Addressing conspiracy theories through education: UNESCO guidance for teachers

ByAlyssa R. Elliott

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Conspiracy theories prosper in troubled periods with serious authentic-planet impacts. In the horrific mass murder not long ago focusing on African-People in the U.S. town of Buffalo, the alleged suspect invoked the phony “Great Replacement” conspiracy concept, which purports there is a plot to swap folks of European ancestry, driving an intercontinental white supremacist narrative founded on racism, antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred.  

Schooling can engage in a central purpose in building the resilience, expertise and analytical expertise desired to “pre-bunk” and debunk conspiracy theory narratives, including as a result of media and facts literacy. To strengthen academic responses by advocacy, investigation and teaching, UNESCO and the European Jewish Congress organized the Intercontinental Symposium on Addressing Conspiracy Theories by means of Training on 27 June 2022 in Brussels to convene academia, governments, civil culture and the non-public sector for joint motion.

“Whenever there is an additional murder, killing spree or terrorist attack, anytime there is a new manifesto chock total of conspiracy theories and hatred … No matter whether you imagine of Utoya, Norway, or Christchurch, New Zealand, of Halle or Hanau in Germany, of Pittsburgh or El Paso in the U.S., or Buffalo, New York, just a couple weeks in the past, just about every and each time it was conspiracy theorists who became the perpetrators of unfathomable violence,” Tobias Ginsburg, a journalist and theater director who has investigated German conspiracy theorists and proper-wing fringe team, explained at the symposium. 

Steering for academics and educators

The function also released UNESCO’s advocacy report ‘Addressing conspiracy theories: what need to teachers know?’ The report is an introduction for educators, doing the job in and outdoors of official education, on how to identify, protect against and tackle conspiracy theories. It seeks to supply educators with key definitions and vital understanding to grasp the complexity of the phenomenon and notify learners about the key properties and destructive effects of conspiracy theories for a to start with, quick response.