Friday, 13 January 2017

Friday 13th - Are you feeling superstitious?

According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a "Friday the 13th" superstition before the 19th century.The earliest known documented reference in English occurs in Henry Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini.
Consequently, several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.
One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.
In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve Gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys, begin new projects or deploy releases in production. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s.
If you are spooked by Friday the 13th, you're in for a whammy of a year. This  unlucky day is the second of three for 2012. Many superstitions stem from the same human trait that causes us to believe in monsters and ghosts: When our brains can't explain something, we make stuff up. In fact, a 2010 study found that superstitions can sometimes work, because believing in something can improve performance on a task.
If you're not scared of Friday the 13th, you should be scared of the word used to describe those who are: friggatriskaidekaphobics. (An alternative, though just as tongue-twisty, word for the fear is "paraskevidekatriaphobia.")
For a superstition, Friday has long been considered an unlucky day - according to Christian tradition, Jesus died on a Friday.
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in the USA, about 17 million people fear Friday the 13th. Many may fall prey to the human mind's desire to associate thoughts and symbols with events.
"If anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind," psychologists say. "All those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored."

Source: Live Science

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Social Networking as a Tool for ELT

Advantages of Social Networking

found pic @ ATL&S
- Educational tool:  most students nowadays are fluent in Web and social networking technologies. Teachers must leverage this knowledge to enrich the learning experience. With social media, educators can foster collaboration and discussion, create meaningful dialogue, exchange ideas, and boost student interaction, especially when they are moving inside a new linguistic code.

- Enhance student engagement: students who rarely participate in class may feel more comfortable expressing themselves on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Social networking platforms enable teachers to establish “back channels” that foster discussion and surface ideas that students are too shy or intimidated to express themselves.

- Improve communication between students and teachers: Facebook and Twitter can enhance communication between students and teachers. Educators can answer students’ questions, post homework assignments or lesson plans, send messages and updates, schedule or announce upcoming events, and share interesting Web sites or multimedia content. Students can use Twitter to get help from instructors or other students. A great way for instructors to give participation points in addition to in class participation is by having students tweet about something that was discussed in class.

- Preparing students for active life: students entering the workforce can use social networking sites to network and find employment. With LinkedIn, students can establish a professional Web presence, post a resume, research a target company or school, and connect with other job seekers and employers. Students should follow professional organizations on Facebook and Twitter to be updated on new opportunities.

Disadvantages of Social Networking

- Social Media can be a distraction: tools like Facebook and Twitter may actually divert students' attention away from what's happening in class and may be disruptive to the learning process.

- Cyberbullying: While social networking sites provide a way for students and teachers to connect, they can be a weapon of malicious behavior. Teachers who use social networking tools as part of their activities must be aware of potential dangers and plan to intervene on minor incidents before they become more serious.

- Discouraging presencial communication: while real-time digital stream may create a safe harbour for students who are uncomfortable expressing themselves, students are missing valuable lessons in real-life social skills.

Now more than ever before the role of social media in education is under discussion. Advocates point out the benefits that social media provides for today's digital learners while critics call for regulation. Finding a middle ground has become a challenge. As an educational tool, social media enriches the learning experience by allowing students and teachers to connect and interact in new, exciting ways. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a platform where users can dialog, exchange ideas, and find answers to questions. These sites are designed to foster collaboration and discussion. Despite these benefits, critics argue that there are serious risks to using social media in the classroom. The main issue is: do these risks outweigh the potential for opportunity?
While the discussion goes on about the pros and cons of social networking in ELT, no one can argue the influence ICT has on our students. This new-millenium generation conducts much of their life through social media. They are already using YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as tools for learning. They expect their schools and their teachers do it, too! Let's not forget that a new reality should be faced with a whole new attitude.