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Faulty assumptions

CEO NOTES | Parents tell us they feel inadequate to guide their kids in understanding current events, so we want to help equip you

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What we learn producing news for students: Never assume knowledge. That’s the rule our WORLD Watch editorial team is careful to follow.

In other words, because we’re producing these stories for students, we’re sure to include as much background information as possible. When place is important in a story, we include a map. When reporting a story with historical roots, we allocate time to provide context, details from the past that shape the present. When it’s necessary to use big or technical terms, we make sure to define them.

We’re careful to do this for the students, but I find myself in almost every WORLD Watch episode learning something new that maybe I should already have known. Where exactly is the Gaza Strip? What’s the conflict between Taiwan and China? What’s the relationship between the United Kingdom’s monarch and its prime minister? How does budget reconciliation work in Washington?

I was relieved to learn I’m not alone in this knowledge deficit. Last year, we surveyed WNG members about a range of issues. One of the prevailing themes in the feedback: Parents—and other adults—told us they often don’t feel equipped to discuss current events with kids.

That was a real eye-opener, and we spent a lot of time thinking about it: Why did so many of us feel that way? And equally as important, how could we help?

Part of this sense of inadequacy may go back to the first lesson: We adults don’t always have the contextual knowledge we need to understand current events ourselves, much less guide the students in our lives. Another reason we may feel ill-equipped: So much of today’s news comes loaded with an agenda or a bunch of faulty presuppositions. We worry about the worldview behind a story. We worry about how our “take” on the story may affect our kids’ worldview development. We worry about a lot of things, so we tend to avoid engaging.

That’s a mistake. Students will watch, read, and discuss current events whether we participate or not. If we don’t join in, we miss out on a valuable opportunity for imparting wisdom.

This is an area where we think our news coach, Kelsey Reed, can help. Through a newsletter, a podcast, and probably a whole lot of personal interaction, Kelsey hopes to give adults the tools (and maybe also the nudge) they need to ­discuss current events with the students in their lives. Over the next several months, look for more from Kelsey about how WNG resources can help you take advantage of opportunities to engage young minds.

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin is the CEO of WORLD News Group.


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