Fake News

Just ran across a great place to help kids be more discerning in their use of internet news.  It won’t solve all the issues surrounding “fake news” but its a start.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/how-to-spot-fake-news-and-teach-kids-to-be-media-savvy

Here are a few recommended questions to start with as students are searching the internet:

Who made this?
Who is the target audience?
Who paid for this? Or, who gets paid if you click on this?
Who might benefit or be harmed by this message?
What is left out of this message that might be important?
Is this credible (and what makes you think that)?
(Thanks to Project Look Sharp for these questions.)

Helping our students critically read and reflect on their own thinking is a tall order but a worthwhile project.

 

Workplace Stress for Principals

I recently read an article called “Principals Under Threat.”

The article,

http://www.acu.edu.au/connect_with_acu/newsroom/news/media_releases/year/2015/principals_under_threat,

stated the stress rates in Principals in Australia, has risen significantly in the last few years. Principals are often bullied, threatened and experience threats of violence. This does not surprise me nor would it surprise any acting School Leader in any country. The Principals and administrators that I work with, juggle multiple demands all day long.

Interestingly, Principals in Australia, reported that despite the increases in offensive behavior, principals still rate their biggest contributors to workplace stress as the sheer quantity of work, meeting multiple agendas and lack of time to dedicate to being effective instructional leaders. Examples of sources of stress included issues of supporting and dealing with student and staff mental health issues, developing and paying for resources, and responding and complying with laws and government initiatives. The following are some of the recommendations for improving education and reducing stress for leaders:

 

  • Government: Adopt a long term approach to education budgets and stop looking for short-term quick fixes.
  • Employers: Reduce job demands or increase resources to cope with increased workloads and work towards building trust in the system as a whole and between those who work in it.
  • Professional associations and unions: Depoliticize the education community and speak with one voice about the education system to inform policy.
  • Community: Support local schools and stop the offensive behavior.
  • Schools: Increase internal social capital through learning from other Australian schools that have made progress in this space. Collaboration both inside and across schools is key.
  • Educators: Respectfully speak back when faced with moral harassment and take responsibility for your personal work-life balance.
  • Research community: Provide better longitudinal evidence of the differential impact of all the influences on education to provide better insight into the most effective policies, processes and procedures in Australia’s differing contexts.

I thought that this was well rounded and touched on all the education stakeholders and how they can support education.  It certainly applied to many of our issues here in the United States. The article concludes that leaders need support.

Overall, however the report does note that in general Principal job satisfaction is holding steady and even rising a bit.  I think this means that even though educators deal with many constraints they are able to wade through them and keep students’ success foremost in their minds and hearts.  When the constraints get you down, remember what you really believe in and why you come to work each day.  Spread your “why” across your school site.  You get to inspire teachers who touch the students each day.  Teachers are stressed too but that’s another post.

 

The full report can be found at http://www.principalhealthorg/au