Friday, May 30, 2014


Choice of vocabulary is a bit of a headache for students who feel they have to incorporate every new word they learn in their writing. Yet is this the right approach? Watch the following TED video and find out.
“The power of simple words” - Terin Izil


Correct use of punctuation and choice of vocabulary are sources of concern for students of English; the rules concerning the correct use of commas prove especially elusive. Another source of confusion is how to incorporate all the complex vocabulary that is learnt into writing. Both issues are successfully dealt with in the following TED writing lesson.
* How to use a semicolon

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Access the website the link to which is below and select a virtual tour. Follow the directions to drag and click and get a panoramic view of the place. Then imagine you have been asked to write a text to go with the video. This activity will provide practice with the present tenses, prepositions of place, adjective clauses and connectors as well as enabling you to enjoy yourself while writing.

Procedure; First Alternative:
1. Go to the site and view the virtual tour of a the country of your choice
2. As you do so, make notes on the adjectives you can use to describe the place as well as your feelings and impressions.
3. When the tour is completed, use the notes you made to write

Procedure; Second alternative:
1. Follow the procedure above but repeat it for a second place as well.
2. Then select the one most suited to your family and justify your choice. To do so, you will need to use comparison contrast, argumentative and cause and effect structures


This is a description of a house with a twist: the link below will give you access to virtual tours of a series of houses. Select your favorite, take the virtual tour and write a description. Imagine the estate agents have employed you have asked you to write the accompanying text. This activity will provide practice with the present tenses, prepositions of place, adjective clauses and connectors as well as enabling you to enjoy yourself while writing.

Procedure; First Alternative:
1. Go to the site and view the virtual tour of a the house of your choice
2. As you do so, make notes on the adjectives you can use to describe the house as well as your feelings and impressions.
3. When the tour is completed, use the notes you made to write

Procedure; Second alternative:
1. Follow the procedure above but repeat it for a second house as well.
2. Then select the one most suited to your family and justify your choice. To do so, you will need to use comparison contrast, argumentative and cause and effect structures

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


The sad story of how Scotland lost its independence is worth remembering these days as the Scots are heading for a referendum on whether to establish an independent country or stay in the United Kingdom. Do your research and make notes. Then use your notes, the correct past tenses and narrative structures to write a short account of the process. Imagine you are a journalist and have been asked to do a small piece for the Sunday supplement. The material included is of varying levels of difficulty; read and make notes on two or three according to your level. The purpose of this activity is to introduce you to the concept of reading and listening into writing early on. While working on the task, you will have the opportunity to revise the past tenses and narrative structures, practice your reading and annotating skills as well as watch and listen to an original video as listening practice.
Reading material to make notes on
·         “The sorry story of how Scotland lost its 17th century empire”
·         “Why did Scotland and England unite?”
·         “Founding of the Darien colony”
·         “How Scotland joined Great Britain” This post comes with a video and the tape script

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


This fascinating text which was posted on The New York Times website highlights a problem that is very common around the world: the effects of background on success rates and attitudes to failure and how one can combat the problem. Access the text “Who Gets to Graduate?” read it and make notes. Then write a long essay discussing the causes and the solutions.


BBC, Magazine
The reverence with which statistics are treated in educated circles can sometimes be a source of concern as the conclusions reached in this way are deemed to be set in stone so to speak. Do statistics deserve their elevated status or should we treat them with caution? Read the text below and decide; then write a reaction or response essay.


Sara Forbes Bonetta was a very special and very interesting woman who helped to alter certain prejudices during the time she lived. But who was she? Where did she live? What did she achieve? Do your research, make notes and write her story along with your comments. Imagine you are a journalist and are doing a piece for the Sunday supplement. The purpose of this activity is to introduce you to the concept of reading and listening into writing early on. While working on the task, you will have the opportunity to revise the past tenses and narrative structures, practice your reading and annotating skills as well as watch and listen to an original video as listening practice.
Familiarize yourself with the topic:
Reading material to make notes on
“You’ll never guess who this girl’s godmother was”

Monday, May 26, 2014


Hitler and Stalin, the two infamous leaders of the 20th century that caused such upheaval both in their own countries and globally, share more similarities than would appear at first sight. Although they seemed, on the surface, to espouse two widely different ideologies, they are more alike than one would think. Do your research and write an essay comparing and contrasting these two leaders.
Familiarize yourself with the topic:
·         “Hitler and Stalin: presentation”
·         “Adolph Hitler versus Joseph Stalin”
Documentary to watch and make notes on
·         “Hitler & Stalin: Twin Tyrants”
This is a brilliant documentary consisting of eight ten-minute episodes and the quality is superb. It is suggested you watch it before you do your reading.
Reading material to annotate:
·         “Comparing Hitler and Stalin in their rise to power”
·         “Compare and contrast Hitler and Stalin roads to power”
·         “Comparison of Nazism and Stalinism”

Sunday, May 25, 2014


“The influence of their fathers on their teenage children has long been overlooked. Now researchers are finding surprising ways in which dads make a difference”
By: Paul Raeburn
Published: Scientific American Mind, May / June 2014 issue 
The article will be freely available until the end of June 2014. To access it, go to the Scientific American website, click “ S A Mind” at the top of the screen towards the right and scroll down. If you are looking for a past issue, then write the issue in the search section.
Level of Difficulty: ****
·         What is the role of the father in the family in your view?
·         What should a father’s relationship with his children be like? Formal and respectful or close and amicable?
·         How can a close relationship with their dad benefit children?
1.       Did Sarah E. Hill and J. DelPriore’s 2013 paper support or refute the widely held belief concerning the reason for teenage pregnancies? How do you know?
2.       The main purpose of the article is to explain the link between…………………………………………….
3.       Read two more paragraphs as far as the next subtitle and decide whether the statements below are true or false.
·         A faster reproductive strategy is a conscious choice
·         A slower reproductive strategy is a conscious choice
·         Daughters believe that men don’t stick around
·         Close family ties lead daughters to wish to have the same for themselves
·         A good family life is closely linked to how much money is put into the marriage
4.       What traditional role of fathers is believed to be vital for children’s well-being?
5.       In the statement “The situation has now begun to change”, what does “The situation” refer to?
6.       What does “This shift” in the phrase “This shift matters because the effects of a missing father can be profound…” refer to?
7.       What does the phrase “And that is what happened” refer to?
8.       Read Ellis’ initial research to the end. Did this research confirm or disprove earlier research by Hill and DelPriore?
9.       What conclusion can we draw from both sets of experiments conducted by Ellis?
10.   The hypothesis that pheromones can be the answer to the question  concerning how fathers exert an influence on their daughters is based on the fact that………………………………………………
11.   According to Ronald P. Rohner, a child’s emotional well-being and future happiness are closely related to whether ………………………………………………………………………………………………………
12.   The injustice involved in focusing too much …………………………..can now be redressed because in fact………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
13.   The Yale university study proved, to the surprise of everyone, that…………………………………………
14.   We can draw the conclusion that ……………………………………..from Melanie Horn Mallers’ study and the University of Toronto study.
15.   The fact that others can fill in for the father proves that……………………………………………………..
Use the information in the text and your own opinions to write an essay in which you discuss why fathers are important for the healthy development of their children.

A lot is written about the role of mothers in a child’s life and to such an extent that if one didn’t know any better, one would think that they brought up the kids on their own. Finally, we have some wonderful research into the role of fathers and there are plenty of surprises. This is not the kind of text that is full of familiar clichés so be prepared for an interesting read. True to Scientific American Mind style, the text also presents the opportunity for some good questions too.
1.       It refuted them. They revealed a robust association between father absence – both physical and psychological – and accelerated reproductive development and sexual risk taking in daughters.
2.       The departure of the father and the daughter’s reproductive development
3.       They are all False
4.       Bringing home the paycheck / keeping children fed housed and out of poverty
5.       Overlooking fathers in scientific studies
6.       The disappearance of fathers / the fact that fathers are disappearing
7.       Women became more sexually unrestricted after recalling an incident in which their father was disengaged.
8.       Confirmed
9.       Growing up with emotionally or physically distant fathers in early to middle childhood could be a key life transition that alters sexual development.
10.   Many animals emit pheromones; chemical messengers that can be picked up by others and can alter their behavior.
11.   They were accepted or rejected
12.   On mothers and mothering; fathers are often more implicated than mothers in the development of problems.
13.   How affectionate parents were to their children made no difference in empathy
14.    Fathers make unique contributions to their children

15.   Children in families without fathers in the home are not doomed to failure or anything close to that


“How a desire to stand out from the crowd shapes behavior and creative thinking”
By: Hans-Peter Erb and Susanne Gebert
Published: Scientific American Mind; March, April 2014 issue;  
To locate the article, go to the Scientific American website, click “S.A.Mind” in the bar along the top of the page and then search for the issue.
Level of difficulty:****
·         How do you define yourself? By your profession, your personality, your expectations?
·         Give an elevator speech: you are in a lift with a total stranger who you want to go on seeing and you only have until the lift stops. Tell him / her who you are in one or two sentences.
1.       What makes you who you are?
2.       The purpose of the Mohawk example is to prove that………………………………………………………
3.       There is a positive / negative correlation between fitting in and creativity and innovation.
4.       Read Solomon Asch’s experiment carefully. The number of the subjects that gave the wrong answer despite initially hitting on the right answer is due to………………………………………………
5.       Read the information concerning the uniqueness scale. According to the survey Erb carried out, what personality trait was someone who was herd minded more likely to be?
6.       The purpose of Erb’s 2009 study was to see if ……………………………………………………………………….
7.       Read Erb’s 2009 study to the end. What was the reason for the way the subjects responded to the question concerning dining cars?
8.       What interesting conclusions did Chan and her coworkers draw from the results of their research?
9.       The purpose of Chan’s second study was to determine…………………………………………………………
10.   How exactly did the subjects both signal group membership and assert their uniqueness in the test carried out?
11.   Read Kim and Marcus’ 1999 experiment with the pens. Why did only one in four East Asians choose the minority color?
12.   What is the wider implication of this research for individuals and society as a whole?
13.   Read the following quote from the text: “To investigate this question, economist Yuriy Gorodnichenko and Gérard Roland…”What question precisely were these economists investigating? Use your own words.
14.   What overall conclusion can be drawn from these economists study?
15.   State the concluding statement of the text.
Either go to the advantages and disadvantages essays on this blog and write about “the advantages and disadvantages of being a member of a group” using the new information you have gleaned, or provide a summary.
This fascinating analytical text aims to analyze the process through which we reach the answer to the question above. It lends itself to some superb questions and is a taught cookie so treat it with respect and keep your wits about you.
1.       Introspection and interactions with the social environment
2.       We set ourselves apart by affiliating with groups of people more like us
3.       Negative
4.       The size of the group, the presence of a dissenter or two and all the group’s overall status
5.       Introverted, conservative, neurotic
6.       A person’s propensity to seek uniqueness can temporarily shift due to certain situations.
7.       People who had been led to believe they were unremarkable had felt that their individuality was threatened and thus offered dissenting opinion as a way to differentiate themselves
8.       Our taste in clothing broadcasts our identity to the people around us and we can signal group membership and uniqueness simultaneously through choices in clothing.
9.       How a person’s choices can signal group membership and uniqueness simultaneously.
10.   Through choice of a model or color
11.   They are a collectivist culture
12.   If a need for uniqueness is linked with creativity, then a culture’s orientation towards individualism could enhance that society’s overall innovativeness…
13.   Possible answer: how collectivist and individualistic cultures impacted overall innovativeness
14.   One way or another, countries of independent thinkers find a way to rally others to bring their ideas to life.

15.   The last sentence

Friday, May 23, 2014


Much is said and written about the possibility of a third world conflagration and there are numerous theories as to where it could start and how it could develop. Do you agree that a third World War is possible or not? Do your research and decide. Then write an argumentative essay.
Familiarize yourself with the topic
Listen and read
·         “Is World War 3 possible?”
Read and annotate
·         “Don’t worry: world war 3 will almost certainly never happen”
·         “10 Signs we are headed into World War 3”
·         EDWARD LUCAS: I hope I'm wrong but historians may look back and say this was the start of World War III” (This text comes with a video as well)
Video to watch and make notes on
·         “Possible World War 3 scenarios – part1”


Wars have been common throughout history but the two best known examples in the 20th century are most certainly the First World War and the Second World War. Familiarize yourself with the details and write an essay comparing and contrasting the two wars. It is suggested that you make this a project and spread the research out over a week.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “World War I versus World War II” (The main similarities and differences tabulated)
·         The facts: “Compare and contrast WW 1 and WW2”
·         “WW 1 AND WW2; compare and contrast chart” 
Reading material to annotate
·         “Compare and contrast World War 1 and World War 2” 
·         “What are the differences between World War 1 and 2”
Listen and read:
·         “Causes and effects of World War 2”
·         “Causes of World War 1”
·         “Causes of World War 2”
·         “World War 1: causes, trenches timeline”
·         “World War 1 in color”
·         “World War 2 in color”
·         “World War 2: behind closed doors” (This a BBC documentary)
BBC documentaries with English subtitles: World War 1 and 2: select

Thursday, May 22, 2014


The modern free market economy and the blossoming advertising sector guarantees that we live in a consumer society where the mantra is consumption which is equated with happiness. It seems that consumerism is the drug of choice but what does the term actually mean? Write an essay in which you bring clarity to the issue and discuss the effect this is all having on us as a species.
Start up:
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “The effects of consumerism” 
·         “Consumerism” 
·         “Consumerism – Brave New World” 
What is consumerism?
·         “Consumerism”
·         “Consumerism and Society”
The relationship between consumerism and the quality of life
·         “Overcoming consumerism” Go to the articles listed at the end of this one to get more information about various aspects of consumerism
·         “Consumerism”
·         “Consumerism”
·         “What’s the difference between consumerism and consumption”
·         “The pros and cons of consumerism”
Videos to watch
·         “The story of stuff”
“Culture in decline: consumerism and advertising”


One of the most important factors that contribute to a more positive learning environment is the abolition of certain obsolete teaching practices and the adoption of modern technology. Access the text below, study it closely and write a problem and solution essay.
14 things that are obsolete in 21st century schools
Posted by ingvihrannar

Thanks are due to Asssistant Professor Aylin Ünaldı for this interesting activity

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Contracting, subcontracting or outsourcing all refer to the process of hiring another company or people to do a job for your company. On the surface it seems perfectly reasonable to ask a specialist company to, for example, put up a website for your company or do your accounting but is everything as it seems? What if you outsource jobs to foreign countries (offshoring); what happens then? How does the process impact local economies in, often, developing or underdeveloped countries? How does it impact the economy in the home country? Do your research and find out. Once you have done so write an advantages and disadvantages essay.
Familiarize yourself with the topic
1.       “ Advantages and disadvantages of subcontracting work (outsourcing)”
2.       “Pros and cons of using a subcontractor to provide staff”
Reading material to annotate
1.       “Introduction to outsourcing”
3.       “Advantages and disadvantages of subcontracting”
4.       “Top 6 outsourcing disadvantages”
Listen and read
1.       “Outsourcing pros and cons”
2.       “9 most popular outsourced jobs”
Watch and make notes
1.       “Outsourcing: good or bad”
2.       “Is outsourcing profitable?”
3.       “Why outsourcing is bad for business”
4.       “Pros and cons of outsourcing”
5.       “The world is flat: the other side of outsourcing”  

Saturday, May 17, 2014


 Self Confidence in Women

 It is an indisputable fact that confidence has a major role to play in success in life. A growing body of studies also suggests that in most cases, confidence has a much greater effect than competence. However, because of a mixture of factors regarding nature and nurture, women seem to be less self-confident and it obviously holds them back. However, this is not their inevitable fate and the problem of low self-confidence can be solved through implementing correct attitudes.

  Firstly, the main obstacle to high self-confidence is that women seek perfection far more than men do, and it hinders them from taking action unless they believe everything is perfect. For example, a study concerning the behaviour of men and women as regards job applications demonstrated that women hardly ever apply for a job unless they have all the described qualities, while men apply for the same jobs even if they meet half of the expected qualifications, and thanks to the absence of rivals to compete with, they generally get the job. So, getting rid of the belief that they have to be perfectly ready to step forward in any issue in life will make a great change in women's lives.

  Secondly, thinking others are better than them, most women don't notice that it isn't actually as they perceive. However, if they think more rationally and give up underestimating themselves, there will be a significant difference in how they act, that is, they will not miss opportunities due to just a wrong evaluation of their own self worth. Consequently, women should wake up to their real value and strive to fulfil their potential. Only in this way can they be free from being in lower positions than they deserve.

  Thirdly, fear of failure is more common among women. They also blame themselves for failure much more than men do, that is, men tilt toward associating their failures with external factors, while women do just the opposite .Not insisting on this way of thinking has a great deal to do with increasing self confidence in woman. What's more, they should try to get a clearer picture of the situation rather than starting to feel incompetent, insufficient or guilty when they fail, thereby providing a healthier assessment of their own self.

  To sum up, women seem to have less self-confidence than men in life due to a collaboration of nature and nurture. However, by applying  the suggested solutions and trying to find out what the underlying reasons of the problem are, they will overcome or at least minimise the problem.

                                                                                      SELİM ÖZTÜRK


Needless to say, falling in love is a great feeling which contains a wide array of emotions. When someone feels them, he may have dreams, hopes, passion and a powerful sense of intimacy. However, not all stories necessarily end happily, so when you declare your love, it might be rejected, causing a variety of feelings which are hard to bear. If so, knowing how to deal with unrequited love can be helpful to normalise faster.

 One main problem with being rejected is that it deals a direct blow to the ego which is of great importance for our psychological well-being. Thus, it may cause such negative emotions as feelings of worthlessness, despair, despondency and the like. The main mistake made in the case of unreciprocated love is taking the rejection personally. With a rational analysis, it can be noticed that being rejected doesn't mean you are worthless or not deserving .Social relationships are too complex and it is not always possible for a person to understand and reciprocate your feelings. So, realizing that the problem doesnt originate in your mistakes or shortcomings is a necessary step to be taken.

  Another false but also common approach is associating happiness completely with that special person. At the first sight, it may seem like you have to be with her to be happy but a variety of psychological research and common sense show that happiness comes from inside. To clarify, when you make your happiness depend on external factors, it will be just temporary and control won't in your own hands. However, when you feel the happiness inside of you, it is a much more long lasting and satisfying happiness. Hence, thinking you won't find happiness or love without a certain person is just a fallacy and noticing this fact will make you feel liberated.

  The last aspect of tackling rejection in love is to perceive it as a valuable experience, because very few experiences in life can teach you about your own self and life as perfectly as experiencing unrequited love. So, this is a great opportunity to become aware of your inner world,  explore your strengths and weaknesses and work on them, thereby bringing about a better you and enabling you to stand stronger against life. Thus, such an attitude will make it possible to turn a bitter experience into an opportunity.

  To sum up, unreciprocated love has an extremely bitter taste. However, it will be easier to deal with    it by remembering that it is a unique opportunity to explore your inner world and find the origin of true happiness, thereby avoiding depression and constant negative feelings.

                                                                                SELİM ÖZTÜRK  

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Read, study, watch and listen to this brilliant narrative which is made possible by modern technology and write a cause analysis essay where you try to shed light on the following: why would 6 people admit to roles in two murders when they couldn’t remember anything about the crimes. 


Read the article titled “The Confidence Gap” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman where it states that the purpose of the text is to shed light on the following fact: Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. Here's why, and what to do about it.  Make sure to watch and make notes on the related video as well to get the full picture


Mining disasters are some of the most horrendous of man-made disasters due to their scale and the anguish they cause. Yet they need never happen if proper protocol is observed. Many believe that lack of safety standards, work regulations and regular inspections to uncover irregularities make many mining disasters corporate murder. Do you agree? Do your research and write a long essay on the causes, effects and solutions of mining disasters.
Familiarize yourself with the topic:
Causes and examples
·         “Mining disasters”
·         “Monongah mining disaster” 
·         “Mining incidents in the South African gold mines” 
·         “Accidents in coal mines”
Reading material to annotate
·         “274 dead in Turkey’s worst ever coal mine disaster”
·         “Common mining accidents”
·         “Disasters: environmental mining accidents”
·         “How does mining effect the environment”
Power point
Reading material to annotate
·         “What can be done to prevent mining accidents?”
·         “Preventing ignitions and explosions”
Videos and documentaries
You are welcome to supplement this list with videos of your choice
·          “Mine disasters: locating and rescue of trapped miners”
·         Westray  
·         “Historical disasters”
·         “Meeting again: remembering the Millfield mine disaster”