Anyone who has tried to concentrate on a difficult or boring piece of work will know how tough it can be, but science has some counter-intuitive findings that could help”
By: Caroline Williams
Published: BBC, 25 September 2017, http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170925-the-surprising-tricks-to-help-you-focus-at-work
Level of Difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
· 5 Tips to Improve Concentration and Focus
· 3 Tips To Instantly Improve Your Focus
1. We understand from the introduction to the text that many of the tips concerning how to concentrate are impractical / unworkable / impossible /inapplicable. Mark as many as fit.
2. What is ironical about these popular tips is that ……………..
3. Read the section titled “Zone out” and answer the questions:
· Why is “zoning out” not in fact “counter intuitive”?
· We understand from the text that mind wandering enables the brain to have fun / go to sleep/ rest / refuel. This is necessary because concentration is boring / tiring / energy efficient / distracting
· Deliberate daydreaming will be harmless if , for example, the individual is knitting a jumper / repairing an electric circuit / performing surgery/ polishing glasses
· Daydreaming provides an additional bonus: it helps with…
· What is the function of the last sentence of the section?
4. Read the section titled “Muck About” and answer the questions:
· Creating a culture of fun in the office makes sense for the workers and the company because people who are able to unwind occasionally....
· What is the reason for the above?
5. Read the section titled “Make It Harder” and answer the questions:
· Why is it unnecessary to get rid of all external distractions to be able to concentrate?
· There is one condition however, the distraction must not be…..
· What general conclusion can be drawn from the information concerning distractions?
6. Read the section titled “Stop Working” and answer the questions:
· Taking a break while working is beneficial provided that one is able to determine…
· Not everyone /Everyone needs micro breaks but it should be …
· Why do you think the Japanese fill their offices with plants and indoor gardens?
· Researchers have found that even young Buddhist monks are capable of incredible concentration. This is probably because they frequently….
7. Read the section titled “Don’t Try so Hard” and answer the questions:
· Both the research studies described in this section reached the conclusion that focusing continually was counter-productive / thinking about something else was inevitable / spreading the task over several days was advisable / it is not necessary to focus fully all the time.
Write a paragraph or short essay describing how to improve focus. Use the information in the text and the videos.
FIVE WAYS SCIENCE CAN IMPROVE YOUR FOCUS KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
This is a text that should appeal to students as it addresses an important issue: focus. It might be a good idea to discuss students’ opinions first and see if there are any overlaps with the text or videos. Students may also have some misconceptions which could be addressed. The reading task should lead seamlessly into the writing task.
1. All four
2. Many of these tips bear no relation to what psychologists are discovering about the way the human mind works
3. Because it is a key part of the system itself that can help our brains function
Rest / Tiring
Knitting a jumper or polishing glasses
Problem solving and planning
It is the concluding statement
4. Try longer and harder
Staying focused requires willpower
5. There is a limit to how much information from the outside world our brains can process at any one time
The key is to give your mind enough to do so that your brain doesn’t have the chance to look elsewhere for stimulation
6. When to take a break, for how long and what to do in the downtime
A total distraction
Spending time in nature has long been suspected to improve people’s ability to focus
7. The first