Archive for the ‘Reading and Literacy’ Category

In an experiment by the psychologist Paul Rozin, he asked educated adults to eat chocolate fudge that was shaped like dog faeces. The other option was to eat soup from a pristine, brand new bedpan. People knew the fudge was real fudge and the bedpan was clean (it would be deeply unethical if wasn’t!) But many people refused. They believed the food was clean but they ‘alieved’ it wasn’t. This could be what happens when you watch a horror movie. You know you’re safe, you don’t really believe the monster will come out of the screen and harm you. But it still seems like it could. You just ‘alieve’ it will. The feeling experienced is still very real.

Source: When we fall in love with fictional characters – Explainer Video Animation & Video Production | Norwich | London | Curveball Media


Experience-taking doesn’t happen all the time. It only occurs when people are able, in a sense, to forget about themselves and their own self-concept and self-identity while reading, Kaufman said. In one experiment, for example, the researchers found that most college students were unable to undergo experience-taking if they were reading in a cubicle with a mirror.

Source: ‘Losing Yourself’ In A Fictional Character Can Affect Your Real Life – Ohio State Research and Innovation Communications

The famous “Stroop Effect” is named after J. Ridley Stroop who discovered this strange phenomenon in the 1930s. Here is your job: name the colors of the following words. Do NOT read the words…rather, say the color of the words. For example, if the word “BLUE” is printed in a red color, you should say “RED”. Say the colors as fast as you can. It is not as easy as you might think!

Source: Neuroscience For Kids – stroop effect

Good reflective writing usually involves four key elements:

reporting and responding to a critical issue or experience;

relating this issue or experience to your own knowledge in this field;

reasoning about causes and effects of this issue/experience according to relevant theories or literature and/or similarities or differences with other experiences you’ve had; and

reconstructing your thinking to plan new ways to approach the issue or engage in similar experiences in the future

via QUT cite|write – Reflective writing.

Many, Many Examples Of Essential Questions.


Each of these question could lead days of discussions online or in class. Teachers can improve instruction by focusing units and courses with essential questions.

I see these questions as ways to see into knowledge domains and majors.

These questions could also get passed on to secondary school and post-secondary school writing assignments, projects (inquiry based), term papers, etc.

Some of the questions could also help with creative writing–fiction or nonfiction. The questions can be targeted as well. For example, using findings in the neurosciences, why do people continue to pursue the concept of a utopian society? In an educator training course, like one for special education teachers, you could ask this question: What is the relationship between differences and utopia?

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Before reading this article, you should check the dates that Bandura has published these ideas. So much of what Bandura has developed is still important today. The main concepts every teacher should know: self-efficacy, human agency, and social cognitive theory. For simplified explanations, use wikipedia, but don’t be afraid of the actual publications, the articles that are accessible for free online.

When facing a challenge, do you feel like you can rise up and accomplish your goal or do you give up in defeat? Are you like the famous little train engine from the classic children’s book (“I think I can, I think I can!), or do you doubt your own abilities to rise up and overcome the difficulties that life throws your way? Self-efficacy, or your belief in your own abilities to deal with various situations, can play a role in not only how you feel about yourself, but whether or not you successfully achieve your goals in life.

The article’s introduction below….

The concept of self-efficacy is central to psychologist Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning, social experience, and reciprocal determinism in the development of personality.

According to Bandura, a person’s attitudes, abilities, and cognitive skills comprise what is known as the self-system. This system plays a major role in how we perceive situations and how we behave in response to different situations. Self-efficacy plays is an essential part of this self-system.

What Is Self-Efficacy?

According to Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” In other words, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Bandura described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel (1994).

Since Bandura published his seminal 1977 paper, “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change,” the subject has become one of the most studied topics in psychology. Why has self-efficacy become such an important topic among psychologists and educators? As Bandura and other researchers have demonstrated, self-efficacy can have an impact on everything from psychological states to behavior to motivation….

Self Efficacy: Why Believing In Yourself Is So Important.

Insight treasure trove in one paragraph here…Mind blown!

This is a powerful insight in the article and it needs to be shared:

“So, in offensively broad terms, I’d say the scientist is fairly obsessive about precision, and wants to at least identify – if not absolutely control – all variables.  They strive to be comprehensive and worry about what they’ve left out.  I think some of them live in mortal fear of being seen as superficial, especially among their colleagues, so more information is almost always a better thing.  Their vocabulary is off-putting to the uninitiated, but it can be super-precise, just the way they like it.  And after many years, I started to recognize this huge difference in cognitive style between scientists and the rest of us: they are really comfortable spreading out and labeling all of the pieces of the puzzle before they get down to figuring out what it might represent.  Most folks like to study the box to know what the picture is first!”

via The Art of Communicating Science | Psychology Today.

By Tim Shanahan Twice this week—from a NY teacher and an Illinois school administrator—I’ve been asked how to organize instructional time for literacy with


See on Scoop.itTeacher Tools and Tips

See on Scoop.itTeacher Tools and Tips

MIT professor’s book digs into the eclectic, textually linked reading choices of people in medieval London.


Consider Andrew Horn, the chamberlain for the city of London in the 1320s — meaning he was essentially the lawyer representing London’s interests in court against the king, who was Edward II for most of that time. The bound manuscripts in Horn’s possession, handed down to the city and preserved today, reveal a rich mixture of shorter texts: legal treatises, French-language poetry, descriptions of London and more.

Sharrock‘s insight:

I was led to believe that our brains were changed by electronics, and that our “short attention spans” was a result as well of browsing. Now, it seems, that people with access to information, to wide ranges of texts, maintained “eclectic reading habits” as well. Intead, maybe it’s about intelligence, connectivity (analog social networking), and an interest in being valuable to various social groups in other words, for being interesting (yes, I’m reaching).

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An alphabetical interactive map, organized by time period, with links to biographical profiles of people who have influenced the development of intelligence theory and testing.

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