Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Ecotherapy is a wonderful way to deal with a whole host of psychological and mental problems. It has untold advantages which are rejuvenating. Do your research and discover what it entails and what its advantages are. When you are ready, write an essay on the topic.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:  
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         The healing power of nature
Reading material to make notes on
·         Ecotherapy, nature therapy
·         Wilderness reflections  
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         What is eco therapy?
·         Practice being present: guided eco therapy
·         Prescribing nature for health

·         Get hooked on nature

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


By: Brian Lufkin
Level of difficulty: **
·         National security versus privacy
·         British Debaters: National Security vs Personal Privacy
·         Spy On Me, I'd Rather Be Safe
1.       Read the first three paragraphs of the text. What past assumption is no longer true in the modern world?
2.       Humans are unique in the sense that their public self suffices / does not suffice and they need ……………… well to form their identity.
3.       In what sense is anonymity liberating? In the sense that …
4.       What conclusion was reached by the 2013 study?
5.       What contradiction was observed in the behavior of a lot of internet users?
6.       The reason for the above attitude could be…
7.       What conclusion can be drawn concerning public attitude from the examples of all the internet activity provided in the text?
8.       What is the reason for the above feeling of complete freedom?
9.       The reason why it is extremely difficult to hide anything in the modern world no matter how hard you try is that…
10.   It has become much easier recently for big business to track internet users because ….
11.   All the latest developments in advertising mean that the only way to escape surveillance is …
12.   What interesting revelation is made in the text concerning anonymity?
13.   What conclusion can be drawn from the Pew study and the YouGov study :
·         The public is torn between the desire for anonymity and national security
·         The public is leaning towards ensuring national security
·         The public is leaning towards maintaining anonymity
14.   What practical advice is offered concerning posting on the internet?
15.   Read the section to the end. The only way to preserve anonymity in the modern world is …
Use the videos you have watched and the text you have read to write an argumentative essay concerning whether privacy should be sacrificed to provide national security
The text covers a very topical issue: anonymity. It is a very well organized and a very well written text that covers the issue from all angles. The videos provided at the beginning lay out the dilemma concerning whether privacy should be sacrificed to provide national security. It should lead to some interesting discussion and a good writing task.
1.       That you can enter an isolated situation without being monitored or tracked by a far flung company or individual
2.       Does not suffice; a private self
3.       It allows us to try new things or express ideas without being judged
4.       People from all walks of life had reason, at one time or another, to seek anonymity.
5.       Minimum: Many internet users who say they value anonymity aren’t walking the walk
6.       A cultural thawing towards previously uptight attitudes
7.       Minimum:  People’s comfort level with the internet has risen to the point where information-sharing can be careless and reckless
8.       People tend to think of cyberspace as some kind of imaginary space without true boundaries, a space not to be taken too seriously…
9.       A Google savvy sleuth can dig up loads of personal information about you using a single fact as a starting point / OR As long as someone knows something about you, they can probably find other things about you
10.   Donald Trump signed a law that repealed requirements for internet service providers to get permission from customers before gathering and sharing their personal data
11.   To live without the internet or without any smart device
12.   Anonymity is a relatively new construct and the rise of cities gave rise to it
13.   The Second
14.   Don’t put comments down in texts or emails that would bother you if they were on the front page of the newspaper.
15.   For governments, tech corporations worldwide to agree on a baseline system of ethics

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


No one covets a stressful childhood. But the later-life benefits of growing up in a tumultuous home are beginning to come to light, upending conventional wisdom in the process.”
By: Megan Hustard
Level of Difficulty: ***
·         EDxNewy 2011 - Liz Mullinar - Treating the core problem of childhood trauma
·         How Do We Stop Childhood Adversity from Becoming a Life Sentence. | Benjamin Perks | TEDxPodgorica
·         The effect of trauma on the brain and how it affects behaviors | John Rigg | TEDxAugusta
1.       The life Sarah lead in her formative years left a lasting impression because she spent her time with…
2.       What illogical idea did Sarah come to believe in?
3.       Sarah feels sorry for her husband because she doesn’t love him / he is too clingy / he wants to hold her hand / she can’t tolerate signs of love / she acts on instinct.
4.       Having to deal with two alcoholic parents while growing up sharpened Sarah’s ……………proving that there are some up sides to a painful childhood.
5.       Read the first two paragraphs of the section titled “New Perspectives”. We understand from this section that a painful childhood:
·         Prevents a child from developing properly
·         Prevents a child from developing psychologically
·         Prevents a child from developing his inherent abilities
·         Prevents a child from dealing with stress
6.       We also learn from the text that a painful childhood can put the individual permanently on the defensive and see ‘perceived enemies’ behind every bush. This is called ……………….Such individuals develop various antisocial behavior patterns such as……
7.       What was the major flaw in the research that reached all the above conclusions?
8.       Read as far as the next subtitle. We understand from the example provided that a reaction that is………….in one situation can be ………….in another or vice versa . There is more than one answer but they are synonyms.
9.       Read the experiment concerning task shifting and inhibitory control. Did the results of the experiment bear out the initial hypothesis? Now look at the results once again the superiority of those who experienced unpredictability in childhood in terms of ………… significant because………….
10.   Read Steve’s story to the end. His childhood experiences helped develop a basic characteristic and this has helped him a lot in life. This characteristic is…
11.   A second cognitive advantage enjoyed by people like Steve involves efficiency and is called:
12.   Growing up in unstable environments can also make people hyper vigilant and lead them to do better in situations where they need to….
13.   Where in the paragraph beginning “Stress is not one-dimensional…” would you place the following sentence: There are numerous variables at play in shaping the kind of adult the child will become and researchers should beware of overgeneralizations 
14.   Why does a moderate amount of stress increase success in dealing with a challenging problem?
15.   Does Frankenhuis believe nurture, nature or a combination of both when it comes to the formation of a child’s character?
16.   Lillian was able to cope with everything life threw at her thanks to …..
17.   What misguided practice does the writer criticize?
18.   Read the story of the group retreat organized by Morgan Crone. What conclusion can we draw from the example?
Write an essay in which you discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a painful childhood. Use the information you have acquired.
A lot of people experience tumultuous childhoods which leave their mark and shape their future endeavors. This article focuses on the upsides as well and is therefore refreshing. Hopefully, students with similar experiences to those mentioned in the text will also provide insight and tell their own stories.
1.       Two problem drinkers
2.       That everything was her fault
3.       She cannot tolerate signs of love
4.       Observational Skills
5.       Prevents a child from developing his inherent abilities
6.       Hostile attribution / Acting rashly, even when unprovoked, being sullen and withdrawn and flying off the handle
7.       It focused on what people from adverse environments were bad at
8.       Maladaptive / wrong / bad etc. ; adaptive /right / good etc
9.       Yes it does; Task shifting; It correlates positively with traits such as creativity
10.   Tolerance for ambiguity
11.   Working memory updating
12.   Explore other possibilities and stumble upon novel solutions
13.   Right at the end: it makes a good concluding statement
14.   Because a moderate amount of stress triggers a moderate amount of the chemical messenger called norepinephrine
15.   A combination of both
16.   Her ability to meet the challenges of change
17.   Pushing high risk kids to act more like kids from low stress, low risk environments
18.   The minimum: The way we interpret history is up for grabs

Monday, June 19, 2017


“As more of us flock to urban living, city designers are re-thinking buildings’ influence on our moods in an era of “neuro-architecture”.
By: Michael Bond
Level of Difficulty: **
·         Watch How do you feel?
1.       Read through the following brief article highlighting the findings of Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg. A major difference was observed between urban and rural dwellers in terms of …. Would Lindberg have agreed with Churchill’s statement or not?
2.       The writer says “That could change”. What could happen?
3.       What makes Ruth Dalton’s specialty interesting?
4.       Watch the following video: The architectural reason for the many problems in this housing estate was………….The reason why this feature didn’t work was that…
5.       Problems such as the above could be avoided if there was……;a view that Alison Brooks also agrees with. 
6.       Listen to the following brief statement: . What general conclusion can be drawn concerning these housing estates?
7.       The main advantage of using technology to get more information about how people react to urban settings is…
8.       How would one be affected by the following:

9. What is the major criticism against façades such as the following:
10. Study these pics of Vancouver. The city has been designed in this way because:

11.   What conclusion can be drawn from the Iceland experiment and the VR study published this year?
12.   Watch and listen: What aspect of city living increases the risk of developing this illness?
13.   What were Whyte and Snohetta trying to achieve with their designs ?
14.   Look at the  picture of Times Square. What characteristic problem of life in urban settings was Snohetta trying to remedy?
15.   Look at the plans of these two ancient cities (Rome and London). Which would make people unhappier? Why?
16.   Read the quote from a visitor to the Seattle Central library. Why did she feel so anxious to leave?
17.   Why are desire lines described as a form of mass rebellion?
Use the information you have acquired to write about the effects of urban design.
Urban design and the way it affects individuals and their relationships is a very new area of research that people may not have thought about much. This text may serve to enlighten them.
1.       Their response to stress
2.       Urban architects could pay attention to the possible cognitive effects of their creations on a city’s inhabitants
3.       She studies both architecture and cognitive science
4.       The wide open spaces between the blocks; It discouraged a sense of community
5.       Greater interaction across disciplines OR Greater/ more / better behavioral insight
6.       They had been designed for you not to succeed
7.       This adds a layer of information that is otherwise difficult to get at
8.       Negatively: the first two; Positively: the second 
9.       They are blank cold spaces that effectively bleach street edges of conviviality
10.   Green spaces are restorative and they improve health
11.   The visual complexity of the natural environment acts as a kind of mental balm
12.   The lack of social bonding and cohesion in neighborhoods
13.   To nudge people closer together and make it more likely they would talk to each other
14.   Living among millions of strangers
15.   The second (Ancient London); People would constantly feel disoriented
16.   She could go from A to B via one route and was forced to take a different route from B to A (If you said from the entrance into the library and from there back to the entrance, you can pat yourself on the back)
17.   Because they mark people’s preferred paths across the city

Thursday, June 15, 2017


By: Gaia Vince
Level of Difficulty: **
·         Why being bilingual helps keep your brain fit
·         The benefits of a bilingual brain
·         How does language change your brain
1.       What conclusion can be drawn from the first two paragraphs of the text?
·         Bilingualism is nothing special in some parts of the world
·         Bilingualism is exceptional in some parts of the world
·         Bilingualism is easy in some parts of the world
·         Bilingualism is compulsory in some parts of the world
2.       The information concerning multilingualism points to a surprising conclusion. It is...  ………………………..
3.       The Snowflake experiment proves / disproves the above because those who succeed ……………and this shows that ………………
4.       We understand from the text that a certain amount of…………..was necessary for languages to start to develop.
5.       Hunter gatherers became multilingual for practical reasons such as…….. and for social reasons such as……
6.       The reason why the tide turned and bilingualism was looked down on was scientific / non-scientific because …
7.       The disregard of the 1962 experiment mentioned in the text shows that the negative attitude towards bilingualism was hazardous / prejudicial / sensible / understandable
8.       What conclusion can we draw from the writer’s personal example?
9.       Read the paragraphs describing English – German bilinguals. We understand from the information provided that the way the bilingual’s perspective depended on ….
10.   The study involving English – Japanese bilinguals came up with an interesting result:…
11.   Read the following excerpt from the text:  “In a revealing experiment with his English-German bilingual group,…” In what sense is the experiment revealing? In that…
12.   Read the assessment of the Snowflake experiment the two flanker tests the writer took.  What was the result of the experiment?
13.   What conclusion can be drawn from this experiment? Learning a new language has a positive impact on…
14.   The exercise of continual executive control by bilinguals impacts the brain in that…
15.   The above mentioned build up of grey matter has an additional advantage:
16.   What general conclusion can be drawn concerning bilingualism from the last two sections you have read?
17.   Immersion schooling should replace current practices because it has various personal advantages such as improving.......... and various practical advantages such as providing ......advantages
18.   Which sentence in the last section of the text best expresses the general conclusion we can draw from the text?
Write an essay in which you discuss the advantages of a bilingual education. Use the information you have acquired. Look back at the advantages listed in the text; can they be grouped in certain ways? When writing your essay, make sure that each paragraph of your development is about one group of advantages.
There has been an inordinate amount of focus on monolingual education and the imagined disadvantages of confusing the students with a second language. Research shows that this is far from being the case as this text demonstrates. As a multilingual individual, I can attest to this myself. The text should provide some interesting insights into the issue and lead to a well structured essay.
1.       The first
2.       The human brain evolved to be multilingual
3.       Proves, are the ones who don’t care at all about the task, the brain is primed to work it out subconsciously
4.       Biological evolution
5.       Trade and travel; not being allowed to marry anyone in the same tribe or clan to have a child
6.       Non-scientific ; it was regarded as disloyal to speak anything other than the one national language
7.       Prejudicial
8.       You gain a different personality with every language you speak
9.       Which country they were tested in
10.   Bilinguals have a different mindset for each language
11.   In that it reveals that the different mindsets of a bilingual person are continually in conflict (as bilingual brains sort out which language to use).
12.   Learning a new language helped the writer’s performance on the flanker test the second time round
13.   Cognitive conflict resolution
14.   Bilingual people have significantly more grey matter in their ACC
15.   It delays the effects of dementia
16.   Bilingualism helps keep us mentally fit
17.   Concentration, focus, the development of self esteem
18.   Each new language gives you a whole new life style, a whole new shade of meaning