Thursday, November 29, 2018


By Talya Rachel Meyers
Level of Difficulty: **
·         Jessica Tracy: "Take Pride”
1.   What misconception is mentioned in the introduction? The belief that…
2.   What does “This” refer to in the sentence “This makes sense”?
3.   What convincing piece of evidence is offered to support the evolutionary basis of pride?
4.   What specific conclusion can we draw from Leda Cosmides’ explanation?
5.   The display of pride is important socially because in its absence …
6.   What interesting parallelism was discovered to exist as a result of the 2017 study?
7.    What does “it” refer to in the phrase “to figure it out”?
8.    Did the result of the second study support or disprove the original hypothesis concerning pride?
9.    The second study also proved that level of……………..was not a contributing factor as initially suspected.
10.  What seemingly illogical reality does the writer draw attention to at this point?
11.  What distinction, often overlooked, is the real reason pride is viewed in a negative light?
12. What does “this” refer to in the phrase Cheng and Tracy have observed this…”?
13.  What is the take-home point from the discussion of pride you have just read?
Write an essay discussing why pride may be a positive as well as a negative emotion.

This simple and straightforward text covers a very sophisticated concept: the nature and role of pride. It is very well organized and will lead to a good writing activity. The video at the beginning is longish but important as it overlaps so well with the text.
1.   Pride makes us obnoxious at best and doomed at worst.
2.   The fact that this emotion has an evolutionary function, and that it plays an important role in the way that we interact with the world.
3.    An erect posture, expanded arms, and uplifted head is produced even by people who have been blind since birth
4.    Pride evolved to provide us – and the people around us – with social benefit
5.  People don’t know what your success is, and they don’t know how much  they should value you.
6. The amount of pride that we feel in an accomplishment is parallel to the amount of value that other people place on it.
7.  Whether this closely-calibrated pride was an evolved, fundamentally human trait, or something that was learned by members of a global culture.
8.    It supported it
9.    Industrialization
10. If pride is such a vital part of how we navigate the world around us, then why is it seen so negatively?
11.  The distinction between hubristic pride and authentic pride
12.  People who have authentic pride in their successes actually navigate the world beautifully
13. The key is to focus on achieving and accomplishing certain goals or qualities, rather than trying to achieve the recognition itself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


There are various different forms of courage and one of the most vital for our well-being and success is emotional courage, which benefits us on all sorts of levels. Do your research and discover what emotional courage entails, how it affects our lives and how to boost it. When you are ready, write an essay on the topic. This essay is categoized under "cause and effect essays" but it is a hybrid in form containing elements of a definition essay, a cause effect essay and a problem solution essay and this is normal.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         An exemplary story: The Lion’s whisker
·         Emotional courage 
Reading material to make notes on
·        What is emotional courage?
Videos to take notes from
·         The gift and power of emotional courage
·         Peter Bregman - Leading With Emotional Courage - Bregman Leadership Podcast
·         Emotional courage
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:   

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Schadenfreude is defined as “the enjoyment obtained from the pain or troubles of others” and is the German word for a seemingly universal concept for which no word exists in English. Do your research to discover what exactly it is and write a definition essay.
Familiarize yourself with the concept
·         Schadenfreude

Reading material to make notes on

·         The secret joys of schadenfreude

·         The Roots of Schadenfreude: Why We Take Pleasure in Other People's Pain
·         Schadenfreude: the joy in others’ woes  
·         Schadenfreude sheds light on the darker side of humanity
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         Check Your Schadenfreude
·         Schadenfreude: Taking Pleasure in the Pain of Others

Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:

Sunday, November 18, 2018


A denialist is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as A person who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence”. At first glance, it seems completely illogical for it to exist yet exist it does, and there are some important reasons why. Do your research and find out what they are and write an essay on the topic.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         What’s behind denialism?
Reading material to make notes on:
·         Denialism: What Drives People to Reject the Truth?
·         Denial makes the world go round
·         How to convince someone when facts fail
·         Why facts don’t change our minds
Videos to take notes from
·         Science Literacy | 3.1 Denialism - Why Do People Deny Science?
·         Science Literacy | 3.2 Denialism - How Can We Recognize Science Denialism?
·         The danger of science denial | Michael Specter
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Level of Difficulty: **
·         Brain development in teenagers
·         Brain growth and development in teenagers (Scroll down for the podcast)
·         Click the icon to the left of the screen where it says “listen here” and highlight the text as you read.
1.    Cunningham’s crime can best be described as unacceptable/ incorrect / careless / awful.
2.    The reason why courts are more lenient with young offenders is that …
3.    The main problem with considering immaturity as the reason for leniency is that you would then have…………
4.    Cunningham would not have been charged with attempted murder if he had…
5.    Read the paragraph beginning “Cunningham made no such call”. Why don’t “adolescents think straight in heightened emotional situations”? Refer to the videos you watched before you started.
6.    Which sentence in the paragraph beginning “But then what does?” best expresses the writer’s reason for the need for leniency?
7.    Which sentence in the following paragraph best qualifies your answer to the previous question? (Qualifies:  in grammar, a word or phrase that qualifies another word or phrase limits its meaning and makes it less general; The Cambridge English Dictionary)
8.    Watch this one minute video: Now decide which word in the last paragraph best expresses the reason for the judge’s decision in the video.
Use all the information you have gleaned to write a paragraph or an essay discussing the reasons why leniency is necessary in the case of juvenile crime.
This text addresses the controversial issue of leniency in the case of teenage offenders and why it is important. It is a complex issue yet this short text is very well written, well organized and straightforward. As such, it is easy to follow as the writer develops his argument throughout the essay. It should suit adult learners who wish to tackle more philosophical issues.
1.    Awful
2.    It is a matter of conscience
3.    Follow where science leads
4.    Raised a reasonable doubt about intent to kill (Learn to give the most general answer and not the support. The support consists of some examples but there are others which are not mentioned.)
5.    Possible answer from the first video: there is a mismatch between  judgment and our emotions./ Possible answer from the second video: Teenagers read situations differently and respond to them differently.
  6. The concluding statement: Adult citizens who are punished are complicit in the actions of the government against them thanks to their entitlement to exert influence over the law through the vote and through free-speech protections
7.  Those who are diminished in their say over the law are diminished also in the degree to which they are fitting objects of criminal punishment.
8.     Disenfranchised