Tuesday, October 31, 2017


If superior strength was suddenly available to women, how would society change? Rachel Nuwer asks researchers and gender experts for their views about an intriguing thought experiment.”
By: Rachel Nuwer
Level of Difficulty:  ***

·         It’s Reigning Men: Gender Roles and How They Hurt You | Lilia Fromm | TEDxLincoln

·         The Mask of Masculinity - the traditional role of men is evolving | Connor Beaton | TEDxStanleyPark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmkFdAMFGXo

·         Redefining masculinity | Shane Horsburgh | TEDxCanberra


1.       Mrs. Gardner’s actions described in the first paragraph exemplify her efforts to ….
2.       The underlying assumption of the thought experiment is that….
3.       It is implied in the text that the difference between the females of terrestrial vertebrates and those of insects and amphibians is that ….
4.       It is also implied that the superior physical strength of male terrestrial vertebrates is necessary for…
5.       The future of the human race could be put in jeopardy if women were stronger than men because …..
6.       The social status of men would undergo a change because…
7.       In a wolf pack, the dominant members of the group get the lion’s share of the food. The same is true in lion communities. What do these animals have in common with powerfully built males of human societies?
8.       What psychological changes would be witnessed in women who were physically stronger if nature took its course?
9.       In what way is Fairbairn’s daughter buck the trend in her approach to men? She …
10.   Strength is losing its traditional role in modern society thanks to the fact(s) that:
·         A lot of what we do doesn’t depend on strength any longer
·         There is more overall equality in the business world and life in general
·         A lot of the work we is in front of a computer screen in the work place
·         Physical strength is no longer that important in the modern world
11.   The rising popularity of violent sports among American men is due to the desire of men to try and prove that…
12.   The increased physical strength of women would have an impact on crime in that….
13.   Fairbanks feels women have traditionally desired to seem more masculine in the workplace to avoid…
14.   Why does Gardiner feel the arguments supporting gender discrimination in the workplace will shift rather than be transformed?
15.   The example of Angela Merkel indicates that in the modern world the tendency to view ….
16.   Women don’t really need to be physically stronger acc to Fairbairn because …

Use all you have learnt to write about how the social roles social status of men and women are changing

The issue of the changing social roles and social status of men and women is a very topical issue; especially with the inauguration of the new US president and re-election of Merkel. This partly hypothetical text analyzes the issue from every possible perspective. The essay task should not me timed so that students can write freely.
1.       Exert authority and competence in a situation that was not necessarily normal
2.       Gender dynamics are transformed in other ways in the real world and there are many things we take for granted.
3.       The latter / female insects and amphibians have to carry hundreds of thousands of eggs
4.       Competition for females
5.       There would be an uptick of testosterone
6.       The society would become matriarchal
7.       They favor hierarchies and are prone to competitiveness
8.       Traditionally male personality traits such as dominance and aggression would be enhanced in women
9.       She does not feel she has to dumb herself down
10.   All four
11.    They are still more entitled to power
12.   Instances of male harassment, violence and rape would go down but instances of female on male abuse would likely increase
13.   Gender based discrimination
14.   Because those in power will always struggle hard to stay in power , through whatever means they can
15.   Violence and aggression as tools for maintaining control have decreased
16.   Some of the shifts that such a scenario would trigger are already underway

Friday, October 27, 2017


By: Abebe Birhane
Level of difficulty: ***
Descartes’ philosophy is contrasted with the Ubuntu philosophy of Africa in the text you are about to read so it would be sensible to discover what these philosophies entail.
·         Rene Descartes - “I think, therefore I am” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A6UKoMcE10
·         Cogito ergo sum  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMoPUwNK0fQ
·         Ubuntu philosophy  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERp_mOqJq2k
·         I Am Because We Are: The Spirit of UBUNTU | Max Quinn | TEDxBSU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxvxpCrDrIQ
As you listen and read along, underline main ideas, topic sentences and concluding statements. Also notice the natural divisions in the text and mark them out.  Doing so will help you with the questions.
1.       Which paragraphs constitute the first section of the text? Now answer the questions:
·         Ubuntu completely overturns long held beliefs concerning selfhood because in this philosophy it is claimed that….
·         Which sentence constitutes the main idea of the second paragraph?
·         What is it about ubuntu that can be disturbing?
2.       Which paragraphs constitute the second section of the text? Now answer the questions:
·         What ultimate conclusion did Descartes reach concerning the “puzzle he set himself”?
·         Read the experiment concerning memory testing to the end. What is the take home point of this experiment?
·         The emergence and identification of the bystander effect goes some way towards proving that…………….
·         For what reason is the approach used by Darley and LatenĂ© criticized? There are two reasons; find both
3.       Which paragraphs constitute the third section of the text? Now answer the questions:
·         Read the following poem written by the war poet Wilfred Owen : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47393/anthem-for-doomed-youth Think about the ideas expressed in this still very topical poem. I what way does all this chime with Bakhtin’s views?
·         In what sense can Bakhtin’s views be said to be a compromise between Cartesian and Ubuntu philosophy?
·         Go to the following website and read the account of the doll house study: https://developlearningpsych.wordpress.com/relevant-studies/  The study seems to prove that viewing child development as………………………..may be wrong.
·         What erroneous premise was the concept of solitary confinement based?
·         Solitary confinement meets / fails to meet expectations and we know this because…
4.       Read the last paragraph, the conclusion.
·         We understand from this paragraph that despite all the proof to the contrary, ………..still persit(s)
Use all the information you have gathered to compare and contrast the approaches to selfhood you have learnt about in order to prove which appeals to you more.
This is a seriously sophisticated topic but nevertheless well within the grasp of the students if covered carefully. Make sure to leave enough time for discussion. The essay task must be covered once the reading is complete to consolidate learning.
1.       The first three paragraphs.
·         People are born without “ena” or selfhood, and instead must acquire it through interactions and experiences overtime.
·         Relationships inform self-understanding
·         The notion of a fluctuating and ambiguous self
2.       Par 4 through 7
·         The only thing you can be certain of is your own cogito
·         The Cartesian cogito is still everywhere you look
·         Selves co-evolve with others over time
·         It makes structural factors much harder to see / it wipes away vital contextual information
3.       Par 8 through 11
·         It is only through an encounter with another person that you could come to appreciate your own unique perspective and see yourself as a whole entity.
·         Bakhtin believed that being is an act that must happen in the space between the self and the world.
·         The reorganization of mental processes
·         The prisoner’s thoughts would turn inward, and he would be prompted to reflect on his crimes
·         Fails to meet / prisoners tend to suffer profound physical and psychological difficulties
4.       Cartesian assumptions

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Not many people have heard of this unusual problem which is unique to Sweden. Do your research to find out what it entails and write an essay describing the causes and the possible solutions.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays: https://theessayarchive.blogspot.com.tr/  

Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         Resignation syndrome https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEINU2lJGTk
Reading material to make notes on
·         Resignation syndrome: Sweden’s mystery illness http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-41748485
·         The trauma of facing deportation https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/03/the-trauma-of-facing-deportation
Videos to watch and to take notes from
·         Ingrid and Conrad #93 - Sweden’s Apathetic Children Problem

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


With the soaring world population, we are rapidly running out of places to live. One solution is micro housing. Do your research and discover what micro living entails and what the pros and cons are. When you are ready, write an essay in which you explain the pros and cons.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays: https://theessayarchive.blogspot.com.tr/  

Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         The housing designers solving urban living’s big problem
·         Here is the real deal on the micro housing trend https://www.houselogic.com/home-thoughts/micro-apartments-gone-bad/  
Reading material to make notes on
·         Are tiny houses and micro apartments the future of urban homes?
·         Pros and cons of micro housing http://www.midamericamortgage.com/pros-cons-micro-housing/
·         9 Benefits of living in a tiny house  http://www.lifehack.org/314070/9-benefits-living-tiny-house
Videos to watch and take notes from

·         Open Concept Modern Tiny House with Elevator Bed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHjJd4tkvSU

·         Gorgeous Tiny House Built For Mother and Daughter


·         Couple Builds Own Tiny House on Wheels in 4 Months for $22,744.06- "hOMe" FULL TOUR


Monday, October 23, 2017


“Two centuries ago, America pioneered a way of thinking that puts human well-being in economic terms”
By: Eli Cook
Level of difficulty: ***
·         An introduction to capitalism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLNW0sZKYhU
·         History of ideas: Capitalism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIuaW9YWqEU
·         How to improve capitalism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOaJe68C-bU
1.       What does the phrase “this historical pattern” in the second paragraph refer to?
2.       What is the major implication of the current practice of assessing well-being in monetary terms?
What is now being considered is …..
3.       The result of the Hamilton inquiry is surprising by modern day standards in that….
4.       What conclusion can be drawn from the paragraph beginning “Until the 1850’s”?
5.       What does the phrase “This epochal shift” refer to?
6.       What historic implication did the above shift have?
7.       There was a reason for the above adoption of a different yardstick to measure well-being. It was the fact that America was no longer ………and had become……..
8.        What feature of capitalism made the application of moral statistics impossible? The fact that …………… (There are two answers; find both)
9.       The pouring of money into urban real estate and railroad building in the North eventually led to the emergence of……………….whose focus was….
10.   What disturbing trend did capitalization lend support to in the South? How many possible answers can you find in the paragraph?
11.   Read the paragraph beginning “As corporate quantification…” and the following one. What subtitle would you give this section:
·         The effects of corporate consolidation
·         Capitalist quantification gone mad
·         Everything is a national asset
·         Potential wealth producers everywhere
12.   Irvin Fisher saw an upside to putting a price social problems. It was the fact that people were more prepared to…
13.   How does the writer reach the conclusion that “The assignment of prices to features of daily life was never a foregone conclusion but rather a highly contested development”?
14.   What disturbing consequence did the universal acceptance of economic indicators as apolitical and objective have?
15.   Despite the material benefits of considering society as a capital investment, there is also a disturbing downside:
16.   In the text, the election of Trump as president is directly linked to the focus on….
Write an essay in which you argue for or against using money based metrics to measure well-being. Use the text and the videos. Watch this video before you start:
Is Capitalism Saving or Destroying Us? | Davis Smith | TEDxSaltLakeCity
This wonderful text traces the emergence of capitalism and as such is a very topical issue. There is quite a vocabulary load but the text is so well written and the analysis so good that it should fly. There is a demanding writing task, which should be covered.
1.       That residents well being was not measured in terms of monetary earnings
2.       Whether individuals are meeting the exigencies of the economy
3.       Americans in the early republic did not see, count, or put a price on the world
4.       Their unit of measure was bodies and minds never dollars and cents
5.       The shift from moral statistics to money based economic indicators
6.       It turned many men of capital to the anti-slavery cause
7.       Commercial society / capitalist society
8.       Basic elements of society and life are transformed or capitalized into income generating assets (Including the parenthesis is fine but this is the minimum)/ Imagining the whole world as a capitalized investment and its inhabitants as inputs of human capital that could be plugged into output maximizing equations of monetized growth
9.       A national business class / a town’s industrial output, population growth, real estate prices, labor costs, railway traffic and per-capita productivity
10.   Investment in human bodies / Enslavement of people / The fact that enslaved people truly became pieces of capital that could be mortgaged, rented, insured and sold in liquid markets
11.   The second
12.   Sit up and take notice
13.   Massachusetts labor activists stated that the true prosperity and abiding good and the commonwealth can only be learned by placing money on one scale and man on another
14.   The necessary conditions for economic growth were frequently placed before the necessary conditions for individuals’ well-being
15.   Money-based metrics have turned human betterment into a secondary concern

16.   Money based metrics

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


“We behave differently on different social media, Derek Thompson wonders whether we act up online or reveal our true nature.”
By: Derek Thompson
Level of Difficulty: **
·         Social media and how it effects individuals https://prezi.com/ikjqapbk2bqu/social-media-and-how-it-affects-individuals/ 
·         Reasons why I quit social media https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFOAd5plX3o
·         Social media is changing the way we communicate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wncZPE7NMVI
·         The ultimate communication device https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DlyD-hWMes
1.       Read the first paragraph of the text. What mistaken conclusion is often drawn from the examples in this paragraph?
2.       Read the second paragraph. In what way is regular social life restrictive?
3.       Refer to the same paragraph. In what way does social media get around the problem described in question two?
4.       What is the function of paragraph three? Would the text work without it?
5.       Read the next paragraph and complete the following sentence to summarize the main point being made. The need to …………………….prevents people from focusing mostly on themselves in social life. On line, however, this is not a concern because......................
6.       As a result of the 2014 experiment it was understood that………………. From this result it can be concluded that the initial hypothesis of the researchers which stated that………was right/ wrong.
7.       The fear of ……………….results in people trying to ……………….on social media; a fact which is not true for face to face communication.
8.       Why would women in popular business schools give the answer they did in the 2017 survey:
·         Because they have feelings of inferiority to men
·         Because they feel the public expects them to feel inferior
·         Because they feel their parents expect this response
·         Because this is what business schools teach them
9.       What advantage does written communication have over face to face communication? It allows people…
10.   What disadvantage does written communication have? The communication ceases to be…..
11.   What is the function of the paragraph beginning “This is how…”?
12.   Why is it not surprising that social media has turned us all into narcissists? Because we are no longer having a conversation, we are….
13.   We understand from the text that:
·         We are all being transformed into actors
·         We are all expressing more of ourselves
·         We are all communicating more effectively
·         We are all capable of communicating better
Write an essay in which you describe how social media alters our communication. Use the information in the text and the videos.
This text is an insightful look at how social media is impacting our personality. Plenty has been written about being digitally dependent but this text comes at the issue from a completely different angle. It should lead to some lively discussion and a good writing task.
1.       The internet and social media create new personalities.
2.       It requires us to speak even when we don’t know what to say and forces us to be pleasant or acquiescent when we would rather not
3.        It allows people to express sides of themselves that social norms discourage in the real world.
4.       It is a bridge paragraph to the next section of the text. No this paragraph is necessary.
5.       (Closely) Monitor each other for empathy and understanding ; they are speaking to big audiences
6.       Talking to a large group of people induces us to present ourselves in the best possible light; the sheer size of an audience can shape the content of our messages; right
7.       Being judged; cater to the prejudices of others
8.       The second
9.       To polish and refine their messages
10.   A conversation
11.   It provides a summary of the arguments so far
12.   Broadcasting

13.   We are all expressing more of ourselves