Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘critical thinking skills


Newspaper by Pietro and Sylvia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Western world has exploded with news about fake news. What does it mean and who cares?

What is fake news?

It’s hard to define but fake news are headlines and stories which are completely untrustworthy and inaccurate. The content may be full of deliberately misleading facts or just plain lies. Fake news is often more emotive than real news. It can be obvious but most likely it is hard to spot fake news.

Why should we care?

The media can play a big part in shaping people’s reactions and beliefs every day. It is particularly worth paying close attention to potentially deceitful news stories because no one wants to be taken for a ride and duped. It’s good practice to apply critical thinking to everything you read whether or not it relates directly to your studies.

We’re used to news at its best being written by journalists and editors with expertise, authority and a sense of responsibility to portray world events from a balanced viewpoint. However, with the rise of social media like Facebook and Twitter the creation of news is getting further away from those trusted news sources and professional practices. Everyone should care about what they are learning and sharing with others. Everyone should know what information is shaping their opinions and those of their friends and family.

Spotting fake news

IFLA recommend applying 8 thoughts to online news stories including: consider the source, check the date, see who the author is and investigate the supporting links.

What is truth anyway?

Deciding what is true and what is made up is a life skill. Recently I came across a quotation that summed up the current attention on distinguishing fact vs fiction. It’s the idea that there is no easy way to tell if something’s true.

‘The color of truth is gray’ André Gide.

Life’s complex, there are many blurry areas.

Good newspapers available in the LRC

Don’t worry too much though! We’re here to help evaluate information and provide trustworthy news sources like: The Guardian, the i, First News, Easy News, The Voice, The Surrey Comet. 


In our last week in the mini library (Phoebe Walters Room) I thought it was a good chance to reflect on the culture and ethos behind the LRC at Hillcroft.

Librarians have high ideals which explains why there are so many rules and strategies:

  • always use the self-checkout machine,
  • return books on time even if there isn’t a fine,
  • don’t make notes in the margin of books,
  • search by surname of author,
  • don’t rely on Google.

Nancy Graham (a librarian from the London School of Economics) brought up the important point back in a summer workshop. It might appear that we are trying to turn students into mini-librarians. Using the LRC shouldn’t be a chore or restrictive. You don’t need to wear a librarian’s hat all the time (except if you’ve a wish to become a librarian). We’re here to provide and help you find good information. Say you want to find a productivity tip or a more informed research method. Bingo! LRC to the rescue!

There are times and places to think more librarian-y. Evaluative, investigative, organised, caring, responsible, imaginative. But don’t take our word for it. What words would you use to describe thinking more critically? Does the LRC help you get in the right mindset and find information?


Sharing ideas and meeting others with similar experiences has been what the internet has enabled since its beginning. Twitter and Facebook and other social networking sites have taken this to a new level. However the humble internet forum still thrives to bring together communities online. There are forums for everything you can think of, from mental health and business women.

Their aims are to be supportive and informative. However, posting to a forum will require the same level of responsibility and care as posting anywhere on the web. More practical tips about e-safety can be read on this website.

On the Hillcroft VLE there are also opportunities to take part in discussion forums on different courses. Your views really are heard, so don’t be shy with voicing your opinion and reflecting on it. It is great practice for developing an argument for an essay or to be more assertive in everyday life.

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