Read e-book Life Under the Influence of Clear, Effective Thinking

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Think about your message before you write it. First, decide on the purpose of your message and what outcome you expect from your communication. You will also improve the clarity of your message if you organize your thoughts before you start writing. Jot down some notes about what information you need to convey, what questions you have, etc. You can try brainstorming techniques like mapping, listing, or outlining to help you organize your thoughts. Reflect on the tone of your message. When you are communicating via email, your words are not supported by gestures, voice inflections, or other cues, so it may be easier for someone to misread your tone.

For example, sarcasm and jokes are often misinterpreted and may offend your audience. Similarly, be careful about how you address your reader. Strive for clarity and brevity in your writing. Have you ever sent an email that caused confusion and took at least one more communication to straighten out? Miscommunication can occur if a message is unclear, disorganized, or just too long and complex for readers to easily follow. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your message is understood:.

Format your message so that it is easy to read. Use white space to visually separate paragraphs into distinct blocks of text. Bullet important details so that they are easy to pick out. Use bold face type or capital letters to highlight critical information, such as due dates.

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Re-read messages before you send them. Check your grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. If your email program supports it, use spelling and grammar checking tools. Try reading your message out loud to help you catch any mistakes or awkward phrasing that you might otherwise miss. How does the tone of the messages differ? What are the elements that contribute its clarity? If you were Professor Jones and you received both messages, how would you respond to each one?

Critical Thinking

Can I come by your office tomorrow at pm to talk to you about my question? The good news: there are things you can do to achieve a healthier work-life balance. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. All too often, we underestimate how long things will take. Prioritize tasks. Make a list of tasks you have to do, and tackle them in order of importance.

What Negative Thinking Does To Your Brain

Do the high-priority items first. If you have something particularly unpleasant or stressful to do, get it over with early. The rest of your day will be more pleasant as a result. Break projects into small steps. If a large project seems overwhelming, make a step-by-step plan. Focus on one manageable step at a time, rather than taking on everything at once. Delegate responsibility. If other people can take care of the task, why not let them?

Let go of the desire to control or oversee every little step. In addition to regular exercise, there are other healthy lifestyle choices that can increase your resistance to stress. Eat a healthy diet.


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Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day. Reduce caffeine and sugar. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body.

Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally. The fastest way to reduce stress is by taking a deep breath and using your senses—what you see, hear, taste, and touch—or through a soothing movement. By viewing a favorite photo, smelling a specific scent, listening to a favorite piece of music, tasting a piece of gum, or hugging a pet, for example, you can quickly relax and focus yourself. Of course, not everyone responds to each sensory experience in the same way.


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The key to quick stress relief is to experiment and discover the unique sensory experiences that work best for you. Tai Chi Video Mayo Clinic. Lower Stress: How does stress affect the body? Small changes that can make a big difference to your stress levels. American Heart Association. American Psychological Association. Last updated: June Start a stress journal A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them.

Tips for building relationships Reach out to a colleague at work Help someone else by volunteering Have lunch or coffee with a friend Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly Accompany someone to the movies or a concert Call or email an old friend Go for a walk with a workout buddy Schedule a weekly dinner date Meet new people by taking a class or joining a club Confide in a clergy member, teacher, or sports coach. Recommended video. Other resources. Pin Share 4K. Was this page helpful? This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Whether in your personal or professional life, taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress. It is also difficult to reach consensus on how best to measure student learning. Given these complexities, many educators have avoided being too explicit or public about tracking student learning for the purpose of improving instruction or evaluating performance. However, the current context of high-stakes accountability for students and schools found in most states, and which is being developed as a result of No Child Left Behind, provides an impetus and urgency for examining ways to assess teacher quality that are fair and realistic.

Today, superintendents, principals, teachers, and students are being held accountable for higher levels of student achievement. Teachers are being pressured to produce results, yet often lack the necessary information and support to make data-driven instructional decisions. The use of approaches such as those suggested in this book can offer feedback on how to improve instruction in a balanced and meaningful manner.

How Cognitive Biases Influence How You Think and Act

Two primary purposes of teacher evaluation, as noted earlier, are professional growth and accountability. The use of data on student learning in the teacher evaluation process offers a potential tool for both improvement and for refocusing teacher evaluation on the accomplishments of teachers versus stylistic issues or their political standing. Too often, personal opinions or biases contaminate the evaluation process and undermine the credibility and trust necessary for meaningful dialogue about instruction. Reliable and valid information on student learning helps to align the evaluation process with the fundamental concerns of schooling.

There are numerous advantages to this approach.

More objective measure of teacher effectiveness. The importance of objective data in the evaluation process becomes more striking in a story from one principal in Dallas. As she entered the new school to which she was assigned, the outgoing principal informed her of two problematic teachers for whom she would need to begin laying the groundwork to dismiss. One teacher tended to be scattered in her approach to tasks and had a somewhat disorganized room.

Her students were often talking and moving around the room at will as they worked. The other teacher was brusque with her students, rigid with her class rules, and worked the students hard. They were polar opposites in terms of style, but at the end of the year, when the new principal received the test data on the teachers in her building, she found that both of these teachers were top performers in terms of gains in student achievement.

She decided that she could tolerate individual personality differences if children were being well served by these teachers. This story offers a compelling message: an evaluation approach that examines both the act of teaching and the results of teaching provides a more balanced and realistic appraisal of teacher effectiveness.

Meaningful feedback for instructional improvement. Objective feedback in the form of assessment data also offers an invaluable tool for supervision. Feedback from colleagues or supervisors based on a few classroom visits is equally limited because of the narrow sampling of behavior it provides. Assessment data of student learning over a marking period or even half a year can provide substantive feedback on students' cumulative mastery of material. It provides a broader and richer sampling of the teacher's impact on students and permits the identification of specific patterns in the learning of content and skills that were taught.

The evidence from schools that have been successful in increasing the achievement level of students, particularly those serving high-poverty and high-minority populations, has been that better use of data is a key ingredient in their success. In a recent study of 32 schools in the San Francisco Bay area, the frequency with which teachers collected, interpreted, and analyzed data for instructional improvement was found to differ among schools that were closing the achievement gap versus those that were not.

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Thinking on Your Feet

Barometer of success and motivational tool. In addition to providing meaningful feedback for instructional improvement, student achievement data can provide encouragement and a sense of gratification. Without concrete feedback on the results of their work, teachers can hardly hope to improve them.

Data promote certainty and precision, which increases teachers' confidence in their abilities.