It’s about freedom

There’s a lot of noise that masks restrict freedoms, or cause negative health outcomes. There’s even more noise at the notion we’ll have to continue masking through 2022 or even beyond. In short, there’s a clamoring to return to the normalcy of seeing each other’s mouths and teeth again.

But I must confess, the thought of continued masking makes me personally ecstatic. Over the past year I’ve found the conveniences of wearing a mask outweigh the detractions. …

And why the U.S. is so bad at it.

Photo by pixpoetry on Unsplash

It’s impossible to escape the term “social distancing” these days. Since March 1st web search traffic via Google increased for the topic, and news articles about the concept along with it. Yet in the United States, there’s confusion. Most people don’t know what it is, how it works, and why we should bother (something that has also been written about extensively — in just a short week, too¹).

The problem noted by others, including the World Health Organization, is that the term “social distancing” isn’t familiar. It doesn’t make sense to us. And that makes it easy to dismiss.


Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

I’m AJ.

I’ve studied, lived, and breathed higher education for nearly a decade now, and currently help support college students through their university journeys. I write, by which I mean I enjoy spending lots of time at my desk staring at my screen and out the window struggling to write. Topics I enjoy struggling to write about include behavior and design, mindsets, belonging and community, persisting through challenge, education beyond the classroom, and how to motivate oneself to be a more consistent writer.

How nudging can mitigate public and personal crises.

A man wearing a face mask looks at his phone while a train zooms by in the Tokyo subway.
A man wearing a face mask looks at his phone while a train zooms by in the Tokyo subway.
Photo by Carina Sze on Unsplash.

Reading Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s Nudge, I didn’t immediately grasp its powerful potential. What a difference a few years makes. Nudging is critical in my work as an educator beyond the classroom. But more important, I’ve found that thinking about nudging keeps me grounded, tethered to myself in these turbulent times.

So, let’s talk nudging.

Nudges are “ideas about how small changes in the words we use or the way we think can have a huge impact on behavior and outcomes”.¹ Founded in the burgeoning field of behavioral economics, nudging aims to influence individuals to make better decisions for…

AJ Dubois

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