Friday, September 29, 2017


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
Level of Difficulty: **
·         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.
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

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


“Well designed workplaces often create environments that make their employees more creative, often without even realizing they have done it.”
By: Bryan Borzykowsi
Level of Difficulty: **
Watch the video below and think about the reasons for the design tips
·         More than work: Tokyo office grows own food in vertical farm
1.       George would have felt sad about moving out of her previous office if it had been …What made it so?
2.       It is implied in the text that the design of an office wouldn’t matter if ……..was not required. Which of the workplaces below would fit the bill:
·         An assembly line
·         A firm of interior designers
·         A call center
·         An architectural company
3.       The design of an office is important in the modern world because the focus of modern business is…
4.       People become better thinkers on the condition that they are experiencing…(Tweak the text)
5.       Why are blue, green and yellow specifically recommended as paint for office walls?
6.       The color red should be avoided in work places because of its…
7.       We understand from the first three paragraphs of the section titled mood lighting that the closer the lighting is to………….the better.
8.       Read the example of the office described by Sargent. The company would fail to deal with the problem if they:
·         Used pictures and posters
·         Installed a large aquarium
·         Bricked up the wall and installed light fittings
·         Installed plenty of plants with foliage
9.       We understand from the text that the choice of color depends on the company’s effects / purpose/ design / conclusions.
10.   Reading rooms in libraries, places of worship, auditoriums all generally have high ceilings. What might be the reason for this?
11.   Read the section titled “Putting it into practice” to the end. Creating different spaces in an office will enable both………………..and ……………… be successfully completed
       Use the information in the text and the video to describe an ideal office space
1.       A more inviting place to work / The lack of natural light and the color of the walls; OR The fact that there was barely any natural light and the walls were grey
2.       Creativity; 1 and 3
3.       Knowledge work that values innovation and creativity
4.       Feelings of security and comfort
5.       Calmer colors are more stimulating than saturated ones, so they distract us less from the task at hand.
6.       Link to degraded analytical performance and more aggressive feelings
7.       Natural light
8.       3
9.       Purpose
10.   Higher ceilings result in more creative thinking
11.   Creative work, hands on tasks

Monday, September 25, 2017


Schools the world over have embraced standardized tests as the only measure of success but are we doing more harm than good by means of this policy? Do your research and form an opinion. When you are ready write an argumentative essay.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:  
Familiarize yourself with issue
·         Should we get rid of standardized testing? - Arlo Kempf
·         Is the use of standardized tests improving education in America
Reading material to make notes on:
·         Examining the pros and cons of standardized testing
·         15 Reasons why standardized tests are worthless 
·         5 Reasons getting rid of annual testing is a dumb idea
Videos to take notes from
·         What standardized tests don’t measure
·         Prepare Our Kids for Life, Not Standardized Tests | Ted Dintersmith | TEDxFargo
·         None of the Above - Why Standardized Testing Fails: Bob Sternberg at TEDxOStateU
·         What standardized tests should be measuring | Rob Brisk | TEDxColumbus
s the Use of Standardized Tests Improving Education in America?

Sunday, September 24, 2017


In the vast number of societies, people are not stuck with the social status which they are born with. In open societies, people can change their social status in a number of ways throughout their lives. Do your research and discover how social mobility plays out in society. When you are ready write an essay in which you analyze the types of mobility and discuss the effects
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:  
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         Social Mobility
·         What is SOCIAL MOBILITY? What does SOCIAL MOBILITY mean? SOCIAL MOBILITY meaning & explanation
Reading material to make notes on
·         Types of social mobility
·         Thirteen economic facts about social mobility and the role of education. Click on each item in the list to read the full text  
·         Social Mobility: The Meaning, Types and Factors Responsible for Social Mobility
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         Is education the answer to social mobility?
·         Social mobility: climbing the social ladder
The truth about social mobility

Friday, September 22, 2017


What exactly is meant by the term critical thinking and why is it so very important? Do your research and find out. 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
·         What is critical thinking?
Reading material to make notes on
·         Defining critical thinking
·         Critical thinking skills are more important than IQ for making good decisions in life
·         Get smart: critical thinking a better life predictor than high IQ
Videos to take notes from
·         What is critical thinking?
·         Critical thinking
·         Critical thinking and problem solving 

Thursday, September 21, 2017


World hunger had been declining steadily for years but come 2017, it has started to increase sharply once again. Do your research and discover what the reasons are and write an essay detailing them. In your conclusion suggest a few solutions.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:  

·         World Hunger Day
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         Discussion: World Hunger Day
·         We are eating grass because there is no food
Reading material to make notes on:
·         World hunger again on the rise
If you want a challenge:
Videos to take notes from:
·         East Africa – an end to famine by 2030 Now scroll down for the second video titled Warnings of full blown famine in Somalia

·         U N: World facing greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945