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Monday, December 24, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 24 - CHRISTMAS SPECIAL!

πŸŽ„πŸŽ…CHRISTMAS SPECIAL!πŸŽ…πŸŽ„Below is a selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills and have fun – ENJOY!

πŸ“œREADING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC CULTURE: Where Christmas is a way of life, by Megan Snedden 
What it’s really like to live in North Pole, Alaska and Santa Claus, Indiana. 
Every morning, Paul Brown waves to Santa Claus, who occupies an office downstairs from his own, conveniently located on Saint Nicholas Drive in North Pole, Alaska. (Continue reading)

🎧LISTEN & READ the TRANSCRIPTS:
  • Fireworks: A Global Celebration  Joshua Leo and Liz Waid look at one way that people celebrate - with beautiful, bright, exploding fireworks!
  • The Christmas Story ⇨ In today’s Spotlight, we tell one of the most famous stories in the world: the story of Christmas, and the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Babushka’s Christmas Legend ⇨ Colin Lowther and Liz Waid share a story from Russia. It tells about an old woman who gives up the chance of a lifetime.
  • Christmas Cracker of Christmas Traditions ⇨ Anne Muir and Adam Navis share a Christmas cracker of stories and customs from Christmas around the world.
  • Christmas Food Around the World ⇨ Spotlight looks at traditional Christmas food from places all around the world. These foods have special meaning.
  • A Christmas Carol ⇨ Nick Page and Marina Santee present "A Christmas Carol". Spotlight retells this famous Christmas story by Charles Dickens.
  • Saint Nicholas, The Christmas Saint ⇨ Santa Claus? Father Christmas? Bruce Gulland and Liz Waid look at the stories about Saint Nicholas. Who was this man and why do we remember him?
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ⇨ Spotlight tells the famous Children’s Christmas story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • The Joy of Christmas Music ⇨ Colin Lowther and Christy Van Arragon look English Christmas songs. They look at their history, and why they are so popular.
🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
This Is Why The Holidays Can Suck! (2:50 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Learn to talk about the perfect Santa in 6 minutes (6:33 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
American Christmas Traditions for a very American Christmas (10:14 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:

MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

RESILIENCE - Bouncing back from adversity

πŸ‘‰ Excerpts from PSYCHOLOGY TODAY GO TO FULL ARTICLES

All About Resilience
Adversity is a fact of life. Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make a person resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. [...] Resilience is not some magical quality; it takes real mental work to transcend hardship. But even after misfortune, resilient people are able to change course and move toward achieving their goals. There's growing evidence that the the elements of resilience can be cultivated.
From: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/resilience-quotes/
Bouncing Back From Tough Times
[...] Do you demand a perfect streak, or can you accept a mix of losses and wins? Resilience is about getting through pain and disappointment without letting them crush your spirit, and research continues to uncover what resilient people do as they persist after missteps, accidents, and trauma. Stories of ordinary people thrust into extraordinarily challenging circumstances prove that disasters can be overcome—and can even make one stronger.

The Power of Failure
To fail is deeply human, as is the capacity to inspect, learn from, and transcend failure. That doesn’t mean one needs to pretend that it’s pleasant to fail or simply ignore the frustration that arises when a goal falls out of reach. But accepting the feelings that come with failure, being curious about them, and resisting the urge to judge oneself too harshly are critical skills to cultivate. Ultimately, failures are no more than stumbling blocks on the proverbial path to success: The lessons they teach have implications for humility, maturity, and empathy.

Linda Raynier ⇒ Fear of Failure (How to Overcome the Fear of Failure) (7:37 minutes)

πŸ‘‰ Excerpt from AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION ⇒ GO TO FULL ARTICLE
The Road to Resilience
How do people deal with difficult events that change their lives? The death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness, terrorist attacks and other traumatic events: these are all examples of very challenging life experiences. Many people react to such circumstances with a flood of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty.

Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. What enables them to do so? It involves resilience, an ongoing process that requires time and effort and engages people in taking a number of steps.

This brochure is intended to help readers with taking their own road to resilience. The information within describes resilience and some factors that affect how people deal with hardship. Much of the brochure focuses on developing and using a personal strategy for enhancing resilience.

πŸ’‘ GO TO FULL ARTICLE for more information about:
  • What is resilience? 
  • Resilience factors & strategies 
  • 10 ways to build resilience 
  • Learning from your past 
  • Staying flexible 
  • Places to look for help
  • Continuing on your journey
From: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx
πŸ‘‰ Excerpt from MIND TOOLS GO TO FULL ARTICLE
Developing Resilience - Overcoming and Growing From Setbacks
According to legend, Thomas Edison made thousands of prototypes of the incandescent light bulb before he finally got it right. And, since the prolific inventor was awarded more than 1,000 patents, it's easy to imagine him failing on a daily basis in his lab at Menlo Park.

In spite of struggling with "failure" throughout his entire working life, Edison never let it get the best of him. All of these "failures," which are reported to be in the tens of thousands, simply showed him how not to invent something. His resilience gave the world some of the most amazing inventions of the early 20th century, such as the phonograph, the telegraph, and the motion picture.

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."– Thomas Edison

In this article, we'll examine resilience: what it is, why we need it, and how to develop it; so that we have the strength and fortitude to overcome adversity, and to keep on moving forward towards our dreams and our goals. (Continue reading)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 23

This is a weekly selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills and have fun – ENJOY!

πŸ“œREADING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC CULTURE: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Portraits of a complex marriage, by Kelly Grovier. Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera painted each other for 25 years: those works give us an insight into their relationship, argues Kelly Grovier.
Seen side-by-side in photographs, they struck an almost comic pose: his girth dwarfing her petite frame. When they married, her parents called them ‘the elephant’ and ‘the dove’. He was the older, celebrated master of frescoes who helped revive an ancient Mayan mural tradition, and gave a vivid visual voice to indigenous Mexican labourers seeking social equality after centuries of colonial oppression. She was the younger, self-mythologising dreamer, who magically wove from piercing introspection and chronic physical pain paintings of a severe and mysterious beauty. Together, they were two of the most important artists of the 20th Century. (Continue reading)

From BBC TRAVEL: The country with 11 official languages, by Denby Weller. Before coming to South Africa, the last thing an Australian would think is that there might be language difficulties.
[...] Discussion of the evolution of the colonial languages of South Africa is controversial, not least because they are just two of the 11 official languages in use today, and neither one is the first language for the majority of South Africans. In the 2011 Census, IsiZulu emerged as the language most spoken at home, followed by IsiXhosa. Afrikaans was a first language for 13.5% of South Africans, while English was spoken in just 9.6% of homes. Yet it is English that has emerged as the lingua franca – albeit a unique, local dialect enriched by the company of the many languages of the land. (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
What causes antibiotic resistance? - Kevin Wu (4:34 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
BBC 6 Minute English: What Makes You Laugh? with English Subtitle (6:03 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
How to Survive Long Haul Flights - Travel Tips, Hacks & Tricks (11:42 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:
VOCABULARY: Find out when to write hyphens (6:14 minutes)
πŸ’‘ GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
English Grammar - comparing with LIKE & AS (9:10 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Monday, November 12, 2018

How Emotionally Intelligent Are You? (From Mind Tools)

Boosting Your People Skills


We all know people who are in full control of their emotions. They're calm in a crisis, and they make decisions sensitively, however stressful the situation.

We also know people who can read the emotions of others. They understand what to say to make people feel better, and they know how to inspire them to take action.

People like this have high emotional intelligence (or EI). They have strong relationships, and they manage difficult situations calmly and effectively. They're also likely to be resilient in the face of adversity.

So, how emotionally intelligent are you, and how can you develop further? Find out below.


πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in the quizzes below:

Monday, October 29, 2018

What is the best age to learn a language? By Sophie Hardach (From BBC Future)

πŸ‘‰ GO TO FULL ARTICLE: What is the best age to learn a language?
πŸ‘‰ By Sophie Hardach

When it comes to learning a foreign language, we tend to think that children are the most adept. But that may not be the case – and there are added benefits to starting as an adult.
Credit: Getty / From: BBC Future

It’s a busy autumn morning at the Spanish Nursery, a bilingual nursery school in north London. Parents help their toddlers out of cycling helmets and jackets. Teachers greet the children with a cuddle and a chirpy “Buenos dΓ­as!”. In the playground, a little girl asks for her hair to be bunched up into a “coleta” (Spanish for ‘pigtail’), then rolls a ball and shouts “Catch!” in English.

“At th
is age, children don’t learn a language – they acquire it,” says the school’s director Carmen Rampersad. It seems to sum up the enviable effortlessness of the little polyglots around her. For many of the children, Spanish is a third or even fourth language. Mother tongues include Croatian, Hebrew, Korean and Dutch.

Compare this to the struggle of the average adult in a language class, and it would be easy to conclude that it’s best to start young.

But science offers a much more complex view of how our relationship with languages evolves over a lifetime – and there is much to encourage late beginners.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The 10 personality traits English cannot name, by Alex Rawlings (From BBC Future)

πŸ‘‰ GO TO FULL ARTICLE: The 10 personality traits English cannot name
πŸ‘‰ by Alex Rawlings

From the “un-take-out-able” to the “magnets for bad luck”, other European languages have a rich vocabulary of personal characteristics that English struggles to describe succinctly.
An 'I-don't-care-ist', someone who is overly complacent, indifferent or apathetic (Credit: Javier Hirschfeld/Getty Images)





The English language may be one of the richest in the world. It draws on its unique combination of a Germanic heritage and strong Romance influences to offer speakers a broad range of nuances when expressing themselves. Just consider the difference between a ‘hearty welcome’ and a ‘cordial reception’ to see where the possibilities lie.

Yet, as English continues to rise as the world’s de facto lingua franca, it’s important to also remember its limitations. Languages encapsulate culture. They are an embodiment of the way in which a particular group of people has agreed to communicate. As a result, they reflect those people’s experiences of the world through the idioms and expressions that become common parlance.

Learning other languages offers insights into the way that other cultures see the world. For someone like myself, gaining those insights can become addictive, and that fixation has led me to study 15 different languages. My recent book, 'From Amourette to Ε»al: Bizarre and Beautiful Words from Around Europe', explores some of the words that other languages have, but that English doesn’t. The following 10 words, for example, describe character traits and behaviours that may be familiar to us all, but that the English language struggles to succinctly express. (Continue reading)

πŸ‘‰Alex Rawlings is a polyglot and writer, who in 2012 was named Britain’s Most Multilingual Student after being tested for fluency in 11 languages. His most recent book is From Amourette to Ε»al: Bizarre and Beautiful Words from Around Europe.

Friday, October 26, 2018

How Creative Are You? (From Mind Tools)

If the idea of being creative at work makes you think of artistic talent, don't worry!

Business creativity is all about finding fresh and innovative solutions to problems, and identifying opportunities to improve the way that we do things.
Image From: The Creativity Post

As such, anyone can be creative, just as long as they have the right mindset and use the right tools.

This test helps you to think about how creative you are right now. Take it, and then use the tools and discussions that follow to bring intense creativity to your everyday work.

❓ QUIZ ⇒ How Creative Are You?

πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in the quizzes below:

Sunday, October 21, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 22

This is a weekly selection of reading articles, free online exercises, YouTube videos, games, quizzes and resources for you to further improve your English language skills and have fun – ENJOY!

πŸ“œREADING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

F
rom BBC CAPITAL: How similar you are to your partner can affect your happiness, by Christian Jarrett. Researchers have found that how similar you are to your partner can affect your happiness – but it’s complicated.
Among many monogamous species, from cockatiels to cichlid fish, studies have revealed a clear pattern: it helps to be more similar to your mate. When mating pairs are behaviourally similar, their reproductive success tends to be higher.
In human terms, this would imply it’s better to be similar to your partner. Indeed, for a long time psychologists and others have argued that similarity is probably beneficial – after all, then we will be more likely to enjoy the same pursuits, values and outlook on life.
But no matter how intuitive the idea seems, for decades nearly every study has failed to support it.
Now, though, a team of psychologists at the University of Amsterdam think they know why. They have taken a far more sophisticated and nuanced look at the issue than in previous research. (Continue reading)

From BBC REEL: Reel: The oldest coffee in the world. From huts in remote villages to internet cafes in the capital city, coffee ceremonies are the centre of social life and hospitality in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
How to show annoyance (4:11 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Salary Negotiation: 6 Tips on How to Negotiate a Higher Salary (9:56 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
HISTORY: CONSUMERISM (10:52 minutes)
πŸ’¬ VOCABULARY PICKS:
VOCABULARY: Words with more than one spelling (6:16 minutes)
πŸ’‘ GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
Learn English: "last year" OR "in the last year" (8:26 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Core Values Are What You Believe, by Susan M. Heathfield (From The Balance Careers)

πŸ‘‰By Susan M. Heathfield (From The Balance Careers)

What Are Your Most Significant Beliefs and Needs?

Core values are traits or qualities that you consider not just worthwhile, they represent an individual's or an organization's highest priorities, deeply held beliefs, and core, fundamental driving forces. They are the heart of what your organization and its employees stand for in the world.

Core values are intrinsic to form the vision of your organization that you present to the world outside of your organization. Your core values are fundamental to attracting and retaining the best, most contributing employees.

Core values define what your organization believes and how you want your organization resonating with and appealing to employees and the external world. [They] should be so integrated with your employees and their belief systems and actions that clients, customers, and vendors see the values in action.

For example, [...] when customers tell the company that they feel cherished by the business, you know that your employees are living your core value of extraordinary customer care and service.

Core values are also known as guiding principles because they form a solid core of who you are, what you believe, and who you want to be going forward.

πŸ“Œ Core Values Form the Foundation of Your Organization
Values form the foundation for everything that happens in your workplace. The core values of the employees in your workplace, along with their experiences, upbringing, and so on, meld together to form your corporate culture. [...]

πŸ“Œ How to Identify Your Core Values
Your goal, when you identify the core values of your organization, is to identify the key core values, not a laundry list of cookie-cutter values that you copied from another organization's list of core values. An organization's employees would have a hard time living any more than 10-12 core values (at a maximum). Four-six is better and easier to hold front and center in everything you do. [...]

πŸ“Œ Develop Value Statements From Your Core Values
Value statements describe actions that are the living enactment of the fundamental core values held by most individuals within the organization. For example, a nursing group of employees identified caring service as one of their core values. When they wrote their value statements, one was, "We will respond to all customer calls within one minute." Another values statement was, "No patient shall ever run out of medication from the drip line."

Values play a defining role in employee motivation and morale. [...] Values such as integrity, empowerment, perseverance, equality, self-discipline, and accountability, when truly integrated within the culture of the organization, are powerful motivators.

They become the compass that the organization uses to select staff members, reward and recognize employee performance, promote employees to more senior roles, and guide interpersonal interaction among staff members.
πŸ“Œ The Downside to Identifying Values

The downside to identifying values occurs when an organization's senior leaders claim to hold certain values and then behave in ways that are contradictory to their stated values. In these workplaces, values deflate motivation because employees don’t trust their leaders’ word.

Remember that employees are like radar machines watching everything you do, listening to everything you say, and watching your interaction with customers and their coworkers. They see your values in action every day at work—or they do not.

Employees want to work in a workplace that shares their values. They want their overall work culture to promote being a part of a whole system that is much bigger than themselves. They experience motivation and engagement when their workplace exhibits their most important core values. Never underestimate the power of core values in creating a motivating work environment—or not. Your choice.

πŸ’‘ You may also be interested in:

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