Sunday, February 16, 2014


These two texts analyze a very common problem: procrastination, the underlying reasons and possible solutions. Being a very widespread issue, students ought to be able to identify with what is said, extrapolate and perhaps benefit from the take home points. The purpose of the writing task is to bring information from both texts and the students’ personal experience together and is such a challenging but eminently useful activity. The students should be encouraged to annotate the texts and make notes. One word of advice: this is a difficult level** mainly due to the writing task so make this one of the last activities in this level that you do.
Now, take the test

·         If something needs doing, do you delay it or get stuck in at once?
·         What are your typical delay tactics? What do you tell yourself?
·         Why do you think you self-handicap yourself?
·         How do you feel the longer you put off doing the job?
·         How can one break the cycle?

3Powerful techniques to beat procrastination
How to stop procrastination 

“The psychological origins of waiting (…and waiting, and waiting) to work”
By: Megan McArdlefeb
Published: The Atlantic, February 12, 2014
Level of Difficulty: ** (This a tough level**)
1.       What does the writer have in common with the book editor described in the text?
2.       Look back at the first paragraph. Have you ever had this experience? Explain.
3.       What eventually gets the writer’s well-known colleague to complete his “8000 word features”? The fact that ……………………………………………………………………………………………..
4.       The writer says “This sounds crazy”. What is he talking about?
5.       Look at the paragraph beginning “Most writers”. Identify the topic sentence and the concluding statement. What do you notice about them? Why is this the case?
6.       Why do professional writers in general procrastinate?
7.       Which sentence best summarizes the main idea of the paragraph beginning “If you’ve spent…”?
·         Writers procrastinate because they want to put off the inevitable: they are terrible
·         Writers procrastinate because they lose their natural ability and have to face a referendum.
·         Writers procrastinate because they are basically like Proust, Oscar Wild and George Orwell
·         Writers procrastinate because they are afraid they might not measure up.
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
8.       What does “this theory” in the paragraph beginning “Exactly…” refer to? Be explicit.
9.       What does the phrase “some people thrived under the challenge” mean? Do not use your own words!
10.   What is the reason for the difference in attitude between people who dislike challenges and those who don’t?
11.   What kind of people engage in self- handicapping? Those who have…………………………..
12.   Can you give your own examples of self-handicapping?
13.   For what reason does Dweck criticize some teachers?
·         For praising all the students
·         For telling them that work is easy
·         For telling them that they need to overcome challenges
·         For giving them the wrong message
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
14.   What conclusion can be drawn from the two examples in the text concerning the English class and the science survey class?
15.   What exactly does Pastor Steven mean in the comment he made? Use your own words.
16.   How does “The Trophy Kids” upbringing impact their attitude to and expectations of work?
17.   What is the problem when employees “think they know more than they know”?
18.   One can conclude from what Todd says that young people in their early twenties:
·         Are not innovative or creative
·         Are bad at taking initiative
·         Are hard working
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
19.   In what respect are modern kids compared to little Dalai Lamas? With respect to………………….
20.   What conclusion can be drawn from the last couple of paragraphs you read?
21.   What phenomenon has resulted in Whiffle parenting?
22.   What does “That” refer to in the phrase “That is probably…”?

“New Approach Focuses on Helping People Regulate Their Emotions”
By: Sue Shellenbarger
Published: The Wall Street Journal; January 7, 2014
Level of Difficulty:**
1.       What two conclusions can we draw from procrastinators’ typical feel-good tactics?
2.       Why exactly does giving into feel-good not work?
3.       What was the underlying reason for Gisela Chodos’ predicament?
4.       Why is Dr. Pychyl’s advice to just get started sensible?
5.       What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This remedies procrastinators’ tendency…”?
6.       Which thoughts Sean Gilbertson entertained turned out to be true?
7.       What is the prognosis as far as career goes for prognosticators?
8.       If not dealt with, procrastination can have serious long term effects such as…………………..
9.       What is the real reason for the negative internal dialogue procrastinators have?
10.   The case of Thomas Flint proves that ……………………………………works very well.

Write an essay in which you discuss the reasons for and the solutions to the problem of procrastination. Remember to use the notes you made; do not copy paste. This is your essay not a hotchpotch of other people’s
In your introduction, explain what procrastination is and how it occurs.
In your first developmental paragraph, use the information you gleaned from the first text to discuss the reasons for procrastination.
In your second developmental paragraph, use the information in the second text to discuss solutions.
In your conclusion, write a restatement

The two texts that make up this activity slot into place beautifully as the first analyses reasons and the second focuses on solutions. Bringing all the information together along with their own experience in the writing task  will constitute a wonderful cognitive challenge, which should prepare them for future reading and writing. The issue is one many students have to wrestle with so it is hoped the activity will be of personal use too.
1.       They are both procrastinators; they are inveterate procrastinators. “For writers, procrastination is a particularly common occupational hazard” won’t answer fit in with the question. Read them together to see why
2.       Personal answer. The answer you give to this question is important for the writing task.
3.       He is missing his deadline
4.       The fact that writers are too good in English class
5.       The concluding statement is a restatement of the topic sentence – paraphrased version. This is natural as the writer set out to prove a point, he proved it with the support he provided and ended up with the argument he started with.
6.       Because they are forced into a challenge they are not prepared for.
7.       The last one
8.       The theory that writers procrastinate because they seem paralyzed by the prospect of writing something that isn’t good.
9.       They positively relished things they weren’t very good at – for precisely the reason that they should have. When they were failing they were learning.
10.   The people who dislike challenges think that talent is a fixed thing that you are born with or not. The people who relish them…
11.   Imposter syndrome
12.   Personal answer. The answer to this question will be important when you reach the writing task.
13.   The fourth alternative
14.   You never see the mistakes or the struggles
15.   We compare the process we go through to complete the final work to other’s final work
16.   The new graduates expect the workplace to replicate the cozy well-structured atmosphere of school.
17.   It is very hard to give them negative feedback without crushing their egos.
18.   All of the above
19.   The intensive early grooming they get
20.   All this help can be actively harmful.
21.   The fact that spots at the elite schools – the top 10 percent – have barely kept up with population growth.
22.   The ability to learn from mistakes, to be knocked down and to pick themselves up – the ability, in other words, to fail gracefully

1.       If you’ve tried building self discipline and you are still putting things off, maybe you need to try something different; procrastinators’ attempts at mood repair are sabotaging their efforts to regulate their emotions in more productive ways.
2.       Because procrastinators feel worse later and negative emotions can derail attempts at self control.
3.       She was trying to run away from the feelings and the discomfort – the anxiety she often feels that her work won’t be good enough and that someone will disapprove.
4.       Because a real mood boost comes from doing what we intend to do.
5.       Time travel; OR its explanation: projecting themselves…
6.       The good feelings he would have after completing the project well and pleasing his client and his employer.
7.       Lower salaries and a higher likelihood of unemployment
8.       Failing to save for retirement and neglecting preventive healthcare
9.       Concerns and doubts about themselves
10.   Self forgiveness; OR, forgiving himself and starting with a single step

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