Wednesday, 29 July 2015

VIDEO Why do we talk?

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Can the Moon And Planets Affect Human Behaviour?

For thousands of years it has been believed that the fortunes of men and women, in all countries, move in cycles. The ancients depicted the concept as the great Wheel of Fortune.

It’s eternally turning and spilling off the winners on top while bearing up the wretches beneath and giving them their time in the limelight before they, too, get dumped. The trouble was that no one knew for sure what powered that wheel or exactly what speed it was turning for any given individual. People knew their days were numbered, but they didn’t know the number.

Until recently the situation hasn’t improved much. For hundreds of years we have known that it is the regular and predictable cycles of the moon and sun that regulate the ocean’s tides, but the tides in the affairs of humans have not been so easily forecast. It was almost as if they moved erratically of their own accord, unmotivated by outside forces.

The extensive cycle research of the past thirty years has proved otherwise. It has established numerous links between regularly occurring human behavior and external natural cycles ranging from weather and solar radiation to phases of the moon and planetary cycles. Here are some dramatic examples.


At the University of Miami, psychologist Arnold Lieber and his colleagues decided to test the old belief of full-moon lunacy? which most scientists had written off as an old wives’ tale. The researchers collected data on homicide in Dade County (Miami) over a period of 15 years 1,887 murders, to be exact. When they matched the incidence of homicide with the phases of the moon, they found, much to their surprise, that the two rose and fell together, almost infallibly, for the entire 15 years! As the full or the new moon approached, the murder rate rose sharply; it distinctly declined during the first and last quarters of the moon.

To find out whether this was just a statistical fluke, the researchers repeated the experiment using murder data from Cuyahoga County in Ohio (Cleveland). Again, the statistics showed that more murders do indeed occur at the full and new moons.

Dr. Lieber and his colleagues shouldn?t have been so surprised. An earlier report by the American Institute of Medical Climatology to the Philadelphia Police Department entitled The Effect of the Full Moon on Human Behavior found similar results. That report showed that the full moon marks a monthly peak in various kinds of psychotically oriented crimes such as murder, arson, dangerous driving, and kleptomania. People do seem to get a little bit crazier about that time of the month.

That?s something most police and hospital workers have known for a long time. Indeed, back in eighteenth-century England, a murderer could plead ‘lunacy’ if the crime was committed during the full moon and get a lighter sentence as a result. Scientists, however, like to have a hard physical model to explain their discoveries, and so far there isn’t a fully accepted one. Dr. Lieber speculates that perhaps the human body, which, like the surface of the earth, is composed of almost 80 percent water, experiences some kind of biological tides that affect the emotions. When a person is already on psychologically shaky ground, such a biological tide can push him or her over the edge.

Crimes and violence aren’t the only things affected by the 29+ day full moon cycle. In the Journal of the Florida Medical Association, Dr. Edson J. Andrews writes that in a study of 1,000 tonsillectomies, 82 percent of postoperative bleeding crises occurred nearer the full than the new moon despite the fact that fewer operations were performed at that time! Clearly, the full moon is a dangerous time for surgery, and the dissemination of this knowledge should result in planning operations for the new moon.

Practical economic use of the lunar cycle has been going on for a long time. In tropical rain forest countries in South America and Southeast Asia, where most of the world?s hardwood comes from, tree-harvesting contracts are linked to the phase of the moon. The trees are only cut down on a waning moon, as near to the new moon as feasible. This is because on a waxing or full moon, the sap rises in the trees and extensive sap bleeding attracts hordes of deathwatch beetles, which will devastate a crop. Awareness of this cycle means the difference between making or losing millions of dollars every year.

One future use for the monthly lunar cycle may be in choosing the timing and gender of babies. Curtis Jackson, controller of Southern California Methodist Hospital, reports that more babies are conceived on the waxing moon than on the waning. He quantified 11,025 births over a period of six years and found that nearly 1,000 more children were conceived during the waxing moon. Apparently, successful conception is easier at that time. More interesting are the results of German researcher W. Buehler. In an analysis of 33,000 births Dr. Buehler found that there was a significant preponderance of male births during the waxing moon. This knowledge, combined with medical techniques known to affect fertility and sex, may well help people in planning for their children.

The moon isn’t the only body out in space that produces human cycles. The sun, the basic source of all life on earth, has its own rhythm, which produces cycles in humans and non-humans alike. Since the 1800s astronomers have noted that there is an eleven and a twenty-two-year sunspot cycle; that is, for some years there would be hardly any sunspots, and then for some years the sun?s face would be as blotchy as a teenager with acne.

It wasn’t until the 1930s, however, that it occurred to anyone that something going on that far away from earth could affect us. During the sunspot peak of the 1930s, Dr. Miki Takata found that human blood serum was affected by the solar radiation put out by sunspots. During the same period it was discovered that sunspot emissions affected a wide variety of other things, such as the size of tree rings and the amount of radio interference on certain bandwidths.

During World War II, the potential communications blackout that sunspots and solar storms might cause was of great concern to the armed forces, so a radio engineer at RCA named John Nelson was asked to come up with a method of predicting when the storms would occur. Nelson figured that the only major variables that might conceivably affect the sun’s turbulent surface were the planets surrounding it.

He devised a system of charting their relationships to the sun and to one another and found that when certain angular relationships between planets occurred, sunspots and solar magnetic storms broke out. To date, his system of prediction has been 95 percent accurate, and the hypothesis that the planets cause solar ‘tides’ was proved by Professor K. D. Wood at the University of Colorado.

More recently, many scientists have been suggesting that the sunspot cycle is critical in the formation of our weather patterns. Indeed, during a seventy-year period in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the cycle was interrupted and sunspots stopped for no apparent reason, Europe was plunged into its coldest period on record, nicknamed the ‘Little Ice Age.’ Astronomer John R. Gribbin and astrophysicist Stephen H. Plagemann even speculated that sunspot and planetary cycles are linked to earthquakes, and a future unusual planetary alignment may trigger a devastating California quake. The more the subject is investigated, the more important these cycles appear.

The amount of solar radiation we receive, which is determined by the sunspot cycle, may have profound historical significance. Soviet professor A. C. Tchyivsky has correlated the eleven-year cycle with what he calls a worldwide ‘mass excitement’ cycle. He found that throughout history events such as wars, migrations, crusades, uprisings, and revolutions have clustered around peak sunspot periods. In the three years surrounding these peaks 60 percent of such events occurred, while only 5 percent occurred in the troughs. It would appear that tides govern the affairs of nations as well as individuals.

But can planetary cycles directly affect individual human events? If the answer is yes, then cycle research begins to look pretty much like astrology, a subject most scientists aren?t too fond of.

An Atomic Energy Commission-funded project at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, came up with a report entitled ?Intriguing Accident Patterns Plotted against a Background of Natural Environmental Features, which correlated on-the-job accidents of government employees over a period of 20 years with various natural cycles.

This preliminary report (the researchers suggested further study was in order) found that accidents peak with the sunspot cycle and even more intriguing and ‘astrological’ that people were more likely to have accidents during the phase of the moon the same as or opposite to that under which they were born.

Some really hard and startling evidence might have come out of this research had it been allowed to continue. But alas, that was not to be. Shortly after its completion, the report fell into the hands of Time magazine, which did a spoof on it in its January 10, 1972, issue, under the heading ?Moonstruck Scientists?, complete with an old woodcut of maidens dancing in a frenzy under the rays of the full moon.

That was all the Congress needed to kill the project and suppress the report. When researcher John Townley wrote to the Atomic Energy Commission and Sandia in 1972, he was told the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. At first, he was told that all extant copies had been lost, hut through the efforts of a persistent Energy Research Administration officer, Sandia was finally pressured into coughing up a copy accompanied by a somewhat terrified disclaimer telling me him he really shouldn’t believe what was in it.

J. E. Davidson, who wrote the report with a team of fellow scientists, told him over the phone that he was sad the research had been cancelled. The team felt they were on to something and, except for a nosy journalist and premature publicity, might have made a significant contribution to cycle research. Instead, their work was thrown down the drain. But that’s the breaks when Congress is your boss.

Probably the most distinguished work connecting planetary cycles with events and trends in the lives of individuals has been that of French psychologist and statistician Michel Gauquelin. In the mid-1960s he set out to disprove astrology statistically by analyzing planetary positions at the births of professionals, using samples as large as 10,000, 15,000, and 20,000. Astrologers have always believed that certain planets coming up over the horizon, or directly overhead at a person?s birth, guide that individual toward a certain profession.

To Gauquelin, the task he had set for himself seemed like a piece of cake. All he had to do was prove that the planet associated with athletic achievement, Mars, fell at random points in the nativities of 10,000 or 15,000 athletes, and that would be that astrology would be debunked. To emphasize his point he also investigated groups of doctors, lawyers, writers, and others in jobs associated by astrologers with specific planets.

To Gauquelin’s surprise, the results turned out to be exactly the opposite of what he had expected. Mars did appear to be rising or culminating in a vast number of athletes? birth charts. Similarly, Jupiter appeared for bankers, Saturn for doctors, Mercury for writers, and so on. Gauquelin was astounded. Had he accidentally proved the case for astrology when he had meant to debunk it?

Actually, he had done a lot more than that because his data not only confirmed traditional astrological assignments, they uncovered new ones. For writers, for instance, the traditionally associated planet is Mercury. Gauquelin found that Mercury was indeed significant in writer’s natal charts, but he also found that the moon was equally important, something astrologers had never posited.

Gauquelin’s work established the fact that planetary positions do affect human disposition, talent, and direction and that these effects can be specifically determined by scientific methods such as statistical analysis and probability. Source:InnerSelf.Com

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Why Good Manners Matter

Rudeness was reported as the chief cause of stress in a recent poll in France. For 60 percent of the French, it is not the debt crisis or persistent double-digit unemployment that stresses them out, but the behavior of other people. True, the French have elevated rudeness to an art form, but do manner really matter that much?

Humans are highly social creatures and wherever we go we subtly modify our behavior to fit in with others. Rudeness signals that one is not welcome in this group, activating pain regions in the brain as found by Naomi Eisenberger and colleagues at UCLA. Rudeness also shows that others don't trust us. As I report in my new book The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity(link is external), when men are distrusted, they experience a sharp spike intestosterone provoking an aggressive response of the type "How dare he...." Women have this response, too, it is just more muted.

Good manners, on the other hand, are a reflection of the Golden Rule: if you are nice to me, I'll be nice to you. The Golden Rule exists in every culture on the planet. A likely reason for this is our hyperactive connection circuitry in the brain that prominently uses the neurochemica loxytocin. As I discuss in The Moral Molecule(link is external), in a decade's worth of experiments in the laboratory and in the field, my colleagues and I have found that when someone is nice towards another person, the recipient's brain releases oxytocin and this causes him or her to respond with kindness. Oxytocin is the embodiment of the Golden Rule.

An extraordinary triumph of the human species is our ability to extract value from all kinds of relationships with all kinds of people. One never knows when the server at the cafe you frequent might become a neighbor, or romantic partner, or work colleague, or perhaps a friend. Maintaining good relationships with a large number of people broadens our ability to find opportunities to profit from relationships. This "profit" might be a business opportunity, but more often it is the value of companionship that expands our social network. Individuals with the richest social networks are happier, healthier and live longer.

So how do you improve your social life? My experiments have found that those who release the most oxytocin when they are trusted have higher quality relationships of all types: romantic, friendships, and with family members. And, importantly, they share more money with strangers in laboratory tasks. I'd call this good manners.

Here's a way to start broadening your social network: say hello to people you meet. Good manners also dictate that you treat them with respect and kindness. Just the thing your mother probably told you when you were a child, but this is advice that resonates with theneuroscience of oxytocin. By the way, high stress inhibits oxytocin release and the reciprocation of nice with nice. So if someone is rude toward you, you don't have to lash out at him or her. Give them the benefit of the doubt--they may just be having a high-stress day. Oxytocin lets us behave with compassion for others by allowing us experience others' emotional states.

Here's a way to take it one step further: next time someone is rude to you, offer him or her a hug. It is an easy way to diffuse the situation by getting their brains to release oxytocin and reduce the stress they are experiencing. Hey, it might even work if the person is French.

Friday, 17 July 2015

The symbol of serpent and dragon – an Jungian view

Everywhere the symbol of the serpent and dragon is connected with the (d)evil. That does hurt me a little bit, as I am Serpent in the Chinese Zodiac – which is the least favored sign. The snake has a bad rap not only according to my wife, but certainly within Christianity. In defense of myself (and the snake), I wanted to look at the snake in symbolic terms, in Jungian terms and to explore this from all possible angles. In alchemical symbolism dragons are associated with fire and the primal chaotic material. The Western concept of dragons is to portray them as to be feared, and destroyed, whereas in the Near East these negative traits are minimized, Furthermore in the Far East the dragon possesses different aspects, in that it is simultaneously a creature of water, of earth, of the underworld, and of the sky. A self depicting serpent or dragon eating its own tail ( Ouroboros) is an ancient symbol which is often associated with Gnosticism, and Hermeticism. Carl Jung interpreted the Ouroboros as having an archetypal significance. Jung gave the serpent an important role in his Quaternio Series Diagrams in his book “Aion”.

The Dragon

This is one of the most easily recognized mythical beasts. It is also a pervasive symbol in a variety of cultures, giving rise to many interpretations about exactly what a dragon is, what it represents, and how it behaves. It can be associated with good luck, fortune and wisdom, or with bad luck, elemental evil and heresy. Carl Jung would have called the dragon a symbol of the universal unconscious, since so many cultures have myths associated with a dragon, or dragon like beasts.

The dragon is for Carl G. Jung the personification of Sulphur and is by far the male element. Since the dragon is said to impregnate himself by swallowing his tail, then the tail is the male organ and the mouth is the female organ. The winged dragon represents personal obstacles that must be overcome to insure a more-perfect being; thus, leading to the saying: “You conquer the dragon or he will conquer you.” We see that Jung did, certainly, inspire awareness of the connections between modern psychology and ancient spiritual practice. Some credit the Chinese as the inventors of dragon. The origins of dragon lore are a matter of some debate. It is known that at least as far back as 300 BCE, some bones of prehistoric animals were labeled as coming from dragons. In Christianity the dragon is generally a symbol of evil, a demon or the devil. The most famous Christian legend is that of St. George slaying the dragon.

Much of dragon lore tells us that dragons were loathsome beasts and evil enemies to humankind. But dragons were born of a time other than men, a time of chaos, creation out of destruction. The dragon is a fabulous and universal symbolic figure found in most cultures thought the world.

Symbology of the dragon:

Gnostics: “The way through all things.”

Alchemy: “A winged dragon – the volatile elements; without wings – the fixed elements.”

Guardian of the ‘Flaming Pearl” symbol of spiritual perfection and powerful amulet of luck.

Chinese: “The spirit of the way”‘ bringing eternal change.

In Scripture the term dragon refers to any great monster, whether of the land or sea, usually to some kind of serpent or reptile, sometimes to land serpents of a powerful and deadly kind. It is also applied metaphorically to Satan.
Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. — Ps. lxxiv.13.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. — Ps. xci.13.
He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. –Rev. xx. 2.
In the New Testament the word “dragon” is found only in Rev. 12:3, 4, 7, 9, 16, 17, etc., and is there used metaphorically of “Satan.”

The Serpent.

Dr. Jolande Jacobi signifies in her chapter “The Dream of the Bad Animal” the serpent initial material, in need of transformation, the chthonic, moist element of water, female, standing for unconscious symbol for many things depending on the context, also wisdom. In the famous Houston Interviews (Bollinger, C.G. Jung Speaking or youtube) he talked about a 28-year-old woman who told Jung that “she had a black serpent in her belly.” The woman was “only intuitive, entirely without a sense of reality.” Then she announced that the snake, which had been dormant, had suddenly become active. “One day she came and said that the serpent in her belly had moved; it had turned around,” Jung says. “Then the serpent moved slowly upward, coming finally out of her mouth, and she saw that the head was golden” Jung amplifies the image of the snake in the abdomen by reference to the serpent in Kundalini Yoga. “I told you,” Jung says, “the case of that intuitive girl who suddenly came out with the statement that she had a black snake in her belly.” He situates the snake in the context of the collective unconscious. “Well now, that is a collective symbol,” he says. “That is not an individual fantasy, it is a collective fantasy.” The image of the snake in the abdomen, Jung says, “is well known in India.” Although the woman “had nothing to do with India” and although the image “is entirely unknown to us,” he says that “we have it too, for we are all similarly human.” When the woman first told Jung about the snake in her belly, he wondered whether “perhaps she was crazy,” but then he realized that “she was only highly intuitive.” She had intuited a typical, or archetypal, image. “In India,” Jung says, “the serpent is at the basis of a whole philosophical system, of Tantrism; it is Kundalini, the Kundalini serpent” (1977: 322).

Of course, everybody knows the Biblical story of the fall of man tells of how Adam and Eve were deceived into disobeying God by a snake (identified as Satan by both Paul and John in II Corinthians and Revelation, respectively). In the story, the snake convinces Eve to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which she then convinces Adam to do as well. As a result, God banishes Adam and Eve from the garden and curses the snake.

Fighting with them – The Hero Myth

In the fight with the dragon the hero battles the regressive forces of the unconscious, which threaten to swallow the individuating ego. The forces, personified in figures like Circe, Kali, Medusa, Sea Serpents, Minotaur, or Gorgon, represents the Terrible side of the Great Mother. The Hero may voluntarily submit to being swallowed by the monster, or to a conscious descent into Hades so as to vanquish the forces of darkness. This mortifying descent into the abyss, the sea, the dark cave, or the underworld in order to be reborn to a new identity expresses the symbolism of the night-sea journey through the uterine belly of the monster. It is a fundamental theme in mythology the world over — that of death and rebirth. All initiatory rituals involve this basic archetypal pattern through which the old order and early infantile attachments must die and a more mature and productive life be born in their place.

The mythological goal of the dragon fight is almost always the virgin, the captive, or more generally, the ‘treasure hard to attain.’ This image of the vulnerable, beautiful, and enchanting woman, guarded by and captive of a menacing monster gives us a picture of the inner core of the personality and its surrounding defenses. The hero’s task is to rescue the maiden from the grasp of the monster and, ultimately, to marry her and establish his kingdom with her. This dragon fight and liberation of the captive is the archetypal pattern that can guide us through those major transitional passages in our personal development where a rebirth or reorientation of consciousness is indicated. The captive represents the ‘new’ element whose liberation makes all further development possible. In response to the call the hero undertakes a dangerous journey to an unknown region full of both promise and danger.

Getting there – the night sea journey.

The night sea journey is a kind of descensus ad inferos--a descent into Hades and a journey to the land of ghosts somewhere beyond this world, beyond consciousness, hence an immersion in the unconscious [“The Psychology of the Transference,” CW 16, par. 455.]. Mythologically, the night sea journey motif usually involves being swallowed by a dragon or sea monster. It is also represented by imprisonment or crucifixion, dismemberment or abduction, experiences traditionally weathered by sun-gods and heroes: Gilgamesh, Osiris, Christ, Dante, Odysseus, Aeneas. In the language of the mystics it is the dark night of the soul. Sometimes, as with Jonah, Aeneas, Christ, and Psyche, it is a descent into the depths — the sea, the underworld, or Hades itself. Always there is a perilous crossing. Sometimes the faintheartedness of the hero is balanced by the appearance of guardians or helpful animals that enable the hero to perform the superhuman task that cannot be accomplished unaided. These helpful forces are representatives of the psychic totality that supports the ego in its struggle. They bear witness to the fact that the essential function of the hero myth is the development of the individual’s true personality.

Symbols of Spiritual Growth and Transformation

The Ouroboros, the snake forever swallowing its own tail, is a famous alchemical symbol of transformation. Jung saw the Ouroboros much like he saw the mandala, as an archetypal template of the psyche symbolizing eternity and the law of endless return – and individuation.

This Ouroboros symbol was first created in 1682. However, the idea of a snake/serpent eating its own tails can be referred to as far back as Ancient Egypt.

The image, according to Dr. Jolande Jacobi, “shows a sinful world of creation, surrounded by the Serpent of Eternity, the Ouroboros, and characterized by the four elements and the sins corresponding to them; the whole circle relates to the center, the weeping eye of God, i.e., the point where salvation, symbolized by the dove of the Holy Ghost, may be achieved by compassion and love.”

Ouroboros symbol in Alchemy

The Uroboros symbol in Alchemy, was also seen as a symbol of assimilation. Consumption of the opposite. This sign was also regarded as a symbol for immortality as the serpent never dies and is always reborn. The snake is seen as a sacred creature in Africa, especially in West Africa. The Ouroboros symbol is prevalent in many religious aspects in the form of the Oshunmare. The Oshunmare is also seen as a symbol for rebirth.

A lack of first hand experience with snakes makes the serpent a creature representing a fear of the unknown. As such, snake symbolize that unknown fear. The fear can be an intuitive warning or an unfounded anxiety about some undefinable, something hidden. Honest analysis provides the key to deciphering the snake symbol. In Christianity, the symbol pertains to Satan and the world we currently live in. It also refers to the men and women of this planet as being self-centered and “fallen”. The whole idea of the serpent itself is that it reflects something that is re-creating itself. Be wise as serpents … – Serpents have always been an emblem of wisdom and cunning:In the Quaternio series; Man culminates in the of a good God, but rests below on a dark and evil principle (Devil or serpent). The serpent has its complement in the Paradise Quaternio which leads into the world of plants and animals. Indeed, this serpent actually dwells in the interior of the earth and is the pneuma that lies hidden in the stone. The point of greatest tension between the opposites…(is)…the double significance of the serpent, which occupies the center of the system. Being an allegory of Christ as well as of the devil, it contains and symbolizes the strongest polarity into which the Anthropos falls when he descends into Physis. Symbols of fear and cunning.

Genesis 3:1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Snakes as Sexual Symbols

Symbols of WisdomSnakes are usually symbolizing sex and sexuality. The feelings the snake evokes is key to its interpretation. Feelings of revulsion indicate sexual dissatisfaction.
The Legend of the White Snake is one of the most famous folk tales in Chinese culture. Legendary actress Brigitte Lin, is a snake spirit who has come into the human world with her sister Green Snake. Human scholar Xu Xian immediately catches White Snake’s attention from afar, and the two quickly fall in love and get married. However, a Taoist priest sees the two spirit sisters returning to their true self. There is an enigmatic seduction scene in there. Maggie Chung is the lusty maiden & titular character Green Snake, flirting erotically with thrilling, dynamic, not to say with perverse personality. Despite having accumulated 500 years of merit, her ability to remain in human guise is restricted by her delight in her own snakey sensuousness. She frequently reverts to her serpent form, in whole or in part. Green Snake in her unrestrained manner finds that she is attracted to the monk, & as White’s Snake disciple, she thinks it only correct that she find a human partner as admirable as Xu Xian has been for White Snake.

The Egyptians used the serpent in their hieroglyphics as a symbol of wisdom. Probably the thing in which Christ directed his followers to imitate the serpent was in its caution in avoiding danger. No animal equals them in the rapidity and skill which they evince in escaping danger. So said Christ to his disciples, You need caution and wisdom in the midst of a world that will seek your lives.

My Chinese sign of the snake serves as embodiments of intellectual, elegance, wisdom and sensuality, but describes the bearer of the sign also as cold, arrogant and feared by many. For Chinese astrologers, the snake is a revered creature of intuition, and spiritual development. The very same mystery and elusiveness causing fear in some gives rise to a fascination or intrigue in others. I connect to the sign of the snake as embodiments of elegance, sensuality, the intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animal Signs. But am I dark and cunning, plotting and schemes to make certain things turn out exactly as I want them to? I guess that would be similar to the “green snake”, would be my shadow.

Monday, 13 July 2015

VIDEO Total Isolation

Thursday, 9 July 2015

What are cooperative and collaborative learning?

What are cooperative and collaborative learning?

Collaborative learning is a method of teaching and learning in which students team together to explore a significant question or create a meaningful project. A group of students discussing a lecture or students from different schools working together over the Internet on a shared assignment are both examples of collaborative learning.

Cooperative learning, which will be the primary focus of this workshop, is a specific kind of collaborative learning. In cooperative learning, students work together in small groups on a structured activity. They are individually accountable for their work, and the work of the group as a whole is also assessed. Cooperative groups work face-to-face and learn to work as a team.

In small groups, students can share strengths and also develop their weaker skills. They develop their interpersonal skills. They learn to deal with conflict. When cooperative groups are guided by clear objectives, students engage in numerous activities that improve their understanding of subjects explored.

In order to create an environment in which cooperative learning can take place, three things are necessary. First, students need to feel safe, but also challenged. Second, groups need to be small enough that everyone can contribute. Third, the task students work together on must be clearly defined. The cooperative and collaborative learning techniques presented here should help make this possible for teachers.

Also, in cooperative learning small groups provide a place where:

  • learners actively participate;
  • teachers become learners at times, and learners sometimes teach;
  • respect is given to every member;
  • projects and questions interest and challenge students;
  • diversity is celebrated, and all contributions are valued;
  • students learn skills for resolving conflicts when they arise;
  • members draw upon their past experience and knowledge;
  • goals are clearly identified and used as a guide;
  • research tools such as Internet access are made available;
  • students are invested in their own learning.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

5 Powerful Hypnotic Words for the Workplace

Imagine saying this to a colleague in your office:

“I’m making some coffee. Would you like one?”


At some point later in the day you might ask that same colleague to do you a favor. It might be a small favor, like printing off a document. Or photocopying a page for you. Or even just taking your coffee cup to the kitchen sink.

The point is, since you made them a coffee earlier, without being asked, they’ll feel obliged to return the favor.

This is an example of the theory of reciprocity. You’ve done them a favor, and so when you ask them to return the favor, they feel like they owe you one. It’s a simple technique that can be used for building rapport and for getting what you want without the other person being aware of what you’re doing.

As far as conversational hypnosis goes, it’s pretty basic. It works, and that’s the main thing. Of course, you won’t be able to pull it off on the same co-worker day in and day out. Fortunately, though, there are other ways you can persuade the people you work with to do anything you want them to do.

Some questions you might be asking yourself are:

Do I really want to? Or do I really need to?

You’ll have to decide the answers to those questions for yourself. And while you’re deciding, think about what you could gain from it:
Increased cooperation
Better working conditions
More decision-making muscle
A harder working team
Shared business goals

One way of strengthening your persuasion skills at work is by using powerful words so you sneak under the radar and break down defenses.

5 Fast-Working Powerful Words
Look at the list of benefits above. Can a single word really give you better working conditions? Or increased cooperation from your colleagues or employees? Yes it can.

Words create associations in the brain. They focus attention. They bypass the conscious mind and worm their way into the unconscious to stimulate different ways of thinking.

Here are the words and the power they contain, in no particular order:

1. Now
The word “now” is short, sweet and to the point. Tell someone you need work done now and they know exactly what you mean.

There’s no room for ambiguity. There’s no question about putting it off until tomorrow, or next week. You don’t even have to give a reason, as long as the word now is included in your sentence.

What does “now” do to your colleague’s mind? It focuses it. It gives your words a sense of immediacy. It makes people work hard, even if it’s only for a limited period of time.

For example, an editor needed some copy for the next installment of his online newsletter. His writer was dragging his feet, renowned for leaving things to the last minute. But the editor was going away and didn’t have time to wait for it. So he simply emailed him this message:

“Hi Josh, I need your copy now. Doesn’t matter if it’s perfect as long as I get it asap. I want to pay you for it before I go on holiday.”

2. Secret
Have you ever asked someone if they could keep a secret? Do you remember what they said? The truth is that when asked that question, very few people will say NO.

Why? Because they want to be in on it. They want to know what it is you know. They’re curious about what “the secret” you’re keeping has to do with them, or with someone you both know, or with your situation at work.

Arouse their curiosity, and you’ve got them hooked.

Naturally you then go on to say that the information must be kept completely confidential. You ask your colleague not to tell anyone else, that it’s a secret just between the two of you. And that means you both share a common goal.

For example, you might tell them you heard there’s a bonus on the line if sales increase by a certain percentage. Or you could tell them the management are looking for someone to promote from within. These are great ways to get people working harder – as long as there’s some truth in the secret you’re revealing.

In other words, it has to be a secret, or at the very least something that not everyone knows about. But it does work, and that’s the crux of the matter.

3. You
Next time you get the chance, stand outside a crowded room and shout “Hey, you!”

What will happen? Most of the people in the room will turn and look in your direction. They don’t know whose attention you’re trying to get, but they’re curious to find out if it has anything to do with them.

It’ll probably come as no surprise to hear that the three most powerful words used in sales and advertising are you, free and guaranteed. The best sales copy is written in the third person because when someone reads it, it resonates with them. It’s directed at them through the use of the word you.

The logic behind it is this: when you see or hear the word you, it gets your attention. It’s a substitute for your real name. There’s no doubt in your mind whatsoever that the message is aimed at… you.

Why does it work? For a split second, it puts you at the center of the universe. That’s where most people want to be, whether they admit it or not. That’s what drives everything you do, everything you want, everything you believe in and everything you feel. You.

So, for example, suppose you were to say to one of your employees whose work ethic was below par:

“I need you to take over (some minor responsibility) starting first thing tomorrow morning.”

It automatically makes them feel important. While there’s no guarantee they’ll rise to the occasion, it’s a simple way to increase their feeling of value to the company. It just might be the trigger that turns their work habits around.

Although it may be grammatically incorrect to put it like this, you is everyone’s favorite person.

4. Help
With few exceptions, most people are suckers for flattery. As long as you do it carefully, you can butter them up and get them to respond or perform any way you want them to.

The easiest way to achieve this in the workplace is by using just one word – help. For example, you might say:

“Anna, I need your help getting this spreadsheet balanced.”

What will Anna think about that? She’ll think you realize that she’s:
Good with computers
Good with spreadsheets
Good with numbers

In other words, Anna believes that you value her experience and expertise. Asking for her help gives her an instant boost of confidence. She’ll help you because she wants to prove to you that she really is able to do what you want her to do. And after all, you wouldn’t ask her unless you already knew that.

You probably don’t really need help, but you noticed that Anna didn’t seem to be fitting in as part of the team. By asking her to help you in this way, you give her the chance to shine, raising her self-esteem and perhaps making other staff members take more notice of her.

Result? Everybody wins.

5. Because
When you were younger, you probably had a conversation like this with your mother:

“Mom, can I stay up and watch TV?”

“No, it’s time for bed.”

“Oh, please, Mom?”

“I said no.”

“But why?”

“Because I said so.”

Ring any bells? Sure it does. And because it’s your mother, you’re not going to argue. You know you’re not going to win, so you give up.

Thing is, mom didn’t give you a good reason. “Because I said so.” That’s not a reason. If she said you needed your sleep, or the TV was overheating, those would be reasons.

But your mother’s a clever lady. She knows she doesn’t have to give you a reason. The word “because” takes care of all the hard work. She accepts the fact that you might cry, you might whine about it for a while, but in the end you’ll go to bed just like you’ve been told to.

Why? Because.

Likewise, in the workplace you can get colleagues or employees to do things for you without giving them a valid reason. For example, you might say:

“Joan, would you finish typing this letter for me because I want to leave now?”

The two things – the letter typing and the fact that you want to leave – are not connected. As soon as you phrase the question this way, however, they get connected. They get connected in Joan’s mind. You want her to do something for you because you want to do something else.

If she’s someone you have a good relationship with, she’ll probably agree to help you. You’ll be long gone before she figures out (if she ever does) that you’ve talked her into doing something you could easily have done yourself.

These are not the only powerful words you can use in conversation, but they’re words that have a particular potency in the workplace.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Why Are Men Fascinated with Fire?

In the summers of my youth, campfires were rite of passage places where one’s physical celebration of the day could not consecrated until flames flickered and chased away the final shades of twilight lupine sky. It was a sacred time where a boy could poke a stick into burning embers and experience the raw power of Prometheus and Zeus.

Greek mythology teaches us about the dawn of man, when life was an epic struggle for survival. Mortals were at the whim of Gods whose capricious acts often visited disaster and plunged them into darkness. Humans needed divine allies in the heavens and there was no better friend than crafty Prometheus. Driven to return fire to the hands of man, The Titan trickster deceived all-omnipotent Olympian, Zeus, stealing the secret of combustion and releasing the heavenly bounty to mortals. In committing this celestial felony, Prometheus was condemned to have his liver eaten each day by a voracious eagle, only to have the liver grow back and be eaten again for eternity. With his gift of fire, Prometheus was ensured a heroic place in our pantheon of Gods. But he got burned in the process.

It seemed that fire has forever been both a blessing and a curse. With Prometheus’ gift came fascination, chaos, destruction, warmth, romance and mythology. As children, we learned some hard lessons and came to understand the risks filled euphemisms as “he likes to play with matches” and “that could easily become an uncontrolled burn”. Yet, we are fascinated with fire. We gaze into the bursts of swirling flames thrown from a bonfire on a clement summer’s night, we can almost sense something in the air – a magical confluence of charged ions, created out of combustion, smoke and an electric night. For a moment, we are at the warm center of a safe universe while all around us swirls ebony unknown.

From an early age, men more than women, seem to be obsessed by fire. Criminal profilers confirm that 90% of all arsonists are male. Many of these unfortunates use fire to act out unfulfilled aggression and power. Most women would agree with this prognosis as they watch their husbands, boyfriends and significant others yield to uncontrolled pyromania when afforded the opportunity to build a fire.

For men, there are essentially two types of fire starters the pyro-purists and the anxious arsons. The “pyro-purist” believes a fire is like a slow kiss. In the pyro-purist world, initial sparks should come from a flint and steel, flicked into a small hollowed log where it can be succored with gentle breath and fed like a baby chick — nurtured with small combustible pieces of cotton and rotted wood chips. The purist is certain that in a past life he was an explorer or mountain man. Near the fireplace are the tools of his trade – the building blocks of combustion : tinder dry kindling, paper, sticks and bone dry branches. For this hearty pioneer, each fire is like conceiving and rearing a child. He must give it confidence. It must be coaxed and led through its adolescence until it bursts into a mature blaze that is finally worthy of a log.

The purist knows that the finest fires come from a slow, even burn – a fire that throws off extreme heat with only a wisp of light smoke. These glowing works of art can only be achieved from hardwoods – ash, oak, hickory, dogwood and almond wood. Each type of wood is like an exotic coffee throwing off its own unique aroma and flavor with earthy rich smoke and even fragrant burns. If you are hosting an outdoor party, perhaps a split pinion pine with its deep resins and occasional pops and crackles might be in order. An intimate dinner for two requires a cedar, which offers a heat that slowly builds and throws off a seductive aroma.

A big-time burnmeister insists that all his logs be seasoned in a protected woodpile for six months. These fanatics of flame understand the gift of combustion and that each log brings a certain thermal energy content. It is not just a fire, it is homage to Prometheus.

At the other end of the spectrum is the “anxious arsonist”. This impatient greenhorn does not grasp the concept of kindling and combustion. After three frustrated attempts to get rain-soaked logs that are heavier than concrete sewer pipes, he retreats from the fire pit scouring the perimeter for anything flammable including his child’s favorite stuffed animal or perhaps his spouse’s ancient down jacket. The next phase of his helpless huffing and puffing might include hacking green branches from an adjacent tree which produce more smoke than an NYPD gas canister. To this environmental disaster, he may add toilet paper, torn magazines and even the road map that helped him navigate to his godforsaken campsite.

The neophyte’s blaze begins and ends unceremoniously with a great-polluted gasp of smoke and sizzled hissing that leaves all family members with coughs similar to incurable tuberculosis. The anxious arsonist is undeterred and begins a frenetic search for highly flammable items including Mennen underarm deodorant, perfume and the lighter fluid that was intended for the morning pancake breakfast. In one great mushroom cloud burst of incompetence, the fire ignites and the Dr Flamenstein is knocked back to the ground with singed eyebrows and a blackened face. It does not matter. He stands and proclaims, “It’s alive! It’s alive!”

Women witness this bizarre ritual every summer and shake their heads at the pathetic Groundhog Day behavior of the anxious arsonists and pyro-purists. It is simply a fact – men are obsessed with making fires. But according to some sociologists, the more advanced the civilization, the more men grow up unable to shake the arson monkey off their backs. It seems the less we play with fire as kids, the less the need to burn leaves our psychological systems. As anthropologist, Dr Daniel Fessler describes, western society is regressing. We have moved from playing with matches and to anxious arsons. Fessler writes:

“The latter aspect ( man’s penchant for fire making) stands in contrast to results from a survey of ethnographers which reveals that, in societies in which fire is routinely used as a tool, children typically master control of fire by middle childhood, at which point interest in fire is already declining. This suggests that when fire learning is retarded in western children, arguably due to patterns of fire use in modern societies that are atypical when viewed from a broader cross-cultural perspective, fire repressed men will have a higher probability to become arsonists.”

It has been confirmed that we need to let our kids play with matches. If we don’t allow an occasional controlled burn, we are elevating the odds that years from now we may be paying for junior’s decision to torch a truck stop outside of Bishop, California. Psychologists further argue that the need to make fire grows and becomes a surrogate for latent sexual frustration playing out in a destructive behavior. About this time, many men are saying, “I am not sure I like where this whole thing is going.” Ok, I admit it. I made all this stuff up because some kid paid me $20 to try to convince his Mom to let him shoot off some bottle rockets.

But, hey, it is summer time and a campfire remains one of life’s simple pleasures. The fire you dig may rest deep into the cool sands of a beach, blazing recklessly – urging its audience to dance some pagan homage to the summer equinox or it is hidden – tucked carefully between large granite rocks by a lake, sheltered from high alpine winds that sweep down, tugging at the flames and dispersing curious smoke that seems to follow you wherever you choose to sit. In the firelight, our shadows leave us and sway giving the illusions of shape shifting giants rising like great waves.

In the end, the fires we make are homages to the Gods. The fires we start allow us for a brief time to gather, share our mythology leaving only footprints and shadows. With the heat splashing our faces and our backs turned to the cold night, we come to better understand our physical world and chase away the things that go bump in the night. And when our little ones grab a stick, igniting a broken branch and their imaginations, let them play a while. It was, after all, a gift – – and anything worth receiving must be shared.