Red Wine is Healthy

Glass, Wine, Drip, Red Wine, Drink, Liquid, Alcohol
Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay

Reading through the article Everyone Has Invisible Bias. This Lesson Shows Students How to Recognize It (Jacquelyn Whiting). I immediately began to reflect on the story of Kyle who wanted nothing more than to show his teacher “I know what I’m going to say!” and so embarked on a quest to “seek only sources that validate that pre-formed position”.  After the first few paragraphs I started to think to myself, “To what degree am I a Kyle?” When I find a food (or drink) that I really enjoy I often find myself Googling, “Is XYZ healthy?” To which I will usually scroll down through the endless warnings from baseless fake news sites such as the BBC, Mayo Clinic, and The American Heart Association until I find a source confirming that of course, the food (or drink) that I am consuming is fine for me, in fact, I should probably enjoy it more often than I currently do. I am, therefore, left with the conclusion that I might just be a bit of a Kyle.

Invisible Bias

Invisible, Bowler, Suit, Hat, Glasses, Retro, Anonymous
Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay

Invisible bias is a prejudice that is unconscious and you may not realize you have. Whiting’s article talks about how many of these prejudices can affect the world around us. She references the article Girlhood Interrupted published by The Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality in 2017 when she states that, “adults see black girls as less innocent than white peers.” This is deeply troubling, particularly in education as, “Another study found that white teachers were 30 percent less likely than black teachers to predict a black student of theirs would graduate college.” We all run the risk of falling into the “bias confirmation trap” where, just as Kyle did, we actively search for information that confirms what we want to know and disregard the facts that we disagree with declaring them false.

I thought that the lesson Whiting described, a mad-libs approach to discovering bias, would be a highly engaging task for students. In particular, the impact language has on the tone of a paragraph would spark some deep conversations amongst students while, simultaneously, revealing some of their own biases. As I think again about my own invisible biases I am thinking more about how I use online sources to validate my own pre-formed ideas. I want to move away from being yet another Kyle and am prepared to explore sources that may disprove my own preformed opinions.

Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. A polyphenol called resveratrol is one substance in red wine that’s gotten attention for its health benefits. – Mayo Clinic –Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?

Truly, Madly, Deeply Learning

Algorithm, Mockup, Images, By Machine, Learn
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Reading through chapter 3 of A Rich Seam by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy made me think about how exciting it is to be an educator right now. Deep learning tasks lead to students constructing knowledge and then applying it to the world around them. The example of Dog River from the article is perfect for showing students taking action and using their knowledge. After learning about environmental issues 10th-grade students were tasked with doing something that could make a difference. The students chose to clean up their local river and created an action plan that helped build awareness about the levels of pollution. These opportunities to take learning beyond the classroom  give students “authentic choice over what they learn and how they execute the learning.”

Agfa, Vintage, Camera, Film, Retro, Analog, Lens
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

As part of their inquiry into digital citizenship, my fourth-grade students were tasked with creating videos that would teach their peers how to be good digital citizens and stay safe online. The students were given specific criteria for their videos and they then formed questions that they wanted their films to answer. They had control over their creations and it was great to see the students learning from each other as they put their creations together. There was a real sense of agency amongst the students and they were taking pride in their creations as it had a greater meaning to them than a simple written report.

I am excited to start integrating more deeper learning opportunities this year that tie into student’s ILP goals. I feel as though since the start of this year I have been focused on Old pedagogies, namely explicit, direct instruction without providing enough opportunity for students to apply that learning outside of the classroom. This is certainly something that has been on my mind this year and something I will be implementing next semester.





3 Replies to “Red Wine is Healthy”

  1. I started reading your article because I wanted to know if red wine was healthy or not, haha. I should start naming my posts with more catching titles.

    I agree with you and realize I might be a bit of a Kyle myself sometimes. Maybe most of the time? When trying to prove a point to my family, I usually frame my Google Search to obtain information proving my point rather than the opposite.

    I know social media platforms, and search engines already do this for you, so we keep feeding them with the same search patterns and help the algorithms make our bias bigger and less invisible.

    Have you watched the Social Dilemma documentary? If you did, you know what I am talking about.

    I am formally internalizing this, and I will start consciously making steps toward a less biased approach to searching. So my next search about wine will be something like: How is red wine killing me?

    I loved what you did with the digital citizenship inquiry. Having students learn from each other collaboratively, using technology, controlling their creations, and using their product to teach other students and help solve an actual issue seems like the whole package to cover what we have learned lately in COETAIL.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Simon,

    Like Luis, I was drawn by your title, it is creative and fun.

    I think your analogy is a great way to realize how bias we are, not just as educators but in everyday life, like justifying buying a wine fridge for Christmas.

    I don’t think too much about bias but it’s important that I do more. I think debating is a good activity to try.

    In science, we have a skill called argumentation. I’m trying to get the students away from ‘researching’ on Google (where bias is an issue regarding which websites they look at) and instead, having them make observations about their investigation. They can then use their observations as evidence in their argument (it’s not like if you were arguing with a family member, it’s more using reasoning and evidence to prove a claim). I don’t really like the term argument, I usually say CER (claim, evidence, reasoning).

    I commented on different topics in my blog post, not bias, so thank you for making an analogy that I relate to and that I’ll remember so I can be aware of it more.

  3. Hi Simon!

    I also started to think about the “Bias Theory” and how we, teachers, are responsible to teach our students to read between the lines. If there is a tendency in society to implement the concept that some people or ideas are better than the other, the result will be unpredictable. I think it became trendy in mass media, and it really influences the young brains. Our kids are living on the Internet and believe in everything what they see and hear. The education should create a system to protect the students from the bias theory. How? I think we have to support our students in developing curiosity, critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills.

    I like your comparison with wine.

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