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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!

📜READING 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)
💬 VOCABULARY PICKS:
VOCABULARY: Words with more than one spelling (6:16 minutes)
💡 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)

👉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.

📌 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. [...]

📌 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. [...]

📌 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.
📌 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.

💡 You may also be interested in:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

GRAMMAR PILLS: How to use articles - A/AN, THE and ZERO article

How do we use articles in English?

💡 Quick answer:

NOUNS
In general
(indefinite / non-specific)
In particular
(definite / specific)
Uncountable
Countable Plural
(1) Zero article
(3) the (el, la, los, las)
Countable Singular
(2) a / an (un, uno, una)

💡 EXTENDED ANSWER:

(1) When we talk about an uncountable noun or a countable plural noun in general (i.e. we talk about all the items in a group, or there is no need to specify an item in particular), we do NOT use an article:
Cuando hablamos de un sustantivo (=nombre) incontable o contable plural en general (es decir, hablamos de todos los elementos de un conjunto o no hay necesidad de especificar uno en particular), NO usamos artículo:

Advances
in technology (❌The advances) have made it easier for us to keep in touch with our loved ones.
Modern technology (❌The modern technology) is essential to our lives, both at home and at work.
Students (❌The students) should hand in their assignments on time.
People (❌The people) are the same everywhere.
👉In these examples, we are talking about 'technology', 'students', and 'people' in general.


(
2) When we talk about a countable singular noun in general (i.e. we talk about one non-specific item in a group), we use a / an (the indefinite article):
Cuando hablamos de un sustantivo contable singular en general (es decir, hablamos de un elemento no especificado en un conjunto), usamos 'a' / 'an' (un, uno, una = el artículo indefinido):

⟶ I went to a pub last night. (Fui a un bar anoche.)
⟶ I’ve got a car. (Tengo un coche.)
⟶ He gave me an apple. (Él me dio una manzana.)


🔺 ‘A’ or ‘an’?

Use ‘a’ before words that start with a consonant SOUND:
Usamos ‘a’ antes de palabras que comienzan con un SONIDO consonante:
A university degree ⇒ ‘u’ is pronounced /juː/ here, and /j/ is a consonant sound
a one-hour class ⇒ ‘one’ is pronounced /wʌn/, and /w/ is a consonant sound
⟶ a uniform / a house, etc.

Use ‘an’ before words that start with a vowel SOUND:
Usamos ‘a’ antes de palabras que comienzan con un SONIDO vocal:
An honest man ⇒ ‘h’ is silent here, and the first sound is a vowel: /ˈɒnɪst/
an hour ⇒ ‘h’ is silent here, and the first sound is a vowel: /aʊə/
an MBA degree, etc.


(
3) When we talk about an uncountable, a countable plural or a countable singular noun in particular (i.e. we talk about a specific item, or there is only one item in the group, and it is therefore clear which item we are talking about – e.g.: ‘the sun’), we use ‘the’ (the definite article):
Cuando hablamos de un sustantivo incontable, contable plural o contable singular en particular (es decir, hablamos un elemento específico, o hay un solo elemento en el conjunto, por ejemplo: the sun’, el sol’), usamos ‘the’ (el, la, los, las = el artículo definido):

⟶ A look at the advances in technology during the 1960s (los avances en tecnología durante la década de los 60), from washing machines to computers. (BBC Four) (a specific set of advances)
The students who failed the exam (Los alumnos que reprobaron el examen) should study hard for the resit. (a specific group of students)
The people who migrate (La gente que migra) are called migrants. (a specific group of people)


👉The rules above apply to almost all cases; however, there are some special uses that should also be taken into account. Read more:
🎬 VIDEOS:
Using zero articles - BBC English Class (2:10 minutes)
The definite article - BBC English Class (2:22 minutes)
Learn about indefinite articles with singular countable nouns - BBC English Class (2:40 minutes)
GRAMMAR: How to use the definite article with abstract uncountable nouns (6:04 minutes)

📌 Practice:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

WEEKLY PICKS - 21

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 while having fun ENJOY!

📜READING PICKS – Articles, blog posts, quizzes and more:

From BBC CAPITAL: How to avoid awkward work conversations, by Alison Green. BBC World Service contributor Alison Green has been giving workplace advice for over a decade. She is still surprised at how many people avoid difficult interactions with colleagues. [This story is from an episode of Business Matters from the BBC World Service. To listen to more episodes, please click here.] (Continue reading)

From BBC FUTURE: A little bit of boasting could have benefits, by Talya Rachel Meyers. Many cultures tend to praise modesty and humility. But new research has revealed that the tendency to feel, and show, pride evolved for a reason – and plays a key role even today.
Pride is the downfall of many a tragic hero. Mr Darcy has to let his go before he can earn Elizabeth Bennet’s love. Dante listed it as one of the seven deadly sins. And as the famous (and oft-misquoted) verse from Proverbs cautions us, it “goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”.
There’s no question about it: we’re consistently told that pride makes us obnoxious at best and doomed at worst.
But pride may not entirely deserve this reputation as a destructive force. There’s new evidence that this emotion has an evolutionary function, and that it plays an important role in the way that we interact with the world. (Continue reading)

🎬 VIDEO PICKS – Short and fun videos:

LESS-THAN-5-MINUTE VIDEOS:
Visiting London - Beginner's Guide for Shopping in London (3:48 minutes)
5-TO-10-MINUTE VIDEOS:
HOW TO: Making informal invitations (6:02 minutes)
A LITTLE LONGER BUT WORTH IT!
5 English Pronunciation Tricks EVERY English Student Should Be Using (13:59 minutes)
💬 VOCABULARY PICKS:
VOCABULARY: How to use synonyms (6:08 minutes)
💡 GRAMMAR PICKS – Assorted exercises and games:
BBC Learning English - 6 Minute Grammar - Phrasal and prepositional verbs (6:32 minutes)
MORE PICKS NEXT WEEK!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

How Good Is Your Feedback? (From Mind Tools)

Giving Clear Comments to Improve Performance
© iStockphoto / monkeybusinessimages / From: Mind Tools
As a manager, one of the most important things you do is give feedback. When you let people know how they're doing, you give them the chance to change unhelpful habits, and you reward and cement positive behavior

Do you know when and how to give feedback to colleagues? 

So, why do managers find it so difficult to give feedback? Perhaps it's because they're uncomfortable doing it, or because they don't feel that they have the skills to do it properly. Either way, they may put off giving feedback until a problem has become serious. 

Use this quiz to find out how well you give feedback, and to discover how you can give better feedback in the future


💡 You may also be interested in the quizzes below:

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The surprising truth about loneliness, by Claudia Hammond (From BBC FUTURE)

The reality of feeling alone is not what many people think. Claudia Hammond, who instigated a survey called the BBC Loneliness Experiment, explores five counterintuitive findings.


About the results: The findings in this article are based on an online survey of 55,000 people from around the world, called the BBC Loneliness Experiment. It was created by academics at three British universities in collaboration with Wellcome Collection. - Find out more: The Anatomy of Loneliness
  1. Younger people feel lonelier than older people
  2. 41% of people think loneliness can be positive
  3. People who feel lonely have social skills that are no better or worse than average
  4. Winter is no lonelier than any other time of year
  5. People who often feel lonely have higher levels of empathy than everyone else
1) Younger people feel lonelier than older people

When you picture someone who’s lonely, the stereotype is often an older person who lives alone and hardly sees anyone. Indeed, in the BBC Loneliness Experiment, 27% of over 75s said they often or very often feel lonely. This is higher than in some surveys, but because the survey was online, we had a self-selecting sample and might have attracted more people who feel lonely.

Yet the differences between age groups are striking. Levels of loneliness were actually highest among 16-24 year olds, with 40% saying they often or very often feel lonely.

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