Are you distracted while writing?

The following video offers you some tech solutions that can help you focus and work better.

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Are political talking points a threat to a healthy democracy?

This is both funny, and profoundly sad.
It’s a fine example of why politicians running for office need to do more than spew their party’s talking points. Case in point this candidate for The Australian Liberal Party, the main centre right party of Australia that would be comparable to the Federal Conservative Party or to Provincial PC parties on the political spectrum.
This candidate, in keeping with his party electoral candidate training, is doing what too many political parties do here in Canada: they stick to their party’s messages which consist of a narrow list of sound bite long talking points. They show no actual understanding of how those talking points would be applied when pressed by questions from the either the public or journalists. Let the facts and reality be damned.
They sound like clueless fools, and demonstrate that they are but mindless sheep that can only do as they are told, be it during the campaigning or when in office. Rewarding this behaviour by voting for these automatons is a threat to the sustainability of democracy. Their approach shows an utter contempt for the intelligence of voters and the democratic process by removing the true political dialogue and debate at the local level. Citizens, communities, and our societies deserve better.

Here’s are a a link to a series of articles from Australia’s ‘The Sydney Morning Herald‘ surrounding this particular Candidate and this interview.

Fred Rogers Interviews and my thoughts on this amazing man.

I love Fred Rogers and Bill Cosby. When it comes to TV educators they have so much to offer those of us who would teach primary school.

How does one get and keep a child, or multiple children, attention and focus?

Watch and listen to Fred Rogers. Then compare him to Bill Cosby. Both use the tone, the tempo, and melodic aspects of their voice to get their message across. It isn’t solely good story telling technique, it is also a sound pedagogical approach that utilizes human psychology.

I try to mimic these attributes in some aspects of my teaching even at the high school level.

I am a high energy pseudo-hyper teacher that uses a lot of indirect instruction and group activities. I use humour and play in my direct instruction. However, I am always careful to slow it down when I teach directly. When I use direct instruction, or give directions as to my expectations or for explaining procedures I go somewhere between Bill Cosby & Fred Rogers.

I get my students’ attention with a hand in the air. Once I have their full attention, I speak calmly, and softly (almost quietly) as to draw them in. I slow down my tempo to make sure that they register all I have to say, then I ask a student to paraphrase my directive. I then ask a second student to do the same. By then everyone knows what needs to be done. I works remarkably well.

**Be careful not to take a condescending tone. If you sound condescending, you’ll lose your adolescents students every time. **