Feedback without Criticism

I have yet to meet a person who likes criticism. Instead, what most of us do is contract inside when we hear a criticism. Sometimes we respond defensively, sometimes we add the criticism to our pile of self-judgment, and sometimes we deflect and ignore what’s being said. In the process, we rarely manage to make use of the vital information and opportunities that useful feedback can provide: learning, better teamwork, or simply insight and understanding.

Making the World Safe for our Children: Down-regulating Defence and Up-regulating Social Engagement to ‘Optimise’ the Human Experience

The Polyvagal Theory helps us understand how cues of risk and safety, which are continuously monitored by our nervous system, influence our physiological and behavioral states. The theory emphasizes that humans are on a quest to calm neural defense systems by detecting features of safety. This quest is initiated at birth when the infant needs for being soothed are dependent on the caregiver. The quest continues throughout the lifespan with needs for trusting friendships and loving partnerships to effectively co-regulate each other. The Polyvagal Theory proposes that through the process of evolution, social connectedness evolved as the primary biological imperative for mammals in their quest for survival. Functionally, social connectedness enabled proximity and co-regulation of physiological state between conspecifics starting with the mother-infant relationship and extending through the lifespan with other significant partners. The theory explains why feeling safe requires a unique set of cues to the nervous system that are not equivalent to physical safety or the removal of threat. The theory emphasizes the importance of safety cues emanating through reciprocal social interactions that dampen defense and how these cues can be distorted or optimized by environmental and bodily cues.

Ultimate Phrasal Verb Book

Phrasal verbs are verbs combined with prepositions or adverbs. Familiarity with phrasal verbs and understanding their use as nouns (breakup, showoff, etc.) or adjectives (spaced-out, broken-down, stressed-out, and many others) is essential to ESL students. Updated information includes:

  • The most commonly used phrasal verbs
  • Activities and examples that reflect our current technology and the world around us
  • An expanded introduction for the teacher with a thorough breakdown and explanation of phrasal verbs
  • A discussion of separable and inseparable phrasal verbs in Unit I, and more.

This book’s hundreds of examples in context and hundreds of exercises will be extremely useful to ESL students who are preparing for TOEFL or who simply wish to improve their English.


The purpose of this action research project was to improve student vocabulary acquisition through a multisensory, direct instructional approach. The study involved three teachers and a target population of 73 students in second and seventh grade classrooms. The intervention was implemented from September through December of 2006 and analyzed in January of 2007. The goal was to gather evidence of a marked improvement in the number of vocabulary words that students recognize, understand, and use. Pre and posttests gathered data on student knowledge of fifty key content area vocabulary words. Three interventions based on brain research were implemented: specially designed graphic organizers, classical music, and Brain Gym® exercises. The gathered data indicates that students clearly understood and could define over five times as many words after this intervention (from 378 words to 1,941 words). The project results show that a multisensory, direct instructional approach improves student vocabulary acquisition. Educators need to increase their knowledge of brain research and implement direct instruction of vocabulary through the use of multisensory methods. (Contains 10 figures, 34 references, and 11 appendices)

Thom Bond: “Teaching Compassion at Scale” | Talks at Google

Thom Bond, founder New York Center for Nonviolent Communication (NYCNVC), visited Google MTV to discuss the Compassion Course Online ( Since 2011, more than 12,000 people in 110 countries have learned to communicate compassionately through this year-long course. As a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), it grows in participation every year and is now offered in four languages, funded entirely through donations.

Moderated by Earl J. Wagner, Google’s local Compassionate Communication trainer and Google engineer.

Neuroception: A Subconscious System for Detecting Threats and Safety

The author describes recent findings on the neurobiological mechanisms involved in perceptions of risk and safety. The term “Neuroception” describes how neural circuits distinguish whether situations or people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening. Neuroception explains why a baby coos at a caregiver but cries at a stranger, or why a toddler enjoys a parent’s embrace but views a hug from a stranger as an assault. The author explains the Polyvagal Theory, which posits that mammals–especially primates–have evolved brain structures that regulate both social and defensive behaviors. The Polyvagal Theory describes three developmental stages of a mammal’s autonomic nervous system: immobilization, mobilization, and social communication or social engagement. A neuroception of safety is necessary before social engagement behaviors can occur. Infants, young children, and adults need appropriate social engagement strategies in order to form positive attachments and social bonds. Faulty neuroception might lie at the root of several psychiatric disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.

Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge

Today’s economy is fueled by knowledge. Every leader knows this to be true, yet few have systematic methods for converting organizational knowledge into economic value. This book argues that communities of practice–groups of individuals formed around common interests and expertise–provide the ideal vehicle for driving knowledge-management strategies and building lasting competitive advantage. Written by leading experts in the field, Cultivating Communities of Practice is the first book to outline models and methods for systematically developing these essential groups. Through compelling research and company examples, including DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey & Company, Shell, and the World Bank, authors Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder show how world-class organizations have leveraged communities of practice to drive strategy, generate new business opportunities, solve problems, transfer best practices, develop employees’ professional skills, and recruit and retain top talent. Underscoring the new central role communities of practice are playing in today’s knowledge economy, Cultivating Communities of Practice is the definitive guide to fostering, designing, and developing these powerful groups within and across organizations.

The Tyranny of Words

The pioneering and still essential text on semantics, urging readers to improve human communication and understanding with precise, concrete language.

In 1938, Stuart Chase revolutionized the study of semantics with his classic text, The Tyranny of Words. Decades later, this eminently useful analysis of the way we use words continues to resonate. A contemporary of the economist Thorstein Veblen and the author Upton Sinclair, Chase was a social theorist and writer who despised the imprecision of contemporary communication. Wide-ranging and erudite, this iconic volume was one of the first to condemn the overuse of abstract words and to exhort language users to employ words that make their ideas accurate, complete, and readily understood.

The Mind in the Making – The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform

James Harvey Robinson (1863 – 1936) was an American Historian. In his writings he stressed the “new history” – the social, scientific, and intellectual progress of humanity rather than merely political happening. The Mind in the Making: The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform was published in 1921. In the beginning of the book Robinson states his purpose as follows: “As an old Stoic proverb has it, men are tormented by the opinions they have of things, rather than by the things themselves. This is eminently true of many of our worst problems to-day. We have available knowledge and ingenuity and material resources to make a far fairer world than that in which we find ourselves, but various obstacles prevent our intelligently availing ourselves of them. The object of this book is to substantiate this proposition, to exhibit with entire frankness the tremendous difficulties that stand in the way of such a beneficent change of mind, and to point out as clearly as may be some of the measures to be taken in order to overcome them.” He goes on to say: “I come back, then, to my original point that in this examination of existing facts history, by revealing the origin of many of our current fundamental beliefs, will tend to free our minds so as to permit honest thinking. Also, that the historical facts which I propose to recall would, if permitted to play a constant part in our thinking, automatically eliminate a very considerable portion of the gross stupidity and blindness which characterize our present thought and conduct in public affairs, and would contribute greatly to developing the needed scientific attitude toward human concerns–in other words, to _bringing the mind up to date_.”