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A sketch about God that aired as part of the RTE New Year’s Eve Countdown show did not comply with the broadcaster’s own standards, RTE’s boss has said.
The sketch by satirical group Waterford Whispers News featured a mocked-up news report in which God was arrested over “ongoing sexual harassment scandals”.
RTE is to make a voluntary disclosure of non-compliance to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) following an internal investigation.
Director general Dee Forbes said: “We accept the findings of the Editorial Standards Board that this sketch was not compliant with our own guidelines or with our obligations under the relevant codes.
“On behalf of RTE, I fully apologise for that. We will now review the processes involved and engage constructively with the BAI.”
The broadcaster has already acknowledged that viewers were offended by the clip, which received 600 complaints and faced criticism from Archbishop Eamon Martin, who said it was “deeply offensive and blasphemous”.
In a statement on Thursday, RTE said that while the sketch was intended as satire, they will now “carry a public statement and apology, with due prominence, acknowledging this sketch did not meet the standards expected of the national broadcaster”.
A review by the RTE Editorial Standards Board found the sketch did not comply with a number of its provisions, including not broadcasting material that causes “undue offence”.
It also found that it did not comply with guidelines regarding sensitivity to people’s religious beliefs.
Video: JoJo Siwa addresses controversy over 'inappropriate' board game (The Independent)
The sketch is to be removed from the RTE player.
The statement added: “It is RTE’s view that satire is an important part of the offering to our audience.
“However, satire, no more than any other aspect of our output, must adhere to our own standards and the standards set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009 and the BAI Codes.”
The programme, broadcast on RTE One on New Year’s Eve, included a sketch involving a mocked-up news report featuring former RTE news presenter Aengus Mac Grianna claiming that God had been arrested over “sexual harassment scandals”.
Mr Mac Grianna later apologised for taking part in the sketch.
Mr Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, denounced the sketch in a statement on Twitter.
He described the sketch as “deeply offensive”, “outrageous” and “insulting to all Catholics and Christians”.
He wrote: “I am shocked that producer/editor of ‘NYE Countdown Show’ @RTE @RTEOne didn’t realise how deeply offensive was a mocking ‘news report’ accusing God of rape & reporting his imprisonment. This outrageous clip should be removed immediately & denounced by all people of goodwill.
“To broadcast such a deeply offensive and blasphemous clip about God & Our Blessed Mother Mary during the Christmas season on ‘NYE Countdown Show’ on @RTE, @RTEOne & on Eve of the Solemn Feast of Mary, Mother of God is insulting to all Catholics and Christians.”
The archbishop tagged the RTE director general Ms Forbes in his tweets.
In the sketch, Mr Mac Grianna reads a mocked-up news story in which God has been arrested over “ongoing sexual harassment scandals”.
A man dressed as God is seen being led away by a member of the gardai, and is heard shouting: “It was 2,000 years ago.”
The sketch ran as part of RTE’s NYE Countdown show, which was presented by Kathryn Thomas and comedian Deirdre O’Kane.
This blog post is a sharing of how I curate and consume my education reading list. It’s a response to being asked questions like ‘When do you find the time to read?’, ‘How do you use twitter?’, ‘How do you manage all the blogs you follow?’, etc.
The following is just my responses to this question. I’m hoping that some others in the Edu-Twitter/blogging community will also write posts that respond to the same 6 questions below. I think the greater the diversity of responses to these questions, the more likely it’ll be that a reader will find an approach that works for them. This post is quite long, if others want to do a post for this series, please don’t feel like you need to include nearly as much detail. I just kinda got carried away.
If you write a blog in response to this, shoot me an email or tweet and I’ll link to it within this blog.
Edit: The blogosphere has spoken! Here are some great posts in this series by Amie Albrecht, Michaela Epstein, and Jeremy Hughes!
In this post...
Every day (or, at least the ones on which I don’t sleep in) I get up and do Anki for about 20 minutes. Anki is a type of spaced repetition software and it helps me to remember what I’ve read, and what I’ve learnt from my reading. I then listen to news radio whilst I get ready, then read something education related for 30 minutes whilst eating breakfast. This will generally be long-form, such as a book or journal article. Or, I might go through my notes from a long form doc that I’ve just finished. This reading-during-breakfast will always be on my computer, I find it’s much more efficient for page turning and making notes whilst reading and eating my breakfast. Plus, working digitally means I’m more mobile and have my library with me at all times. If I can’t get a digital copy of a book, I’ll scan it in.
On the 4 days of the week that I work, I then have a 30 minute cycle to work, which is when I listen to edu podcasts such as the Mr. Barton Maths Podcast, Educate, or the Teachers’ Education Review, an audiobook, or something non edu-related (like EconTalk or invisibilia)
I’m with my partner about three nights per week, and on the other four I usually get home and sit down at the dining table with a decaf coffee and my phone, and scroll through twitter and blogs for 30-90 minutes.
Thus, 4 days a week I’d spend between between 30 and 120 minutes reading, and 30 mins listening to edu podcasts.
In addition to that, on a Wed, Sat or Sunday morning per week I’ll usually wake up and, instead of going straight to Anki, I’ll go straight to my blog reading list and spend an hour or so going through that.
Twitter took me many attempts to get the hang of. I joined for the first time in 2011. First attempt I tried to use hashtags to find stuff that was relevant to me. But the amount of noise that I was wading through was outrageous. I think something very similar happened on my second attempt.
On my third attempt I think I tried to follow a whole heap of maths bloggers, but it just got really overwhelming really quickly.
Fourth attempt I tried to find bloggers who work on more pedagogy and policy stuff. Again, overwhelm and stopped.
Around mid 2016, when I started dating my partner, we were chatting about Twitter and she shared how she’d started out. She only made a twitter account because there was a band she wanted to follow (Jay Brannan in case you’re curious) and she just followed that one band for a while, then ended up finding people who were interacting with that person, and went from there. ‘THAT’S IT!’ I thought.
So I started following only the @TERPodcast, very quickly got on to the prolific @greg_ashman, and from there discovered the corner of the edu-Twittersphere that I currently spend most of my time in.
I have changed how I use twitter in the last few months, and this differs from how I explained I used it when Craig Barton interviewed me for the Mr. Barton Maths Podcast. Back then I used a 3rd party app called Fenix. It worked ok but had some bugs and didn’t have an account that syncs, so if you change phones you lose your settings. So, after googling ‘Best Twitter app’, and working through every recommendation I could find, and discovering that none of them did what I wanted them to do (and then googling ‘How to make an app’, and deciding that was probably not the best use of my time), I came to my current approach.
What I do now is basically a variation on that original ‘follow one person’ idea. I have a private Twitter list called ‘ABCD’, which has my four current go-to twitter people on it. These people are @dylanwiliam, @DTWillingham, @HFletcherWood, and @adamboxer1.
When I log onto twitter, here’s my process:
- Work through my notifications (sometimes I only make it this far, especially when the notifications include one of those ‘recent tweets by others’ summaries that are often really good)
- Go to my ABCD list and check out any tweets that have appeared since last time (this is often about as far as I make it)
- From there, sometimes I go straight to my feed, and sometimes I go to one of my other lists. I have a list for ‘mates’, people I’ve met in person; Aussie educators; Melbourne educators; and a couple others which barely ever get a look in.
In terms of these 4 people on my ABCD list, I’ve chosen them because, to my mind, they all tweet really quality stuff. Dylan Wiliam tweets heaps of studies which I find interesting, Dan Willingham does the same and also some entertaining edu-related jokes and memes sometimes, Harry Fletcher-Wood does excellent research summaries via twitter threads +, and Adam Boxer is very connected in blogging circles that seem to float my boat (cognitive science, science education, etc). Essentially, I use twitter as a filter for content, and authors, whom I want to engage with longer term.
However, there are many other people whose writing I also really like, but who sometimes tweet too frequently for me to keep up with. For example, there are a few people whose writing I love, and I read all of their blogs, but their tweets are too frequent for my personal preference. Also, anyone who tweets about non edu-stuff I generally won’t follow that closely either. This is all just me trying to manage the signal to noise ratio of twitter.
So, what to do for these people who write great stuff, but whose tweets I struggle to keep up with? I don’t like subscribing via email (though I know this works really well for a lot of people), because I want to be able to smash through my emails and take time reading blogs, so it makes sense to me to separate this info. So what I do is subscribe to their blogs directly using the RSS reader Feedly. Feedly automatically pulls new blog posts from the 35 or so blogs that I follow and curates them into a twitter-like feed that’s super easy and convenient to deal with.
When I sit down of an arvo with that decaf coffee, I’ll often start at Feedly rather than Twitter. And when I wake up early on a Wed, Sat, or Sun and do an hour or so of reading in bed, that’s basically all Feedly.
In terms of curating my reading list more broadly, there’s no rule. The majority of my long-form reading will be in preparation for ERRR podcast episodes, which in turn are driven by my interests and the ways in which I’m keen to improve my teaching.
Finally, if I see a good post on Twitter that I don’t have time to read straight away, I’ll open it in a new tab on my phone’s browser and come back to the next day, hopefully…
If reading on my phone, it’s short form (blogs generally) and there’s usually one key takeaway from an article, so I’ll screenshot a segment of the article that encapsulates that takeaway, and I’ll tweet it. Then, at the end of each week, I collate all of those takeaways into a ‘Teacher Ollie’s Takeaways’ blog post, and also send it out via my weekly email. Then, the following week (or at least within the following fortnight) I go back to that blog post, and turn all the key info into Anki cards so that I can remember it long term. For me this approach works well because it means that I have a minimum of 3 exposures to the content, even before I start doing the revisions via Anki.
If reading longform on my laptop, I’ll either make notes via Skim, my fave PDF reader (for macs only sorry), or Kindle. As such, I’ll make notes via either Skim or Kindle (I prefer Skim). If I read a phrase, quote, or statistic that I KNOW I really want to retain, I’ll turn it into an Anki card straight away (and I might even tweet it if I think others will find it interesting too). This is what one of those such Anki cards would look like.
What it looks like under the dash:
If it’s a generally good point, but not something that I necessarily want to be able to recall off the cuff, then how I deal with it depends on what I’m reading for.
If I’m reading for a podcast, I’ll just highlight it because I know that I will come back to it when I do my 2nd pass through the document about a week before the podcast. However, if there’s no guarantee that I’ll come back to it then I’ll just turn it into an Anki card straight away anyway. I haven’t always done this, but over time I’ve realised that there are a heap of super insightful quotes and ideas languishing on PDFs all over my laptop, and it’s highly likely that I’ll never see them again.
Still refining how I use Anki, it can always be improved. E.g., I only worked out how to use cloze deletions in Anki in the last year or so and they’ve totally revolutionised how I use the software and I can tell they’re already improving my retention too (full credit to my mate George Zonnios who told me about cloze deletions, the Twenty rules for formulating knowledge, and is building an online platform to make Anki-like retrieval practice easier for students and teachers in the classroom. If you want to geek out with someone about this, George would love to hear from you).
One other thing I’m trying to work out is how to balance my edu-reading with other reading. I love engaging with other stuff, especially history, psychology, and finance/economics, but it can be a struggle to balance all these things sometimes. History and psych I’ve been engaging with through podcasts and audiobooks, and personal finance I generally just go on a massive reading binge once every couple of months. But I feel balance would probably be better…
Podcastsmr. Mac's Rooms For Rent
Some of this is just copy-pasted from earlier in this post:
@dylanwiliam, @DTWillingham, @HFletcherWood, and @adamboxer1
Dylan Wiliam tweets heaps of studies which I find interesting, Dan Willingham does the same and also some entertaining stuff sometimes, Harry Fletcher-Wood does excellent research summaries via twitter threads, and Adam Boxer is very connected in blogging circles that seem to float my boat.
https://improvingteaching.co.uk/. This is Harry Fletcher-Wood’s blog and I LOVE how Harry integrates psychology/behavioural science and education. I read absolutely everything that Harry writes.
https://teacherhead.com/. This is THE blog to follow if you’re a school leader. Anyone who works in a school in which the senior leadership reads and heeds the advice of Tom Sherrington is onto a winner!!!
Podcastsmr. Mac's Room Furniture
https://achemicalorthodoxy.wordpress.com/. Adam Boxer puts out a lot of good stuff, especially relating to the science of learning, and science teaching. I also really like some of the blogs from his fellow #CogSciSci peeps, but I get them all through having Adam on my ABCD Twitter list.
https://arithmeticplus.wordpress.com/ Rachel has expertise in both maths and english teaching, I love her blog for her reflective and humble style, and how she brings these two domains together in her teaching.
https://bennewmark.wordpress.com/. Ben Newmark’s posts are insightful and he often posts about school leadership stuff. Have enjoyed recent ones on how to prioritise in education and getting school policies off the page.
https://digest.bps.org.uk/. I’d say that I thoroughly enjoy at least 30% of the articles on this psychology blog, and find many of them very relevant to teaching (and adolescents) too.
And there are many more…
If you want to know all of the blogs that I’m subscribed to via Feedly, apparently you can import my RSS list as an .opml file directly into Feedly yourself. Here’s the file and here are instructions, but I’ve never tried this myself.
Mr. Barton Maths Podcast: By far my fave Education Podcast out there. Especially check out the episodes with Dylan Wiliam, Becky Allen, and Tom Sherrington, all of which are relevant to all teachers and educators.
Teachers’ Education Review: A great Aussie based podcast. Cameron used to do a lot of commentary on edu politics in Australia, which I really liked, but has recently been doing TER Topics more, in which he compiles quality content from previous years (because he and his partner have just had a bub!)
Podcastsmr. Mac's Room Spray
Educate: I haven’t listened to heaps of this podcast, but their ep on the Reading Wars is a must listen for all educators.
The Education Research Reading Room: My Edu Podcast. I aim for long form interviews and a lot of detail and nuance in terms of edu theory and practice. Most popular episodes (by total downloads) are the ones with Dylan Wiliam, Craig Barton, John Hattie, Adrian Simpson, Jay McTighe, and Andrew Martin (in that order, as of Dec, 2018)