The Atlantic Daily: Don’t Follow Your Gut in a Pandemic

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For many of us, this past year was filled with many frantic hours spent trying to understand an evolving crisis. We were, as our contributing writer Tom Nichols puts it, like “fish darting about in a tank that’s been sprinkled with food.” The instinct to forage for information can be dizzying—and not always useful, Tom argues.

Today, our writers make sense of some of the thorniest issues of the ongoing pandemic.

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One question, answered:

A reader seeks tips for their sixth grader, who “immediately seems to forget everything he studies,” but “remembers non-school-related information fine.”

Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer respond in our latest “Homeroom” column:

Memorization techniques—or “tricks,” as you call them—can be useful, but they need to follow deeper comprehension. To better retain what he’s learning, Tom should focus on understanding the material before committing it to memory. Then all those facts he needs to recall for the next day will have something to stick to. The question is how to build that initial comprehension. For many students, a bulky block of text is difficult to process.

Keep reading. Every Tuesday, Abby and Brian take questions from readers about their kids’ education. Have one? Email them at homeroom@theatlantic.com.


What to read if you’re processing the Boulder, Colorado, shooting:

Twenty years ago, as he covered Columbine, John Temple thought everything would change. It hasn’t. “I’ve seen the limits of journalism—and of hope,” he writes in a 2019 essay. “And I’m struggling with what to do about it.”


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.