on January 6, 2021…

Under different circumstances, I would be opening my first post of 2021 by offering a platitude wishing everyone a Happy New Year accompanied by a humorous-to-me gif, but given the events that unfolded in Washington, D.C. today, that just isn’t what I’m feeling at the moment. In fact, I’m not sure what to feel in this moment beyond feeling rather heartbroken for the where we find ourselves.

When it comes to my work, I tend to be someone who is averse to risk. I don’t perform well in “brainstorming sessions” because I so dislike/fear sharing thoughts and ideas that aren’t well formed that I spend all my energy managing my anxiety rather than participating in the process. The thing is that when it comes to things like the US Capitol Building being stormed by a mob of protestors seemingly based largely on misinformation and disinformation, the teachers, administrators, and students with whom we work are going to expect librarians to say SOMETHING. What I’m struggling with this afternoon is what this means for my work tomorrow and in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Be warned… This is kind of a mess… It is, what it is…

On Breaking News…

I’m thinking that this might be a good time to talk with teachers and students about how to contextualize “breaking news.” This came to mind. It’s old, but holds up very well…

On Quality Journalism…

I need to stop being so afraid to explicitly tell kids, “I generally give more weight to mainstream media sources. Here is why I do that…” This entire module on quality journalism is good, but I sometimes have just used sections 1-6 as a way to contextualize source evaluation lessons. I will be talking about this a LOT more.

On “Motivated Reasoning”…

I will be labeling “motivated reasoning” more explicitly. Graphic via the News Literacy Project. Click here for more on motivated reasoning via Wikipedia

On Types of Misinformation…

We need to talk about the different types of misinformation that kids are likely to encounter.

Click here for more information on the 5 Types of Misinformation via the News Literacy Project

On Emotional Health…

Talking about the news of the day is depressing or anxiety inducing for some–It is for me… I tend to be a “defensive-pessimist.” Basically, my kind of flippant personal motto since I was kid has always kind of been, “Hope for the best, but expect the worst.” That is, when I took tests in my HS chemistry class I always left the room hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. I recently came across this piece on The Stockdale Paradox that actually helped me understand why it seemed to work for me. Maybe it will speak to one of you…

A Final Thought for Now…

Our school President, shared a lengthy message with our faculty today and I read it in a moment when i was struggling to deal with what I was seeing. This excerpt from his longer message spoke to me and maybe it’ll speak to you.

I think I found my theme for the coming year, “Character will prevail…”

Hoping you are all safe and doing as well as might be expected. Wishing you all the very best, friends.

14 thoughts on “on January 6, 2021…

  1. Thank you for sharing your messy and in-process thoughts on a (yet another) day it was challenging to stay in the right space for work. I look forward to looking through these resources and really like the idea of “motivated reasoning.” It strikes me as a really useful way to talk about those behaviors.

  2. Thank you for this timely, heartfelt, and enormously helpful piece, Dave – as always, I appreciate your thoughts, and I hope to put the resources you’ve provided into use today. What you may consider to be a mess I’m accepting as a gift, with a grateful virtual hug from Canada.

  3. That was exactly what I needed to start my day, today. Thank you so much for sharing your President’s message. It made me hopeful and tearful at the same time.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Dave. It has helped me frame my day as I struggle to decide how best to help my students, my school, my community move forward from this “moment in time” in American history.

  5. I love this, Dave. I love your courage and willingness to be vulnerable and to share that. I love your spot-on info lit points whose importance is dead center in this national wave of insanity. You’re right, though— what seems like insanity is simply the failure of education (both self-education and school-type education).

    Thank you. Again. Love. Shannon.

  6. Wow…you have written such a powerful and much needed blog…I really appreciate it and actually took the time to read the links…I could not stop and I am so grateful for you and all you contribute. We are better because of people like you and we will be great…faith and hope are needed in all of our lives everyday and we must add love which is the glue that keeps it all together. Wishing you a healthy, happy new year ahead and thank you for letting me smile …..even “under my mask.”

  7. Very insightful, Dave. Our schools need to say something when our nation is in crisis–ours hasn’t yet. I had passed over the Stockdale Paradox and will now read it! Have a good day, and may we all be able to breathe.

  8. David,
    Balancing the process of taking care of the well-being of our students and teaching important skills is not always easy. Today I choose emotional awareness. Thank you for providing insight and guidance before we walk into school today.

  9. Dave, thank you for being so brave and sharing the beautiful, valuable messiness with us. I linked this to the thinking I’ve been doing about the power of stories, especially when they are lies (yep, I’ve been reading Pratchett again). I tried some of this out on my TA, and added in some questions from Kylene Beers for listening to speeches:
    -What surprised you?
    -What did the author think you already knew? (In this case, the author could be the news reporters or members of Congress.)
    -What changed, challenged, or confirmed your thinking?
    -What did the author want you to do or feel in response? How do you feel?*
    -How does it compare to other sources?
    *I talked with my TA about how the emotional manipulation that many sources use takes away our choices. When I am manipulated into anger by a source, I can’t think creatively about how to respond or what best to do with that info. And I want the students to have ALL the choices.
    Thanks again, Dave, and all of AISL!

  10. Thank you David. This was so helpful for thinking about and I’ve actually shared it with my own school leadership and we’ve started including the news consumption and misinformation in our own school’s guidance about this. Really appreciate you pulling this together.

  11. Thank you, David for a few more tools to have handy when working with students (and faculty) on this challenging issue. I’m astounded that you were able to pull this together in “real time” as the events unfolded.

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