2. Thinking critically

Learner outcome

Thinking and researching critically

Development activity for outcome:

Front Page

Duration 180 minutes
Room requirements A large table with a display of 40 to 45 photographs on it (see below), plus three other large tables for the three groups of learners to spread their papers out on and work at.
Learning aim
  • Young people able to critically analyse a range of information in order to make develop ideas and make informed decisions
  • Young people able to detect bias, opinion and stereotypes
Description of activity (step by step)
Background information

This is a simulation of a group of journalists working to prepare the front page of their paper to go to press. Learners work in small groups as they explore issues about:

  • bias, stereotyping and objectivity in the media
  • images and the role of media in addressing human rights issues.
0.00 1. Introduce the activity. Explain that this is a simulation of an evening in a newspaper office where a group of journalists is working on the front page of their paper.
5.00 2. Show an example of the front page of a newspaper and point out the features and layout of a typical front page.
20.00 3. Bring learners’ attention to the display of photographs on the large table. Explain that they represent a number of news stories – and that they will be looking to include four or five of these stories on their front page. Ask them to walk around the table in silence and not to make any comments at this stage. Explain that these are the images that they may use and interpret as they wish.
30.00 4. Now divide the learners into three working groups. Explain that their task is to design and lay out the front page of tomorrow morning’s edition. But first, ask each group to choose a name for their newspaper.
40.00 5. Hand out the paper and pens, glue and scissors to each group – but not the photographs yet. Explain that they have one hour to select four or five news stories that they wish to present. They should focus on the impact the front page makes. Choosing a picture and writing the headline, by-line and introduction are sufficient.


6. Suggest they start by discussing the themes or issues they want to include in their reports. Tell them that after 10 minutes they will receive the photographs from the ‘print department’.


Now set the editorial teams to work.


7. When the groups have been working for about 10 minutes, hand out the sets of photographs, one set per group. Give them 50 minutes to complete their work.


8. When the teams have finished, tell them that they should lay their work out for everyone to read.


9. Then go on to the debriefing and evaluation.
Materials Six large pieces of paper, marker pen (for teacher), felt tip pens for learners, sticky notes, one chair for each learner
Training aids & equipment When choosing the pictures to use in this activity, make sure that you have a good variety of images and that you avoid stereotypes. The real news is often full of horrific crimes, war and other disasters and rarely contains positive messages. Let the pictures you select give the learners an opportunity to pick images of ‘good’ news as well as the ‘bad’ news.

You may also want to provide a mix of pictures representing local, national and global news stories, perhaps as a prompt for reflection on news values and localglobal links. Determine whether you are asking learners to write for a particular segment of society and / or for a particular purpose.

Comments More resources can be found:



Learner outcome

Thinking and researching critically

Evaluation activity for outcome:

Different proposals

Assessment criteria (these statements are written in the first person but could be used for teacher assessment of learners as well as for self-assessment by learners).
Early Developing Secure
I listen to others and ask questions.

I use information and evidence to inform my ideas.

I can identify reliable sources of information.

I listen to others and ask thoughtful questions.

I critically examine information and evidence in order to develop my ideas.

I can locate and identify reliable sources of information and recognise when sources of information are unfair.

I critically examine and compare information and evidence in order to develop my ideas.

I can analyse power relations.

I can locate and identify reliable sources of information and recognise when information sources are unfair and based on opinion.

I ask thoughtful questions including those about difficult and complex issues.

DURATION 30 minutes for each proposed activity
Room requirements Space as required for whichever activities are chosen from those described below.
Evaluation activity description (step by step)
  Explain to learners that they are going to take part in some assessment activities – combining self-assessment and teacher assessment.

Present some ideas for activities by which learners’ understanding of certain issues could be assessed (for use before and after a set of activities or programme of work conducted over an extended period of time). Examples of these are:

  • Individually through specific questions or statements using likert scales, either on paper or online. For more information, see: Sample statements; “I feel like a global citizen”, “Migrants and refugees are the same”.
  • As a class through agreement lines whereby learners stand along a line stretching from ‘strongly agree’ at one end to ‘strongly disagree’ at the other end. The teacher can assess learners through where they stand and the quality of their arguments (depth/breadth of what they say).
  • Individually/as a class using a dartboard activity. Here you give different statements relevant to the issue and learners choose how close to the middle of the dartboard they feel they are positioned (either as a class or individually).
  • Bees and flowers. Put statements around the room related to different “positions” on the chosen issue, with learners choosing to stand by and discuss, defend or attack the statement, or “fly on” to the next statement.

Examples of statements which teachers can use to assess learners’ understanding for each of the methods above include:

  • Civil society has no power over governments’ actions.
  • Education supports individual emancipation.
  • Education is not compulsory in every country.
  • Civil society can promote change by changing their consumers habits.
  • Sustainable development means a job for everyone.
Materials  Markers, paper, pens, computers