to cut through the complexity and bring clarity to students:

Cutting Through the Noise

Media Literacy: It's about teaching students to question the validity of what they read and hear. Show them how to spot bias, understand the author's purpose and check facts by comparing multiple sources. Check out our toolkit for teaching about mis- and disinformation.

Fostering Understanding: Encourage students to see the human side of conflicts. Discuss the real impact on people's lives, the struggles they face and the shared human desire for peace. Check out this resource from CFR Education on the civilian consequences of conflict.

Responsible Digital Citizenship: Guide students to use the internet wisely. Stress the importance of verifying information before sharing it and the impact of misinformation. Check out our media and digital literacy collection.

Exploring Different Views: Present varied perspectives on the Russia-Ukraine war and U.S. involvement in protecting democracy. This could include analyzing diverse media outlets or hosting speakers with firsthand experiences. Check out some of our resources for fostering civil discourse.

Current Events in the Classroom: Use the ongoing situation in Ukraine as a live lesson in international relations, governance and world history. It's a chance to connect theory with the real world, making learning more relevant. Check out our latest current events guides on Today’s News, Tomorrow’s Lesson.

The Larger Picture

Two years into the conflict in Ukraine, our challenge as educators is not just to inform but to inspire our students to be critical thinkers and empathetic global citizens. We're not just teaching facts; we're nurturing the ability to understand complex issues, respect diverse viewpoints and engage in informed discussions.

To foster a classroom environment where critical thinking and empathy are at the forefront, we must equip our students with the tools they need to navigate and contribute positively to the world. We know that education not only enlightens our students, it also empowers them. Together, we can prepare students for a future where they can confidently tackle global issues and advocate for peace and justice.

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Lesson Plans on International Politics

Find more resources on international politics and how they relate to your students with our free collection of preK-12 lesson plans and teaching resources.

Andy Kratochvil

Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, video games, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from Americ

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