Helping Students Learn the Difference Between Fact or Perception

Having the capacity to differentiate between facts and perceptions or truths and opinions is important for developing critical thinking.

As an approach to strengthening this ability, give the learners a set of statements. In every set, include a mix of both truths and opinions.

Facts are truths, while perceptions are subjective. Perception is what someone thinks to be true. An opinion is what someone thinks is right. Opinions two people have may be different. Truths are truths; they don’t change from individual to individual. However then, they may change over time.

You can include these examples in the list and have the learners distinguish between facts subject to change and facts that are not.

Some examples are:

•   The square of 12 is 144. Answer: A fact

•    The attendance in class today was good. Answer: An opinion

•   She looks so much like her mother. Answer: An opinion

•   The distance to the Church from your place is 4 miles

Answer: A fact

•   Mother is in the kitchen. Answer: A fact that can change

•   The third letter of the alphabet is ‘c.’ Answer: A fact

A deviation from this is to have learners come up with facts or perceptions about themselves and use them to build community within the classroom.

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