Tuesday, October 17, 2017


“We behave differently on different social media, Derek Thompson wonders whether we act up online or reveal our true nature.”
By: Derek Thompson
Level of Difficulty: **
·         Social media and how it effects individuals https://prezi.com/ikjqapbk2bqu/social-media-and-how-it-affects-individuals/ 
·         Reasons why I quit social media https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFOAd5plX3o
·         Social media is changing the way we communicate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wncZPE7NMVI
·         The ultimate communication device https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DlyD-hWMes
1.       Read the first paragraph of the text. What mistaken conclusion is often drawn from the examples in this paragraph?
2.       Read the second paragraph. In what way is regular social life restrictive?
3.       Refer to the same paragraph. In what way does social media get around the problem described in question two?
4.       What is the function of paragraph three? Would the text work without it?
5.       Read the next paragraph and complete the following sentence to summarize the main point being made. The need to …………………….prevents people from focusing mostly on themselves in social life. On line, however, this is not a concern because......................
6.       As a result of the 2014 experiment it was understood that………………. From this result it can be concluded that the initial hypothesis of the researchers which stated that………was right/ wrong.
7.       The fear of ……………….results in people trying to ……………….on social media; a fact which is not true for face to face communication.
8.       Why would women in popular business schools give the answer they did in the 2017 survey:
·         Because they have feelings of inferiority to men
·         Because they feel the public expects them to feel inferior
·         Because they feel their parents expect this response
·         Because this is what business schools teach them
9.       What advantage does written communication have over face to face communication? It allows people…
10.   What disadvantage does written communication have? The communication ceases to be…..
11.   What is the function of the paragraph beginning “This is how…”?
12.   Why is it not surprising that social media has turned us all into narcissists? Because we are no longer having a conversation, we are….
13.   We understand from the text that:
·         We are all being transformed into actors
·         We are all expressing more of ourselves
·         We are all communicating more effectively
·         We are all capable of communicating better
Write an essay in which you describe how social media alters our communication. Use the information in the text and the videos.
This text is an insightful look at how social media is impacting our personality. Plenty has been written about being digitally dependent but this text comes at the issue from a completely different angle. It should lead to some lively discussion and a good writing task.
1.       The internet and social media create new personalities.
2.       It requires us to speak even when we don’t know what to say and forces us to be pleasant or acquiescent when we would rather not
3.        It allows people to express sides of themselves that social norms discourage in the real world.
4.       It is a bridge paragraph to the next section of the text. No this paragraph is necessary.
5.       (Closely) Monitor each other for empathy and understanding ; they are speaking to big audiences
6.       Talking to a large group of people induces us to present ourselves in the best possible light; the sheer size of an audience can shape the content of our messages; right
7.       Being judged; cater to the prejudices of others
8.       The second
9.       To polish and refine their messages
10.   A conversation
11.   It provides a summary of the arguments so far
12.   Broadcasting

13.   We are all expressing more of ourselves

Monday, October 16, 2017


By: John A. Powel and Arthur Brooks
Level of Difficulty:**
·         Poverty isn’t a lack of character, it is a lack of cash https://www.ted.com/talks/rutger_bregman_poverty_isn_t_a_lack_of_character_it_s_a_lack_of_cash/discussion
·         Hell is other people https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J6U7eGGoVg
1.       Would Jean Paul Sartre have felt that his quote “Hell is other people” applied to modern day America? Why?
2.       What worrying conclusion was reached as a result of the 2001 word-association study?
3.       Acc to the 2002 study the poor are unlike any other out-group in that…
4.       We might assume from the text that lack of sufficient cultural contact with the poor gives birth to…. (There are two possible answers; find both)
5.       Watch the following video on The Benjamin Franklin Effect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMsxYztfrvA.  What conclusion can we draw from the video and the text concerning the public attitude to the poor?  
6.       Read the account of the 1971 University of North Carolina experiment. What was the result of the experiment?
7.       What conclusion can we draw from this experiment concerning the attitude to the poor?
8.       One reason why poor black people or poor Muslims may face even greater antagonism could be the fact that…
9.       Read the negative effects of othering listen in the text. What conclusion can we draw from them?
10.   What is the function of the paragraph beginning “Without intervention…”?
11.   Read the account of the welfare programs. The writer feels these programs have more disadvantages than advantages / more advantages than disadvantages / disadvantages and advantages.
12.   The biggest mistake policy makers are making concerning dealing with out-groups is …
13.   The policies to deal with the poor will work on the condition that there is….
14.   Read on from “Focusing…” to the end of the text. Imagine you are placing the last sentence of the text right at the beginning of the section. Which two sentences would you select to follow it?
First alternative
Use all the information you have gleaned to write an essay discussing the causes and effects of othering. In your conclusion, suggest solutions.
Second alternative
Watch the play “No Exit” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoE_gpCFHQs  by Jean Paul Sartre and write an essay discussing your impressions
This brilliant and insightful text addresses a deep rooted problem: dealing with poverty and how best to deal with it. By cutting to the chase and not paying lip service to the classic solutions it opens our eyes to the underlying issues. It should lead to lively discussion and a good essay.
1.       Yes he would, because we see whole groups of people unlike ourselves as undesirable “other”
2.       Americans exhibit a disturbing level of antipathy towards those on the economic margins. (The sentence including the percentages is the result of the experiment and not the conclusion we can draw)
3.       Only the poor were consistently classified as both unfriendly and incompetent
4.       Antipathy OR widespread negative attitudes
5.       The negative attitude towards the poor is a result of the separation (OR: The separation causes the negative attitude towards the poor)
6.       The teachers rated the learners they had insulted more negatively than the people they had praised or encouraged
7.       Middle class and wealthy Americans’ social distance from people in poverty exists in a mutually reinforcing cycle with the contempt they feel towards them
8.       The overlay of multiple identities such as race, class, religion and ethnicity may cause othering to grow more intense
9.       Othering is a political and social process and it poses a grave moral problem.
10.   It is a bridge paragraph which connects the analysis of the causes of the problem to the solutions
11.   Disadvantages and advantages
12.   Not restoring them to a position in which they are needed
13.    A deep moral consensus: a shared belief in the equal dignity of all people.
14.    There are many things we share, not least among them is the fact that almost everyone is descended from people whose families experienced poverty and marginalization ; What very few American families have in their past is power and privilege


No one denies that we are rapidly running out of fossil fuels and in dire need of viable alternatives. Below you will find some innovative solutions to our energy problem. Which one(s) do you think is (are) the most practical? Do your research, make a choice and compare the alternatives to prove that yours is the best choice.
Reading material to make notes on
·         ‘Fatbergs’, faeces and other waste we flush could be a fuel http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20171005-human-waste-could-be-the-fuel-of-the-future
·         Wind 101: the basics of wind energy https://www.awea.org/wind-power-101
·         Algal biofuels https://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/algal-biofuels (Click on the link at the bottom)
Videos to watch and take notes from

·         How Poop Will Power The World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RhHuW2gglw

·         'fatbergs', faeces and other waste we flush could be a fuel   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHRld3WJ2Ms

Friday, October 13, 2017


Coercive control is the name given to a very old problem; one that has existed throughout the ages and is rampant in the modern world as well. Do your research and find out what it is and then suggest solutions. This writing task is a combination of a definition and a problem solution essay despite being listed under problem solution essays. In fact, it is very logical to describe the problem before moving on to solutions.
·         Living on eggshells https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_634hhVs_0
Familiarise yourself with the issue:
·         Coercion and control https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx02GEYkAIE
·         Evan Stark, Rutgers University, Author, "Coercive Control" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlXXt6WNsM

Reading material to make notes on
·         How can you tell if your partner is emotionally abusive?  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/coercive-control-how-can-you-tell-whether-your-partner-is-emotio/
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         Understanding Coercive Control with Professor Evan Stark

·         Getting free from a coercive relationship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_634hhVs_0

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


In the modern world, where technology is developing in leaps and bounds, should we stop and think about the ethical implications of what we are doing? Or is there no room for ethics in the application of technology? Do your research, determine your position and support it.
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         Does technology need to be ethical? https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/541797/anil-dash-tech-ethics/  
Reading material to make notes on
·         10 Emerging ethical dilemnas in science and technology https://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2014/12/10-emerging-ethical-dilemmas-science-and-technology
·         What are the ethical implications of emerging tech? https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/03/what-are-the-ethical-implications-of-emerging-tech/
·         The many ethical implications of emerging technologies https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-many-ethical-implications-of-emerging-technologies/  
·         Technology and the ethics of responsibility  http://www.metanexus.net/essay/technology-and-ethics-responsibility
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         We need a “moral” operating system https://www.ted.com/talks/damon_horowitz
·         Ethical issues regarding emerging technologies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLeDx0T5CSo
·          The Ethics and Tricks of Technology (Tristan Harris Pt. 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsUrOmwI82I


Note to the student: this is a relatively simple writing task which is suitable for pre intermediate students
View the galleries the links to which are provided below and decide which you would prefer to live in. Compare the two cities to prove that your choice is best:
Study the following gallery and note down adjectives you would use to describe Milan and your impressions of each photo in the gallery.
Milan: http://www.bbc.com/travel/gallery/20170925-why-milan-is-covering-its-skyscrapers-in-plants
Now do the same thing for Hong Kong
Hong Kong: http://www.bbc.com/capital/gallery/20170809-inside-chinas-skyscraper-capital
Look at the adjectives and the impressions you have noted and write a paragraph comparing the two cities.


“What drives people to spend thousands on products and experiences that could cost far less? Tiffanie Wen investigates.”  
By: Tiffanie Wen
Level of difficulty: **
·         Economics: Conspicuous Consumption https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I4xx5ZaWaM
·         Conspicuous Consumption - Carissa Explains It All #GOMLpodcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9zbQwv0WNY
1.       What surprising revelation is made concerning expensive products in the first paragraph?
2.       What conclusion can be drawn from the experiment involving wine and the one involving painkillers?
3.       What was the purpose of the MRI scans in the same experiments? To see if the subjects actually considered the expensive wine or pill to be good / better / best / worse.
4.       What mistaken belief leads buyers to splash out on more expensive alternatives?
5.       Read the example of the film. Why do people tend to make the choice they do?
6.       We understand from the text that people go for more expensive brands because…
7.       Watch the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1lnYyJ_d6w Why did Daniel Radcliff, Mike Tyson, Nicolas Cage, BeyoncĂ©, Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie, make the purchases they did? Because by doing so…
8.       What general reason is given for the desire to splash experienced by people in all walks of life?
9.       Watch the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oczSB5J2b4 . Why do people buy these goods?
10.   Is the trend mentioned in the previous question still valid today? Why?
11.   Read the conclusion. People mistakenly assume that spending big will ensure happiness but they are wrong because…. The best alternative is ….
Use all the information you have gleaned to write about the reasons for spending big.
In this age of consumerism where positional goods are the order of the day, analyzing the underlying reasons for splashing out should be interesting. The students will probably be able to predict a lot of what is in the text and perhaps supply some additional reasons. It should lead to an interesting writing task.
1.       People rate them more highly and enjoy them more
2.       Price matters so much to our understanding of value that we sometimes rate pricey things…
3.       Better
4.       If an item is twice as expensive it is twice as good
5.       They are trying to get to that totally amazing experience even at the risk of getting a truly bad one (We are motivated to splurge because we’re seeking peak experiences won’t fit because ticket prices are the same for all films)
6.       There is an extra boost when you go up in the quality of experiences
7.       They obtain a sense of accomplishment and progress, and enhance their self worth
8.       To build the experiential cv
9.       To signal they are successful.
10.   No it isn’t. Because the deluge of material goods means that they are not as rare or scarce or luxurious as in the past.
11.   Splurging on items for ourselves is finite and doesn’t add up to increases of happiness over time;  giving to others