Ambassador Connections: Meet Deborah Domingues-Murphy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Deborah Domingues-Murphy, library media specialist
1. As a NewsLitNation ambassador, you clearly are committed to news literacy education. What drives that commitment?
My grandmother was a naturalized citizen. She taught all of us from a young age to be active in our civic duties, especially when it came to voting. She participated in every election from the time she received her citizenship well into her 100s. She read up on the candidates and the issues. She had ongoing correspondence with all the presidents dating back to Eisenhower up to the Clinton administration. I want my students to want to be involved in their community, hold our elected officials accountable. To do that, they need to know what is happening and that requires them to be smart consumers of news information.
2. What is your favorite tool or tip for teaching news literacy?
I use a lot of NLP materials. Two of my “go-tos” are the RumorGuard images and Checkology. I use the RumorGuard images to see how well my students can discern the accuracy of the image. They are learning how to apply the five factors for credibility: authenticity, source, evidence, context, reasoning. The other is Checkology, it is so adaptable. I can use lessons as part of direct instruction as well as assign a number of them to extend learning. The fact that the lessons are self-grading makes implementing it so easy.
3. These are particularly challenging times for educators. What has been your go-to de-stressor?
In my class, I try to bring in some mindfulness exercises and practices. I have set routines in my class and start each class period with 5 minutes of silence. Students have told me it is the only time in the day they don’t feel stressed out. One described it as finally breathing, not feeling like he is always holding his breath. For me personally, I also do mindfulness exercises that include guided meditation and yoga. I also do watercolors and knit.
4. Design your own student questions for an event relevant to your region.
Pennsylvania is frequently a battleground state. As a result, there is a lot of disinformation and misinformation. We are bringing the NLP PitchIt! contest to Pennsylvania. Working with the school district (Allegheny Intermediate Unit), we want to give students a platform to write an evidence-supported essay about the topics of a free press and news literacy.
5. Aside from fighting for facts, what else are you passionate about?
I never pass up on an opportunity to go to new places. I love learning about different cultures, eating local foods, seeing amazing sites.
6. Are you on team dog, team cat, team wombat?
Team dog all the way (although wombats are a close second)