The faces of China’s detention camps in Xinjiang

A new leak of Chinese government records reveals thousands of never-before seen mug shots of Uyghurs and other photos from inside the notorious internment camps, as well as new details of the national mass detention program.

Ten detainees wearing blue and yellow prison smocks sit in a basement cell, staring up at a TV   that shows a speech by a local Xinjiang government official. Blue-clad guards, one holding a club about as big as a baseball bat, stand nearby.

Beneath Chinese flags, several officials stroll along a brightly lit detention center corridor, like visitors at a zoo, peering down through grates into basement cells whose inhabitants are out of view.

A third photograph shows what appears to be an interrogation. A young man, hands and feet shackled to what Chinese police call a “tiger chair,” faces an officer at a desk equipped with a computer, a camera and a microphone. A framed poster displaying the Chinese Communist Party’s hammer and sickle emblem leans against a wall, and a helmeted officer in full riot gear, visor down, holds a riot shield.

These photos are part of the Xinjiang Police Files, an unprecedented leak of thousands of images and documents from the public security bureaus of China’s Konasheher and Tekes counties. The two counties are in Xinjiang, the majority-Muslim region in northwestern China where the national government has held hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in mass-internment camps.

The leak contains the first photographs taken inside the camps and obtained by news organizations without official authorization. The photos serve as irrefutable evidence of the highly militarized nature of the camps and present a stark contrast with those, previously published, that were taken on government-organized press tours.

Also included are the mug shots of more than 2,800 detainees, dazed men, women and teenagers staring blankly into a camera. Xinjiang residents’ faces also occupy one column of a spreadsheet amid thousands of rows of personal data —  age, profession, hometown and other personal information — in Chinese characters.

Photo of detainees watching TV while guards stand over them
Detainees inside Tekes detention center in Xinjiang watch a televised speech by a local politician as guards watch them in 2017. Image: Xinjiang Police Files

In addition to photos, the leak provides confidential government documents, including speeches by high-ranking Chinese officials outlining their plans to repress, “educate” and punish members of ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang. Among the files, too, are internal police presentations, some for training purposes, on how to search and arrest suspects, and how to use handcuffs and other equipment. One document marked “confidential” outlines surveillance measures to be put in place by Yili prefecture officers during a visit to Xinjiang by a group of European diplomats in the summer of 2018.

Taken together, the photographs and documents refute the Chinese government’s claims that the camps are merely “educational centers.”

The leaked records, most dating to 2017 or 2018, represent a major advance in public access to knowledge of China’s mass-detention policy and the implementation of that policy at the local level, in this case, the western prefectures of Kashgar and Yili.

It’s [one] thing to know it, and another thing to see it.— researcher Adrian Zenz

The Xinjiang Police Files were obtained by researcher Adrian Zenz, who shared the documents with a group of 14 news organizations, including the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Zenz, a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, wrote a peer-reviewed academic paper based on the documents that analyzes the leaked data and compares it with publicly available information. He found, for instance, that about 23,000 people in Konasheher county, in Xinjiang’s southwestern Kashgar prefecture, or more than 12% of the adults there, were in some form of internment in 2018. The paper was published in the Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies.

“The image material is stunning,” Zenz told ICIJ. “It’s really fortunate that this material can come out because it would blow away Chinese propaganda attempts” to whitewash what’s happening in Xinjiang.

“It’s very touching,” he added. “It’s one thing to know it, and another thing to see it.”

Photo showing man chained to chair surrounded by guards
A young man is shackled in a “tiger chair” during what appears to be an interrogation at Tekes County Detention Centre in 2018. Image: Xinjiang Police Files

The leak comes as the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, prepares to make a long-delayed visit to Xinjiang this week.

A growing body of evidence documents the campaign of mass detention and forced assimilation in Xinjiang, begun under President Xi Jingping and his subordinates in 2017. The Chinese government has called the camps “vocational skills education and training centers,” but the Xinjiang Police Files and previous exposés by journalists, researchers and activists point to another conclusion. They reinforce allegations that the camps are part of a nationwide policy to promote conformity to Communist Party doctrine and majority Han cultural norms and crack down on expressions of cultural, political and religious diversity.

As many as 1 million Uyghurs and members of other Turkic minorities were held in the camps in 2018, according to estimates by U.N. and U.S. officials. There is no precise estimate of the number of detainees since 2017.

The Chinese government dismisses accusations of human rights violations as “fabricated lies and disinformation,” asserting that the so-called training centers are intended to improve labor skills and to alleviate poverty. The government also says that some of the measures deployed in Xinjiang are part of a campaign to combat what it calls acts of terrorism by Uyghur extremists.

“Xinjiang has taken a host of decisive, robust and effective deradicalization measures,” Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson with the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C., told ICIJ and its media partners in an email.

“The region now enjoys social stability and harmony, as well as economic development and prosperity. The local people are living a safe, happy and fulfilling life,” Liu said.

“These facts,” he added, “speak volumes about the effectiveness of China’s Xinjiang policy” and “are the most powerful response to all sorts of lies and disinformation on Xinjiang.”

Liu did not respond to the reporters’ specific questions about the Xinjiang Police Files.

Photo of officials peering down into cells
Chinese officials tour a detention center in Tekes county, Xinjiang, where inhabitants occupy basements cells out-of-view. Image: Xinjiang Police Files

The camps’ punitive function stands out in photographs and other information in the leak.

“The people in them are being treated very much as criminalized elements,” said Michael Clarke, an adjunct professor at the Australia-China Relations Institute in Sydney, who reviewed Zenz’s report and underlying documents.

In an interview with USA Today, an ICIJ media partner, Clarke said that “dribs and drabs” of visual evidence of the camps’ prison-like conditions had emerged previously. “But nothing like this,” he said.

The camps’ existence and an extrajudicial program for the mass detention of minorities in Xinjiang first emerged in satellite photos and sporadic firsthand accounts of Uyghur refugees and former detainees. Witnesses also told of widespread torture, rape and forced sterilization. In 2019, the China Cables investigation by ICIJ and 17 media partners, based on classified Chinese government documents, exposed the operations manual for Xinjiang detention camps and the region’s system of mass surveillance.

The revelations have prompted the United States, members of the European Union, and other Western nations to sanction Chinese officials and companies deemed to have enabled human rights violations in Xinjiang.

The U.S. and other governments now officially refer to Beijing’s targeting of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities as a form of “genocide.” In 2021, the U.S. enacted a law to stop the import of goods suspected of being made using Uyghurs’ forced labor.

Beijing, in turn, has levied sanctions against Zenz and others who, the government claims, “severely harm China’s sovereignty and interests and maliciously spread lies and disinformation.”

Protesters in London outside the Chinese Embassy
CHINA CABLES

As global pressure over human rights abuses in Xinjiang picks up, China remains defiant

JUL 15, 2021
A re-education camp in Xinjiang
ANALYSIS

How the world learned of China’s mass internment camps

DEC 12, 2019
CHINA CABLES

Exposed: China’s Operating Manuals for Mass Internment and Arrest by Algorithm

NOV 24, 2019

The Xinjiang Police Files

The leaked documents were created or collected when the Chinese government’s mass-detention program was at the height of its intensity.

The data set’s 5,074 mug shots appear to be of area residents photographed by law enforcement authorities from January to July 2018, possibly as part of an effort to collect biometric data, according to Zenz’s review of timestamps accompanying the images.

About 2,900 of those in the mug shots had been detained before their pictures were taken, and their ages ranged from 15 to 73, according to Zenz’s analysis of text files. The detainees included 15 minors.

Some photos show detainees being photographed under close watch, women by female staffers in civilian clothes, men by male guards in full tactical gear.

Others are just mug shots. In one, an older man, unshaved and wearing a stained sweater, looks shyly at the camera. In another, a female staffer in glasses towers over an older woman who sits in front of a light gray background and stares blankly at the camera.

Compilation of mug shots of Uyghurs from leaked Xinjiang files
The Xinjiang Police Files contains more than 5,000 photos of individuals taken in 2018 at police stations or detention centers in Konasheher County, in Xinjiang, and identifying information on most of them. The data indicates that more than half of the individuals were interned or imprisoned in 2017-2018, including those pictured in the top row. The second row displays mugshots of family members of a man sentenced to more than 10 years imprisonment for “illegal study of the scriptures.” Image: Xinjiang Police Files

Other images in the cache show an interior space that may have been used for so-called re-education purposes in Xinjiang’s Tekes county, Zenz’s report says.

The pictures of detainees watching the televised speech by the politician and of the young man in restraints are from this batch.

Some photos present chilling images of training programs. In one, three guards in full combat gear point assault rifles at a prisoner held to the ground by eight guards taking part in an anti-escape drill.

In another, at least six guards in riot gear — helmets, visors, and clubs, and one with a shield — surround two prisoners who are shackled hands-to-feet and forced to squat with their hooded heads bent toward the floor. An officer bends over one prisoner and speaks into a walkie-talkie;  another holds a camera beneath his flipped-up visor and takes a photograph.

Photo showing guards in riot gear with weapons standing over crouching detainees
Chinese guards at a detention center in Tekes county in Xinjiang take part in an anti-escape drill in 2018. Image: Xinjiang Police Files

There are photos in which small groups of male and female detainees in prison uniforms stand in a row, either singing or reciting something, as guards watch.

A computer cooling breakthrough uses a common material to boost power 740 percent?

Holy cow. The engineers used copper instead of diamond.

Fire in the microchip.Birdlkportfolio/iStock

We have all had the experience of one of our electronic devices overheating. Needless, to say that when that happens, it becomes dangerous both for the device and its surroundings. But considering the speed at which devices work, is overheating avoidable?

A 740 percent increase in power per unit

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) have recently devised an invention that could cool down electronics more efficiently than other alternative solutions and enable a 740 percent increase in power per unit, according to a press release by the institutions published Thursday.

Tarek Gebrael, the lead author of the new research and a UIUC Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, explained that current cooling solutions have three specific problems. “First, they can be expensive and difficult to scale up,” he said.

He brought up the example of heat spreaders made of diamonds which are obviously very expensive. Second, he described how conventional heat spreading approaches generally place the heat spreader and a heat sin (a device for dissipating heat efficiently) on top of the electronic device. Unfortunately, “in many cases, most of the heat is generated underneath the electronic device,” meaning that the cooling mechanism isn’t where it is needed most.

Third, explained Gebrael, heat spreaders can’t be installed directly on the surface of the electronics. They require a layer of “thermal interface material” to be placed between them to ensure good contact. This material, however, has poor heat transfer characteristics resulting in a negative impact on thermal performance.

A solution to all conventional problems

Luckily, the researchers have come up with a new solution that addresses all three of those problems.

They began by using copper as the main material, which is obviously inexpensive. Then they made the copper coating entirely “engulf” the device, said Gebrael—”covering the top, the bottom, and the sides… a conformal coating that covers all the exposed surfaces” ensuring that no heat-producing regions were left unprotected. Finally, the new solution removes the need for a thermal interface material and a heat sink. How innovative!

“In our study, we compared our coatings to standard heat sinking methods,” Gebrael said. “What we showed is that you can get very similar thermal performance, or even better performance, with the coatings compared to the heat sinks.”

The removal of the heat sink and thermal interface also guarantees that the device using the new solution is dramatically smaller than its conventional counterparts. “And this translates to much higher power per unit volume. We were able to demonstrate a 740 percent increase in the power per unit volume,” added Gebrael.

Using copper instead of diamond

IE reached out to Gebrael to find out why he chose copper as a replacement material. The engineer explained that copper is much cheaper than diamond, has a relatively high thermal conductivity that the processes the team used to deposit the copper coating are well-known to the electronics industry (like electroless and electroplating of copper).

“We knew the copper would dissipate the heat effectively because it is already widely used in standard heat spreaders and heat sinks (due to its high thermal conductivity). The challenge was to electrically isolate it from the electronics to prevent short-circuits. We did that by depositing on the electronics a thin conformal polymer coating first and then adding the conformal copper coating on top of the copper,” concluded Gebrael.

Two basic requirements for Catholics to receive Holy Communion

shutterstock 1362952169Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament. | Sidney de Almeida/Shutterstock

The Catholic Church recognizes seven sacraments. Of these, the Eucharist stands apart. St. Thomas Aquinas called it the “Sacrament of Sacraments.”

The Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearance of bread and wine. The Eucharist is also referred to as “Holy Communion.”

“Communion” comes from the Latin communio, which means “to be in union with.” According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Church refers to the Eucharist by this name “because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body” (CCC 1331).

The Church teaches that anyone who receives Jesus in the Eucharist also receives “the pledge of glory with him” (CCC 1419). The Catechism says that participating in the Eucharist “identifies us with his Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints” (CCC 1419).

The Church also teaches that receiving the Eucharist “increases the communicant’s union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins, (CCC 1416).”

Receiving the Eucharist can transform one’s spiritual life. That’s why Pope Francis said in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

At the same time, the Church draws on the words of Scripture in setting forth requirements for receiving Holy Communion. For as St. Paul tells us, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” (1 Cor 11:27-28).

The Church teaches that there are two basic requirements Catholics must meet in order to receive Holy Communion worthily.

First, one must be in a state of grace.

To be in a “state of grace” means to be free from mortal sin. As the Catechism states, “Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance” (CCC 1415).

What is a mortal sin? The Catechism explains that a mortal sin “destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God” (CCC 1855).

For a sin to be mortal, or deadly, one must be aware that the act is sinful and conscientiously commit it anyway.

Examples of mortal sins include: murder, adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, theft, abortion, euthanasia, pornography, and taking advantage of the poor. The Church teaches that intentionally skipping Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation when one is able to attend also is a mortal sin.

Government Of Sokoto State, Northwest Nigeria did NOT approve death penalty law for blasphemy

MULTIPLE posts circulating on social media claimed that the Sokoto State Government has enacted a law, approving the death penalty as punishment for the offence of blasphemy committed in the state.

The claims circulated online following the civil unrest in Sokoto state over the killing of Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in the state.

Samuel was stoned and burnt to death by an angry mob on Thursday, May 12, 2022 over alleged blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (SAW).

A Facebook user, Abdulrahman. T. Yahaya posted the claim with a caption:

“Sokoto state government as finally sign into Law death penalty for blasphemy. Be guided.”

The post has generated more than 400 likes, 120 comments and 3 shares on Facebook as of May 18, 2022.

Similarly, a Twitter user, My Deen My Swag, with the username @AM_Saleeem tweeted the claim with the caption:

– Advertisement –

“Sokoto State Govt has finally signed into law ‘Death penalty for blasphemy.’ Alhamdulillah!

“Sokoto State Govt made a wisest decision by signing death penalty for blasphemy into law. And i pray it stops the rate at which people solve matters with their own hands. I call on all state governments to do the same and make sure it’s well implemented,” he added.

The post has generated more than 700 retweets on Twitter as of May 20, 2022.

THE CLAIM

Sokoto State Government has signed into law the death penalty for blasphemy.

The screenshot of the Facebook post.

THE FINDINGS

Checks by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.

First, none of the social media users who posted the claim stated their source(s). A simple keyword search by The FactCheckHub gave no result of any official announcement from the Sokoto state government or revealed any credible media outfit that reported the new death penalty law.

To verify the claim, The FactCheckHub contacted Muhammad Bello, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor of Sokoto state who clarified that the viral claim is not true.

– Advertisement –

“I am not aware of that. There is nothing like that. If there is anything like that, I should be aware of it,” he said.

The Clerk to the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Bello Ahmad, also told The FactCheckHub that the state government has not passed such a law.

“It has not come to our table. People saying it should be able to tell you when it came. I am just reaching my office now and there is nothing like that. There has to be a legislative process to any law that is going to be passed,” he said.

THE VERDICT

The claim that the Sokoto State government enacted a law, approving the death penalty as punishment for the offence of blasphemy is FALSE; state officials have confirmed.

Doomscrolling Past Christ

scrolling

This past Lent, I refrained from logging on to Twitter, allowing myself to do so only on Sundays and only then for limited reasons. I plan to continue this in the future. For a long time, Twitter had become a favorite pastime of mine. Twitter is full of mental sewage, but I have also connected to like-minded people on that platform, and I generally find the kind of inane discourse that characterizes it entertaining. But it is very compulsive; the word “doomscrolling” is a perfect encapsulation of a terrible habit.

I have, in the past, suffered from anxiety and depression, and so I know about mental compulsions very well. Above all, my Twitter “addiction,” if that’s what it was, interfered with my prayer life. There is perhaps no more abused word in the modern religious lexicon than “spirituality” (except, perhaps, the word “prophetic”), but, as I understand it, spirituality is the focus of the mind and heart upon God, primarily in prayer. The danger of Twitter and other forms of social media, it seems to me, is precisely that it can so easily take one’s thoughts away from God.

During Lent, I attempted to find out what guidance the Church gives on this issue. Since at least the reign of Pius XI, who issued an encyclical on film, the Vatican has published a fairly continuous stream of documents on all modern forms of communication. The Second Vatican Council accelerated this trend with its document on modern communications, Inter Mirifica, a text that expounded both the possibilities and dangers of those media in a way that holds up fairly well.

In the early 2000s, the Vatican issued two documents on the internet—The Church and Internet, and Ethics in Internet. These largely repeat many of the same strictures about the uses of modern technology for reaching “the modern world” and also for evangelizing, with the requisite caveats about their dangers.

What surprised me about these documents is that they deal exclusively with the social consequences of media and never on the personal impact they may have. Aside from a few warnings about the internet not being a replacement for the sacraments, the Vatican’s instructions on the internet almost never treat social media as a personal, spiritual problem in the sense I defined it above. And I was unable to find anything on the use of social media as such, either on the Vatican website or that of the USCCB.

In a sense this is understandable, since modern communications were created for the mass audiences of the modern world. People naturally worried, and still do, about how these technologies can reshape social relationships. The poet T.S. Eliot warned of what he called “the television habit” in 1950, and he told the New York Post in 1963 that television “is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.”

Media critics such as Neil Postman have criticized the overwhelming power that television and the internet give to the controllers of such technology. In the intervening years, critics have repeated these otherwise salutary warnings. However, though Catholic critics make many salient points, they don’t really address the issue I was concerned with—namely, our personal relationship with God. Frankly, I have found more helpful advice in secular reflections on the media than from Church authorities.

In graduate school, my dissertation work dealt with news media in early modern England, and many of the same criticisms made of social media today were voiced about print media in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. People complained then of being overwhelmed by early printed pamphlets and newspapers, and scholars today write about “information overload” in the early modern period.

The complaints of early modern writers sometimes echo the sentiments of their modern counterparts. The commentator Andrew Sullivan took a break from internet writing a few years ago, citing how the nonstop conflict it involved made him feel and act like a different person. The pamphleteer on whom I wrote my dissertation wrote that he nearly forgot who he was, such were the effects of his pamphlet wars with other writers. For anyone who has engaged in social media for any length of time, this should sound quite familiar.

More helpful in this regard is a book by one of my mentors, John Sommerville, called How the News Makes Us Dumb. One of his insights was the effect of “periodicity” on readers, the idea that as news first became produced for consumption on regular time schedules in the seventeenth century, readers became dependent upon it—“addicted” to it, in today’s terms. John’s warning about addiction to news sounds very similar to secular warnings about the addictiveness of social media.

But he also made a further point that news addiction tended to be detrimental to religion. He reasoned that the news media breaks down larger patterns of knowledge into tiny bits of information in order to sell them, detaching them from any larger context. Religion, on the other hand, is about the largest perspective there is, that of eternity. It is not a surprise that as our media-driven modern world has become more hectic, belief in an unchanging eternity has waned.

I believe it is on this point where the Church can be more helpful. Within its very long tradition of spirituality, it has resources that can help people combat the personal dangers of social media. After my adult conversion to Catholicism, a spiritual director who recommended the practice of daily meditation gave me a book, Searching for and Maintaining Peace, by Father Jacques Philippe, to which I have often returned in my life. It emphasizes the importance of guarding one’s thoughts, a problem that I, as an introverted person often enamored of my own thoughts, have long struggled with.

In the intervening years, I have found that the practice of Lectio Divina and the wisdom of the Desert Fathers and other spiritual masters have much to offer in the struggle to maintain control of one’s thoughts. Social media is unique and unprecedented in its power, but what it ultimately does is amplify a problem inherent in our fallen nature. Any familiarity with the vast spiritual literature of the Church will confirm this. In his Confessions, St. Augustine laments his own inability to let his mind rest in God, exclaiming

If only their minds could be seized and held steady, they would glimpse the splendor of eternity which is forever still. They would contrast it with time, which is never still, and see that it is not comparable…if only men’s minds could be seized, and held still! 

It is some comfort to know that even the greatest of saints have struggled to keep their hearts and minds focused upon the Almighty.

Of course, one way of escaping one’s own thoughts is to seek the company of others, and one of the most important gifts the Church has to offer are its public rituals. The Mass is the grandest of these rituals, but I am thinking of the full range of Catholic devotions, from Eucharistic adoration to processions, in which we can practice a healthy forgetfulness of self that can be a balm for the never-ending distractions social media offers up. Ritual gives us the chance to step out of our daily life into ritual time, and it gives us that sense of the unchanging that writers like St. Augustine tell us to seek. In our manic, media-driven world, it is easy to forget that human beings need “static” pursuits to balance their minds every bit as much as they need dynamic, compulsive ones.

I make no claim to have mastered any of these practices, and I struggle daily with prayer like anyone else. But I can say that, aside from restricting or simply abandoning social media, these types of practices have been the most effective in trying to keep my mind focused on the eternal God and not on my often-lugubrious thoughts. The Church is rightly concerned about the social effects of social media such as Tik Tok and Instagram. But we should also recognize that social media can be a danger to us as individuals, and we should seek in the treasures of our Faith for ways to combat its ill effects upon us. Given the magnitude of the challenges that such technologies present, we need all the help we can get.

Engage Classroom Introverts In Five Ways

Introvert and extrovert drawn on chalkboard

It may be a misconception regarding personality traits that the more verbal, outgoing classroom extroverts maintain superior classroom or academic ability. While having an introverted personality is generally not indicative of the student’s cognitive capacity, it may pose obstacles for instructors who value regular classroom engagement. Here are five brief ways that instructors may be able to better support the personalities and enhance engagement of introverted students in the classroom setting.

1. Build in peer-support measures

Active learning efficacy is well-established, but whether students are at an advantage or disadvantage with peer-to-peer interactions is unknown.1 Learning environments with frequent peer-based discussion may beg the question as to whether introverted students may not perform as successfully as their ambivert or extrovert counterparts. Introverted students may prefer less social stimulation and require more time to reflect before contributing to the peer-based group; conversely, more outgoing students may be more comfortable with quick decision-making and spontaneously sharing ideas.2

Within an active learning environment, there are a few ways to make all students feel confident and comfortable in active participation. First, consider building in time for students to discuss within smaller groups before answering to the larger group setting; this can help active participation, networking, and forming study groups, while removing barriers to activity with fellow students. Having students choose group roles in which they are most comfortable may in turn allow both self-comfort and peer support.2 Finally, written reflections that can be shared can help motivate performance without necessarily creating “performance anxiety.”1 With consideration to the development of group work, skills and contribution, introverted students can have a positive experience within active learning and peer interactions.1

2. Attempt problem-based learning

Problem-based learning (PBL) enhances cooperative learning, disciplinary subject learning, iterative learning, and authentic learning.3 When PBL is used between students or individually, it can help strengthen critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork, and creativity skills, thus maintaining its essentiality in the lives of students and strengthening peer-to-peer engagement.3 In one study, a PBL model was employed in an entrepreneurial course, which lead to a significant increase in student motivation.4 This study reported that confidence gained through the PBL process may play a role in learning. When students have more control over learning and establish a baseline of self-awareness and confidence, both motivation and engagement are likely to improve.

3. Utilize both competitive and cooperative learning methodology

Cooperative learning (CL) is a means of working together to achieve a shared learning goal.5 One significant attribute of successful CL is that groups are structured in a way to ensure that members work interdependently and reap both social and academic benefits. By doing so, it is thought that CL can enhance the support of students that identify as introverted.

Interestingly, one study that examined cooperative versus competitive learning for reading comprehension on extroverted and introverted students found that introverts outperformed extroverts in terms of competitive learning in a reading-based environment.6 This indicates that assignment type may also play a role in relation to personality trait, as reading is an activity more likely to be associated with the introverted personality.

4. Incorporate authentic and relatable assignments

In its simplest form, authentic instruction may be achieved by designing curriculums and assessments based on specific material in a context that can be applied to real-world scenarios rather than generalized instruction.7 Therefore, teaching delivery that is more targeted to the student’s environment may allow each individual to more efficiently internalize the information. One study addressing English as a Second Language sought to determine the effect of authentic learning instruction on personality type using immersion with audio/visual (A/V) technology.8 It was found that the utilization of authentic A/V materials significantly improved learning in both introverted and extroverted students, which supports authentic instruction regardless of this personality type. Similar results were observed when project-based learning was utilized to compare speaking ability when looking at English as a Foreign Language in introverted versus extroverted student cohorts.9

5. Bring in the technology

Similar to the implementation of authentic instruction, the use of technology should not be overlooked in modern classrooms. Utilizing applied technology such as A/V material and audience-response systems (ARS) is important in the realms of student engagement, and may be vital for students who identify as introverted. One study evaluated methods that may be used to increase student engagement in large classes consisting of up to 500 students.10 When ARS technology was assessed in a first-year course, the results showed that those who frequently utilized the technology were more likely to be engaged with the lectures. However, the authors demonstrated that extroversion was not associated with an increased propensity to use the technology and engage in the classroom. ARS technology was shown to be an efficient method to increase classroom engagement among those students who identify as introverted.

While introverts may superficially appear disinterested, consistent engagement can be achieved via implementation of relatively simple adaptations. The introvert/extrovert component is only one piece of the trait-based personality makeup. Adapting to unique classroom personalities may be a distinctive, but surmountable task for instructors.

Breathe New Life Into Unpublished Content

Repurposing successful content is old news. You already know how to squeeze as much value out of it as you can.

But what about your content that never made the cut? These assets languish on your hard drive or in the cloud, never fulfilling their original purpose. They could be:

  • Blog articles made irrelevant by breaking news.
  • Press releases never picked up by the media.
  • Thought leadership articles created for trade magazines that ceased publishing before your content could be published.
  • Case studies tabled when your organization’s priorities changed.

All is not lost: Here’s how to breathe new life into that unpublished content.

Find the misfit content

You likely don’t remember every piece of content created that never saw the light of day. To rediscover these potential gems, search your brand’s server for content that never moved to the next folder in the publishing process. Look at your own hard drive (and ask team members to do the same) for completed drafts that were never finalized. Peruse your content management system (CMS) for unpublished content.

Once you find some of this misfit content, it’s time to unearth their hidden value.

Revitalize rejected content

In my 25 years as a magazine writer, I racked up well over 500 rejections to my pitches. I saved each failed idea in a folder on my hard drive, and every so often, I would go through it to see if any of the ideas might be workable for a new publication.

In early 2020, an editor at a prominent women’s magazine asked me to pitch some ideas. I compiled a handful of rejected pitch ideas that I updated and revised. One of those ideas ended up in the December issue.

You can do something similar. Send the once rejected column written by your CEO to another publication. Take that exclusive release sent to a reporter who never used it and turn it into a release for bloggers in your industry.

Remember, just because a piece of content was wrong for one outlet doesn’t mean it’s wrong for all of them. Or sometimes, you just need to wait until the time is right. Look at your rejected work with a new eye, and ask: Is it this content’s time to shine?

Just because a piece of #content was wrong for one outlet doesn’t mean it’s wrong for all. Revitalize your rejected content, says @Hey_Formichelli via @CMIContent @inmotionhosting.CLICK TO TWEETIf your revitalized content gets rejected again, publish it yourself on your blog, resource page, social media, etc.

Transform content dismissed because of unexpected events

When I ran a small content studio, we developed an incredible report about how to incorporate the principles of women’s magazine journalism into B2B content to “take it from ZZZ to OMG.”

Right after we released the report to the world, the pandemic struck. Suddenly, no one wanted to read about (or create) fun, entertaining content. Our new content needed to demonstrate we knew what was going on in the world – the gloomy “new normal.” It made sense. Brands that didn’t at least give a nod to the situation in their content looked out of touch and tactless.

But what about the amazing piece of content that seemed wrong to publish based on what was happening in the world?

Tweak the content asset: Sometimes, a simple tweak can turn your content from “They said WHAT now?” to “I need to read this now.”

A month or so after the pandemic lockdown, we could have made the report work with a new design and lead, such as: “We could all use a distraction these days. Here’s how to bump up the fun in your B2B content to give your readers a welcome break from the negative.”

Reframe the idea: Maybe the original content treatment still won’t work in the present, but it could be turned into on-trend content.

Say you’re a home furnishings brand. Just as the pandemic started, you were about to launch a content campaign on how to create a luxurious guest room for summer visitors. But now, that angle was irrelevant. Instead, you could have reframed the content into how to turn an unused guest room into a home office or classroom, and the campaign would be right on point.

Do something else: With my content studio’s women’s magazine lessons for B2B report shelved, we create new content in the form of an infographic – 30 Creative Alternatives to ‘Unprecedented.’ This amusing infographic showed an awareness of the situation. It also ended up getting even more attention than we expected from the original report.

Wait it out

If the content went unpublished because of current events, reassess it a few days, weeks, or months later to see if it’s now viable. We did that with our women’s magazine B2B content report. A few months after the pandemic began, people did get tired of gloomy marketing content, ads featuring somber piano music, and emails from brands about how we’re all in this together. We reposted and marketed the report in June, and it garnered a lot of engagement.


Top Options for Hosting (and Optimizing!) Your Content

Your website hosting decisions can make a big impact on speed, performance, and manageability – and the experience that you deliver to your content consumers. Before you choose a hosting solution, watch this chat with Harry Jackson of InMotion Hosting, where he outlines the three main options and explains the pros and cons of each. Watch now!

Pick the good from the bad content

In some cases, the unpublished piece of content is simply unsalvageable:

  • The content is so out of date it’s not worth your time to update it.
  • The case study features a customer now out of business.
  • The video targets a persona your brand no longer serves.
  • The author is no longer in good standing in your industry.

However, even this content is not dead. You can mine it for bits and use them for another piece of content, social media, newsletter blurbs, testimonials, and so on. For example, grab out and reuse:

  • Quotes from subject matter experts
  • Helpful (and still valid) tips
  • Sidebars or short sections connected to unsalvageable long-form content, such as white papers, books, and guides
  • Resource lists

Pick over that content like a grandma using a roast chicken on day three. We’re in chicken salad territory here, folks. Don’t let any usable content go to waste.

Your unpublishable content is not so unpublishable

You’ve delved into your content and come up with some losers you could turn into winners. In many cases, you’ll find the content wasn’t really bad. It was just a case of the wrong place or wrong time.

Now that you have these strategies for reviving rejected, tabled, and otherwise unpublished content, add a quarterly reminder to your calendar to go digging for content gold. You’ll save time and money – and treat your audience to amazing content they otherwise would have missed.

She-Hulk Shows Why Feminism Is Not the Answer

She-Hulk

The recent trailer for the new She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, a show premiering on Disney+ in August, offers insight into the disillusioned feminist. The premise of the show is the fulfillment of feminist fantasies in which a woman acquires superhuman strength, sweeping men off their feet and physically dominating whomever she pleases. The source of her power? Rage.

In the trailer, Hulk tells Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk), “The transformations are triggered by anger and fear.” Walters responds, “Those are like the baseline of any woman just existing.” Surveying the landscape of postmodernity, it does seem that in many minds to be a woman is to rage. But why are women so fearful and angry?

Half a century of mass-market feminism and women’s so-called empowerment has not made women happier. It seems it may have actually made women less happy. We can pretend that men need merely to discuss their feelings more to reach egalitarian enlightenment and that differences in physical strength mean nothing, but most people recognize the truth.

The age of pretend has ended. A natural disaster or combat scenario is enough for the scales to fall from our eyes. There are significant advantages to the average physical superiority of men. “Women and children first” is not the necessary order of disaster response. Only in a civilization that prizes self-sacrifice and cares for the vulnerable will women and children stand a chance of protection.

While decades of wishful thinking have not changed physical reality, the postmodern world has eroded protections for women, leaving them exposed and rightly afraid. Men are allowed to trounce women in sporting events. A landscape without clear mores exposes women to emotional and physical risk. Childbearing is now a woman’s “choice” and, consequently, if she chooses to bear children, her sole responsibility.

Watching the #MeToo movement unfold was educational. Hearing stories of abuse and manipulation, one was struck by how avoidable so much of it was. One is very much not allowed to say that victims had any role whatsoever in the treatment they suffered. Of course, the perpetrators are still responsible; and yet there is legitimate question about many of the scenarios. Had no one ever told these women not to go into a boss’s hotel room after drinking heavily? Had no one explained that a man’s professed feminism is not his highest virtue or necessarily an indication of honor? The obvious answer, as Mary Eberstadt discerned, is no.

Without a present and invested father, uncle, or brother, many women do not have a reliable account of masculinity with which to make rational judgments and risk assessment. After imbibing years of self-esteem boosting, women do not readily see their vulnerabilities. When they inevitably do, they can be consumed by anger and fear.

The idea that a woman could harness all her negative emotions and explode into a hulking monster of justice might be superficially satisfying for some, but what about women in real life? Fanciful transformations and superhuman strength do not await women in the world as we know it. Without something more, feminists are left to fester in impotent rage.

That anger can manifest as ugliness. Seeing the trends of partially shaved heads, unrestrained gluttony, and perpetually casual attire, perhaps one is seeing a revolt against beauty. Like Lady Macbeth, so many women demand of the spirits: “unsex me here / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty!” In the purely natural order, femininity and the beauty it exudes are not gifts to be treasured.

The Catholic worldview offers a coherent response. Under the banner of the Lamb slain, there is a paradigm in which weakness need not be despised, in which vulnerability becomes the touchpoint for God’s strength. In Christian marriage, woman’s receptivity can be seen not as a costly liability but as a conduit for love, embodied and individual.

Millennia of Christian culture produced the most beautiful art the world has ever known. Christ, who was bloodied and violently sacrificed, is the Lamb who inspired these works of art that continue to fascinate even in our age of pervasive ugliness. There is something deeply attractive about a person who lays down his life, a woman who in her weakness can shine forth with God’s beauty and strength.

There is no superhuman strength to vindicate the rage of women. There is a supernatural call that can soften even the hardest of hearts. When women follow Christ, they no longer live defined by anger and fear. While those transitory emotions can be natural and understandable in certain contexts, they cannot be the foundation of a life worth living. When women lead in sacrifice and humility, they set the standard for a culture. It is not with She-Hulk that we find peace; it is only in echoing the words of Mary’s fiat that we find our purpose and discover our beauty, a gift from the Creator.

Parents with Cell Phones: Children Suffer Due to Our Distracting Devices

When my children were just entering school age, I was concerned about how often I was using my phone in front of them. My children tend to be brutally honest, so I sat them down and asked them, “Kids? What do you think daddy likes doing the most?”

I was fully anticipating their answer to be, “You like your phone a lot, papí.”

But that wasn’t the answer I received. Instead, I got something I wasn’t expecting: an epiphany.

As I waited for my children to answer my question, a mountain of pride came crumbling down into a pool of retrospective reflection. I began to realize the effects of my screen usage around my kids. While their tiny noggins noodled their response in what lasted no more than a couple seconds, I was lost in a decade of thought on what could be the effects of my tech overuse:

Phones Produce Attention Seeking Behaviors

It never ceases to amaze me how fast my kids are to interrupt me when I turn on my phone. Within seconds, they gravitate toward me to ask questions, show me their artwork, or just to come and get a hug. Sometimes, I tell them “In a minute” and other times, I try to maintain my attention on both them and my screen. Either way, if I ignore them for more than a minute, they begin to seek out my attention negatively. They’ll misbehave, start repeating requests over and over again, or even start annoying their siblings. They do this in an effort to get my attention. Whether it is consciously or subconsciously, negative or positive, they want their daddy.

This isn’t something that occurs only under my roof. As a full time 6th grade teacher, I’ve noticed this in my students as well. Students who need the most love tend to showcase negative attention-seeking behaviors. They seem incapable of empathy, uncaring, and disruptive, but truthfully, they are seeking attention that they lack due to technology overuse in their homes and in their friendship circles.

Research affirms this notion. According to MIT professor Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other:

“‘I have quotes from college students depicting childhoods when they could not get parents’ attention during meals,’ she told NBC News. ‘What’s troubling is that parents do not respond appropriately to children seeking attention and their own distraction from the children. That’s the real story in this paper, the vicious little secret that starts the pathology we should worry about’” (NBCnews.com).

Children are acting out, mostly negatively, to their parents’ constant use of their devices and the frequent neglect of their children. This is true in my house as it is in millions of homes around the world.

We Lose Opportunities to Redirect

You know your kids better than anyone else in the world. You know when their peak hours of energy are. You can tell by the way they walk, the way they talk, even by the way they look whether or not they are going to do something productive or destructive. There are countless moments throughout your day when you are able to redirect them toward something that is good for them. Reminding them to clean up their toys before they take another one out so they can avoid having to pick up a ton of toys at one time. Making sure they finish their meal even if they think they aren’t hungry because you know that if they don’t they’ll get “hangry” an hour later. Picking them up to read a book when they realize the toy they were playing with got picked up by their sibling when they weren’t looking. We lose these opportunities to foresee negative behaviors when we are busy scrolling on our phones.

They Develop Speech Problems

Researchers have shown that the first moments of a baby’s life are critical to their psychological development. From birth to age 2, their brains are learning how to react to stimuli of all sorts and as a result, their motor skills, depth perception, and especially their linguistic abilities start developing at an incredible rate. On top of that, their sense of belonging is also fortified by constant contact from their parents’ hugs, snuggles, coos, and kisses.

Having a newborn is exhausting and, at times, kind of boring. Many parents have tried to cure their boredom by taking to their phones while they raise their babies. Their attention is distracted and, as a result, they are less talkative to their kids. They might hold them and help them physically maneuver their surroundings, but they tend to be silent as they focus their mind and energy on their screens instead of their kiddos. As a result, their children learn to speak less and observe more. Many of these babies have speech development problems due to their parents’ lack of linguistic interaction.

Research backs this up. Jenny Radesky, M.D., a child behavior expert and pediatrician at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, conducted the study with colleagues from Boston Medical Center and they found that “parent mobile device use is associated with fewer verbal and nonverbal interactions with the children” (Sciencedaily.com).

We All Lack Empathy

One research group decided to see if the use of devices on a regular basis would affect the abilities of adolescents to read facial expressions and body language in strangers. To do this, they invited several teens who claimed to use their screens more often than others to participate in a week-long summer camp experience. They split this group into two and, prior to leaving, had them look at pictures of strangers of who they were asked to say in what mood they were in based on their facial expressions and gestures. This was done to measure their ability to empathize with the strangers, to deduce if they were sad, angry, hungry, etc. The answers were recorded, and off they went to camp.

The two groups participated in the same excursions, activities, and the like with two differences: they went only weeks apart and one group was allowed to bring their devices while the other group was not. That meant that for one week, one group of students would only be allowed to communicate with others face-to-face, while the other group could access their social media, texts, and other digital means of communication throughout their time at camp.

Archbishop Cordileone Prefers Pelosi Advocates For Life In The Womb

He Responds to Criticism That He’s ‘Politicizing the Eucharist’

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone noted that many Catholics don’t understand Church teaching on the Eucharist.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. (photo: ENN / EWTN)

WASHINGTON — San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Monday responded to criticism that he is “politicizing” the Eucharist by denying Nancy Pelosi Holy Communion, saying he would prefer the Democratic House Speaker remain in office “and become an advocate for life in the womb.”

“What does it mean to politicize the Holy Eucharist if one is following Church teaching and applying Church teaching?” Archbishop Cordileone said in an interview with EWTN News’ Erik Rosales that aired May 23 on EWTN News Nightly.

“One would have to demonstrate that one is doing that for a political purpose,” the archbishop said.

“I’ve been very clear all along, my purpose is pastoral, not political,” he added. “I am not campaigning for anyone for office. As a matter of fact, my preference would be for Speaker Pelosi to remain in office and become an advocate for life in the womb.”

On Friday, Archbishop Cordileone announced that he had notified Pelosi, who describes herself as a devout Catholic, that until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion, she should not be admitted to Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, her home diocese, nor should she present herself for Communion.

Archbishop Cordileone told Rosales that he has not received any response from Pelosi so far. Nor has the 82-year-old speaker issued any public statements about the Communion ban as of yet.

As of May 23, at least a dozen U.S. bishops have publicly supported Archbishop Cordileone’s action, which only applies within the San Francisco Archdiocese. Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila called Archbishop Cordileone “a shepherd with the heart and mind of Christ, who truly desires to lead others towards Christ’s love, mercy, and promise of eternal salvation.”

Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., where Pelosi spends much of her time, has not commented publicly on Archbishop Cordileone’s action, but has indicated in the past that he does not intend to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who actively promote abortion and other policies at odds with Church teaching.

Archbishop Cordileone told Rosales that politicizing the Eucharist can even occur “in reverse.” One could “receive Communion as a means to furthering a political agenda, when one is motivated for that reason,” he said. “So it cuts both ways.”

Archbishop Cordileone noted that many Catholics don’t understand Church teaching on the Eucharist, “what it is, who it is, and what the proper disposition is to receive it, what it means to receive the most Holy Eucharist.”

He added that he wanted to help Catholics understand “the grave evil of abortion and what it means to cooperate with evil on the different levels.”

“I wanted to be clear in laying out that teaching,” he said.

‘Aggressive’ Abortion Stance

Rosales said that Archbishop Cordileone told him his decision is not related to the recent leak of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that shows the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide.

However, Rosales said that Archbishop Cordileone was “motivated by Speaker Pelosi’s reaction to the Texas Heartbeat Law,” which bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at about six weeks gestation.

“That’s when Speaker Pelosi became very outspoken and aggressive — I’ll use that word — in vowing to codify the Roe v. Wade decision into federal law,” Archbishop Cordileone told Rosales, referring to her ardent support for the Women’s Health Protection Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives but failed to garner enough votes in the Senate.

“So it would guarantee open, unqualified access to abortion for all 9 months, all through out the country,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “This was very alarming, very disturbing.”

It was at this time that Archbishop Cordileone began the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign, asking Catholics to pray and fast to soften her heart for the unborn.

Archbishop Cordileone said that Pelosi frequently speaks fondly of her five grown children.

“I think she has a maternal heart, there is a real sensitivity there,” he said.

“So I asked people to pray and fast for her and I’ve been trying to meet with her. Ever since then I’ve made several attempts to speak with her. I’ve either been denied or just received no response.”

Archbishop Cordileone added that Pelosi “knew in advance that I would make this announcement if she did not repudiate her position on abortion or at least not refer to her Catholic faith and not go to Communion.”

Rosales brought up Pelosi’s recent October meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican and asked whether the Pope should take a greater stance on the issue.

“I think Pope Francis has taken a very strong stance on this,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “He’s been very outspoken about the evil of abortion. He sees how everything is interconnected.”

Citing Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, Cordileone said the Pope “talks about the interconnectedness of it all. He brings up this issue that care for the environment, care for our common home also includes care for the poor and the vulnerable, including life in the womb, and he compares it to hiring a hitman to solve the problem.”

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