Suggested age: Intermediate students +
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Canadian Points of View Reference Centre is a database geared towards use in Canadian school libraries and classrooms. The database is organized into broad categories and consists of essays illustrating multiple viewpoints on social and global issues such as animal and human rights, religion, etc. In addition to the essays, each category provides an objective overview of the specific topics including a point/counterpoint as well as a teacher’s critical thinking guide.
This database is available through a paid subscription. Many school districts and public libraries have this database and offer access to their patrons. My own school district purchased this database as part of a bundle from the Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC).
The interface is considerably user-friendly and easy to navigate with clear search fields and well-labeled tabs for sorting search results. The sources range from magazines, newspapers, reference books, biographies, transcripts, images, and videos. Students can log in and save their searches and articles which are either in HTML full text or PDF format. Reading levels are identified for each article or essay and there is an audio option to listen to each.
Although this resource does not lead educators through the site by learning outcomes tied to province standards, which I know is usually considered an attractive option, the broad categories provide enough information for teachers to find what will suit their units of instruction. While I highly recommend this resource, I am going to recommend it with a cautionary note that all databases need explicit instruction to help students navigate these themselves. This could be a wonderful resource for students and parents during public speaking units but, as for all research, students need to be guided and taught to be thoughtful and responsible consumers of information.