Episode 70: Contending with Misinformation with Danielle Mastrogiovanni

Episode 70 was part of the 2021 Big Rhetorical Podcast Carnival, “Contending with Misinformation in the Community and the Classroom.” In this episode we talk to Danielle Mastrogiovanni about the intersectional issues misinformation creates for students, teachers, and administrators.

As Supervisor of Humanities for New Brunswick Public Schools, Danielle Mastrogiovanni collaborates with district and building leaders to design curriculum and provide professional development around culturally responsive practices for teachers throughout the district.  Additionally, she has helped to spearhead the district’s Education Empowerment Alliance, a collective of teachers and administrators who are working together to dismantle oppressive practices typically found in schools and reshape the trajectory of public education. 

With over two decades of experience working within the context of urban education, Danielle holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Naropa University, which grounded her teaching practice in the belief of basic goodness and propelled her to integrate contemplative practices into traditional public education settings. Additionally, she holds an M.S. in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College with a minor in Cultural Studies, as well as an Ed.S in Educational Leadership from Seton Hall. She is currently studying district-level systems that can be used to promote educational equity and is completing her dissertation on Culturally Responsive District-Level Leadership.In addition to her professional accolades, she considers being a mother to three tween-age sons to be both her biggest challenge and greatest accomplishment.

This episode was recorded on August 12, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“I’m actually the daughter of a lifelong educator who warned me against going that route [into education] because she said that I would probably get fired.” @DMastroG4

“I realized my contributions could be a little bit bigger than just self-serving.” @DMastroG4

“The other really important piece, I think, is that real belief that everybody is basically good. Because if everybody is basically good, then we’re going to work towards equity because we believe that everybody deserves the same access and opportunity and everybody’s story deserves to be told and heard, everybody’s perspective deserves to be represented.” @DMastroG4

“It’s really important to know what you’re contributing.” @DMastroG4

“When you study culturally responsive leadership…critical self-reflection is one of the four components. It’s so important. But it’s so left out of every teacher or leadership program.” @DMastroG4

“What I was asked to teach [in middle school] was not necessarily reflective of the experiences of my students…There was one perspective and it was the white, Eurocentric, male conquerer perspective.” @DMastroG4

“For my students, who were at that time 99.9% African American, it was really important for them to identify that their story or their voice wasn’t there in order…to get them invested in how important and powerful their voice was.” @DMastroG4

“I think that’s the context we’re in now: there’s all this information, and students are being asked to sort out what’s real, what’s not real, think critically about things. But if we don’t give them all the pieces, how can we ask them to think critically and to form their own decisions about information?” @DMastroG4

“Some people chalk it up to: well, that’s human nature. Everybody wants to survive. Yeah, no. That’s not human nature. That’s misinformation.” @DMastroG4

“I think students at this point are feeling like they know more than their teachers.” @DMastroG4

“There’s no need to keep re-teaching incorrect history. It just doesn’t make any sense.” @DMastroG4

“I realized that [teachers] couldn’t combat misinformation because they were also misinformed.” @DMastroG4

“I’m not afraid to say I don’t know anything.” @DMastroG4

Humanities Podcasting Symposium Registration

A free, virtual program of discussions and workshops about using podcasts for teaching, learning and scholarship in the humanitiesRegister here.

The inaugural Humanities Podcasting Symposium will open new conversations between podcasters in the Humanities, guided by the aims of the Humanities Podcast Network. The event will gather instructors, scholars, and independent creators working in the Humanities, and build support for those who are interested teaching with podcasts and/or making their own podcasts. It will be free to attend and open to all.

Our featured guest will be Latif Nasser of WNYC’s Radiolab.

The conference will take place virtually over Zoom (link will be provided closer to the date). You can register to attend in advance on Eventbrite.

Sessions will include:

  • Roundtable discussions about different elements of Humanities podcasting, including questions about tone/style/form/aesthetics, audience, interview techniques, accreditation, peer review, open access, and more
  • Roundtable discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the podcasting space
  • Technical workshops for educators interested in starting a podcast
  • Topic-focused workshops for creators who have podcasting experience
  • Flash presentations of existing Humanities podcasts

Please register now to attend the symposium, and receive updates about sessions and presenters.

This event is sponsored by Public Books and the Humanities Podcast Network.

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