I’m Owl Ears #1: Steve and Joanna

Topic: Can critical thinking combat fake news and misinformation?
Guests: Joanna Mah, Steve Lam

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00:00 Introduction
01:06 Joanna & Steve’s introduction
02:21 Conversation begins

02:36 What is not critical thinking but perceived as critical thinking?
03:09 Joanna: Critical thinking is a very broad number of skills
04:25 Steve: WhatsApp messages as sources
06:42 Steve: Sidelining majority answers
07:23 Joanna: Confirmation bias & the downside of information accessibility
08:27 Joanna: Experience with autism & vaccines conversations

09:21 Can we avoid filter bubbles & echo chambers?
10:16 Steve: Don’t jump so fast
10:51 Steve: Social media & the need to feel verified
11:26 Steve: Think first before you share
12:21 Steve: Ask others who will explore and investigate together with you
14:21 Joanna: Check the date of the news being shared
15:14 Joanna: Don’t be quick to share sensitive news

16:22 Behaviour manipulation/management
16:41 Joanna: “You have the power of manipulating children’s behaviour based on your actions”
17:05 Steve: “Advertising is 99% lies”

20:48 How do we build healthy habits to enhance our critical thinking & evaluation skills?
20:59 Joanna: Internet safety curriculum
24:32 Steve: Challenges teaching media literacy in current education system
28:09 Joanna: Start at pre-school or kindergarten; Mindsets and habits are hard to change at college level

31:38 Gossiping habits’ contribution to the spread of fake news
32:00 Joanna: “Human nature to gossip”
32:17 Steve: “Everyone is looking for social currency”
33:15 Steve: “Social media is the cause of weakening the state of mind for critical thinking”
33:45 Steve: “Ask yourself ‘Why do you find the need to share all the time?'”
35:23 Joanna: Social acceptance is a survival instinct

37:30 What kind of content is healthier?
37:40 Steve: “If you’ve got nothing to say, don’t say”
38:11 Steve: “It’s okay to not participate”
38:16 Steve: 7-day social media challenge story
41:20 Steve: “It helped me to think”, “I’m gonna think really hard now before posting something”

43:12 What’s your hope for the future and media?
43:20 Joanna: That people will be kinder (Stories in a Satchel)
46:22 Steve: That the young generation won’t fall for social media tricks
48:06 Steve: That everyone uses their voice responsibly, and not be too quick to judge

49:28 Joanna: Social media is not bad; Sociological see-saw
51:22 Steve: Media practitioners mostly want to do the right thing, however…
52:26 Steve: Interesting time for media due to more public awareness about social issues
54:38 Steve: “Be more genuine, care for one another, take the time to be kind”
55:57 Steve: Critical thinking is a big term, there are no set steps to achieve it
56:47 Steve: Be aware of your immediate surroundings, and that everything you say will have consequence
57:09 Steve: Toothpaste story
58:10 Joanna: Glue story
58:50 Steve: Awareness of consequences helps critical thinking
1:00:11 Joanna: Cannot truly delete anything on the internet

1:00:38 Closing
1:01:03 How to support & credits

Joanna Mah
Behaviour & Learning Disability Specialist / Lecturer / PhD in Disability and Inclusive Education / Founder of Stories in a Satchel / DIY & Photography enthusiast
IG: @joannalynz @storiesinasatchel @diyahmoi @joannalynzphotography

Joanna Mah is a Learning & Behavioural Consultant for children on the Autism Spectrum and those with related learning difficulties. She is also an adjunct lecturer, social groups facilitator, as well as a family & professional trainer. She has worked with many families and individuals with special needs between the ages of two to fifteen since 2011. 

Having trained both in KL and in London, Joanna specialises in designing remedial home-based and school-based intervention programs, as well as equipping and empowering families to grow through the different stages of learning difficulties. She also works in supporting children in inclusive classrooms by advising their learning support teams, training parents and professionals, classroom/school/community management, and developing child-centric curriculums. Joanna has also co-founded and kick-started a Special Needs Living Skills program for children ages 3 to 10 years called Growing Beans Class – that seeks to target practical & functional skills required to live independently in the community. 

Academically, Joanna received her Bachelor degree in Psychology (UCSI, KL), and her Masters in Special and Inclusive Education (Roehampton, London). Currently, she is completing her PhD in Inclusive Education in the University of Malaya (KL) with a research interest in the implementation of inclusive education in public schools. Joanna has participated in research conferences, and presented in several workshops at national and international conferences. Five of her articles in inclusive education were published in both local and international research journals.

Steve Lam
Marketing Manager / Former Digital PR Manager / Former Lecturer / MSc in Media and Communications / Musician
IG: @stevielammie

If there is such a thing as a positive pessimist, then the world would be a better place.

Born in what is commonly deemed as a notorious part of the city, Steve has always strive to work out why is his glass always half empty and never half full. Then again, why do we need to drink from the glass in the first place?

Having went through the typical Malaysian public school and education system, Steve knew from his early days of his academic education that he is not cut out to be the typical Asian parent’s dream child of being a lawyer or a doctor. Instead, he pursued communications as his major and had work experiences in advertising, public relations, events, journalism and digital marketing. It didn’t take too long for him to realise that his passion is also in teaching and in academics, and he went on to teaching in the digital and marketing communications field. He is currently working as a Marketing Manager for Alpha Malaysia here in Kuala Lumpur.

With a slightly pessimistic (can’t blame the Asian genes in him) but yet positive heart, he aims to bring a fresh perspective of communications and digital communities to the social sphere of creativity and arts both locally and globally.

Resource mentioned: Be Internet Awesome

In one sentence, the main takeaways I had after the chat were to slow down, be kind, and be aware of the consequences of sharing fake news and misinformation.

I’m grateful for this opportunity to learn from academics with rich work experiences, and appreciate their generous and valuable sharing. I also feel hopeful that there are people like Steve and Joanna going the extra miles in their work, nurturing the students in critical thinking skills, and that our future generations are more intelligent and well informed.

Perhaps it’s time we ask ourselves what parts can we play in making this world a better place for those around us.

About “I’m Owl Ears”

“I’m Owl Ears” is a series of conversation in hopes to raise awareness on the importance of critical thinking as one of the ways to combat fake news and misinformation, as well as encourage audience to take action.

I believe everyone who is active on social media has the responsibility to think twice before sharing any information. This was initiated in conjunction with the release of “Hoot”.

If you enjoyed “Hoot”, feel free to purchase the mp3 via the link below.

Thank you. Your support means a lot.

Hoot’s backstory: Hoot (The Story) 
Lyrics and translation: Hoot (Translation)
Hoot’s music video: Watch on YouTube