Category Archives: Psychology

How To Raise A Resilient Child

“Never has resilience — be it physical, mental, emotional or financial — been more important to our society than in the past year and a half, and never have I been so determined to pass it on to my son.” E. VanceThe New York Times, September 21, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Raising Resilient Kids Who Are Prepared for the Future-Child Mind Institute

Excerpt: The Secret to Raising a Resilient Kid, By Erik Vance, The New York Times, Sept. 14, 2021

Credit- Joao Fazenda NYT

 

“In my early teens, my dad took myself, my best friend and our neighbor on a grueling backpacking trip connecting California’s Yosemite Valley to Half Dome to nearby Clouds Rest mountain and back again. By the second day — halfway up Clouds Rest, on wobbly legs and besieged by mosquitoes — we finally mutinied. The three of us made it clear to my father that we were done. Nobody had heard of Clouds Rest and nobody had the juice to see the top.

‘OK, I understand,’ I remember Dad saying. ‘You guys stay here. Erik, let’s go.’

There was no point arguing. Even today, my only memory of the top of Clouds Rest is the blue sky I saw flat on my back, panting and praying for a speedy death.

Later, of course, I described the hike as an epic victory of teenager over nature. Which, I suspect, is why my dad pushed me to do it. Whether he knew it or not, Dad was a big believer in the concept of resilience, the ability to engage with a challenge, risk or impediment, and come out the other side with some measure of success…Thankfully, most experts say resiliency is something that can be fostered, nurtured and developed in children from a very young age. You just have to build a safe foundation, find challenges and watch kids thrive.

Credit-schoolbag.edu.sg

Build a stable, safe foundation… “Having a relationship with a caring parent is far and away the most powerful protective factor for children,” said Ann Masten, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesotaand a pioneer in the study of resiliency in children.

Once a kid feels safe, supported and has a good model of resilience, it’s time to challenge her a little…’One of the great skills of parenting is knowing how to challenge, when to challenge, how much to challenge,’ Dr. Masten said. ‘There’s no one right way to foster resilience, just like there’s no one right way to parent.’

If you put the word “resilience” on a poster, it would probably be under a photo of someone climbing a mountain, fighting a forest fire or perhaps tending to patients in a Covid ward. But, in fact, it’s the small disappointments or frustrating moments that truly build resilience.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Raising a resilient kid might be challenging.
  2. In my early teens, my dad took myself, my best friend and our neighbor on a grueling backpacking trip.
  3. By the second day  we were besieged by mosquitoes.
  4. We finally mutinied.
  5. Later, of course, I described the hike as an epic victory of teenager over nature.
  6. It’s a psychological principle blending optimism, flexibility, and problem-solving.
  7. It is about the ability to bounce back even when times get tough.
  8. You just have to build a safe foundation, find challenges and watch kids thrive.
  9. Children need to feel they have a stable home base before they can take risks and learn to bounce back.
  10. When we arrived, we learned that the next 48 hours would be plagued with thunderstorms, downpours and even a flood warning.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Make the most of small challenges. If you put the word “resilience” on a poster, it would probably be under a photo of someone climbing a mountain, fighting a forest fire or perhaps tending to patients in a Covid ward. But, in fact, it’s the small disappointments or frustrating moments that truly build resilience.

When teaching canoeing, for instance, he starts by putting a kid into a boat to see if she can figure it out. Then, after a little frustration, he gives some instruction and lets her try again.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. Whether he knew it or not, Dad was a big believer in the concept of resilience, the ability to engage with a challenge, risk or impediment, and come out the other side with some measure of success.”
  2. Resilient people not only bounce back, but also thrive in the best of times.”
  3. Creating resilience in children isn’t just chucking them into the deep end of a pool to see if they can swim, it’s about the bedrock of support you give them every day. Having a relationship with a caring parent is far and away the most powerful protective factor for children,”
  4. “It’s not just about being tough — that’s not resiliency. It’s about doing things that you’re not sure you can do. And with other people.”

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. According to experts, how is resiliency acquired?
  2. How does Dr. Masten,  describe resilience?
  3. What must parents do before attempting to teach resilience to their children?
  4. Why is it important to ‘regulate’ your own emotions around your children?
  5. The article states that if some people place the word ‘resilience’ under a poster, it would probably be under a photo of someone climbing a mountain, fighting a forest fire or perhaps tending to patients in a Covid ward. The article continues to state, “But, in fact, it’s the small disappointments or frustrating moments that truly build resilience.” What photo or image would you place under the word ‘resilience’?
  6. Explain ’cause and effect’ as applied to a child coming home with an F in math.
  7. According to Dr. Masten what is one great parenting skill?
  8. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.
  9. List 3  questions that you  would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Share questions as a class.

 

Photo Activity for speaking or Writing

Place students in groups and have the cut out or take pictures describing what they think resilience means. Share pictures as a class.

ANSWER KEY

The Negative Effects of Permanent Daylight Savings Time!

“The U.S. tried permanent daylight saving time in the 1970s — then quickly rejected it.” S. Davis, NPR March 19, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Permanent Daylight Savings Time would have Negative effects on everyone.

 

Excerpt: — By Susan Davis, NPR March 19, 2022

The Senate gave itself a pat on the back earlier this week when senators voted without objection to make daylight saving time permanent… However, America tried this before — and the country hated it. In the early 1970s, America was facing an energy crisis so the government tried an experiment. Congress passed a law to make daylight saving time permanent year round, but just for two years...It didn’t work, said David Prerau, one of the nation’s foremost experts on the issue. ‘It became very unpopular very quickly,’ he told NPR.

DST is unhealthy

Americans do not like changing their clocks, but they disliked even more going to work and school in the dark for months…It also didn’t reduce energy consumption as intended. In 1974, Congress repealed the law — before the two-year experiment was even up. Nearly 50 years later, Congress is back at it… Dr. Beth Malow, a neurologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, also testified…She thinks permanent Standard Time is a better choice.

“Zombies? No, IT’S THE FIRST MORNING OF DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME.” Scholastic Scope

‘It’s called Standard Time because ST lines up with our natural, biological rhythms,” she said. Permanent standard time with sunnier mornings and darker evenings would be healthier, especially for front-line workers and school students with early waking hours.”

Related Articles:

5 Deadly Reasons Why Daylight Saving Time Is Bad for You, By Richard E. Cytowic M.D., Psychology Today, March 6. 2020 “The shift disrupts circadian rhythm and raises the risk of stroke and depression.”

Why Daylight Saving Time is unhealthy. A Neurologist explains-By Beth Daley, The Conversation

The Dark Side of Daylight Saving Time, By  Maham Javaid, The Boston Globe, March 19, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

KWL Chart

The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about daylight saving time. Next, have students list the information they would like to learnLater in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The U.S. tried permanent Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the 1970s and failed.
  2. In 1974, Congress repealed the law — before the two-year experiment was even up.
  3. Although the Senate voted for permanent DST, many Americans are against it.
  4. The Senate gave itself a pat on the back earlier this week.
  5. The senators voted without objection to make daylight saving time permanent.
  6. Rubio,said  his legislation to end the need to annually change the clocks in March and November was a good one.
  7. The thinking was more sunlight in the evening would reduce the nation’s energy consumption.
  8. In the 1970s the idea of Permanent DST became very unpopular very quickly.
  9. The U.S. tried permanent DST in the 1970s — then quickly rejected it.
  10. Some people are hoping for a compromise between the Senate and the House.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.  For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.  Some Examples of Prepositions:  at,  as, across, around,  by, during,  for, from, in, into,  of, on,  over,  off, to, through,  up,  with, since,

Additional Prepositions:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_prepositions

However, America tried this before — and the country hated it. In the early 1970s, America was facing an energy crisis so the government tried an experiment. Congress passed a law to make daylight saving time permanent year round, but just for two years. The thinking was more sunlight in the evening would reduce the nation’s energy consumption. The House has no immediate plans to take up the Senate-passed bill, but there is bipartisan support for it. The Biden administration hasn’t taken a position on it yet.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

image cosmopolitan.com

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “It didn’t work… It became very unpopular very quickly.”
  2. “Today the Senate has finally delivered on something Americans all over the country want: to never have to change their clocks again.”
  3. “It’s called standard time because ST lines up with our natural, biological rhythms. Permanent standard time with sunnier mornings and darker evenings would be healthier, especially for front-line workers and school students with early waking hours.”
  4. “I don’t have a specific position from the administration at this point in time.”

 

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Do you like the idea of making Daylight Savings Time permanent? Why or why not?
  2. In your opinion, should we keep Standard Time or continue turning the clocks back and forth during the year? Explain your reasons.
  3. According to some senators what is the good news about making daylight savings time permanent?
  4. When was the last time Americans attempted to make daylight saving time  (DST) permanent?
  5. What was the thinking behind this idea at the time?
  6. What were some of the problems with making DST permanent?
  7. According to Americans who experienced DST permanently what was the worst part for them?
  8. Was energy consumption reduced during this time?
  9. When did Congress repeal the law?
  10. What important information did Dr. Beth Malow provide about our health need for  permanent Standard Time?
  11. According to Prerau, what is the best solution?
  12. What opinion does President Joe Biden have about the change?
  13. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of permanent DST.
  14. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY

The Value of Sibling Rivalry

“My 4- and 8-year-old are closer now than they were before the pandemic – I hear the sounds of giggling… But the more time my girls spend together, the more they fight, too. You can’t avoid fighting… Just because sibling rivalry is to be expected does not mean there aren’t ways to mitigate it.” J. Grose, The New York Times, January 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- JooHee Yoon, The New York Times

 

EXCERPT: The Psychology Behind Sibling Rivalry, By Jessica Grose, The New York Times, January 2021

“The most common battlegrounds for my kids are perceived injustices and jockeying for position. The most absurd instance of the latter was when we were waiting to get flu shots this past fall. The girls got into a brawl over who received the first shot. My older daughter “won” that argument, but it was only as she was walking toward the pharmacist’s door that she realized a shot was not actually a prize.

On days when we are trapped in the house together and their screaming matches reach operatic levels, their dad and I worry we did something horribly wrong as parents to encourage this volume of strife. But according to Jeanine Vivona, a professor of psychology at the College of New Jersey who has studied sibling rivalry, ‘competition with siblings is just a fact of life. And we, as people with siblings and people with children, can just try to manage it as best we can.’

Observational studies have shown that sibling conflict may happen up to eight times an hour. Other research finds that pairs of sisters tend to be the closest, and that sibling dyads that include a brother have the most conflict.

‘Conflict does decrease into adolescence; it sort of levels off,’ said Mark Ethan Feinberg, a research professor of health and human development at Pennsylvania State University. ‘Early and middle childhood are particularly difficult times for sibling aggression.’

As a study that Feinberg co-authored notes,  the book of Genesis, which includes the ‘founding stories of the Western psyche,’ is dripping with tales of murderous and covetous siblings, like Cain and Abel and Jacob and Esau…dastardly deeds, conflict over parental love is so profound that hundreds of years ago, when child mortality was much higher, children under 5 with close-in-age siblings were more likely to die… While most siblings aren’t fighting for actual scraps, psychologically, sibling rivalry serves a developmental purpose: It helps children figure out what is unique and special about themselves, otherwise known as ‘differentiation.’   Read the entire article for  five suggestions from the experts to handle squabbling sibs.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The most absurd instances are ones for getting attention.
  2. We did something horribly wrong as parents to encourage this volume of strife.
  3. The girls got into a brawl over who received the first shot.
  4. Some dastardly deeds, in the Bible are centered around sibling rivalry.
  5. This knowledge certainly puts my kids’ fights over who got more ice cream into perspective.
  6. Most siblings don’t continue to fight into adult age.
  7. Psychologically, sibling rivalry serves a developmental purpose.
  8. Just because sibling rivalry is to be expected does not mean there aren’t ways to mitigate it.
  9. Praise them in public and punish them in private.
  10. Children have a tendency to get twitchy when they’re cooped up.

Word Map by Against the Odds

 

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Try too/to find moments where/wear everyone can came/come together. You’re/Yourkids/kids’ temperaments and personalities may be/bee similar, oar/or they may not/knot. They may both love/loves dance, ore/or one loves/love dance an/and the other just wants/wantto/two play chess. One might bee/be rigid, and the other is an/a free spirit.

Reading: Identify TheSpeakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “Competition with siblings is just a fact of life. And we, as people with siblings and people with children, can just try to manage it as best we can.”
  2. “Conflict does decrease into adolescence; it sort of levels off,”
  3. “Early and middle childhood are particularly difficult times for sibling aggression
  4. “Hundreds of years ago, when child mortality was much higher, children under 5 with close-in-age siblings were more likely to die.”
  5. “Figure out what sets them off. Pay attention to what tends to happen before conflict breaks out,”

III Post Reading

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Do you have sisters or brothers?
  2. Do you get along with them? Why or why not?
  3. According to the article what are some of the themes in the Bible involving siblings?
  4. What is the  famous story of  sibling rivalry from the Bible? Do you know the story? 
  5. Why were children under 5 with close-in-age siblings more likely to die hundreds of years ago?
  6. Explain the developmental purpose that sibling rivalry serves.
  7. What are the five suggestions from experts to handle sibling rivalry?
  8. When should parents criticize their children?  According to Hunter, what is the advantage of this?

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions:  List three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY

Researchers Are Finding New Ways to Enter Our Dreams

“Scientists are figuring out how to communicate with people while they’re dreaming. What will be discovered on the other side?” V.  Greenwood, The Boston Globe, July 20, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Illustration- Gregori Saavedra. The Guardian

Excerpt: A passageway is opening into the world of dreams, By Veronique Greenwood, The Boston Globe, July 20, 2021

“Lucid dreamers can control their surroundings and the narrative of their dreams. Near the corner of the small, dark room, there is a narrow folding bed. Every now and then, a speaker on a nearby table emits an eerie violin riff. A line of red lights near the ceiling flashes, then flashes again, bathing the room in a lurid glow. In the bed someone who is fitted with a series of scalp and face electrodes is sleeping.

Sleep Lab -Boston Medical Center

This surreal tableau is part of scientists’ effort to breach the wall between the waking world and wherever it is we are when we’re dreaming. The researchers who control the speaker and flashing lights in the lab of Ken Paller, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., have been asking questions of people who are dreaming and hoping to get answers.

The Netherlands Institut

The dreamers have talked back in a handful of cases. Or rather, signaled back, swiveling their closed eyes back and forth or making little muscle twitches to answer arithmetic problems asked by an experimenter…It’s not quite on the level of “Inception,” the 2010 movie in which Leonardo DiCaprio enters people’s dreams to steal their secrets, but it could be a way to learn more about the peculiar places we inhabit, built by our brains without our knowledge, when we lie down to sleep.

Poster from film: Inception

Researchers have found that lucid dreamers can move their closed eyes voluntarily while asleep and can signal using a prearranged rapid movement — left-right-left-right — that they’ve become lucid. The sleeper may then perform another prearranged task, like singing a song or practicing a workout in the dream and then signal again when they’ve completed it. This has allowed researchers to ask big questions. Do activities take the same amount of time in a dream as in waking life? (Yes, it appears.)”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Scientists are figuring out how to communicate with people while they’re dreaming.
  2. Lucid dreamers can control their surroundings and the narrative of their dreams.
  3. Every now and then, a speaker on a nearby table emits an eerie violin riff.
  4. In the bed someone is fitted with a series of scalp and face electrodes.
  5. This surreal tableau is an effort to breach the wall between the waking world and when we’re dreaming.
  6. Some dreamers  can signal back by making little muscle twitches.
  7. It’s not quite on the level of “Inception,” the 2010 movie.
  8. Some believe that we enter an alternate life while sleeping.
  9. A phenomenon called lucid dreaming offers the possibility of communication in real time.
  10. Some experimenters spoke these questions, some used Morse code.

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Scientists are figuring out how to communicate with people while they’re dreaming.
  2. What will be discover on the other side?
  3. The researchers control the speaker and flashing lights in the lab.

II

  1. The dreamers have talked back on a handful of cases.
  2. Two-way communication with dreamers is possible.
  3. But there is a delay between a dream and when scientists can try to learn about it.

III

  1. Lucid dreaming offers an possibility of communication in real time.
  2. It is possible for some people to train themselves to dream this way.
  3. Researchers have found that lucid dreamers can move their closed eyes voluntarily while asleep.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes and descriptions  from (and of)  the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. This scientist is part of the group of researchers who control the people  who are dreaming.
  2. “One of the main challenges of doing dream research is that you only have access to the dream experience, the dream report, after the fact.”
  3. This sleep researcher helped bring the subject of Lucid dreamers to the mainstream.
  4. He and his colleagues have found that when lucid dreamers trace a line with their eyes they move with a smoothness they don’t have when awake and imagining the same experience.
  5. “It is not clear why some people perceived the questions and others did not…But staying lucid is like balancing on a knife’s edge…On the one hand, you may get so excited you’ve achieved lucidity that you wake up. On the other, you can fall back into the deep, languid waters of regular dreaming, losing the ability to participate in experiments.
  6. However, the method will always be really difficult and impractical, in the sense that you have to test dozens of participants before getting one instance of really convincing, successful communication.”

 

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Do you dream often? Can you remember your dreams when you wake up?
  2. According to the article have dreamers ever spoken (or signaled) back to the scientists?  How?
  3. What are some of the positive advantages of learning about our dreams?
  4. What type of  experiments did the researchers ask the sleepers to perform?
  5. At the present,  what’s the best way to get information about  what we dream about?
  6. Explain what Lucid Dreaming means.
  7. What are some of the things that  lucid dreamers can do?
  8. What are some questions researchers ask about lucid dreamers?
  9. In the 2010 movie ‘Inception,’ Leonardo DiCaprio enters people’s dreams to steal their secrets. In your opinion, do you believe this could actually happen with further dream research?
  10. Why are researchers cautious about future research in dreaming?
  11. In your opinion, are these experiments useful or harmful? Please provide reasons for your answers.

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

 

Extra Activities

Have each group research different institutions (in the U.S. and other countries)that have dream experimentation labs and write a report about the results. Each group will share their results with the class.

Have each member write about a dream they had and try to interpret the dream.

ANSWER KEY

Category: People, Psychology, Technology | Tags:

How to Comfort People During Covid-19

“The coronavirus won’t be going anywhere for a long time — and neither will our fears about it…There’s a lot to be scared of. But when people share their fears with you, what do you say?” A. Goldfarb, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Credit- Eric Mower and Assosciates

Excerpt: What to Say When People Tell You Their Coronavirus Fears, Anna Golfarb, The New York Times

“It may feel as if you’re offering comfort with a comment meant to lift their spirits — ‘You’ve got this!’ “’ know you’ll be fine!’ — but to those who are aching, these rah-rah sentiments can sound like you’re bulldozing over their pain, leaving little room for understanding or vulnerability.

Responding to someone’s expression of distress with an unhelpful, cheerful attitude is what the psychotherapist Whitney Goodman calls dismissive, or toxic, positivity.

An empathetic response reassures the other person that you’re seeing the situation from their side and sharing in their suffering. A dismissively positive response subtly shifts the burden of coping back onto the person who is expressing the negative emotion: If you tweaked your attitude, you’d feel better…At its root, dismissive positivity is a response from someone who feels uncomfortable in the situation aiming to make you feel better and quell your concerns, said Nicolle Osequeda, a psychotherapist. But it often ‘results in someone feeling unheard, frustrated, unsupported and alone.’Just because you say, ‘You’ll be fine!’that doesn’t mean that’s actually going to happen…‘That’s not how the world works,’said Ayanna Abrams, a licensed clinical psychologist. ‘That’s not how our bodies work. That’s not how our brain works.’

So here’s what to say — and what not to say — when people express their fears and worries to you right now.

Steer clear of fixing or reframing negative emotions.

Saying something like, ‘The vast majority of people who are infected recover,’ doesn’t help somebody manage their concerns in the moment, Dr. Abrams said.

Don’t minimize the other person’s fears. Saying things like, ‘You have nothing to worry about,’ does not make anxiety magically disappear… Nix the word ‘should.’ Statements with the word ‘should’ sound supportive, but they aren’t.

That’s because we are telling people what to do or how to feel, saidSonia Fregoso, a licensed marriage and family therapist…Instead, we should reflect, validate and be curious. A better way to phrase your concern is by using reflection, validation and curiosity, and in that order, Ms. Fregoso said. Mirror the emotion you hear in your friend’s voice. Fear, sadness and worry are all common emotions people are feeling right now…If you’ve said the wrong thing, you can still repair.

Once you realize what dismissive positivity statements sound like, you may realize you’ve botched the job as a confidant. It’s not too late to do some damage control. Dr. Abrams suggests reaching out and being transparent about missing the mark. Say something like, ‘Hey, I noticed when we were talking earlier, it didn’t seem like you were connecting with what I was saying. I realize I slipped into cheerleader mode too quickly. Can we try again? How are you doing now?’

If you’re at a loss for what to say next time you feel compelled to slip into cheerleader mode, she suggests asking the person directly what they would find helpful. Recruit them as an ally so you can face the issue together.

 

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

“European diplomats and foreign policy experts say that a Joe Biden presidency would restore the United States’ strained alliances with Europe.” Business Insider

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. It’s hard to lift someone’s spirit in times like these.
  2. Many people are aching.
  3. People are also vulnerable at this time.
  4. Responding to someone’s expression of distress with an unhelpful, cheerful attitude is dismissive.
  5. An empathetic response reassures the other person that you’re seeing the situation from their side.
  6. If you tweaked your attitude, you’d feel better.
  7. At its root, dismissive positivity is a response from someone who feels uncomfortable in the situation.
  8. Try not to minimize the other person’s fears.
  9. Try not to give unsolicited advice.
  10. Nix the word ‘should’ when giving advice.

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Try not/no to gave/give unsolicited advice. Unless/useless the other person explicitly ask/asks you for suggestions on/in managing his/he or she/her concerns, you shouldn’t offer/off your two cents. Most likely, people are just looking/look for a/an ear, Dr. Abrams said. They’re looking for a/an heart, nobody/somebody who can meet/met them in the experience and then they can better figure it out on their own.”

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article to  see if they can identify the speakers.

  1. Responding to someone’s expression of distress with an unhelpful, cheerful attitude is dismissive, or toxic, positivity.”
  2. At its root, dismissive positivity is a response from someone who feels uncomfortable in the situation.”
  3. “That’s not how the world works. That’s not how our brain works.”
  4. Offering counsel like, ‘You should just practice self-care’ or ‘You shouldn’t be so negative,’ is not helpful.”

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Have you had to comfort anyone since the covid-19?
  2. What advice did you give the person?
  3. List 3 things that one should not say to people in distress. List 3 things to say that are helpful to people in distress.
  4. What is one important  thing Dr. Abrams warns against when attempting to help a person who has fears?
  5. According to Sonia Fregoso what is the one word you should “nix”  when offering advice?
  6. After reading this article, would you change the way you give comfort and advice to people? If yes, explain how you would change.
  7. What new information have you learned from this article?

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY