An important strategy for addressing hate speech is to work with youth to develop the skills to recognize the propaganda and manipulation techniques that permeate many online social networks. Based on the insights of college and university teachers that have used to this end, the following exercises, rubrics and examples of interventions provide concrete strategies to develop the critical thinking skills of students through online discussions. The integrated comment boxes are meant to encourage feedback and an exchange of ideas and resources between teachers who share this commitment.

Why use an online discussion forum to develop critical thinking skills?

An online platform:

  • Allows time for reflection before engaging in discussion
  • Helps place the emphasis on arguments instead of individuals
  • Can emulate the discussions that occur on social media, thus facilitating the transfer of critical thinking skills to social networks
  • Allows teachers and students to see and evaluate how a discussion has evolved
  • Can be used to develop digital literacy and citizenship skills

In addition, there are many platforms that are specifically designed to link students and classrooms from around the world, thus exposing students to a wide range of perspectives and ideas.