Toxic Positivity

Toxic Positivity
Digitally Lit #264 – 10/17/2020

Welcome back to Digitally Literate and issue #264.

Thanks for showing up this week. I appreciate you.

This week I worked on the following:

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How to Know Yourself

The School of Life channel on the challenges of understanding your own minds. We’ve spent decades on the earth before we’ve grasped even very basic things about who we are and how we function.

It’s not for nothing that the Ancient Greeks felt philosophy had only one command: Know yourself!


Are Teachers Ok? No, and Toxic Positivity Isn’t Helping

This story hit close to home this week.
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When people ask what I do, I usually don’t dig into my research or development. To keep things simple, I suggest that I teach teachers. This usually derails the discussion. 🙂

As I help prepare teachers for the field…and support them while there are there…I try and pay attention to the challenges present in/out of the classroom.

This post discusses the challenges of toxic positivity and the need to support educators. This post was quickly, and emotionally, shared by many of my peers.

As a society, we need to make a decision about the value of educators in our systems. Stop treating teachers like baby sitters the whole year, and then sending them a Starbucks giftcard one week a year. Pay teachers. Support teachers. Treat teachers like the professionals they are.

How Burnout Became the Norm for American Parents

Burnout occurs when the distance between the ideal and the possible lived reality becomes too much to bear. That’s true of the workplace, and that’s true of parenting.

The common denominator among millennials, then, is that we’ve been inculcated with the idea that failure — like our failure to find secure employment, or save enough money to buy a house, or stave off an avalanche of medical debt — can be chalked up to simply not trying hard enough.

How Mark Zuckerberg Learned Politics

For more than a decade, Mark Zuckerberg could care less about politics as Facebook became a global force.

His recent political moves are part of an effort to protect his company from pressures that range from antitrust scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic to criticism of its privacy practices and of its role in disseminating misinformation and conspiracy theories.

The truth of the matter is that Facebook throttles traffic and amplifies some voices while silencing others. The algorithms that manipulate human behaviors are largely unintelligible for regular users.

Read more in this thread from Clara Jeffery.

But…at least Zuckerberg indicated this week that the social network would update the algorithm to ban Holocaust denial statements. So…there’s that. ¯(ツ)

The problems with Twitter’s attempts at anti-disinformation in the run-up to the US Presidential election

We’ve talked quite a bit about the misinformation war underway around the globe. This has kicked into high gear as we inch closer to the 2020 US Elections.

Doug Belshaw breaks down the problems as Twitter seeks to deal with disinformation on their network. As Belshaw notes…these networks are an existential threat to the US election.

A Simple Technique for Affecting Belonging, One Genuine Connection at a Time

Students are hungry for what English teacher Dave Stuart calls moments of genuine connection, small instances when teachers connect individually with a student.

Students need to be respected, seen, and heard. Moving direct instruction online may allow time for more of these connections in class.


How to make video calls almost as good as face-to-face

Some great guidance from Ben Kuhn on how to set up an awesome video conferencing hub.

Thanks to Doug Belshaw for sharing this in his excellent Thought Shrapnel newsletter.



We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.

Charles Bukowski

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Spent some time listening to the best protest album of 2020 while finalizing this issue.

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