4 Reasons We Need English Teachers More Than Ever
In the era of fake news and ‘alternative facts’ we need to look closely at the words around us, and we rely on our teachers to help us parse meaning from a barrage of text. These teachers encourage us to scrutinize what we read and think, specifically asking us to:
1) Identify who is doing what in sentences. If a news article says, ’Steps were taken for the security of freedom,’ we need to know who did what to secure freedom before we can evaluate the quality and appropriateness of the actions or the accountability of the actor in the sentence.
2) Elaborate claims. If you read the same sentence, that ‘steps were taken for the security of freedom,’ we need to know why someone took those steps, whether there was precedent, and whether those steps were necessary, sufficient, and legal.
3) Cite sources. Everything you read has an author. Who wrote it and is this person credible? Did they receive it second hand or from the evidence of their own eyes and ears? Are there independent and credible sources to corroborate this text? If you read something on Facebook, are there other news outlets reporting the same thing?
4) Think Counterfactually. If you read the same sentence, that ‘steps were taken for the security of freedom,’ you can test its elasticity by framing it as a negative hypothetical. If someone had not taken steps to secure freedom, what would be the logical result? Who benefits and suffers because someone took these steps? Is there a precedent for such a result ensuing from similar circumstances?