Me: (Starts writing a routine email for textbook adoption committee.) Me: (Accidentally paraphrases part of Roy Batty's "Tears in rain" monologue.) Me: (Checks IMDB to refresh my memory of the full quote.) Me: (Checks Blade Runner Wiki to confirm umlaut in Tannhäuser Gate.) Me: (Looks up Wagner's opera Tannhäuser.) Me: What, what was I doing? Me: (Writes this up for blog.)

I watched E-mails glitter in the dark…

  Transcript: Me: (Starts writing a routine email for textbook adoption committee.) Me: (Accidentally paraphrases part of Roy Batty’s “Tears in rain” monologue.) Me: (Checks IMDB to refresh my memory of the full quote.) Me: (Checks Blade Runner Wiki to confirm umlaut in Tannhäuser Gate.) Me: (Looks up Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser.) Me: What, what was I doing? Me: (Writes this up for blog.)

Jean M. Twenge: "Nearly all phone activities are linked to less happiness, and nearly all non-phone activities are linked to more happiness."

What Do Happy Teens Do? Hint: It doesn’t involve their phones.

I was surprised to see how closely happiness maps to non-phone activities, and unhappiness maps to phone-related activities. The author notes that this is a study of correlation, not causation. When I went through moody phases as a teen, I wrote, or worked, or did theater, or church youth group activities.  When I was busy, I had less time to write. When I didn’t feel like going out, and chose…

Student journalist experiences the ‘trickle down’ of hostility toward the press

My own students haven’t described encounters like this, but I have encountered students who enter the classroom with the idea that there is a fairly consistent, uniform, organized entity called “the media” that it’s fashionable to distrust. It’s fair to point to specific news stories that got specific facts wrong or that showed bias, but attacking “the media” is blaming the messenger — it’s propaganda that benefits the status quo.…

College students in a lecture hall. A facilitator is kneeling in the aisle, talking to a smiling student.
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Moving from Debate to Empathy

In my freshman writing class, my job is to teach students how to write a researched essay. I encourage students to pick topics that interest them, but I warn them that if they go into their project already convinced that one answer is correct (that euthanasia should/should not be legal, that abortion is murder/healthcare, that high schools should increase funding to whatever activity they did in high school and cut…