Sunday, March 31, 2019


You are well prepared for a high stakes test, there is no logical reason to fail yet on the day, under pressure to succeed, you mess it up. Alternatively, you are a top scorer and you are tasked with taking a crucial penalty shot. During practice, you have never failed but during the Champions League match, you drop the ball into the goalie’s lap. These are both examples of choking under pressure. Do your research to understand this phenomenon better and write an essay about the problem and how to deal with it.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:
Familiarize yourself with the issue
·         How to avoid choking under pressure?
Reading material to make notes on
·         Why you might be choking under pressure
·         Psychologists show why we choke and how to avoid it
Videos to watch and take notes from
·         Why we choke under pressure
·         Why We “Choke” Under Pressure - and How to Avoid it

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


By:  Richard Fisher

Level: ***
·         Short-termism is killing us: it’s time for Longpath
The following reading task mostly contains search reading questions as the text is a factual text.
1.       Why do we neglect to think about the well-being of future generations?
2.       Because the ‘now’ requires so much attention, …………………………….
3.       What conclusion can be drawn from the arguments thus far?
4.       Many thinkers feel what we really need to do is …….because….
5.       What innate capability should make it possible for us to break out of our current frame of mind?
6.       The above is significant in that it means humans…
7.       What inclination which is ingrained in humans has a role in preventing us from breaking out of our current frame of mind?
8.       What does “this” refer to in the phrase “There is nowhere this is more apparent…”
STOP HERE AND WATCH: Cost –benefit interest
9.       Read the example of Clarissa. Why does she end up refusing to take a decision that would benefit future generations?
10.   The main reason why so little progress has been made in combating climate change is the fact that…
11.   Study the scale of unborn generations: not taking the wellbeing of future generations  is criminal / unethical / unacceptable/ unavoidable. Select as many as fit.
12.   According to Krznaric, the current disregard for the impacts of manmade problems on Earth is similar to the principle of “terra nullius” because ...
13.   What change in attitude is necessary to rectify the above problem?
14.   A. Certain places in Europe have started to try and address the above problem and the most noteworthy of them is ……….where …… . The same area has also taken a unique step by….
15.   Read the account of the meeting of researchers in Sweden.
·         What was the purpose of their research? Why?
·         The researchers based their predictions on the premise that…
·         The status quo scenario is unlikely because….. and because …
·         The researchers are especially pessimistic about the future because  in recently we have…
·         What conclusion can we draw from the flow chart?
16.   The writer is pessimistic about the future because he feels that…
17.   What does “That” refer to in the phrase “That’s the thinking behind one new initiative…” ?
18.   Read the account of the Long Time Inquiry.
·         What conclusion can we draw from the account of the role of art?
·         How do Saltmarsh and Pembroke propose to address the problem of short-termism?  By…
·         The inspiration for the Long Term Inquiry was ......and……….
·         What needs to change for us to be able to deal with the problem of short-termism is…
·         The Future Library and  Longplayer of both examples of…
19.   Read the account of Brian Eno’s endeavors and answer the questions:
·         The story of the dinner invitation demonstrates the current …..
·         Eno disagrees with the dominant world view because he…
·         The purpose of The Rosetta Project and Long Bets is…
·         We understand from the account of the clock that this project is extremely…
·         Why have scientists set about such a difficult project?
·         The BBC Future project set out to corroborate or refute the hypothesis that…
·         People who feel……………………………….may object to the clock
20.   The writer’s opinion that……………….leads him to worry about what he can do as an individual to combat short-termism
21.   How does the writer eventually decide to combat short-termism as an individual? By…
Use all the information that you have gathered to write an essay on what short-termism is and what effects it has

This thought-provoking text tackles the issue of short-termism, an attitude to time which colors all our activities in the 21st century and which poses a threat to future generations. It sets out to show that our attitude is unethical and needs to change. The text is rounded off with an account of the current efforts to combat the problem. It is a typical problem and solution text and due its structure can be done in installments.
1.       It’s so far ahead, clouded with so many possibilities, that the route we will take to get to the future is difficult to see
2.       There is no energy left for imagining the future
3.       Short-termism may be the greatest threat our species is facing this century
4.       Break out of our short-termist ways/ the longevity of civilisation depends on us extending our frame of reference in time( – considering the world and our descendants through a much longer lense)
5.       The capability of mental time travel
6.       Have the innate ability, then, to imagine the consequences of our actions in deeper time
7.       Present bias
8.       It is hard to muster empathy for our descendants. (You need to replace this with the phase to see how it fits into the sentence)
9.       Many politicians – and the societies they govern – have a limit to how much cost they are collectively willing to bear for the benefit of people who don’t yet exist. (Read the question and the answer together to see why the answer makes sense.)
10.   The importance of the benefits felt by future human beings in the calculation of discount rates eventually dwindles to nothing. (You need to replace referrals to make the answer meaningful.
11.    Unethical, unacceptable
12.   It is (essentially ) decided that future generations have no ownership rights there, or any say over how it evolves.
14.   Wales /Sophie Howe was appointed  future generations’ commissioner/ writing  into law  the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act,”
15.   To discuss the existential risks facing humanity / They had a moral concern for our descendants / While the future is uncertain, it is not unknown/biology suggests that each mammalian species exists, on average, for roughly 1 million years before it becomes extinct, the time scale is long / we've added a whole host of additional human-made risks into the mix too – from nuclear armageddon to AI apocalypse to anthropogenic climate change. / Our actions in the 21st century could shape which of the future paths we will take.
16.   Our power to destroy ourselves is radically outstripping our wisdom and foresight.
17.   There need to be approaches and arguments that inspire and engage the non-rational part of our brain too
18.   Culture forms the operating system for our society / fostering and encouraging new cultural works about the long-term as well as creating a network of like-minded artists, institutions and intellectuals. / a principle called ‘Seventh Generation’ stewardship and concepts such as Cathedral Thinking / our attitude to death/ the use of art and other symbolic means to provoke people to think longer term
19.   Narrow view or attitude to space – best answer / wants to be living in a Big Here and a Long Now.” / provide a counterpoint to today's accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common”. / ambitious / to provoke its visitors to reflect on their place in time / works of art or installations such as the clock can influence people’s views and actions in ways that rational, empirical arguments cannot / riches of a corporation notorious for paying low taxes might be better spent on long-term infrastructure, catastrophe prevention or social programmes that benefit future generations.
20.   We owe an ethical obligation to our descendants to leave a better world than the one we inherited ourselves
21.   Trying his hardest to widen the horizons, empathy and potential of a little girl who can’t yet imagine a world beyond life as a 10-year-old.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


Hikikomori , often thought to be a uniquely Japanese problem, is now being seen in other countries such as South Korea as well. This serious problem may have important implications for the future of human society. Do your research and discover what the problem entails and then write an essay discussing what it is.
Refer to my second blog, The Essay Archive, for sample essays:
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         Hikikomori
Reading material to make note on:
·         A psychological ailment called 'hikikomori' is imprisoning 500,000 Japanese people in their homes — and it's more of a threat than ever

Videos to take notes from:
·         Modern-Day Hermits: The Story of Hikikomori in Japan and Beyond
·         Japan: The mystery of the missing million (BBC 2 Doc)  

Sunday, March 3, 2019


By: By Zaria Gorvett
Level of Difficulty: **
·          8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book
·      The Surprising Power of Reading Fiction: 9 Ways it Make Us Happier and More Creative
1.       Read as far as the first subtitle and answer the questions:
A.      Why did Elon Musk place Isaac Asimov’s book in the Falcon Heavy rocket?
·         Because he thought Asimov’s books were good
·         Because he thought someone might read the book
·         Because he thought books were important
·         Because he thought equipment was unnecessary
B.      Where else in the same paragraph could the sentence “Such is the power of books” be placed?
C.      Which of the sentences in the same paragraph could you place at the beginning?
D.      Which of the following subtitles would best fit this section:
·         A lot of famous people like reading books
·         Ambition and reading go hand in hand
·         Innovators have learnt a lot by reading
·         Reading is an invaluable habit
2.       Read the section titled “Read your way to empathy” and answer the questions:
A.      Access:  and check out the table. Of the interaction skills listed on the vertical axis, which seems to be the most important? Which comes second and why? (Use your own words) Which seems to be the least important and why? (Use your own words)
B.      The statements below form a summary of David Kidd’s experiment; however, they are in the wrong order. Unscramble them to form the correct summary:
a.       Kidd argued that people who read regularly will observe an increase in empathy, which will affect their social lives in the long run.
b.      The aim of this study was to examine whether reading fiction improves the readers’ theory of mind or not
c.       Reading fiction enables us to put ourselves into the shoes of others.
d.      In the study, while some participants were asked to read fiction, others were asked to read non-fiction or nothing at all.
e.      The result of the study demonstrated that literary fiction readers outperformed those who read genre fiction, nonfiction or nothing at all.
f.        The researchers wanted to see whether the type of fiction affects the degree of improvement of theory of mind.
3.       Read the section titled “Tips from avid readers” and answer the questions:
A.      We understand from the introduction to the text that some people pretend/ claim/ believe/ deny (choose the odd one out) they are interested in good literature and they are not all ‘so called’ ……
B.      Watch: What piece of advice offered in the video would Christina Chipurici’s primary school teacher have not agreed with? Why?
C.      Read the paragraph titled “Find a reading format that works for you”. Where in this paragraph would you place the following two sentences:
a.       Thanks to these developments in technology, people no longer have to rely on printed versions of books.
b.      Technological developments have impacted the form reading material takes as well.
c.       Read the third piece of advice and access the following sites:  and . It can be concluded from these two examples that reading extensively is linked to….
d.      What is the take home point from the last piece of advice?
Write a concluding paragraph for the text. This is not a one page text so consider how long the paragraph needs to be. Write two versions of the concluding paragraph:
·         In the first, begin as follows: To sum up…and write a summary
·         In the second, begin as follows: To conclude or In conclusion….and write restatement

The subject of this relatively straightforward text is of such importance that I really feel it has got to be covered. In the modern world, where the reading habit seems to be ever declining, it is of vital importance to try and persuade people of the value of reading great literature. The questions aim to test a wide variety of cognitive skills as ever.
1.       Because he thought books were important / At the end / Reading has planted seeds in the heads of countless innovators / Reading is an invaluable habit
2.       Emotional intelligence, interaction skills, possible answer: they have a lot in common or overlap a lot / Develops others’ ideas, possible answer: it is a completely passive position/ c,d,b,f,e,a
3.       Deny, avid readers/ providing choices, If there’s a moral to this story, it’s to read because you want to –and never allow it to become a chore./ The first is the concluding statement and goes at the end, the second is the topic sentence and goes at the beginning./ high-achievement/ If the world’s most busy and successful people can manage it, you can too.