Thursday, January 26, 2017


“Being bad tempered and pessimistic helps you to earn more, live longer and enjoy a healthier marriage. It is almost enough to put a smile on the dourest faces”
By: Zaria Gorvett
Level of difficulty:**
·         Study: Being miserable can get you further in life
1.       Read half of the first page of the text. How can we tell that the article is going to be about the superiority of grumpiness? What kind of writing do you expect the text to be?
2.       What revelation does the writer make concerning negative feelings?
3.       What does “the link” refer to in the sentence “For years, the link remained a mystery? Be careful.
4.       What is the take home point from the 2009 experiment carried out by Baas?
5.       What basic intellectual response to anger best explains the link between anger and unstructured thinking? The fact that
6.       The evolutionary purpose of the physical reaction to anger, dealing with ………………….is often not called for in the modern world. The same response is still triggered and it is observed to provide…..
7.       Watch the following video before you answer this question: Who is more likely to have a heart attack? Why?
8.       We understand from the section of the text focusing on the relationship between anger and successful negotiating that: Mark True or False
·         Angry people increase their physical strength
·         Angry people are quicker to discover injustices and unfairness
·         People need to learn to be angry to be successful negotiators
9.       Read all about the ultimatum game. What conclusion can we draw from this experiment?
10.   Socially, happiness is considered “intrinsically virtuous” according to the text. Is this truism born out (supported) by the dictator game? How do you know?
11.   Both the ultimatum game and the dictator game come up with the same surprising conclusion: the ……………………..we are, the …………………….our sense of fairness.
12.   Study the paragraph beginning “In some situations”. Imagine you were asked by the editor of The Atlantic magazine to reorganize the paragraph. How could you do so without changing the message or the place of the first sentence?
13.   Read Forgas’ experiment. According to the results of this experiment which of the people below would you personally want to be in a happy mood?
·         Your Dad when you ask if you can borrow his car
·         Your basketball coach who is trying to sort out a disagreement
·         Your wife / husband; you have cheated on her/him but you have provided an excuse
·         Your mentor in the ER; you are an intern
14.   Why do good moods result in more stereotyping?
15.   We understand from the information concerning optimism that…Mark True or False
·         Being more stressed and a bit of a worrier is conducive to future success
·         Being happy and relaxed leads to a sedentary life
·         Optimistic people have no hope of succeeding and getting ahead
·         The more pessimistic you are the less likely you are to try to succeed
·         The more optimistic you are the more likely you are to succeed
16.   Read the section titled “Defensive Pessimism”. What does “the risks” at the beginning of this section refer to? There is more than one answer and you need to find them.
17.   We understand from the text that optimism bias can
·         Lead to attention to detail
·         Lead to the worst possible outcomes
·         Lead to the use of Murphy’s law
·         Lead to unnerving finds
·         Lead to more problems
·         Lead to lower employment rates
Write an essay in which you discuss the advantages of “pondering the worst” and the disadvantages of optimism bias.
This text touches on the issue of the dangers of overconfidence and the increased possibility of trouble as a result in the form of oversights, miscalculation, lack of attention to detail and the like. It is a problem students may also face on exams. As such, it should lead to a lot of discussion.
1.       Possible answer: The writer starts out by describing the current emphasis on happiness. We know immediately he is going to refute it; argumentative
2.       They are adaptive OR They evolved to serve useful functions and help us thrive.
3.       The link between anger (or being bad tempered) and success
4.       Angry people are better at moments of haphazard innovation, or so called unstructured thinking
5.       The fact that anger really prepares the body to mobilize resources – it tells you that the situation you are in is bad and gives you an energetic boost to get you out of it
6.       Physical aggression; a boost to motivation and the gall to take mental risks
7.       The member of his kitchen staff; because suppressed anger increases the chances of having a heart attack three-fold
8.       All False
9.       Negative feelings enhance our sense of fairness and the need for everyone to be treated fairly
10.   No it isn’t. Happier participants keep more of the prize for themselves
11.   Angrier, greater
12.   Sentence 1 +5+6+7+2+3 OR reduce the information in sentence 2 to a dependent clause and add it on to sentence 3
13.   Happy (you want him to give you the car), sad (you want him to be fair), happy (you want her to believe you), sad (if you make a mistake people die)
14.   Because people in a good mood are less likely to think skeptically
15.   The first is true, all the rest are false
16.   Fantasizing about success, wishful thinking, optimistic thoughts
17.   Lead to more problems

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


“Their history informs fantastical myths and legends, while American tales tend to focus on moral realism”
By: Colleen Gillard
Level of difficulty: ***
Note to the student: This is an easy level ***
Place the following subtitles in their proper places in the text. The subtitles are not in the correct order:
Introduction, Looking to the Present, The Backdrop, The Upside of Fantasy, Humor Matters, I Did It versus It Was Ordained, Overdoing Morality, Pagan Culture versus The Puritans, British versus American Fantasies
1.       Read the comparison of Harry Potter and Huckleberry Finn. What is the obvious difference between the two? There are two possible answers; find both.
2.       How many paragraphs constitute the introduction of this text? What type of writing is it? What is the function of the last sentence? How do you expect the rest of the text to be structured?
3.       What do you think “It” at the beginning of paragraph three refer to? Be careful
4.       We understand from paragraph three that: Mark the one that doesn’t fit
·         A country’s literature is often a reflection of its culture
·         A country’s literature is often a reflection of its history,
·         A country’s literature is often a reflection of its religion
·         A country’s literature is often a reflection of its folklore
5.        Read paragraphs four and five carefully. We understand from these two paragraphs that it is impossible to escape……………..and ……………….in American fantasies.
6.       Read paragraphs six, seven and eight (two lines). The take-home point from this section is that …………………seems to be conducive to certain content in writing.
7.       Continue reading. What factor prevented pagan religions and their stories to persist in the north of Great Britain?
8.       What formed the basic ingredients of British children’s stories
9.       Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Dark is Rising and Peter Pan all have a common feature which can be traced back to…………………..
10.   The difference in attitude to myths and legends in the New World is not due to the complete lack of folklore as…………………………….but to the attitude of ………………………………………
11.   The difference between heroes such as Pecos Bill and John Henry on the one hand and young King Arthur is that whereas……………………………………………………………………………………………..
12.   Read the paragraphs beginning “In Scotland” and “Maybe”.  In this section the writer blames Americans for being obsessed with………………and as a result producing works of fiction which are ……………….in contrast to the British who have a completely different attitude to life.
13.   Read the paragraph beginning “Pagan folktales”. What aspect of a child’s character do British children’s classics appeal to?
14.   We understand from the same paragraph that upbringing of children  in society / attitudes to children’s innate character/ beliefs in children’s innate character / beliefs concerning children’s innate character also help determine the nature of children’s literature produced.
15.   Read the remainder of the text. We understand from the text that children actually need fairy stories in order to be able to…..
16.   Both fairy tales and dreams help deal with fears and problems by means of story arcs which share a common feature: they are………………………
17.   Read the conclusion. The writer feels that modern fantasies could serve a useful function by …………………………………………….
18.   How has this article been organized? Explain
Go back to the text and make a list of all the differences between American and British fantasies and their justification. Then make a note of the advantages of fantasies. Then write an essay discussing what type of children’s literature you would prefer and why. Organize your writing as follows:
Introduce children’s fiction and discuss its advantages and role in a child’s development. Add your thesis statement depending on your opinion
Discuss the qualities of your ideal children’s literature and provide justification. Explain why your choice is better.
Discuss the importance of children’s literature
This text is completely different in terms of subject matter from anything else on the blog but it is interesting in a variety of respects: the first is the way the writer links childhood literature to cultural heritage and draws distinctions between American and Br,itish children's literature; the second is the structure of the text. It is an argumentative text but the method used for supporting the main thesis at the end of paragraph two is comparison and contrast. What is more, the second half of the development details advantages. It is a brilliantly written text but doesn't fit any of those notorious formulas.
The Introduction: paragraphs 1 and 2
British versus American Fantasies: paragraphs 3, 4 and 5
The Backdrop: paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 (two lines)
Pagan Culture versus The Puritans: 9, 10 and 11
I Did It versus It Was Ordained: 12 and 13
Humour Matters: 14
Overdoing Morality: 15 and 16
The Upside of Fantasy: 17, 18, 19 and 20
Looking to the Present: The last paragraph
1.       While Harry Potter focuses on fantastical myths and legends, Huckleberry Finn focuses on moral realism OR While Harry Potter is a fantasy, Huckleberry Finn is notable for its realistic portraits of the day to day life on the growing frontier
2.       The first two paragraphs, argumentative, the thesis statement, I expect the writer to use comparison as a means to show that British children’s stories are better.
3.       The difference between British and American children’s stories
4.       The third
5.       A basis of realism, a moral lesson
6.       Landscape
7.       Hadrian’s wall
8.       Beliefs brewed from the religious cauldron of folklore donated by successive invasions of Pics, Celts, Anglo Saxons, Romans and Vikings
9.       Gaelic culture
10.   African slaves brought folktales to southern plantations and native Americans had a long tradition of mythology / The Puritans
11.   The former earned their fame, the latter discovered his royal destiny (or birthright)
12.   Atonement and moral imperatives, preachy
13.   Their natural desire to subvert authority and celebrate naughtiness
14.   The last one
15.   Work through their anxieties about the adult world
16.   Metaphorical enactments
17.   Modeling the hope kids need today to address the scale of the problems ahead
18.   The introduction is two paragraphs and ends with a thesis statement signaling an argumentative essay. The development consist of two sections: the first consists of a comparison of the two schools of storytelling to prove that the British school is better. The second consist of the advantages of fantasy. The article ends with a conclusion which involves the present so there is chronology too. So what “type” of essay is itJ

Saturday, January 7, 2017


“How do people or companies with vested interests spread ignorance and obfuscate knowledge? Georgina Kenyon finds there is a term which defines this phenomenon”
By: Georgina Kenyon
Level of difficulty: **
·         What is agnotology?
BEFORE YOU READ: The Students and the teacher
·         Janet Kourany: Agnotology
1.       The paper published in 1979 was significant because….
2.       What does “It” refer to in the sentence “It is also a means of establishing a controversy”?
3.       The reason Proctor studied tobacco companies was
·         To establish the truth about tobacco
·         To satisfy his personal curiosity
·         To see if smoking tobacco caused cancer
·         To see how tobacco companies confused people
·         To see what exactly the public knew
4.       We understand from Proctor’s research that tobacco companies lied about the facts/ mislead the public / instigated a cover-up / spent a lot on advertising. Mark True or False
5.       Why, according to Proctor, is it important to study agnotology? Because agnotology  is mainly ………………………………
6.       Read the first paragraph of the section “Balancing act”. We draw the conclusion from this paragraph that agnotology is a popular business tactic /Can be a popular business tactic/ is mainly used in politics /Can be used in politics/ is used to spread panic / can be used to spread panic/ is used to spread ignorance/ can be used to spread ignorance. Mark as many as you think are correct.
7.       Read the last three paragraphs of this section. Mark True or False
·         Balanced debate isn’t a good thing
·         Science can be abused by powerful people
·         Scientists can create a false picture
·         It is not possible to reach a rational conclusion
8.       Look back at the same section. What was the purpose of the tobacco companies in responding in the way they did to research into the link between tobacco and cancer?
9.       Read the section Titled “A new era of ignorance” carefully to the end. We understand from this section that ill-informed people are in danger of being tricked if….
10.   Refer back to the same section. It is implied in this section that…(Mark as many as fit)
·         All the misinformation in the public domain is clouding people’s judgment
·         Basing opinions on faith, tradition and propaganda is a mistake
·         Special interest groups consider ignorance an advantage
·         Scientific illiteracy is the reason for the success of the environmental skeptics
11.   Read the section titled “Making up your own minds”.  Which of the following is an example of an unworkable solution propagated by a person with a vested interest, which is an unconstitutional solution and which is both?
·         Stating that the border wall to be built between Mexico and the US will be funded by Mexico.
·          Stating that Muslims won’t be allowed into the US
·         Stating that global warming is a myth
·         Stating that all personally owned fire arms will be confiscated in the US
·         Stating that all people of color will be sent to different schools in the US
12.   What surprising admission does the writer make about the mass of information available on the internet?
13.   The writer warns against being too quick to jump to conclusions because…
Write an essay in which you discuss what agnotology is, how it comes about and what its impacts are. Use both the videos and the text.
The topic covered in this text is probably one of the most important and one of the most relevant to the modern world. It is essential that students’ eyes be opened to this business tactic that has invaded all areas of life.
1.       It revealed many of the tactics employed by big tobacco to counter “anti-cigarette forces”.
2.       Doubt
3.       4, You need to determine what This revelation refers to in order to answer the question.
4.       False, True, True, False
5.       A political ploy, a deliberate creation by powerful agents who want you not to know.
6.       Can be used in politics. This is the only correct answer as although some of the others are correct for agnotology, they are not conclusions we can draw from this paragraph.
7.       They are all false
8.       To create a false picture of the truth; OR to create ignorance
9.       Special interest groups work hard to create confusion about the issue
10.   All true
11.   Unworkable, Both unworkable and unconstitutional, Doesn’t fit, unconstitutional, unconstitutional
12.   The internet is helping to propagate ignorance
13.   We are being mislead into a false sense of expertise

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Some nouns can be both count nouns and non-count nouns with different meanings. This causes a lot of confusion. For example, the plural form of food is assumed to be foods, which is not the case as the word can be both a count and a non count noun. The following link will give you a clearer picture.