Are you paying attention? | Marc

This is the first part of planned series on attention and its relationship to other cognitive processes.

Many years ago I recall sitting in a room at Durham University, headphones piping into my brain words I can no longer recall. As the words were uttered I was repeating them out loud, as I had been requested to do. After I had completed the task I was asked if I could detect any difference between the words being said in my left ear and in those in my right. I remember being a little confused but replying that, no, I didn’t detect any difference. I was then told that the words being…

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Why stress is contagious | Marc

(A version of this article appeared at The Huffington Post in 2016)

We often view emotions as contained within the individual, sitting privately in our own minds or in the minds of others. However, emotions felt by one group or individual have a powerful influence on the emotional states of others (psychologists call this ‘affect contagion’ or ‘emotional contagion’). Emotions have the ability to ripple out in both constructive and destructive ways; happiness is contagious, but so is anxiety.

Think about a group of small children being overcome with excitement to the point of hysteria or…

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A totally unqualified riff on #Alt-Ac and me in Applied Linguistics/Language Teaching | Marc

Radio silence! I have syllabi to write and such. It is the very short break between the end of one Japanese academic year and the start of another. It is my first year that I will be mainly a part-time university teacher at three universities with marginal face-to-face freelancing.

One of my sweet distractions lately has been that, should my pipe dream of being a tenured lecturer not actually materialise, it might not be a bad thing because the working conditions for tenured staff can be absolute crap anyway. No, I haven’t been listening to The Auteurs again. I’ve been reading about…

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Does Personality Matter? | Marc

Personality is rarely talked about in educational circles and, probably, for good reason. Not only it is a fairly contentious issue (although not quite as contentious as IQ) it also flies in the face or our deep-seated belief that we are in control of our own lives. That doesn’t stop us from completing that personality test we find on Facebook during our lunch break, informing us what Harry Potter character we are or what we would be if we were an animal.

And there are many people who cling to their MBTI personality type.

There’s also the argument that, even if we did know the personality…

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The Introvert In The Classroom | Marc

In a world full of noise the quiet ones often get left behind, their voices drowned out by the cacophony of braver, bolder and more confident children. In a culture where extroversion appears so highly valued, it is all too easy to neglect the introverts, viewing them as merely shy and in need of encouragement in order to be coaxed out of their shell. Those teachers who see introversion as something to be fixed are in danger of stifling the talents of the less vocal pupils in their class. Introverts are often more creative and think more deeply and emotively than their extrovert classmates,…

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Make It Personal: The Self-reference Effect | Marc

An oft-heard suggestion in teaching is that making information relevant to pupils results in better learning of the material. For example, in a lesson about the conditions in the trenches during the First World War, we might ask pupils to imagine what it would be like. Some teachers might even extend this and set a task that requires pupils to produce a piece of creative writing (such as a diary extract) about life in the trenches where they are the main character.

Teachers often also try to relate certain information to the personal experiences of pupils, perhaps asking them to think about…

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Turning essays into journal articles | Marc

There is a massively underused number of potential journal articles resting on teachers’ hard disks, cloud storage and flash drives.
This is how I sorted out my dissertation and took some best bits from other assignments for articles.

If you are interested in doing it, this might be useful. It’s how I did it and no indication of good practice.

Open Word file and save as something else. Probably in a ‘working on’ file.
Go through the dissertation. You need it to be between 3000-7500 words including references.
You will keep much of the literature review unless you have a long lit…

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