"He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up: what then? The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune." A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Ebenezer Scrooge to the Spirit of Christmas Past, talking about the virtues of his former employer, Fezziwig. Is being in my class a pleasure or a toil for my [...]
“Teachers are losing the education war because our adolescents are distracted by the social world. Naturally, students don’t see it that way. It wasn’t their choice to get endless instruction on topics that don’t seem relevant to them. They desperately want to learn, but what they want to learn about is their social world—how it works and how they can secure a place in it that will maximize their social rewards and minimize the social pain they feel… How do our schools respond to these powerful social motivations? Schools typically take the position that our social urges ought to be [...]
“That is how learning to read begins—first people read to you, then they read with you, and finally they give up because you have taken control of your own reading and don’t want anyone else to interfere. Usually it happens remarkably quickly, so smoothly that it is rarely noticed. Of course, you don’t learn to read all at once. You learn one word at a time—and no one can predict each successive word that you learn will be. It’s not easy to learn new words from word lists, where there is no meaningful context. But new words are learned with [...]
“It is amazing how easy it is to influence people’s behavior using these friendship tools [the eyebrow flash, the authentic smile and the head tilt]. Alone or in combination, they allow you to make people feel better about themselves and, in turn, encourage them to make you feel better as well. When you employ the Golden Rule of Friendship, it encourages reciprocity: ‘If you make me happy, I want to make you happy.’” p. 90-91 The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over, by Jack Schafer, Ph.D.
“Touch seems to be such an important tool for enhancing social cooperation and affiliation that we have evolved a special physical route along which those subliminal feelings of social connection travel from skin to brain. That is, scientists have discovered a particular kind of nerve fiber in people’s skin—especially in the face and arms—that appears to have developed specifically to transmit the pleasantness of social touch… they are connected directly to the areas of the brain such as the insular cortex, which is associated with emotion.” p. 137 Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rues Your Behavior, by Leonard Mlodinow
“… the most frequent words account for 85 percent of speech.” p. viii “Given that verbs typically account for 20 percent of all words in a language, this [focusing on just the most frequent verbs] may be a good strategy. Also, a focus on function words may be equally rewarding – 60 percent of speech in English is composed of a mere 50 function words.” p. viii “…verbs are in general more common in conversation, which tends to express feelings and opinions more than presenting information about objects and processes.” p. 148 A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish: Core Vocabulary for [...]