Jose Carillo's Forum


This new section features links to interesting, instructive, or thought-provoking readings about the English language. The selections could be anywhere from light and humorous to serious and scholarly, and they range widely from the reading, writing, listening, and speaking disciplines to the teaching and learning of English.

Multitaskers do worse than single-taskers; people like things simple

The lowdown on multitasking. A recent Stanford University study has come up with evidence that self-described multitaskers—particularly students who move their attention rapid-fire from text-messaging to the class lecture to Facebook to note-taking—perform much worse on cognitive and memory tasks that involve distraction than do people who prefer single-tasking. David Glenn, senior reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, writes in its January 21, 2010 issue that the experiments of Stanford psychology professor Clifford I. Nass and two colleagues have added fuel to the perpetual debate about whether laptops should be allowed in classrooms, and may have the potential to illuminate unsettled questions about the nature of learning, memory, and intelligence.

Read David Glenn’s “Divided Attention: In an age of classroom multitasking, scholars probe the nature of learning and memory” in The Chronicle now!

People’s preference for simple things. In the January 31, 2010 issue of the Boston Globe, staff writer Drake Bennett reports that one of the hottest topics in psychology today is “cognitive fluency”—the measure of how easy it is to think about something—and that it turns out “people prefer things that are easy to think about to those that are hard.” Psychologists have found out that shares in companies with easy-to-pronounce names significantly outperform those with hard-to-pronounce names, and that manipulations that make a statement easier to mentally process can alter people’s judgment of the truth of the statement. “The human brain, for all its power, is suspicious of difficulty, but perhaps we can learn to use that,” Bennett concludes his report.

Read Drake Bennett’s “How ‘cognitive fluency’ shapes what we believe, how we invest, and who will become a supermodel” in the Boston Globe now!

Huge downturn in language proficiency. In Toronto, Ann Barrett, managing director of Waterloo University’s English language proficiency exam, reports with alarm that 30 per cent of students admitted are not able to pass at a minimum level. She says that the failure rate has jumped five percentage points in the past few years, up to 30 per cent from 25 per cent, and that the major reason students fail is poor grammar, particularly with articles, prepositions, and verb tenses. For this state of affairs, Canadian educators largely blame little or no grammar teaching, cellphone texting, and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. “There has been this general sense in the last two or three years that we are finding more students are struggling in terms of language proficiency,” says Waterloo University’s director of academic advising.

Read Susanna Kelley’s “Students failing because of Twitter, texting and no grammar teaching” in Canadian Press now!

View the complete list of postings in this section
(requires registration to view & post)

Copyright © 2010 by Aperture Web Development. All rights reserved.

Page best viewed with:

Mozilla FirefoxGoogle Chrome

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!

Page last modified: 13 February, 2010, 12:10 a.m.