Archive for category teaching + learning

The Inner Game program

THE Inner Game refers to the inner dialogue that takes place within a person who is performing or doing some activity where there are standards and expectations (often high), whether one’s own or other people’s.

Much of the time, we’re not aware of it, but we can become aware of it, and once we do… well, then the question becomes what to do about it! Is this dialogue helping or getting in the way of the performance? Who, in fact, is talking? And to whom?

Awareness of one’s own inner dialogue can lead to surprising insights in the form of pleasant experiences, and improved performance.

I’d read Tim Gallwey’s classic “The Inner Game of Tennis” back in the 80’s but did not fully understand the principles and was not able to transfer the concepts and tools in that book to my own professional situation or personal life.

A few years ago, I was given a deeper and interactive introduction to some of those tools in a training partly designed by Tim Gallwey. Since then, I kept an eye open for any chance to take an Inner Game workshop.

Thanks to Covid-19 putting the kibosh on face-to-face workshops, the Inner Game Institute went online. I signed up. And had such a good time I signed up for another one a couple of months later. Both workshops were led by Tim Gallwey and Renato Ricci. It was great to benefit from their energy, wisdom and experience.

The next one is The Inner Game of Sports, two seminars taking place in February and March. Check them out.

For the first time we will have in March our first workshop talking about The Inner Game applied in Sports area. In this event we will bring the experience of Tim Gallwey and the Inner Game applied to sports in the last decades, not only in athletes but also in high performance teams.   This program is aimed at athletes, professionals, practitioners, coaches, sports psychologists, and all those who wish to develop athletes in individual or team sports. You can access all details visiting our website.

I’m now learning to apply what I learned to the learning and teaching of languages.

A teacher uses Milanote

I wrote last week about a teacher who uses Milanote to manage his online class materials and communicate with his students. Here’s what some of his Milanote boards look like:

For more info, anyone can contact him at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.

Online teaching? A great opportunity.

Putting all your classes online suddenly is a big challenge and a great opportunity to do things differently, i.e. better.

Give doctors the freedom to exercise their profession without interference.” (Dr. Marc Wathelet, Belgian virologist.)

What kind of world do you want to live in? We now have a possibility to reset things: not go back to how things were, but go forward, but not in the same direction we were going before.

In this blog post:

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Learning Notion

Hi! In this blog post I talk about some new discoveries I’ve made in the world of productivity apps: Notion, (a way to organize digital information, part of “Building a Second Brain“), Active Recall and Timeblocking.

  1. Notion as an alternative to Evernote,  (Here’s my Notion tutorial playlist on YT.)
  2. PARA (only in passing, no details in this blog post as I’m still figuring out what it is – here’ s my PARA YT playlist)
  3. Active Recall and the Cornell Note System as a more effective way to learn new material than highlighting (here’s my Active Recall YT playlist), and
  4. timeblocking – a truly awesome yet simple way to make sure that those things you’d like to do actually get done (all those “Important but not Urgent” items). Link to my yt playlist

After watching a video by a veteran Evernote user on why he was thinking of moving over to Notion, I decided to check it out.

Particularly useful and helpful I found were the videos by Keep Productive (Francesco D’Alessio), Rebecca Ford and Marie Poulin (tho Marie is a power user and sometimes goes a little fast and sophisticated).

The key thing about Notion is, as Marie, Rebecca and Everyday Apple say, that it allows important info to re-surface and come to your attention more easily and effectively than Evernote. Evernote, of course, has its reminders, but in Notion you can created a calendar and put all your to-dos in there, and then created a daily calendar that filters only the tasks you have for that day. This is a huge advantage and though the learning curve for Notion is a little steep, the tutorial videos I found are very helpful.

“Unlike other apps that force me to silo different parts of my planning and task management system between different apps, Notion allows me to keep all of the parts of my system.”  (Rebecca Ford, “Task Management in Notion“, 23 Oct 2018)

Notion basically uses blocks, like the new WordPress interface (the artist formerly known as Gutenberg), but in a much more powerful way than you can in WordPress.

Keep Productive and Marie Poulin also offer Notion mastery courses which I plan to sign up for later this year.

Marie, Keep Productive, Rebecca Ford, GroovyWinks’ Maria Aldrey and super-productive Cambridge (UK) doctor Ali Abdaal have all mentioned another organizing principle which I am currently learning about: PARA (part of a larger concept called Second Brain). Marie Poulin and Maria Aldrey have both done videos on this. It’s different from GTD which I’m a little familiar with, so I’m finding it a little hard to get my head around these concepts, particularly Areas (is that like GTD’s “areas of responsibility”? And,“A resource is “a topic or theme of ongoing interest.” Say… wha???)

Dr. Abdaal also did a video on a study and review method he has used very successfully called Active Recall (video 1 and video 2). Shu Omi also did a neat and brief video on this.

Shu Omi’s video on timeblocking also helped me get over a major stumbling block: saving videos and websites and articles to watch or read later then never getting to that “later”. The simple solution: schedule a time or date to do just that. Well, duh!

So, today, I went through my “Read-Review” notes (because I’m dividing them into “ToReview” and “ToRead”), then I realized what’s going to happen: I’m going to re-tag these and then… probably never read them because I don’t have a way for those to pop up again right under my nose so I can’t miss them. They’ll be out of sight, out of mind. When am I going to review them? As I was already in Evernote, I decided, as well as re-tagging these, to use Evernote’s reminder function to fix a date and time to actually do these. I fixed a day for –

  • doing my weekly review (which will now include reading articles and notes on this topic)
  • working on my business (which will include reading my Evernotes related to business, marketing, etc)
  • working on a new website I’m building, which will include reading my Evernotes tagged with marketing or website
  • learning Notion, which mainly means watching Notion tutorial videos and reproducing that in my Notion sandbox
  • learning more about Active Recall which I’m using to study assignment design.
  • learning more about other memory techniques such as the mind palace (yup! I recently watched again BBC’s Sherlock.)

Each of the above now has a time slot and a day allocated to them, and that will pop up in both an Evernote reminder, and a calendar item in my Notion Master To-Do list.

I also watched Timeboxing: Elon Musk’s Time Management Method. Shu Omi said timeblocking is also used by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work. Here’s a blog post Cal Newport did on it: Deep Habits: the importance of planning every minute of your workday.

“Atomic Habits” author James Clear makes a similar point about the importance of intention (which timeblocking facilitates) in this clip.

Cal Newport’s new book is called Digital Minimalism.

On Newport’s blog, I found this article about learning and how these days, the hard work of developing good study habits seems to have gone by the wayside.

To Olser, it was clear that training a new generation of thinkers required teaching students how to actually put their mind to productive use, which is hard, and requires “bull-dog tenacity” before it becomes a “good habit.”

We don’t teach this any more.

Modern educational institutions care a lot about content: what theories we teach, what ideas students are exposed to, what skills they come away knowing. But we rarely address the more general question of how one transforms their mind into a tool well-honed for elite-level cognitive work.

He repeats this in this interview here: Don’t follow your passion (Do this instead.) |Cal Newport | Top 10 Rules. And at the end of that same video, rule #10, is timeblocking.

Dr Ali Abdaal in his video on Active Recall and particularly the part where he talks about why it works, why it’s effective, says it is the hard work, the difficulty of the task (trying to remember the answers to your own questions) that makes it valuable and helps the information to stick.

As it happens, Notion has an active recall template: Cornell Notes System. Active recall is very similar to a system of note-taking developed by a Cornell University professor in the 1940s.

There are 3 parts to the active-recall/Cornell Notes system:

  1. Read or watch or listen to the original, taking notes as you go. E.g. I’m now learning about how to design effective assignment sheets to teach academic writing to college students. As I read, I make the following notes:
    1. Your assignment sheet should:
      1. Link the writing task with specific learning goals
      2. Describe rhetorical aspects of the task, i.e., audience, purpose, genre
      3. Make explicit any constraints such as word count minimums and maximums
      4. Specify formatting requirements
  2. Create your own recall questions. E.g., for the above notes, my recall question is “What 4 things should an effective assignment sheet do?”
  3. Recalling, which involves looking at the questions only and trying to recall the original notes or answers.
    1. In his video “My favourite note-taking app for students – Notion”, Ali shows how to use Notion’s toggle-list function to hide your notes or answers to your recall questions. 
    2. It also involves, if you’re really trying to master a body of knowledge, repeating the recall step again after some interval of time. Here’s how Ali Abdaal used this technique to revise for his medical exams at Cambridge University.

This blog post briefly introduced the following productivity apps or ideas: Notion, PARA (a way to organize digital information, part of “Building a Second Brain“), Active Recall and Timeblocking. Thanks for reading!

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Making real-world-problem math curricula

Dan Meyer. A very smart, talented and enthusiastic young man who, despite our age-gap and the very different fields we teach (his is middle-school math, mine is college-level EFL), rarely fails to teach me lots. Not too long ago I spent happy hours reading and commenting on his blog. I just learned some more watching his 12-minute TED talk.

UPDATE: The video won’t play for some reason (“error #2032” whatever that means), and the same error occurs on the TED website. While TED is fixing this, you can download the video by clicking here:

Reader Story: I Quit My Passion and Took a Boring Job – Forbes


The message we are bombarded with is  do what you love (and the money will follow). But this story provides an interesting twist on it: Reader Story: I Quit My Passion and Took a Boring Job – Forbes.

It also provides more evidence that anyone who works in schools eventually is forced to

  1. become either a cop or an entertainer, and
  2. avoid the truth, to tell lies, to become a phony.

There’s more thoughts on this below the fold.

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2012/02/27 18:03 – What It Takes To Make A Leader: Singh

When I heard that the University of Tokyo announced in January that it would change the start of its academic year from spring to fall, it reminded me of this last condition.

The announcement means more than just a change in the timing of enrollment; it is a trigger for debate on making Japanese universities more global. And it is important that not only universities but also each student have a global perspective.

If universities change enrollment to fall, students will need to figure out how they will spend the half year between high school graduation and college enrollment, and between college graduation and entering the workforce. I believe those six months will give young people more opportunities to build up experience in foreign countries through traveling, studying and other means.

Canadian Solar Inc. will build and operate megasolar plants in Japan. The Canadian company hopes to construct four or five facilities this year, each with an output of 500kw to 2,000kw. It will sell some of the power generated. This would be the first time that a major solar cell manufacturer from overseas generates electricity in Japan.

(President, Sumitomo 3M Ltd.)

via 2012/02/27 18:03 – What It Takes To Make A Leader: Singh.

Instructional video: Doceri on the iPad

This sounded good: how to use an iPad as an interactive whiteboard, using some software called Doceri. I thought, if I watched this, I’d learn what Doceri is and how to use it. Well, I watched 4 minutes of this 7-minute video, and after that time, I was really no wiser as to what Doceri is, or how you can use an iPad as an interactive whiteboard. Apparently, you hook it up to a computer, and you need a projector, and you need Doceri, and you need at least one other bit of software… after that I tuned out. And this guy needs not just ONE video but TWO to tell you all this and more. You still awake?

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If you want to know what Doceri is and does, I think we’re better off going to the Doceri website. I did get a tip on something called ink2go, which looks more useful for what I want to do.

The above video breaks a basic guideline for instructional videos: explain clearly in the first few seconds what the video is about and why the viewer should keep watching.

How (not) to make a video

A video I won’t be imitating any time soon, unless I ever want to put people off.

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  1. Altho the speaker is facing the camera, he has his eyes closed or looking off-screen much of the time. I don’t get the feeling he is really interested in talking to me. It looks like a self-indulgent rant.
  2. What’s with the weird animation? Is this a real person? A cartoon figure? Why am I wasting time asking myself these questions?
  3. Why should I or anyone care what Andrew thinks? He doesn’t provide a convincing answer within the first 10 seconds.
  4. He doesn’t provide any compelling reason within the first 15 seconds  why I should continue to listen to the remaining 7 minutes and 40 seconds. I didn’t.
  5. Is he the beast of “Beast TV”?
  6. He looks miserable. Maybe I’m weird, but I prefer to watch people who are either nice to look at, or who look like they’re enjoying themselves and believe in what they are talking about, or preferably all three. See below for some examples.
  7. Did I miss anything?

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Another short, well-made video

Here is another interesting short video. It is professionally made, and I don’t aspire to make anything this slick – it is not worth my time to learn how to do so. I like the background graphics. Watch for the ones that pop up when Ferguson says “Lehman Brothers”. I prefer a speaker on video to be facing me/the camera, tho I suppose switching to a side-view or some other view helps provide variety. But does a short video really need it?

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