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Showing posts from September, 2015

What is cognitive dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance describes the tension caused by having two apparently contradictory thought processes simultaneously - wanting to smoke while knowing smoking is bad for you, for example. 

Is it a new term?The phrase was first introduced by Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails. He studied the way believers in UFOs dealt with empirical evidence contradicting their deeply held beliefs. 

Cognitive dissonance is also associated with the cognitive development theory developed by Jean Piaget - dealing with cognitive dissonance is a key factor in child development.
In general English the term is often used when describing how politicians deal with 'inconvenient' data. Examples can be found at all points on the political spectrum.


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Where does the term brainstorming come from? Does it work?

The idea behind brainstorming came in a pioneering  sef help/business book 'Your Creative Power' (1948). It was described as

What is a descriptivist? And a prescriptivist?

Listen to this short description of two key words in linguistics: descriptivist and prescriptivist.

What is the Oxford comma?

Top 10 lines of poetry most quoted online?

25 most looked-up words in the dictionary?

According to Merriam-Webster, the standard dictionary for American English, this is the All-Time Top Twenty:

The best way to teach English?

Kaplan International College surveyed more than 500 ESL teachers from 40 countries to discover what tools they use to enhance their lessons. This infographic summarises their findings.

Interesting that 86% use music in the classroom, with The Beatles (40%) being the most used source of material. The next three singers (Michael Jackson, Bob Marley & Elvis) are sadly departed, with only One Direction representing contemporary pop music.

Also significant that newspapers still have an important role, despite the dramatic decline of printed sales.

Key Concepts in ELT