The Economist Foundation’s unique current-affairs curriculum consists of four areas which Topical Talk students address over an academic year.

News Literacy Model Knowledge Page

Discussions about the news need critical-thinking and communication skills, but they also need knowledge about the topic at hand.

Topical Talk focuses on building students' knowledge of the news, including knowledge of:

  • what what we mean by news
  • how to question the news
  • specific news stories
  • connections within the news

This knowledge is hugely valuable both in school and life. It helps students develop sound opinions backed up by evidence and enhance their holistic understanding of the world around them.

Read on for what students cover over the course of the year.

News Curriculum Knowledge Icons 1

What we mean by news

What counts as the news and where to find the news

  • The history of the news
  • News in the digital age
  • Important concepts (power, justice and scarcity)
  • Relevant vocabulary (for example, “tabloid” and “social media”)
News Curriculum Knowledge Icons 4

Questioning the news

  • What makes a trustworthy news source (independence, accuracy, diversity of voices, expertise and transparency)
  • Misinformation and fake news (why it exists and how to spot it)
  • Social media (how it affects the news we see)
  • Relevant vocabulary (for example, “trust”, “scepticism”, “fact”, “opinion” and “bias”)
News Curriculum Knowledge Icons 3

Specific news stories

  • Background context (for example, relevant history)
  • Current facts
  • The most important perspectives and voices
  • Relevant vocabulary
News Curriculum Knowledge Icons 2

Making connections

Making connections between:

  • different events in the news, including events affecting different groups of people, local and global events, or past and present events
  • the news and school subjects (for example, History, PHSE or Citizenship)
  • news stories and news concepts, including power, justice and scarcity
  • Vocabulary to support making connections (for example, “similarly” and “in contrast”)