Combatting conspiracies in the classroom: Teacher strategies and perceived outcomes

Article


Jerome, L., Kisby, B. and McKay, S. 2024. Combatting conspiracies in the classroom: Teacher strategies and perceived outcomes. British Educational Research Journal. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3955
TypeArticle
TitleCombatting conspiracies in the classroom: Teacher strategies and perceived outcomes
AuthorsJerome, L., Kisby, B. and McKay, S.
Abstract

This article draws on data from a specially commissioned representative survey, which elicited responses from 7691 teachers in primary and secondary schools in England, to examine how teachers perceive young people's engagement with a variety of different conspiracy theories in school settings and how they respond to them. Approximately 40% of teachers report encountering students who supported conspiracy theories. In response, teachers use a wide range of contradictory strategies, including opening up discussion, closing it down, challenging students in class and reporting individuals as safeguarding concerns. The research evidence suggests that several of these strategies are likely to be ineffective or even backfire to reinforce conspiracy thinking. Unsurprisingly then, few teachers report successful responses. The article concludes that the evidence of possible negative impacts of unprepared teachers confronting conspiracy theories at school means that teachers need to be better equipped through training, support and further research.

Keywordscitizenship education; conspiracy theories; controversial issues; teaching
Sustainable Development Goals4 Quality education
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
PublisherWiley
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
ISSN0141-1926
Electronic1469-3518
Publication dates
Online11 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Submitted24 Apr 2023
Accepted13 Dec 2023
Deposited08 Feb 2024
Output statusIn press
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Copyright Statement

© 2024 The Authors. British Educational Research Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3955
Web of Science identifierWOS:001139868700001
LanguageEnglish
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