Professional Development

Asking for a Friend: Thinking Evaluatively About the “Conceptual Use” of Evidence for Awareness (Earth Day and Autism Month)

In April’s #evalAFF, I reference the below diagram from a blog post entitled “Unhappy Earth Day” to invite reflection on a) examples when action to increase “awareness” may be a necessary but insufficient evaluation-use proposition, and b) how to mitigate the risk that increased “awareness” of a phenomenon will stimulate counter-productive responses such as “greenwashing” marketing and merchandise

I also refer to pushback from #actuallyautistic on social media, for Autistic people to reclaim the narrative of “Autism Awareness” month, citing examples of how popular entertainment about Autism can perpetuate a neurotypical framing of Autistic communication as deficient, rather than different.  

In follow up to our April 19 Workshop on Evaluative Thinking with Dr. Thomas Archibald and the April 27 Journal Club on The Role of Evaluative Thinking in the Teaching of Evaluation, I hope this month’s #evalAFF will inspire us to reflect on how to design evaluation processes, and facilitate thinking, that manage the limitations and risks of conceptual use of evaluation to “raise awareness.” 

In case you missed them in the Journal Club invitation this month, here is a short and a longer introduction to evaluative thinking, that may be helpful as you contemplate the relationship between professional evaluation, and awareness-raising on issues of equity and sustainability. 

– Andrealisa Belzer

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