Educators in More Than 10,000 Schools Use ProCon.org to Combat Fake News and Stoke Critical Thinking

Source: John Burroughs High School (Burbank, CA) Junior State club with ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan, Oct. 26, 2017 From Alaska to Wyoming and from Argentina to Yemen, educators in more than 10,000 schools in all 50 states and 90 countries have used the free resources at ProCon.org in their classrooms, libraries, and other instructional materials. With so much fake news, information overload, and hyper-partisanship in the world today, the pro, con, and related research at ProCon.org is methodologically designed to stimulate education, critical thinking, and informed citizenship. The organization’s motto is “Understand the Issues. Understand Each Other.” ProCon.org CEO Kamy Akhavan said, “We encourage teachers to talk about today’s important issues with their students, rather than avoid those discussions. Conversations about gun control, death penalty, immigration, and other controversial topics can be productive, balanced, and enlightening when people use ProCon.org. Empowering future generations with the ability to understand opposing views, disagree respectfully, and have informed opinions is why ProCon.org remains a vital resource for millions of people. We are thrilled to serve educators in more than 10,000 schools.” Students in middle schools, high schools, and colleges comprise more than 40% of the 25 million annual users at ProCon.org. According to a 2017 survey of educators who use ProCon.org, 99.6% said using ProCon.org improved their students’ critical thinking skills; 99.8% said their students found ProCon.org useful; and 100% said they would recommend ProCon.org to other teachers and librarians. Julie Cassel, a Civics and Government teacher at West Marin School in Point Reyes, CA, told us, “ProCon.org was incredibly well organized, and helped students to look at both sides of the issues thoroughly. It provides a way for them to see strong evidence of both sides of an argument, and then to really question their own opinions and arguments for validity.” Kendra Manon, a Spanish teacher at Gainesville High School in Gainesville, TX, said, “There are many societal issues that students need to understand both the pros and cons of in order to make educated decisions about their world and what they believe in. I think that ProCon.org makes it easier to access that type of information.” Sonya Paul, a Senior English and Speech instructor at Blue River Valley Junior and Senior High School in Mt. Summit, IN, let us know that ProCon.org “has helped my junior high students with writing persuasive papers, and speech students debate. I think you offer an excellent resource to students and teachers. I teach at a small, rural school in Indiana, so the free resource is a huge benefit for my corporation and for me.” Paul Samer, a History teacher at Cordova High School in Cordova, TN, stated, “The background material and many of the pairings of arguments help develop the question and critical thinking better than I could have on my own. Then too, there is nothing like visually aggressive video to get the attention and participation of teens. Some students changed their opinion 180 degrees based upon material on ProCon.org.” ProCon.org’s educational resources remain free of charge, nonpartisan, and include: LESSON PLAN IDEAS – Designed to teach specific skills and content, these 30+ lesson plan ideas range from grades 5 to 12. Plans include “Project Citizen: Transforming Research into Action” in which students translate their research into a community project and a discussion guide for the award-winning documentary Best of Enemies, which leads students to consider and discuss important questions about political conventions, pundits, television debate, and where our nation’s political discourse may have gotten its often nasty tone. ADVANCED PLACEMENT TEACHER RESOURCES – Built to give AP teachers a list of ProCon.org resources that are easily fitted into the AP curricula, these guides for 24 AP courses can also easily translate to other curricula. CRITICAL THINKING SEMINAR – This short highlight reel from a 90-minute seminar demonstrates that opinions can shift and respectful dialogue can take place when structured conversations around controversial issues are carefully coordinated. Teachers may show their students the transformation or translate the seminar into their own classrooms. CRITICAL THINKING QUOTES – A showcase of 70+ powerful quotes from Martin Luther King Jr. to Coco Chanel and from Anne Frank to Bob Marley – all revolving around the topic of critical thinking. For more information about teacher resources at ProCon.org, visit https://www.procon.org/education.php

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