Teachers are likely to encounter Q Anon conspiracy theories in their classrooms. How Should They Handle It?
Around 7% of Americans say they believe in the Q Anon conspiracy theory, which holds that powerful, Satan-worshipping Democrats are running a worldwide child sex trafficking ring. Two newly-elected members of Congress are also Q Anon adherents. Experts warn the crackpot theory is proliferating across the globe and has the potential to spark acts of domestic terrorism.
Teachers are the arbiters of all kinds of discussions about society and politics. They're also authority figures that children look to for guidance. They're inevitably going to confront this theory in their classrooms. How should they handle it when they do?
EdWeek posed that question to educators and school district leaders recently. One-third favor teaching students about the phenomenon and explaining its falsehoods — but only if the students bring it up. Just 9% say teachers should start the discussion themselves. 21% said it should be completely ignored.
Adam Enders, an assistant professor of political science who studies conspiracy theories, has some alternative advice. He told EdWeek it’s best to teach students how to spot misinformation and fallacies on their own. That way, when they’re confronted with a bizarre narrative, they’re armed with the information and critical thinking skills they need to reach the most logical conclusion.