Sunday, June 30, 2013

THE ADVANTAGES OF SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE


Reading related writing activity: “The Social Intelligence of Animals” Level **** reading tasks
Social intelligence, which has been thought to be a feature of higher animals, has been discovered to exist in birds, mammals as well as humans. A second recent discovery is the fact that social intelligence has a hormonal basis. Though the hormones vary in nature, the attributes bestowed by social intelligence do not. Social intelligence provides a distinct concept of self, both in terms of the individual himself and others, and basic affinity to others. These features provide enormous advantages functioning as the social glue of the group.
The benefits bestowed by social intelligence are numerous and first and foremost is that it confers the ability to distribute information. Instruction and the transfer of information across society and down the generations enables progress and development, which also leads to innovations and discoveries. The cycle thus created makes prosperity and social welfare possible. None of the great achievements of mankind would have been possible without social intelligence.
Social intelligence also allows for emotions shared across the society bringing members closer together. One such feeling is grief. The deep sadness engendered by loss is much easier to bear thanks to love, sympathy and help provided by society. Another such feeling is empathy, which is made possible by the distinct concept of self and the different mindset of others. From here it is one step to putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing the individual’s personal tragedy through his eyes.  Many of the greatest charities, Nobel Prize winners and social heroes accomplished their wonderful deeds as a result of social intelligence. There is nothing like rich social connections to provide physical and emotional wellbeing.
In conclusion, the wonderful gift of social intelligence enriches the life of certain species providing them with countless opportunities of betterment as species and individuals. Such a form of intelligence also leads to greater happiness and the leading of more meaningful lives.
Provided by:  The Oracle


SUMMARY TASK: THE SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE OF ANIMALS


Social intelligence is of vital importance for the survival and welfare of a species. Research has confirmed that social intelligence has a hormonal basis and ensures that each member of the species has distinct sense of self and an awareness of the distinct sense of self of others. Social intelligence enables grief and empathy, both of which are the social glue of societies. It also allows for the transmission of information, discoveries and innovations. Social intelligence is also observed to greatly enhance the physical and emotional well being of species. Social intelligence has been discovered to exist in both various animal species as well as humans proving that we share more than we imagined with other mammals and birds.
119 Words

Provided by: The Oracle

THE SOCIAL GENIUS OF ANIMALS


“NEW RESEARCH INDICATES THAT ANIMALS INTERACT IN SURPRISINGLY SOPHISTICATED WAYS”
By: Katherine Harmon
Published: Scientific American Mind; November  – December 2012;http://www.nature.com/scientificamericanmind/journal/v23/n5/full/scientificamericanmind1112-66.html
OR http://www.sciamdigital.com/index.cfm?fa=Products.ViewIssuePreview&ARTICLEID_CHAR=744B6082-237D-9F22-E84F01C1364D56FE
Alternatively, copy paste the following for a free copy  http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/scientificamericanmind0513-30
Level of Difficulty:****
Note to the Student: This text, like a number of others on which tasks have been based, comes out of that wonderful magazine “Scientific American Mind”. This means you will need to pay to access it.
BEFORE YOU READ
·         Do animals have social intelligence?
·         Do they experience grief and feel empathy?
·         Do they cooperate and behave altruistically?
QUESTIONS
1.       Read the experiment conducted at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. What conclusion can be drawn from this experiment?
2.       What standard misconception concerning animals has been prevalent until quite recently?
3.       The fact that some animals can deceive for personal gain proves that…………………………………….
4.       Why are social skills vital for humans? Use your own words.
5.       In the 2009 study conducted by Goodson and his colleagues, the conclusion was reached that in birds, mammals and humans, the basis for social instinct is ………………………………………(you will need to tweak the text)
6.       The purpose of the mirror experiment is to verify the presence of…………………………………………
7.       If the child in the ball and cupboard experiment were to expect the adult to look for the ball in the cup, he would be said to have ………………………………………………………………………………………
8.       What does “they” refer to in the phrase “they may enable animals to understand others’ actions”?
9.       The way dogs varied the way they signaled that they wanted to play seems to suggest that…………………………………………………………………………… (There are 3 possible answers; find them all)
10.   Read the experiment involving the zebra fish to the end. Were the observations of the scientists proved to be correct or not at the end of the experiment? Support your answer with information from the text.
11.   What similar conclusion was drawn from observations of dolphins sponging for food and young female chimpanzees at the Gombe National Park? You will need to tweak the text.
12.   Read the examples of the monkeys, the Western Scrub Jays and the elephants. What common fact was observed in these experiments?
13.   Read Rosie’s story and state clearly what it is indicative of?
14.   In an experiment, a mouse was placed in a trap and a piece of chocolate was placed nearby. A second mouse was introduced into the enclosure and it was observed that it freed the first mouse and then shared the chocolate with it, which seems to show that ……………………………..
15.    The overall conclusion we can draw from all the research into social intelligence in animals is that animals ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
THE FIRST WRITING TASK
Summarize the information in the text in as few words as possible. An example of the summary task is available under Sample Essays.
THE SECOND WRITING TASK
Discuss the advantages of social intelligence. An example of the writing task is available under Sample Essays.
In your introduction, explain what is meant by social intelligence: a basic affinity to others(with a hormonal basis), a sense of self distinct from others and an understanding that others have different mental states.
In your development, discuss the advantages:
·         It confers the ability to distribute information – a big advantage to a group of species which can transmit the most successful strategies to others.
·         It makes possible empathy and grief, the indispensable fiber that holds us together
·         It enables rich social connections tied to our physical and emotional wellbeing and health
THE SOCIAL GENIUS OF ANIMALS KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This text verifies everything animal lovers have always known instinctively about animals and the deep feelings they are capable of. Nothing in this text came as a surprise to me and I am glad science has caught upJ All animal lovers and anyone who enjoyed “The Brains of the Animal Kingdom” will love this. The first writing task is in fact very short because it is only the conclusions of experiments, which are very similar ,that need to be mentioned so it is a wonderful exercise in synthesis. The second writing task is a sophisticated one which is based on the text but will require input on the part of the student.
1.       Elephants cooperate; they have developed a deep understanding of social cooperation
2.       Animals can’t use tools or learn meaningful pieces of a language; OR only humans can use tools…
3.       Many animals use social connections for survival
4.       Possible answer: none of the great achievements or discoveries would have been possible without them
5.       Hormonal
6.       Self awareness
7.       An immature theory of mind
8.       Mirror neurons
9.       Dogs possess at least a rudimentary theory of mind; dogs could be aware of another dog’s perspective; dogs may have some version of theory of mind.
10.   Proved; the fish had not just mindlessly followed the other fish but had learned a new behavior.
11.   Mothers managed to teach complex skills to their daughters; OR both species use social learning to hand down wisdom to daughters
12.   Some animals use their social awareness for personal gain(by hiding information from potential competitors
13.   Grief is a complex emotion that is observed in animals
14.   Are inclined towards altruism
15.   Are more closely related than they may seem.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF THE CASE OF "LEFT-OVER WOMEN"


Reading related cause and effect essay: “Single and Over 27: What the Chinese Government Calls Left-Over Women” Level * reading tasks
In China, women over 27 are called `left-overs` because they still have not got married. These women prefer not to get married because they are well-educated people who further their education, receive their master’s degrees and PhDs, have salaries, a house and a car. In China, these women are not welcome because the government thinks that it is this kind of upper-quality girl who should get married and have a child to improve the gene pool of China.  There are many reasons why these well educated women, who are around the age of 30, are widely criticized by the media, families and even feminist groups. Naturally, all this negativity impacts the “left-overs” too.
China’s one-child policy has many implications. Since families are allowed to have only one child, they use their preference to have a male child who will continue their surname. This approach is especially popular among men who prefer to have a family and a child immediately and  do not wait for women to finish their graduate studies. They choose their brides among less educated young women. These women are ready to get married, have more chance of getting pregnant because of their young age and do not see the implications of many families having a male child.
There are two effects of this situation: one is the fact that males outnumber females. When there is a surplus of young men at the age of marriage, there is a problem of restlessness that may lead to social havoc. The government wants to see these people get married to avoid this social havoc. The second implication is that, well-qualified women who have a decent salary, a house and a car do not want to get married. They enjoy their well-earned freedom. However, what the government wants is to put pressure on these women to get married because when these well-educated women have babies, the quality of the society will increase.
It is a fact that in a society where women are educated well, children are better raised; this is why societies should focus on women’s education programs. However, China’s labeling young women over 27 as `left-overs` and stating that they look like old yellow pearls puts a lot of pressure on them and is against women’s rights.

Provided by: Oya Özağaç writing ‘student speak’

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

PRIVACY AND THE THREAT TO THE SELF


By: Michael P. Lynch
Published: June 22, 2013; The New York Times Opinionator; www.nytimes.com Alternatively, google the title and the writer’s name.
Level of Difficulty: ** (Don’t make this the first level ** you do)
BEFORE YOU READ
·         How concerned are you about your security?
·         How concerned are you about the growing web of surveillance? Do you see it as a necessary evil or something to approach with caution?

NOW CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING
The dangers of loss of privacy
FBI director on privacy, electronic surveillance


  QUESTIONS
  1. What does the phrase “This way of framing the issue” at the beginning of the second paragraph refer to?
  2. Privacy is important as a political concept because……………………………………………………..
  3. Who has privileged access to a person’s thoughts?
  4. What does this privileged access entail?
  5. What does “that” refer to in the phrase “Freud cured us of that”? The idea that…………………
  6. The writer says “contemporary neuroscience and psychology have convinced many of us otherwise”. What change in thinking has contemporary neuroscience and psychology brought about?
  7. What aspect of Descartes’ philosophy does the writer support?
  8. According to the thought experiment, what would the ultimate consequence of having complete access to an individual’s thoughts and feelings be?
  9. The above thought experiment could actually occur if …………………………………………………………
  10. Why would the subject in the thought experiment be dehumanized?
  11. What does “It” refer to in the phrase “it is at the root of interrogation techniques”?
  12. Free and open communication on an equal footing would be impossible if we failed to………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  13.  The aspect of personhood which the writer feels is endangered in the current era is:................ The reason for the writer's concern is the fact that ……………………
  14. The view that we need to strike a balance between our need for privacy and our security is an oversimplification because ………………………………………………………………………………………………
WRITING TASK
Write an essay discussing to what extent you agree with the writer’s views as stated in the text.
PRIVACY AND THE THREAT TO THE SELF KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
It is very rare that I come across a text about such a complex issue written relatively simply. The text has been written by a professor of philosophy and is subject-wise very challenging yet the language is perfectly fine, which makes it a wonderful alternative for those Jack and Jill texts. It is suggested that you consider the writing task as a free writing and approach it very flexibly
  1. We face a tradeoff between safety and convenience on one hand and privacy on the other. We just need to find the right balance.
  2. What is private is what is yours alone to control without interference from others and the state
  3. The individual
  4. You can access your thoughts in a way I can’t; you can, at least sometimes, control what I know about your thoughts
  5. All thoughts were conscious or transparent
  6. Our minds are not non physical and they are not distinct from the brain.
  7. To be an autonomous person is to be capable of having privileged access to information about your psychological profile… OR A capacity for privacy is a necessary condition of autonomous personhood
  8. Control ( The minimum you need)
  9. If the government or some entity should request the identity of the person making searches on an issue like “Am I gay?” “What is terrorism?” or “What is atheism?” for security purposes.
  10. The relationship between the subject and the knower would be so lopsided that there might cease to be anything subjective about you.
  11. Dehumanization
  12. See on another as subjects, as persons whose thoughts are our own
  13. The concept of an autonomous person. It is the idea we use when we think of ourselves as adult selves
  14. To the extent we risk the loss of privacy , we risk, in a very real sense, the loss of our very status as subjective autonomous persons



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

COMPARISON CONTRAST ESSAY: SOCIAL NETWORKING IN THE 1600'sVERSUS NOW


Reading related comparison contrast essay: “Social networking in the 1600’s”, Level ** reading tasks
As a social species whose survival, welfare and overall happiness depend on staying together, cooperating and looking out for each other, an age when there was no social networking is unimaginable. No man is an island and team work often brings out the best in mankind. Communication as a community also has many social, psychological and even educational and political advantages and this has always been the case. ‘Social networking’, in other words, is far from being a new phenomenon; the only thing that has happened is that there have been some changes over the years in certain practical aspects though the basic tenets have remained very much the same. There are far more similarities than differences between 17th century social networking and the modern day version.

The basic features of social networking were very much the same in the 1600’s although the venue was the coffee house rather than cyber space. The coffee houses in the period, the equivalent of the modern World Wide Web, were the accepted meeting place for people from all walks of life from ministers and great scientists to simple workmen. There, everyone was encouraged to talk to each other, discuss the latest developments both in the country and in science and listen to each other respectfully; very similar to modern day chat rooms. Penny universities as coffee houses were then called were venues for lectures and talks delivered to the public by the great thinkers of the time – think ted talks, courser, udacity or colingo. A lot of people also used coffee houses to receive post rather like e-mail accounts today. In fact it was this system that made the Reformation possible in Germany; not to mention Lloyds and the London Stock Exchange

The basic principles of social networking have remained very much the same; the only thing that has changed is the venue. Gone are the coffee houses which have been replaced by cyber space which has, in turn, enabled the whole world to become one big coffee house or ‘penny university.’ Social networking now involves the whole world where anyone can communicate with anyone else albeit by Skype or via Google hang out. Face to face communication is out and technology assisted communication is in. Technology enables us to do wonderful things now like holding board meetings across continents, remotely treating patients and communicate on a scale hitherto unimaginable.  Yet if one looks carefully, one will quickly see that the basic principles stand firm.

To sum up, there always has been and there always will be social networking although the practical aspects may change. People will continue to benefit from sharing ideas and theories, discussions and cooperation, as team work is in our nature. Time and new developments will continue to transform various aspects of social networking in the future but it won’t disappear.

Provided by: The Oracle

SOCIAL NETWORKING IN THE 1600's


By: Tom Standage
Published: June 22, 2013; The New York Times; www.nytimes.com Alternatively, just  google the title and writer’s name
Level of Difficulty: **
Thanks are due to my dear friend Oya Özağaç for providing this fascinating text
BEFORE YOU READ
·         How recent a phenomenon is social networking?
·         What are the social advantages of social networking?
·         What are the intellectual, political and commercial advantages?
·         What are the disadvantages?
QUESTIONS
1.       The “weapons of mass distraction” referred to in the first paragraph are………………………………
2.       Media sharing environments are considered to be a new / relatively new / old threat; this view is right / wrong because …………………………………………………………………………………………………
3.       Read paragraphs 3 and 4. We understand from the information presented that coffee houses had a:
·         Political function
·         Practical function
·         Intellectual function
·         Social function
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
4.       How did coffee houses enable information to spread?
5.       What proof can you offer to the contention that the coffee houses of the 1600’s could be described as highly democratic environments?
6.       What conclusion can we draw from the stories of Anthony Wood and Roger North?
7.       What similarity does there seem to be between the reaction to coffee houses and the reaction to modern social media?
8.       The example of The Royal Society proves that ………………………………………………………………….
9.       Why were coffee houses called “penny universities”?
10.   Both Lloyds and The London Stock Exchange have their roots in ……………………………………..
11.   Why is it “no coincidence that coffee remains the traditional drink of collaboration and networking today”?
12.   What major difference between coffee houses and modern social networking sites is highlighted in the text?
13.   Read the example of the 2012 study published by McKinsey & Company. What conclusion can we draw from it?
14.   The project OpenWorm proves beyond doubt that ……………………………………………………………
15.   The writer finds the negative reaction to social networking understandable because……………
16.   He also says that we should learn from history because ………………………………………………………….
WRITING TASK: COMPARISON CONTRAST ESSAY
Write an essay discussing the similarities and differences of the 17th century version of social networking and current social networking.There is an example under Sample Essays
Similarities according to the text are as follows:
Social differences not recognized, enabling the spread of information, enabling discussions on various issues, blamed for preventing young people from concentrating on their work,
Providing opportunities for learning, being crucibles of creativity
The differences are as follows:
Modern day social networking in the virtual environment, technology affects speed, quality and nature of communication.
SOCIAL NETWORKING IN THE 1600’s KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This fascinating text was sent to me by a very dear friend and I fell in love the moment I saw it. A brilliant topic with a wow factor, an opportunity to design a good writing task… I was hooked. I would use this reading task to introduce comparison contrast essays. The students can make notes as they read and then write
1.       Social networks
2.       New, wrong, the coffee house was the social networking site of the 1600’s. You need to put all the references in their proper places when giving the answer.
3.       All of the above
4.       As the customers moved from one to the other, information circulated with them
5.       Patrons were not merely permitted but encouraged to strike up conversations with strangers from entirely different walks of life.
6.       Not everyone approved of coffee houses
7.       New media sharing platforms pose a particular danger to the young.
8.       Rather than enemies of industry, coffee houses were in fact crucibles of creativity (because of the way in which they facilitated the mixing of both people and ideas
9.       Scientists often conducted experiments and gave lectures in coffee houses and the admission fee was just a penny.
10.   Coffee Houses
11.   Because coffee houses provided a lively social and intellectual environment which gave rise to stream of innovations that shaped the modern world
12.   In our social media platforms, conversations are entirely virtual
13.   Corporate versions of Facebook encourage collaboration, discover hidden talents and knowledge among employees and reduce the use of email.
14.   Students learn more effectively when they interact with other learners.
15.   During the transitional phase (or adjustment period), technologies are often criticized for disrupting existing ways of doing things.

16.   The lesson of the coffee house is that modern fears about the damages of social networking are overdone.

Monday, June 24, 2013

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY: SHOULD THE RETIREMENT AGE BE RAISED?


The retirement age which used to be arround 50 many years ago is now 62, 65 or 67 on average with many clamoring that this is too low too. 72 or 75 are being considered in some parts of the world as cut off points. Is the current retirement policy in keeping with the times or not? Do your research and decide whether the retirement age should be raised further or not.
Reading texts to annotate
1.       Retirement age, raising of…” http://debatewise.org/debates/2708-retirement-age-raising-of/
2.       How raising the retirement age screws the working poor” http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/03/raising-retirement-age-screws-working-poor
4.       “Pros and cons of raising the retirement age” http://www.aolnews.com/2010/11/23/pros-and-cons-of-raising-the-social-security-retirement-age/
5.     Yes, raising the retirement age would be bad for the poor. No, that doesn’t mean it’s unfair.”
Videos to watch and make notes on
1. Pat Robertson: Raising the retirement age to 72 won’t hurt anybody because people really like to work http://mediamatters.org/video/2012/08/27/pat-robertson-raising-retirement-age-to-72-wont/189577
2. Truth about raising social security retirement age http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45755883/ns/msnbc-the_last_word/vp/49911791#49911791


ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY: WHAT IS A FAIR WAGE FOR SPORTSMEN?


Sports have been the most popular  pastime for centuries with many of those we enjoy today dating back hundreds of years. It is only quite recently that sports has become a vocation and earnings in the field have soared. During the current recession, when so many highly qualified people are unable to get a job to feed their families, are the wages we pay sportsmen getting out of control or do they deserve what they earn? Do your research and write an argumentative essay.
Reading material to annotate
1.       “Are Salary Caps in Professional Sports Effective?” http://www.debate.org/opinions/are-salary-caps-in-professional-sports-effective
2.       “Are Most Professional Athletes Overpaid?” http://www.debate.org/opinions/are-most-professional-athletes-overpaid
3.       “Why Do Athletes Make so much Money?” http://mcamp.hubpages.com/hub/athletesalaries
4.       Wage Determination in Professional Sports” http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/wage-determination-in-professional-sports
5.       Two Sides to Every Coin: Are Professional Athletes Overpaid?” http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1089195-two-sides-to-every-coin-are-professional-athletes-overpaid
Videos to watch and make notes on
1.       “Why do Athlets, Celebs Make So Much? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ83YOptIZ8

2.       “Do Pro Athletes Deserve to Paid so Much?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtqJBDXx5Fw

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY:SPACE EXPLORATION


Mankind has always been interested in space and wondred about their place in it. In the past, they worshiped heavenly bodies then as knowledge about space grew, they tried to probe ever deeper to unlock the mysteries. Yet there are so many problems to address on earth; are these efforts a terrible waste of money or invaluable for our future as a species? Do your reasearch and decide.
Reading to annotate
1.       “Nine Good Reasons for Space Exploration” http://martianchronicles.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/nine-good-reasons-for-space-exploration/
2.       For and Against Space Exploration”  http://eandt.theiet.org/magazine/2011/10/debate.cfm
3.       Space Exploration is a Waste of Money” http://debatewise.org/debates/137-space-exploration-is-a-waste-of-money/
4.       Is Space Exploration Worth the Money? http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-space-exploration-worth-the-money

Videos to watch and take notes on
1.       “Brian Cox: Why We Need Explorers Explorers” http://www.ted.com/talks/brian_cox_why_we_need_the_explorers.html
2.       “Peter Diamandis on our Next Giant Leap” http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_diamandis_on_our_next_giant_leap.html
3.       “Exploring Space: The Quest for Life Part 1” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rwCmc7CQtA

4.       “Exploring Space: The Quest for Life Part 2” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxTtjWULfe4

Saturday, June 22, 2013

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY: SHOULD DOCTOR'S FEES DEPEND ON PERFORMENCE?


Reading related argumentative essay: “Should Physician Pay Be Tied to Performance?” Level *** reading tasks
Certainly in the past and even recently, the profession parents dreamt of for their precious offspring was the law or medicine. There are two reasons for this preference: respectability and good earnings. The fee for service system we are all familiar with guarantees a house, a summer house, a car and a healthy bank balance to a lot of doctors who can send their kids to private schools and enjoy every luxury. The patient on the other hand may need to trek back to the hospital for reams of tests, pay through the nose for a host of procedures he later finds out he doesn’t need. God help him if he has no health insurance.  This current, seemingly corrupt system cannot be allowed to continue; providers of health care should be paid for performance.
One important aspect of Obama’s health care bill involves reimbursing doctors in accordance with patient satisfaction surveys and how well they comply with procedures for patient care. Such a system would remove the incentive to do unnecessary tests, confine people to hospital beds for no good reason and many other bad incentives. Critics argue that there are far too many opportunities for doctors to game the system like setting the standards purposely low or altering the wording on patient charts but these and similar hitches can easily be circumvented by not allowing the doctors themselves to set the standards and giving doctors boxes to tick rather than reports to write. Just because there are certain hiccups, it doesn’t mean the system needs to be scrapped; it means the glitches need to be fixed.
Critics have also been clamoring that a physician’s performance is far too complex to measure and that due to the team work that goes on, it is hard to determine where one doctor’s responsibility ends and another’s begins. Who said anything about having the same standards for each branch of medicine? While death rates could be a good yard stick for surgery, it wouldn’t do at all for family doctors. The criteria will have to be custom designed. That the current system is out of control and some checks need to be applied goes without saying and paying for performance certainly fits the bill. Undeniably there are problems that need to be ironed out and let us face it, most things are better than what we currently have.
It is also argued by critics that paying for performance will weaken or even prevent doctors from trying to do a good job just for altruistic reasons or for the satisfaction of doing a good job. One thing that is being overlooked here is the psychology of scientists and doctors. There comes a point for every man or woman of science when everything fades away and all that remains is the problem: how to stem the bleeding for example or how to make the sutras hold. There is also the case of seemingly intractable problems where human genius is pitted against the disease; doctors and other healthcare professionals are not quitters. No amount of paying for performance will kill these instincts.
To sum up, there is far too much wrong with the current system of fee for service to continue with it. Paying for performance is a much fairer system despite the problems it sometimes presents. Shortcomings naturally emerge when any complex procedure is being tried for the first time. The thing to do in this case is to iron out the problems not go back to a system anyone can see doesn’t work.
Provided by: The Oracle




SHOULD PHYSICIAN PAY BE TIED TO PERFORMANCE?


Journal Reports
Published: The Wall Street Journal; June 16, 2013; www.wsj.com Alternatively just google the title and writer’s name.
Level of Difficulty: ***
Note to the Student: If you have never written an argumentative essay or need to brush up on it, this is the task for you. Take notes of the arguments for and against as well as information about both systems as you read. You will need them for your essay. There is an example of the writing task under Sample Essays.
BEFORE YOU READ
·         What does a doctor charge for a consultation in your country? What does a doctor charge for various procedures and tests?
·         Do you believe that all the tests that are routinely required are really necessary? How about MRI scans? X-rays, blood tests?
·         Do procedures take longer than they should and do you keep having to go back again and again?
·         How could the current system be remedied in your view?
QUESTIONS
1.       What customary mode of paying doctors is being shelved?
2.       On what two novel criteria will Medicare payments now depend?
3.       Subjecting patients to unnecessary tests and hospital visits are both examples of……………….
4.       The objection critics have is that doctors are able to …………………………………………………………...
5.       In what case can the traditional fee for service model be useful?
6.       The overall disadvantage of the fee for service model is that it can lead to a lot of………………..
7.       In the case of The Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, what determines success for a doctor?
8.       What does “The idea” refer to in the phrase “The idea is increasingly prevalent for procedures”? You will need to teak the text.
9.       The British National Health System Trial is an example of a study that ……………………………………
10.   The solution to the problems that emerged in the above study and the US Medicare study is………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
11.   What does “That” refer to in the sentence “That is simply false”?
12.   What factor was found to influence how doctors manage their patients’ care in the Cleveland study?
13.   What does “it” refer to in the phrase “as well as it should”?
14.   Britain’s pay for performance program is provided as an example to prove that…………………… 
15.   How did a Boston hospital manage to cheat the system?
16.   What are the two major difficulties in discovering ideal performance measures?
17.   The examples of the day care centers in Israel and students solving puzzles both seem to show that ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
18.   What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This can certainly change medicine” Be very careful!
WRITING TASK
Use the notes you made while reading to write an argumentative essay on the subject. In your introduction briefly describe the previous system and the new one. Then state clearly which is better. In your development, use the arguments in the text to support your own view and refute the counter arguments. In your conclusion, write a restatement. You will find an example under Sample Essays
SHOULD PHYSICIAN PAY BE TIED TO PERFORMANCE? KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This straightforward text is a God send for any student who needs practice with argumentative essays and any teacher who needs to teach the same. It follows all the rules in the book with one exception: there is no conclusion as it is a report. It is suggested that the students are encouraged to make a note of the arguments for and against while reading and then use these notes to write their essays. An example is in the file marked Sample Essays.
1.       Paying them for every service they perform
2.       Patient satisfaction surveys; how well physicians comply with procedures for patient care
3.       Bad incentives
4.       Game the system
5.       In providing preventive care
6.       Avoidable Complications
7.       How well they beat benchmarks for delivering chronic care
8.       There being no extra payment if a patient is readmitted following a surgical procedure
9.       Let doctors set the benchmarks they needed to reach to get bonuses and they were far too low. The next sentence is not the answer because it gives the result of the experiment!
10.   Not letting providers set benchmarks and removing incentives for doctors to game the system.
11.   Not being able to come up with adequate measures to judge physician performance; OR the fact that you can’t come up with adequate measures…
12.   Being on Medicade
13.   Pay for performance
14.   There is no evidence that financial incentives can improve patient outcomes
15.   By changing the words they wrote on patients’ charts
16.   Measures that work for one group of doctors  are unlikely to work for all providers; many providers interact in providing care and influence each other’s and patients’ outcomes
17. Financial incentives often crowd out intrinsic motivation
18.    Manipulating greed. The trick is to pick out what you think the reference is and stick it in the sentence. When you do this, you will see that only this will work


Friday, June 21, 2013

SWITCHING ON CREATIVITY


“Cases of savant syndrome have inspired an electrical brain stimulation technique for boosting creative insight”
By: Allan W. Snyder, Sophie Ellwood and Richard P. Chi

Published: Scientific American Mind; November – December 2012

To access the article, copy paste the following for a free copy:
http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/scientificamericanmind1112-58

Level of Difficulty: ****

BEFORE YOU READ
·         Do you believe we have hither to untapped latent abilities?
·         Do you believe these can and should be brought to light?
·         What would the advantages of such an endeavor be?
·         Can you imagine any disadvantages?
QUESTIONS
1.       The writer states “Recent studies suggest otherwise”. What exactly do recent studies suggest?
2.       What does “this approach” refer to in the phrase “the inspiration for this approach”?
3.       People with savant syndrome seem to owe their extraordinary abilities in one specific area to………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
4.       The purpose of the examples of the ultrasound technician and the portrait painter is to show that ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
5.       Despite their advantages, mind sets have numerous disadvantages such as ………………………..
6.       Read the example of the short reading passage. What does it prove?
7.       What does “this goal” refer to in the phrase “A clue to achieving this goal”?
8.       What innate advantage does Stephen Wiltshire have over other artists?
9.       What is the implication of such a mindset?
10.   What development led to the emergence of acquired savant skills in Mr. Z and Orlando Serrell?
11.   What is the implication of these two cases?
12.   What is the purpose of using transcranial magnetic stimulation?
13.   Read the experiment concerning transcranial direct current stimulation to the end. The purpose of the experiment was to………………………………………………………………………………….
14.   Was the hypothesis of the scientists proved or disproved? Support your answer with information from the text.
15.   What makes the 9 dots problem so very difficult to solve?
16.   Did the study involving the 9 dots problem confirm the result of the previous experiment or not? Support your answer with information from the text.
17.   What conclusion can we draw from the last paragraph but one?
WRITING TASK
Write an essay discussing the implications of the research described in the text.
SWITCHING ON CREATIVITY KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This text is so fascinating that I dare anyone to be able to put it down once they start reading. All students need to subscribe to a magazine I feel and if you agree, you might suggest this one. It is a mine of information and texts with enormous potential for our purposes. The questions are just as tough as they should be at this level and there is a free writing activity too.
1.       These light bulb moments can be orchestrated; the next sentence is an explanation of this main idea.
2.       Weakening these biases and boosting openness to new ideas by temporarily diminishing the neural activity in specific brain areas.
3.       Right hemisphere dominance
4.       The brain actively interprets what we think of as our raw experience in light of past knowledge.
5.       Leaving us susceptible to errors including illusions, false memories and memories making us less receptive perhaps even resistant to new ideas.
6.       That humans are conceptual not literal thinkers
7.       Accessing perceptual details usually hidden from conscious awareness, potentially unlocking  the genius within us all
8.       He has privileged access to more raw, less processed information about the world
9.       It allows the person to work bottom up from the parts to the whole.
10.   Impairment in the left anterior temporal lobe.
11.   These skills are latent in us all but beyond conscious access
12.    Reducing the influence of prior knowledge
13.   Recipients to access a different cognitive style
14.   Proved; 60% of those in the group that received stimulation according to our parameters solved the problem.
15.   The problem activates seemingly relevant prior knowledge that obstructs the solution. This is the minimum you need; the rest is explanation.
16.   It confirmed it; 14 out of 33 individuals solved the problem as a result of receiving stimulation at the anterior temporal lobes according to our protocol
17.   Many questions remain unanswered of course