Friday, July 13, 2012

GET YOUR ESSAYS CORRECTED

I found this wonderful website, grammarly.com, which corrects your essays. You need to subscribe and pay a small fee but it is worth it for the service you get. Grammar mistakes, punctuation, organization are all corrected and suggestions are made as to how to improve your essays. I think the site is brilliant and will be very useful to those who can't find anyone to correct their essays or don't want to pay a fortune for the job. I have tried out the site and give it a thumbs up. All you do is copy paste your essay, mark the type of writing and go for it.

THE BUSY TRAP



By: Tim Kreider

Published: June 30, 2012; The New York Times http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/?_r=0
Level of Difficulty: **

WATCH, LISTEN AND CONSIDER
·         The busy trap https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oTCDILAi24

·         The busy trap https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tgcTu5zFWQ

Thanks are due to my friend and colleague Valerie Needham for this interesting text

BEFORE YOU READ

1.       Describe the 20th century life style.

2.       How does such a life style effect one?

3.       Is this life style actually dictated by outside factors or is it self- imposed?

QUESTIONS

1.       People who describe themselves as busy are actually feeling ………………………………………..

2.       Why do people seem to voluntarily clutter up their lives and leave themselves no breathing space?

3.       Read the account of the telephone conversation in paragraph 3. Now describe in your own words what it is that the writer’s friend is unable to do. What effect do you think such an attitude has on people?

4.       What does the phrase “those three hours” refer to? What can we surmise about how the writer likes to live his life? Use your own words.

5.       Read the account of the conversation with the friend in the south of France. Use your own words to describe why she is so much happier.

6.       This friend’s relocation to France not only affected her mood, stress levels and social circle; she also realised something rather important too. It was the fact that …………………………………………………………………..

7.       Why exactly do we collectively force each other to be so busy?

8.       What conclusion does the writer reach concerning work and its consequences in the modern world?

9.       Why exactly do people enjoy complaining that they are busy?

10.   What was the writer’s rather unusual reaction to work overload?

11.   What is the paradox when trying to write?

12.   Why can idleness lead to creativity and innovation?

13.   What goal of the modern world would the Puritans agree with?

14.   According to what principle has the writer been living his life? You will need to tweak the text.

WRITING TASK

Having read and discussed the text, write a reaction essay on the topic. If you don’t remember how to write such an essay, check out my paper on the topic: I will Shout It from the Rooftops; alternatively, consult your teacher.

 THE BUSY TRAP KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES

This text discusses a very topical issue and reaches some conclusions that may not be immediately apparent. For this reason it, it should lend itself to a reaction essay. The questions where students have to use their own words are very important in helping them prepare for those multiple choice questions they get on tests. Level wise, I thought it was ** but let me know if you don’t agree.

1.       Tired, exhausted

2.       Because of their own ambition, drive or anxiety, addiction to busyness and dread of what they might have to face in its absence.

3.       Make a spontaneous arrangement to relax; to chill out; to spend time with a friend. It makes people increasingly stressed and unhappy, it could lead to a host of stress related illnesses.

4.       Three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon; he likes personal time, he can’t bear to live a regimented life (possible answer).

5.       Possible answer: She has slowed down and is, therefore, much more relaxed and much less driven.

6.       Her personality turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment.

7.       Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness.

8.       It is a form of institutional self delusion; histrionic exhaustion is a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

9.       It makes them feel important, sought after and put upon.

10.   Fleeing town to an undisclosed location.

11.   It is hard to find anything to say about life…

12.   The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and …

13.   Full employment.

14.   Time is more important than money.

COLLABORATION ACROSS CULTURES



By: Michael Blanding

Published: June 25, 2012; Harvard Business School Working Knowledge; http://hbswk.hbs.edu

Level of difficulty: ***

Acknowledgement: This text was contributed by a subscriber to this blog, Celal Yerli. He also tells me that the day of publication was his birthday. I would like to wish Celal many happy returns of the day and thank him for a truly interesting text.

Suggestion: It is suggested that you check out tedtalks and/or YouTube for a related video before starting. The notes you take while listening and later while reading will help with the writing task.

BEFORE YOU START

1.       Why is collaboration across cultures so very important in the modern world?

2.       What sorts of problems occur when communication breaks down?

3.       Why do you think misunderstandings and bad feelings occur?

QUESTIONS

Read the account of the making of the film about the Tang Dynasty

1.       How did Franzoni decide to present the story? Why?

2.       What was the problem as far as the Chinese were concerned?

3.       What conclusion can be drawn from this account?

Read “Vital Skills”

4.       Learning to collaborate creatively with people from different cultural backgrounds can be very advantageous as ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

5.       The reason for the above is the fact that ………………………………………………………………………………

6.       Benefitting from cross cultural cooperation and preventing any friction in the process can be made possible by a new concept. It is ……………………………………………………………………………………

Read “Testing Cultural Metacognition”.

7.       What does “such a result” in the phrase “While such a result may be expected” refer to?

8.       Affective trust becomes critical if the generation of innovative ideas is at issue. The reason is the fact that …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

9.       Refer to the account of the 60 managers. Cultural metacognition seems to have an effect on ……………………………………………………… in the case of people from different cultures. What was the consequence of this relationship?

10.   Refer to the account of the chicken recipe. Which of the pairs were the most creative? Those in which ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

11.   The above situation was found to be a direct result of the fact that ……………………………………….

Read “A Learnable Habit”

12.   The fact that cultural metacognition can be learnt is supported by the fact that …………………….

13.   What practical advice does the writer give to those who don’t interact with people from different cultural backgrounds?

WRITING TASK

Write an essay discussing why it is important to improve cultural metacognition. In your introduction, introduce cultural metacognition as a concept; in your development, discuss the reasons using the notes you made while reading the text and your own views; in your conclusion, suggest common sense, courtesy and really slowing down and listening to what others are saying and what you yourself are saying. In short, suggest that we should put ourselves in other’s shoes.



COLLABORATING ACROSS CULTURES KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES

This highly topical and very interesting text was sent in by a subscriber to the blog and a former student. I found it very interesting and it did lend itself to some good questions and a writing task. The questions have an added advantage of providing practice with paraphrasing and summary skills.

1.       Through the eyes of a foreign born general.

2.       The treatment was too sympathetic towards the general portrayed ….

3.       Cultural misunderstandings and different ways of operating …

4.       It can create opportunities for innovation.

5.       Combining ideas that haven’t been connected before creates the potential to produce something good and useful.

6.       Cultural metacognition.

7.       Managers with higher metacognition scores on the questionnaires garnered higher ratings from their colleagues as well.

8.       New ideas are risky to share.

9.       Affective trust; they were willing to share new ideas with them.

10.   One of the individuals has high cultural m√∂etacognition.

11.   The partners had a personal conversation to build affective trust.

12.   People who have a culturally diverse social network tend to have higher cultural metacognition.

13.   Keeping a journal and writing down thoughts after each cultural interaction with someone from a different culture.


YOUR E-BOOK IS READING YOU




By: Alexandra Alter
Published: June 29, 2012; The Wall Street Journal; http://online.wsj.com ; however, I would Google the title and the author’s name. When I tried, I found this worked better.
Level of Difficulty: ***
BEFORE YOU READ
1.       Do you have a Kindle?
2.       What do you think of e-books?
3.       What are their advantages?
4.       Are there any disadvantages?
5.       Read the title of the text. The title is meant to remind you of the famous novel 1984 by George Orwell. The catch phrase in this book was: big brother is watching you. Why do you think the writer chose this title?
QUESTIONS
1.       What advantage do e-books have over regular books for authors and publishers?
2.       What is wrong with the familiar method of measuring reader satisfaction through sales data and reviews?
3.       The information concerning Fifty Shades of Grey and Divergent is provided to support the contention that …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
4.       Read paragraph 9. It lacks a topic sentence. You provide one.
5.       Nook Snaps has been designed as a way to …………………………………………………………………………….
6.       What does “the prospect” refer to in the sentence “Some authors welcome the prospect”?
7.       What is the potential disadvantage of all this data gathering and related modifications? What example does the writer provide as support?
8.       Read the information concerning Amazon and Kindle. How does Amazon view the data it gathers?
9.       Read the information in paragraph 19. Who do you agree with? Amazon or Electronic Frontier? Discuss.
10.   How might all this data gathering influence actual reading according to B. Schneier?
11.   The cases of Copia and Kobo are provided as examples to prove that ………………………………….
12.   Read the stories of Sourcebooks and Scholastics. What is the advantage of their new venture? You may provide your own answer if you wish.
13.   Read the story of Coliloguy to the end. Parish Mail, Great Escapes and Getting Dumped are all products of the new …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
14.   Read Tawna Fenske’s reaction to the data forwarded to her. Do you agree with her decision or not? Should authors be guided in this way or not? Do you think this new technique will limit creativity and the writing of those great masterpieces or not? Discuss.
WRITING TASK
Think about all you have discussed and write a reaction essay on the topic. If you don’t remember how to write a reaction essay, read my paper on the topic first.  The title of the paper is I will shout it from the Rooftops and is filed under papers. Alternatively, consult your teacher.
 YOUR E-BOOK IS READING YOU KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This wonderful and thought provoking text does not lend itself to as many of those good careful reading questions I like to be able to write but it does lend itself to a superb piece of writing. It is a very new concept so has novelty value too. Enjoy.
1.       They are providing a glimpse into the story behind the sales figures, revealing… OR, they make reading measurable and quasi public; OR They can know what happens when a reader sits down with a book.
2.       They offer a post mortem measure of success but can’t shape or predict a hit.
3.       Some findings confirm what retailers already know.
4.       Possible answer: Readers of different types of books tend to have different reading habits.
5.       Engage readers in nonfiction and long form journalism.
6.       The prospect of creating even better books than they create today.
7.       It could hinder the kinds of creative risks that produce great literature. War and Peace
8.       As the collective intelligence of all the people reading on Kindle.
9.       Open ended
10.   Readers may steer clear of digital books on sensitive subjects.
11.   The shift to digital books has fueled an arms race among digital start ups seeking to cash in on the massive pool of data collected by e-reading devices and reading apps.
12.   The venture allows these publishers to track which story lines and characters are resonating with young readers … OR your own answer: books can be shaped according to public demand, which can , in turn, increase sales.
13.   The interactive content created for Kindle.
14.   Open ended.




FIFTEEN WAYS TO AVOID OVERLOAD AND WORK SMARTER; AVOIDING DEATH BY TO-DO LIST


By: Jason W. Womack

Published: 01/ 11/ 2012; Quality Digest; http://qualitydigest.com; alternatively, Google the title and author's name

Level of Difficulty: ***

Acknowledgement: This text was contributed by a subscriber to this blog, Celal Yerli. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for a truly riveting text.

Suggestion: Allow yourself 45 minutes for the questions.

QUESTIONS

1.       The source of the anxiety, frustration and distress that stems from a feeling that one just has too much on one’s plate is down to ……………………………………………………………………………………..

2.       The solution is two pronged. First of all, you need to acknowledge the fact that …………………. Second of all, you need to ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

3.       Getting rid of everything you can and unsubscribing will produce an added bonus.  What is it?

4.       What is the advantage of having blocks of time for work and blocks of time for interruptions?

5.       The advice the author gives concerning managing emails basically involves ………………………….. Be general.

6.       The basic reason for inertia according to the author is a feeling of ……………………………… The way to deal with it is to do ……………………………………………………………………………………first.

7.       Read the section “Keep your Blackberry out of bed”. What is the take home point from what you have read? Be general and use your own words.

8.       Delays cancellations and similar holdups can turn out to be a blessing in disguise because ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Be general.

9.       Why can one complete a 60 minute meeting in 45 minutes according to the text?

10.   Figuring out what exactly is preventing you from focusing will enable you to …………………………

11.   What does “this” refer to in the phrase “This will save you time” in the section”Identify the verbs that need attention”?

12.   The author suggests end-of-day note cards to both determine …………………………………………but also to ………………………………………………………………………………………( you will need to tweak the text)

13.   What are the two advantages of weekly debriefs?

14.   Forecasting 6 months ahead will set you off on the right track because …………………………………

WRITING TASK

Select your favorite suggestions concerning how to work more efficiently then add your own ideas and write a problem solution essay.



FIFTEEN WAYS TO AVOID OVERLOAD AND WORK SMARTER KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES

This relatively simple yet interesting text was also contributed by a subscriber to my blog and a former student, Celal Yerli. It has turned into a kind of search reading exercise so there is a time stamp. Again the questions are designed to surreptitiously help with paraphrasing and summary skills.

1.       How you think about work.

2.       You’re never going to get it all done; improve the way you approach the things you need to get done.

3.       Reduce your psychological burden.

4.       You get more done; OR: increasing daily productivity.

5.       Cataloging and organizing them.

6.       Dread; something small and manageable.

7.       Possible answer: If a job needs doing, do it at the right time. Don’t sit staring at it.

8.       You can look through your to-do list and pick something – anything – to work on. This answer best summarizes everything.

9.       Because we fill the time we expect to fill.

10.   Get more done in less time at a higher level of quality.

11.   Picking smaller verbs to describe tasks that are easier to start and faster to finish.

12.   That which you need and want to do; to motivate you to get better.

13.   They help you hold yourself accountable; they allow you to make course corrections if necessary.

14.   What you think about is what you do.