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How to Avoid Teaching False Information

When Carly awoke to the shrill ring of her iPhone alarm, rather than mumbling to herself and wishing for five more minutes, she practically sprung out of bed. Today was her first (of many, hopefully) relief teacher bookings through ClassCover!

When Carly arrived at the school, the bubble of relief teacher euphoria was quickly burst when she realised absolutely nothing was left out for her apart from a scribbled note instructing her to teach the students about the location, size, demographic make-up, and population of Africa (1,401,393,652 if you’re wondering). Was this the way it was for casual relief teachers?

Carly looked at her watch: 8:20am, c-r-a-p.

In a state of panic, she sourced what looked like an engaging YouTube video and downloaded a $3.99 teacher-created digital stencil (note: this is not good value) from a large international website and raced to the beloved photocopier.

Once students were settled, she did not waste any time before presenting the YouTube video to the class. They happily recorded notes before firing up their tablets in order to conduct their own research to complete the worksheet. This doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Well, first of all, the students were not directed to use specific, reputable government or global organisation websites. This resulted in almost every child in the class recording different answers, including those for the area of Africa (which you think would be quite straight forward but in reality almost every website offered up a different answer). One student, bless him, used facts found on a ‘mummy blog’ and another perused a website that had not been updated since 2003!

The next problem came when the students realised the data presented online, on the worksheet and in the YouTube video were all completely different to one another.  You see, just like the world of Wiki, absolutely anybody can contribute to YouTube and teacher-created resource websites, so you generally do not know whether the information is factual. In this case, it wasn’t even close.

Unfortunately, this exact scenario is something Australian publishers, such as Lauren O’Brien from Teachers 4 Teachers Publications, see and hear about all too often.

“Educators and students currently have access to an overabundance of cheap digital resources and websites that have seemingly not been edited or fact checked by professionals. I can’t speak for all publishers, but T4T ensures each fact published in our resources has been edited and profusely fact checked by at least three different sources of official information.”

So, I guess we must get down to the moral of this story: as a relief teacher, while you aren’t expected to be an expert on every topic of the curriculum, you are still expected to teach it. The most cost efficient and time saving investment you can make is the purchase of quality resources created by reputable Australian publishers. Also, familiarise yourself with an array of government and industry-specific websites that you know are regularly updated, edited and present only factual information.

Explore the range of curriculum-aligned, up-to-date resources on Teachers 4 Teachers

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