Principal's Corner

info overload

How to help ourselves and our kids with the

Tidal Wave of Information

I was reading a recent article about the numbing effect the information explosion is having on people. There is so much flying at us on any given day, there is no way we can absorb and reflect on all of it in a meaningful way. I talk to many parents and educators who are concerned with the impact of this tidal wave of data we and especially our kids are experiencing. There is a growing body of research showing that our information (overload) age is creating another phenomenon called ‘decision overload.' You’ve probably experienced this in one form or another as mental fatigue. Our children are battling this too. Their ability to critically think about ideas and to make decisions by deep thinking is being diminished. Do you see the effects of this in your world?

information overload

If there is any responsibility our schools have in this day and age, it is to help our children become deep and clear thinkers. To do this we must “process” information and in a sense, slow things down for our kids. The ability to slow down the flow of information is so important such as limiting TV, texting, gaming, etc. We need to allow time to reflect and engage in “meaning-making” at school and at home. We want our children to be critical consumers of information. Sadly the converse is often happening where we too easily accept ideas as we see or hear them.

Sidney Glen has adopted fantastic concepts that actually help with this dilemma and that we need to carefully re-examine and apply each year. It was with great mindfulness that we as a staff chose to embrace the 7 Habits a few years back. When practiced, the Habits are a great help with information overload. We have also incorporated other big ideas that tie directly into the 7 Habits such as “grit” which is about pursuing goals with persistence. Grit is embodied in one of our school sayings, “When things get tough, we try harder!” We also talk about and believe in something called the “growth mindset.” The growth mindset (From Carol Dwek’s book: Mindset) is one that invites challenges and failures as a means to learn and grow our intelligence. These ideas work together in a powerful way and if I were to prioritize these in a logical sequence of importance I would begin with: 1) Mindset, 2) The 7 Habits, and 3) Grit. If our kids believe that their abilities and intelligence (IQ) can change and increase based on their efforts, they will take ownership (leadership) of their learning. The idea of leadership for every student is infused throughout these ideas. Another super exciting journey we have begun is that of Montessori. We have begun a "soft launch" of Montessori. We are training all our kindergarten instructors as well as two other instructors who are teaching a 1st-2nd grade combo class. This approach is so exciting as it grows both inquiry (curiosity) and ownership of learning within students. We want children at Sidney Glen to be assertive in their learning, to be curious questioners, goal-setters, and achievers.

I encourage you to limit the inputs into your child’s brain. Create consistent opportunities to debrief and think through things they have seen and heard. Model curiosity and sincere question-asking: it becomes contagious this way. Read good books together as a means to digest information more enjoyably and with lasting impact. I am a huge advocate of sharing evening meals around the dinner table precisely to have relaxing, reflective conversations. We are living in an fast-paced time. We have tools and wisdom available to help us keep the torrent of information at bay and to use it in our favor. Here’s to working together! We need to help each other in protecting and growing our most precious resource, our joyful children.

I invite you to contact me about any of these ideas,

Jason Shdo


Below are links I invite you to check out that further elaborate on the above ideas by clicking on the links in blue:

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