Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER AUSCHWITZ?


Today, January 27, 2015, is Holocaust   Remembrance Day and the 70th  anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. It is being commemorated in Poland, which the Nazis turned into a massive grave yard during WW II. Yet so many years later, why is it so very important to remember the largest of the Nazi prison camps and what went on there? What can we learn from the experience and what conclusions can we draw? Do your research and write an essay where you explain the reasons and the justification.
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         “Auschwitz – WW II” http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/auschwitz
·         Photo gallery: “Remembering Auschwitz: 70 years after liberation” http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/01/remembering-auschwitz-70-years-after-liberation/384835/  
Reading material to make notes on
·         “68 years after Auschwitz: why we still remember” http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2013/01/27/sixty-eight-years-after-auschwitz-why-we-still-remember/ 
Videos to watch and make notes on

Saturday, January 24, 2015

INCOME INEQUALITY; EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS


Income inequality, one of the most serious problems facing many economies around the world, was one of the major issues discussed at the World Economic Forum at Davos this year. It is said to impact the physical well being of individuals and cause all manner of social ills and economic problems all of which make it a priority for many countries. President Obama has been trying to raise taxes on the rich to help the struggling middle classes but is this the only solution? Do your research in the order suggested and write an essay in which you discuss the issue and suggest solutions.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Income inequality” https://prezi.com/zxwmsaw0a00v/income-inequality/ 
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “How income inequality harms societies” http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson
·         “The consequences of inequality and wealth distribution” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUVk1mx6W4g
·         “Why occupy Wall ST? The real effects of income inequality” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fX3SbHDTkk
Reading material to make notes on:
·         “About inequality: impacts” http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/about-inequality/effects  You will need to click on the bar across the top of the website to cover all the areas
·         “Income inequality” http://www.bloombergview.com/quicktake/income-inequality
·         “Is income inequality harmful?” http://lanekenworthy.net/is-income-inequality-harmful/


Friday, January 23, 2015

BURNOUT: SYMPTOMS, CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS


Burnout is a very common problem suffered by people ranging from caregivers to nurses and from those in the private sector to those in the military; in fact, by people in any given sector. As such, it needs to be understood and tackled properly both for the individual’s sake and for that of the business or the patients as it impacts the quality of work, success rates and profits. Do your research and write a comprehensive essay on burnout.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Burnout” https://prezi.com/4siv9uskwuqb/burnout/
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “Burnout – causes, symptoms and solutions” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVk02DiUUPo
·         “Workplace satisfaction issues: problems and solutions” http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/issues-in-the-workplace.html#lesson
·         “Burnout explained: avoid burnout with these 4 coaching steps”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm3D__GEGog
Reading material to make notes on:
These sites contain information on what burnout is, its symptoms, causes and solutions so click to check them all out.
·         “Burnout solutions” http://job-burnout.eu/burnout-causes/ 
·         “Library burnout: causes, symptoms, solutions” http://ala-apa.org/newsletter/2009/12/01/spotlight-2/ 

·         “Job burnout: how to spot it and take action” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION INTO THE EU: A GROWING PROBLEM


Illegal migration into the EU from Africa and the Middle East has reached epic proportions provoking a strong political and social response. Why do these people up sticks and face a perilous journey to reach Europe? What are the effects of such mass migrations of people  and how should the problem be dealt with? Do your research and write an essay on the topic
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
Power point: “Illegal immigration: causes, effects and solutions
Reading material to make notes on
·         “How to deal with immigration in Europe” http://one-europe.info/dealing-with-immigration-in-europe
·         “Europe’s immigration crisis”  http://www.the-american-interest.com/2014/09/05/europes-immigration-crisis/ 
Reading material: effects
·         “Cultural effects of migration” http://www.globalization101.org/cultural-effects-of-migration/ 
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         Immigration: Britons want ‘Drastic Action’http://news.sky.com/story/1153164/immigration-britons-want-drastic-action
Documentaries
·         Too many immigrants; impact of immigration in UK, Episode 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5s3bBZEtCw
·         Immigration to Europe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEJrYekGRgM




Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SHOULD THERE BE LIMITS TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION?


Immediately after the horrific Charlie Hebdo attack, people started to cry out “Je suis Charlie”or “I am Charlie” but how honest where they really being? Would they like to be Charlie or would they not like to be Charlie and were going with the flow? To what extend does everyone really support freedom of expression? Voltaire said even if he disagreed, he would defend to the last someone’s right to free speech. Was he going too far or was he right? Do your research and make up your mind. Then write an argumentative essay.
Reading material to annotate
·         “Should there be limits on freedom of speech?” http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-there-be-limits-on-freedom-of-speech
·         “Should there be restrictions on freedom of speech?” http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-there-be-restrictions-on-freedom-of-speech
·         “Nineteen arguments for hate speech bans and against them” http://freespeechdebate.com/en/discuss/nineteen-arguments-for-hate-speech-bans-and-against-them/
·         “Should hate speech be a crime?” http://newint.org/sections/argument/2012/12/01/is-hate-speech-crime-argument/
Video to watch and make notes on
·         “Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream, Aug 28, 1963” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs


HOW AN INTROVERT CAN BE HAPPIER : ACT LIKE AN EXTROVERT


Extroverts are generally happier, studies show. And research shows introverts feel happier when they act extroverted.
By: Sumathi Reddy
Published: The Wall Street Journal; July 23, 2013; http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324144304578621951399427408
Level of Difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
Before you start tackling the reading task it would be a good idea to revise what you know about the two attitudes. To do so, study the following presentation:
Now that you have a better understanding of what the terms mean, take the following tests to discover where you stand and how happy you feel:
QUESTIONS
1.       Read the first two paragraphs of the text and decide:
·         Which sentence can be deleted
·         Whether the paragraph division is appropriate
2.       Acting like an extrovert makes the introvert happier because
·         He is more honest about himself
·         He forms a bond with others
·         He feels a sense of achievement
·         He is more social
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other please specify
3.       There is a basic biological reason why extroverts are more motivated: their increased………………………………………………………………………………………………
4.       Mr. Powell disagrees with the above biological explanation for greater all round well being enjoyed by extroverts his sources of happiness are simply more varied/different/simpler/more complex.
5.       One basic difference between extroverts and introverts is their degree of…………………………..
6.       Earlier life experiences have a greater effect on determining how introverted or extroverted one later becomes because…………………………………………………………………………………………………..
7.       Despite the fact that it has been proved that acting more like an extrovert increases happiness, introverts refuse to try this because
·         They correctly predict the final outcome
·         They misjudge the final outcome
·         They feel embarrassed and anxious
8.       The reason for the surprising results reached in Dr. Zelensky’s experiment is the fact that ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
9.       The reason for Dr. Little’s behavior during breaks at conferences I his need to……………………so  as to be able to focus during the rest of the conference to the best of his abilities.
10.   What is the basic shortcoming of research into extroverts and introverts carried out thus far? They don’t take into account
·         Individual differences
·         Political differences
·         Cultural differences
·         Psychological differences
11.   Introverts are stated to be better at ……………………………………………………………………………..
WRITING TASK
First alternative:
Having studied the text carefully and annotated it, write a summary. This is a challenging summary task as it will require reorganization on a grand scale. Check out the examples on this blog if you need help.
Second alternative:
Watch the video below and write an argumentative essay on the following subject: Is it really better to be an extrovert?
HOW AN INTROVERT CAN BE HAPPIER: ACT LIKE AN EXTROVERT KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This wonderful comparison on quite a hackneyed topic does come up with a whole lot of interesting information that comes as a surprise. The text also lends itself to some good multiple choice questions which fact might help you familiarize students with them and show them how to tackle them.
1.       The first sentence of paragraph two can be eliminated; the section could be one paragraph instead of two.
2.       All of the above
3.       Sensitivity to dopamine
4.       Different
5.       Interaction with other people
6.       That is when the connectivity between neurons is being established
7.       The second
8.       Acting out of character can take a physiological toll on the nervous or immune systems
9.       Emotionally recharge; to escape from the vicissitudes of over stimulating colleagues won’t do because it doesn’t tell us what exactly he achieves by escaping.
10.   Cultural differences

11.   Listening and working creatively

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WHY DO SOME BRAINS ENJOY FEAR?


The science behind the appeal of haunted houses, freak shows and physical thrills
By: Allegra Ringo
Level of Difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
·         Do you enjoy thrillers and horror stories? Which ones have you watched?
·         What extreme sports do you know? Would you like to try any of them?
·         What makes danger and coping with it so attractive?
·         Do you feel whether or not you enjoy thrillers is a matter of personality or is there some other reason?
NOW WATCH THE VIDEO
Why do we like to be scared? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4iNTjTqMvc
QUESTIONS
1.       What does “this” refer to in the phrase “this isn’t just about personal choice”?
2.       The reason why some people enjoy frightening and thrilling situations more is the fact they………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
3.       Why does the aftermath of a scary experience lead people to in fact enjoy the experience? Isn’t this rather illogical?
4.       Early childhood memories may lead some people to dislike frightening experiences because they lead to………………………………………
5.       People who enjoy a frightening situation would not derive the same pleasure if……………………………..because……………………………………………………………………………..
6.       People can learn to fear anything; the only thing needed is…………………….. The case of ……………………..proves this point.
7.       The common characteristic of all scary monsters is that they go against……………………
8.       The obsession with zombies, vampires and ghosts is linked to man’s preoccupation…………….. coupled with the desire to………………………………………………………
9.       Roller coasters and similar rides are now present in every amusement park the world over because …………………………..has become big business.
10.   What ghost stories, gothic novels and places like Barnum’s American Museum have in common? They don’t provide…………………………………………………………………………………………
11.   Strong / weak emotional responses lead to closer/ more distant relationships between the people sharing the experience. This has survival value/ emotional value/physical value
WHY DO BRAINS ENJOY FEAR KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This fascinating text has a definite wow factor and has universal appeal. The reading task I have prepared mostly test summary skills and paraphrasing skills so it should be done while preparing to write summaries.
1.       The fact that the natural high from the fight or flight response feels great.
2.       Lack the brakes on dopamine release and uptake in the brain.
3.       No it is not illogical; the scary situation leaves them with a sense of confidence when it is all over.
4.       (The building of ) flashbulb memories
5.       They were not in safe environments; because their brains would process the fact that these were real threats.
6.       Fear conditioning; Baby Albert
7.       The general laws of nature
8.       With death; live forever OR to imagine a life after the death
9.       Scaring ourselves for fun
10.   Physical thrills

11.   Strong, closer, survival value

HOW COLOR SHAPES OUR LIVES


The social, historical and evolutionary signals of colors
By: Elijah Wolfson
Level of difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
Watch the video that shows how Newton arbitrarily named the colors of the rainbow:
“How Newton unwove color” http://vimeo.com/85449519
QUESTIONS
  1. Why does Jay Neitz think he can cure color blindness in humans?
  2. What is the reason for Andrew Lavigne’s surprising reaction to the suggestion of surgery?
  3. What is the function of the paragraph beginning “Humans make all sorts of color choices…”; i.e. why is it there?
  4. The realization that has led to a change in attitude towards the science of color is the fact that……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  5. Read the section titled “Pink is for girls”. What social association may have influenced the reaction of the subjects in Schauss’ experiment?
  6. Which of the titles below would not suit the paragraph beginning “It wasn’t until the 1940’s…”?
·         Pink versus Blue;  Girls versus Boys
·         Blame the department stores and marketers
·         Classical conditioning through colors
·         The far reaching influence of two colors
  1. The unique place of red as a color in our lives is due to the fact that………………………………..
  2. Red may, in fact, operate as a lingua franca in the human mating game because it was observed that………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  3. What conclusion can be drawn from the examples of the stop sign, the teacher’s red pen, the fact that it can create hostility and all you have read about the color red so far?
  4.  Based on the text it can be deduced that trichromatic vision is a result of evolution as all species with this capability ………………………………………………………………………………………………
  5. The fact that red enabled humans to understand each other had an important and far reaching consequence: ………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  6. How do we know that certain experiences of color are very ancient indeed?
  7. The fact that the installation of blue lights at Japanese train stations reduces the rate of suicides at train stations proves that this color leads people to……………………………(Use your own words)
  8. What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This partially explains…”?
  9. The case of the color green and the color blue prove that
·         Such theories sound like urban legends
·         Empirical studies are required for further proof
·         Ultimately, the meaning of color is messy
·         Biology and reactions to color are linked
  1. Describe how the last two paragraphs of the text are different from the rest and explain the reason.
WRITING TASK
Make notes on the text according to the Cornell method (See my blog) and write a summary. This summary task is not the easiest in the world as it requires reorganization of the material so take your time and be careful. If you are up for a challenge, write combined summary of this text and “Seeing red”, which is also on this blog.
HOW COLOR SHAPES OUR LIVES KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This reading activity has been designed to complement “Seeing Red”, which is already on the blog under “Level ** reading tasks. Whereas the latter only deals with one color, the former is more general. Ideally, the writing task, a summary activity, should cover both texts.

  1. Because he has given monkeys the ability to see red. In other words, he has mastered the technique necessary.
  2. The color blindness is part of what makes him, him.
  3. It provides support for the previous statement “Color works its effects on us to the extent that even our highest level cognition and intelligence are biased by low level impressions”.
  4. Even our highest level cognition and intelligence are biased by these low level impressions.
  5. Pink is a girly color OR pink means weakness
  6. The second one; it doesn’t relate to the main idea; it only gives the starting point.
  7. It may have the strongest hold on the human mind.
  8. Red was equally powerful as an attractant in Burkina Faso – where the color carries explicitly negative connotations – as it is in the US.
  9. Context is everything,
  10. Have bare faces
  11. It became a secondary communication tool.
  12. Even before living things evolved to experience colors, they had receptors that could recognize the difference between differently colored lights.
  13. Relax or calm down; the phrase in the text is “settle down low, essentially sleeping” so the answer we want is that comfortable dozy relaxed feeling.
  14. The cells that excited by orange light and calmed by blue light also go to areas of the brain that control mood.
  15. The fourth one
  16. They are far more general. The last paragraph but one is a restatement and in the next, there are also references to the future. All this means they make up the conclusion.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

SEEING RED; How the color of passion, romance and anger can influence behavior



By: Cody C. Delistraty
Published: Dec 5, 2014; the Atlantic; http://delistraty.com/2014/12/08/seeing-red-the-atlantic/  
Level of difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
·         Do colors have special meaning in society? Explain.
·         To what extent are these meanings dictated by society?
·         Does the way we perceive color have a biological basis as well?
QUESTIONS
1.       Read the story of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Why did she want to take of her dress and go to her death dressed in red?
2.       The text states that women who wore red lipstick in a bar on the French coast, they were hit on more quickly and more frequently. Why is this so according to the text?
3.       What conclusion can we draw from Gu├ęguen’s research into the significance of the color red?
4.       Why does the writer think men tip waitresses wearing red more?
5.       The attraction of the color red has its origins in evolution as red means that that person enjoys…………………………………………………………; an interpretation that the human mind extends to…………………………as well.
6.       What serious implication does Andrew Elliot’s 2007 study have?
7.       Elliot reached the above conclusion because…………………………………………………………………………
WRITING TASK
Write a summary of the text you have just studied

SEEING RED KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
The first of these two fascinating texts on color and its influence on our perceptions, motivations and behavior has plenty of novelty value and has lent itself to some serious comprehension questions. Yet the language of the text is simple making it a wonderful activity by means of which to introduce the skills necessary to become a competent reader.
1.       So that the color red would be the lasting symbol that she left behind.
2.       The color red has a long historical symbolism of eroticism; OR, red is the sexiest color. The case of Amsterdam is an example for which I substituted lipstick; it doesn’t mean it has this meaning only in Amsterdam.
3.       Wearing red made women appear more attractive to men and implied greater sexual intent.
4.       Men seem to think a few extra dollars will win that beautiful waitress’ heart
5.       Greater health and reproductive fitness; clothes.
6.       That not only can avoidance motivation be activated subtly, but it can operate subtly as well.

7.       Participants neither expressed nor exhibited any conscious awareness of the influence of color on their motivation and performance.

TEACHER SPENDS TWO DAYS AS A STUDENT AND IS SHOCKED AT WHAT SHE LEARNS


By: Valerie Strauss
Level of difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
·         How comfortably were you able to communicate with your teachers?
·         Did you ever feel that they just did not understand you?
·         If you had the opportunity, what would you like to tell your teachers about the life of a student?
QUESTIONS
1.       Alexis Wiggins implies that her findings have altered / have altered radically / have not affected her views on teaching
2.       What gave Wiggins the opportunity to shadow students for two days was…………………….
3.       Why was she given this opportunity?
KEY TAKEAWAY 1
4.       What surprising discovery did Wiggins make on the first day?
·         She sat at her desk the whole day
·         The students were focused
·         Sitting is tiring for students
·         Teachers are more active than students
5.       After sitting without moving the whole day, Wiggins found it easy to concentrate/ found it hard to concentrate. This proves that too much passivity is productive/ counterproductive.
6.       The three suggestions would be worth the time because students would be able to……………..
KEY TAKEAWAY 2
7.       How active were students in a typical class?........................................Why? Because they hardly ever had the opportunity to………………………………………………………………………………….
8.       Why do you think Cindy laughed at Wiggins’ question? Use your own words.
9.       What conclusion did Wiggins draw from her o9bservations up to this point?
10.   Read the solutions Wiggins decides on. What would such solutions achieve?
KEY TAKEAWAY3
11.   Read the first paragraph of this section. It is implied in this section that more …………………is needed. Select from the list; there is more than one correct answer.
·         Sympathy
·         Empathy
·         Leniency
·         Authority
·         Reaction
·         Flexibility
12.   What conclusion does Wiggins reach concerning sarcasm and snark directed at students?
13.   Read the three changes A. Wiggins comes up with. Which sentence best expresses her goal?
14.   In what way did Wiggins’ views change after the two days she spent shadowing?
15.   She feels more teachers should try shadowing because it could lead to …………………………….
THE FOLLOW UP PIECE BY GRANT WIGGINS
1.       The subtitle “Not News” implies that the problems described by Alexis Wiggins are well known/ not well known.
2.       Does Dale Doucette agree with Alexis or not? How do you know?
3.       What does the phrase “That really hit me refer to? In other words, what hit him?
4.       Read the story of the best teacher in Jefferson County and Grant Wiggins’ taping of himself. Which of the sentences below best expresses the conclusion we can draw:
·         Classroom activities are not as interesting as people think
·         Teachers are more sarcastic than they imagine
·         A lot of teachers have bad peripheral vision
·         Even the best teachers can benefit from a blameless critique
5.       Note taking exercise: read this last short section of the text and take notes for the writing task
WRITING TASK
Write an essay in which you describe the everyday problems students face in class during lessons and then suggest solutions. Remember to justify each solution you propose and state clearly what will be gained. Draw on the text and your personal experience.
TEACHER SPENDS TWO DAYS AS A STUDENT AND IS SHOCKED KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This is a very straight forward text indeed but its structure and style make some serious comprehension questions that test all the reading skills in the students’ arsenal possible. It could, therefore, be used to showcase such questions. It is not often that one can find a text which is simple enough to do this with.
1.       Have altered radically
2.       Her principal’s suggestion
3.       Because she was the high school learning coach
4.       Number 3 : it is the only one which is surprising
5.       Hard to concentrate; counterproductive
6.       Absorb most of the content
7.       Not very; speak
8.       Because the idea that she made valuable contributions to the lesson seemed funny.
9.       Students have little autonomy; they direct or choose little of their learning.
10.   Engagement, enthusiasm, collaboration skills, autonomy
11.   Sympathy, empathy, leniency and flexibility
12.   Sarcasm, impatience and annoyance are a way of creating a barrier between students and teachers
13.   In this way, I have both helped create a closer bond with them and shared a very real and personal example of goal setting for them to use as a model in their own thinking about goals.
14.   She has a lot more respect and empathy for them..
15.   Better backwards design (…)
KEY CONTINUED
1.       Well known
2.       Yes; he cried to his wife that he had no idea how boring his beloved school was.
3.       The fact the best teachers are remarkably good at describing in fine detail what happens in their classroom even as they teach and move an agenda forward.
4.       Number 4