23 March 2024

Empowering Teachers in the Battle Against Disinformation - DisinformACTION! Teacher Training Conclusions

DisinformACTION! - Counter climate change disinformation through youth e-participation is a 24-month project implemented by a consortium of four organizations with the overarching goal of empowering young people to identify online misinformation and disinformation related to climate change. Additionally, the project aims to encourage them to become active citizens in their local communities when it comes to climate and environmental issues. To achieve these objectives, the program provides comprehensive training to teachers, enabling them to educate their students in these critical areas.

GEYC organized three teacher trainings in February - March 2024, in Fetești, Găești and Roman, with the total participation of 56 teachers.

Empowering Educators: The Key to a Sustainable Future

Teachers are instrumental in shaping the perspectives and knowledge of the next generation, making them pivotal players in the fight against climate misinformation. The heart of the project lies in the Methodology of Climate Change Ambassadors, which the teachers became familiar with over the course of the training.

The objectives of the trainings were therefore to:

  • present the methodology with all the activities;
  • give them tips & tricks for the implementation, based on our experience with the school workshops conducted before the trainings;
  • simulate several activities included in the methodology, in order for the teachers to better understand how to implement them with the students;
  • explain the requirements of the teacher implementation stage;
  • encourage the exchange of good practices regarding non-formal education methods.

Enhanced Digital Literacy

The training program has notably enhanced the digital literacy of participating educators. Teachers have gained a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of online misinformation, equipping them to guide their students in critically assessing the information they encounter. As a result, educators are now better equipped to teach their students to separate fact from fiction in the online environment.

Together, we simulated the activity "Climate Change: What is real?". For this, we firstly displayed the definitions of disinformation, misinformation and factual information for the teachers to see. We made sure to point out the differences between them and give some suggestions about how to explain these differences to the students using the "telephone" game. After that, we showed them 6 news titles that they had to sort into disinformation, misinformation or factual information.

In groups, they had the chance to discuss and sort the headlines, then coming back in plenary and sharing their work.

Effective Communication

The training sessions have emphasized the importance of effective online communication in countering climate misinformation. Educators have acquired skills to engage in constructive, fact-based conversations with their students, promoting accurate information and healthy dialogue on climate-related topics. This skill is vital in nurturing a generation of young climate activists and responsible digital citizens.

Digital Tools for Engagement

Educators have been introduced to a range of digital tools designed to facilitate online activism and information dissemination. Using one of these digital tools, Jamboard, we simulated the activity during which they had to brainstorm and come up with topics for an online campaign that would combat disinformation on an assigned topic. They were encouraged to think creatively and come up with as many ideas as possible, even if they seem unrealistic at first.

They then discussed and decided which idea they want to focus on for their online campaign, considering factors such as feasibility, impact, and audience reach when choosing their idea. Below there are just a few examples of their work.

Teacher Implementation

Empowered educators are not just taking away knowledge; they are taking on an active role in implementing the Climate Change Ambassadors methodology in their schools.

  • The implementation process includes a preliminary research phase, where students complete an online questionnaire before the workshop. This is followed by the workshop itself, applying the methodology learned during training.
  • After the workshop, a final research phase is conducted through a similar online questionnaire for students, allowing us to assess the impact of their efforts.
  • Teachers are expected to report on the outcomes of their workshops, providing vital feedback on the effectiveness of the methodology.