Free event 27 May

This Saturday 27 May at 11:00 CEST (Madrid/Paris/Berlin) I’ll be holding my first free online event for English teachers.

Important information

  1. Get your free ticket including Zoom link here. 
  2. Prepare for our group discussion by listening to the podcast linked below and taking notes using the prompts below (see the section “Ideas to focus on while taking notes”)
  3. Put on you blue suede shoes and see you on Saturday the 27th of May!


  • I’ll share a bit about myself and the Ethos English project. Feel free to ask questions!
  • Get to know each other by talking in small groups in breakout rooms to find out about each other’s context, including your interests and challenges. We’ll then rejoin the main session and talk as a group.
  • You’ll rejoin breakout rooms to discuss the episode How Your Beliefs Shape Reality. Make sure to have notes on the key points I’ve identified below. Discussion topics will be provided on the day of the event.
  • We’ll then return to the main session and share ideas. How does the episode connect with your life and work?
  • I’m going to share a really simple yet helpful website on cognitive biases and in groups we’re going to explore how we can use this resource as well as the podcast Hidden Brain with our learners.
  • In conclusion, I’ll briefly present the Ethos English Lab membership for teachers, including what content it will include and also find out what features you might like from it.
  • Before we say goodbye I’ll let you know about the next free event and the topic. (It will be to do with using technology in our teaching.)

How to prepare for the 27th

  • In order to participate, you’ll need to have listened to the episode of the podcast Hidden Brain entitled How Your Beliefs Shape Reality.
  • Don’t forget that the podcast link above includes a full transcript if you’d like to read through it after listening. (Scroll down and click on the button “transcript”.)
  • Take notes on the following ideas that are mentioned.
  • The more detailed they are the easier it will be to discuss the episode with your fellow participants.
  • At the bottom of the page you’ll find a glossary of tricky vocabulary that you can look at before (or after!) listening to the show.

Ideas to focus on while taking notes

  • the incident in the subway
  • Lebanon / the hostile media effect
  • Lee Ross / the fundamental attribution error
  • George Carlin joke
  • Jeremy Clifton’s stutter and its impact on his life
  • Aaron Beck / the causes of depression
  • Melvin Lerner / the just world theory / advantages and disadvantages
  • research on language used in tweets
  • primal world beliefs / three categories
  • umbrella belief
  • benefits of seeing the world as dangerous
  • the lens as metaphor for how we see the world
  • contrasting examples – Jer’s grandfather-in-law / conversation in Lithuania
  • people’s ability to guess others’ primal world beliefs based on their background
  • the pandemic
  • leaf exercise / journaling
  • improvements in our life circumstances / primal world beliefs
  • survey / Jer’s own mother / his relationships with others

Glossary of tricky vocabulary from the podcast episode

make ends meet: This phrase refers to having just enough money to pay for one’s necessary expenses.

  • Despite working two jobs, she was barely able to make ends meet.
  • After the sudden loss of his job, it was difficult for him to make ends meet.

a gig: A job, especially one that is temporary or that has an uncertain future.

  • He got a gig playing guitar in a local band.
  • She’s doing a gig as a bartender until she can find something better.

come to: To regain consciousness or return to one’s senses.

  • After fainting, it took her a few minutes to come to.
  • He came to in a strange room, with no memory of how he got there.

go by something: To be known or referred to by a particular name, title, or designation.

  • He goes by the nickname ‘Red’ among his friends.
  • The secret agent goes by many names.

a good-for-nothing person: A person who is lazy, unproductive or lacks value or merit.

  • He’s a good-for-nothing person who’s never held a job in his life.
  • She called him a good-for-nothing and told him to leave.

unfold: The way in which a narrative or series of events becomes clear and develops.

  • As the story unfolded, it became clear who the culprit was.
  • She watched as the story of her life unfolded in front of her.

prompt someone to do something: To cause or encourage someone to take a specific action.

  • The disaster prompted them to donate to the relief fund.
  • His rudeness prompted her to leave the party early.

overlap with something else: To share some but not all parts or elements in common with something else.

  • Her responsibilities at work often overlap with her personal life.
  • These two subjects overlap in several key areas.

depict: To represent or show something in a picture, story, movie, etc.

  • The painting depicts a beautiful sunset over the ocean.
  • The movie depicts the life of the famous scientist.

a partisan: A strong supporter of a party, cause or person.

  • He was known as a staunch partisan of the president.
  • The crowd was filled with partisans cheering for their team.

make a startling prediction: To forecast or prophesize something surprising or alarming.

  • The scientist made a startling prediction about the impact of climate change.
  • He made a startling prediction about the company’s financial future.

coin a term: To invent a new word or phrase.

  • She coined the term ‘cybernetics’ in her latest book.
  • The psychologist coined a new term to describe this phenomenon.

take something for granted: To undervalue something by assuming it will always be available or remain the same.

  • We often take our health for granted until we become ill.
  • He took her love for granted and didn’t realize her worth until she left him.

do something swiftly: Do something quickly and immediately.

  • She swiftly assumed the role of team leader when her boss was absent.
  • After the king’s death, the prince swiftly assumed the throne.

stutter: To speak or say something with involuntary breaks and pauses, or repeat parts of words.

  • He has a stutter that becomes more pronounced when he’s nervous.
  • Her stutter doesn’t prevent her from being an effective public speaker.

cause untold suffering/despair: To result in a great amount of pain or hopelessness that is difficult to express or quantify.

  • The war caused untold suffering among the civilian population.
  • His betrayal caused her untold despair.

ascribe: This verb means to attribute something to a specific cause or source.

  • Scientists ascribe global warming to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The teacher ascribed his sudden improvement in grades to his extra effort in studying.

a quirk: This term refers to a peculiar behavioural habit or characteristic that is distinctive to an individual.

  • His main quirk is that he always wears mismatched socks.
  • She has a quirk of laughing nervously when she’s telling the truth.

downstream effects on behaviour: This phrase refers to the subsequent impacts or consequences that an event, decision, or circumstance can have on a person’s actions or behaviour.

  • The traumatic event had downstream effects on his behaviour, including increased anxiety and fear.
  • The implementation of the new policy had significant downstream effects on employee behaviour.

be in plain sight: This phrase means to be easily seen or noticed, but often overlooked or disregarded.

  • The keys were in plain sight, on the coffee table.
  • The evidence was in plain sight, but the detective missed it.

enticing: This adjective describes something that is attractive or appealing, often in a way that tempts or lures someone.

  • The aroma of freshly baked bread was so enticing that she couldn’t resist entering the bakery.
  • The shop window displayed an enticing array of chocolates.

dull: This word describes something or someone that lacks interest, excitement, or brightness.

  • The lecture was so dull that she almost fell asleep.
  • The knife was too dull to cut through the thick rope.

a mechanistic view of the world: This phrase describes an understanding or perception of the world that is based on cause and effect, and which sees events, actions, and processes as functioning like a machine or predictable system.

  • His mechanistic view of the world does not account for the unpredictability of human nature.
  • Scientists often adopt a mechanistic view of the world when conducting empirical research.

an overarching belief: This term refers to a central, guiding principle or conviction that influences a person’s actions, decisions, and perspectives.

  • Her overarching belief in equality drives her advocacy work.
  • His overarching belief is that everyone has the right to freedom of speech.

see the world through rose-tinted glasses: This phrase means to have an optimistic, perhaps overly idealistic, view of life or a situation.

  • Despite the difficulties she faced, she always seemed to see the world through rose-tinted glasses.
  • He tends to see the world through rose-tinted glasses, often ignoring the harsh realities.

smudged: This term describes something that has been blurred, smeared, or made dirty, often by touch.

  • She was upset to find her freshly written letter smudged with ink.
  • The window was smudged with fingerprints.

swap something out for something else: This phrase means to replace one thing with another.

  • He decided to swap out his old phone for a newer model.
  • She swapped out the regular sugar for a healthier alternative in her baking recipe.

an infirmary: This term refers to a place, often within a larger institution like a school or military base, where medical care or treatment is provided.

  • The school infirmary was busy during flu season.
  • Soldiers injured in training were sent to the base infirmary for treatment.

a cot: This term refers to a small, often portable, bed that can be folded up when not in use.

  • She set up a cot in her office for the overnight shift.
  • The refugees were provided with a cot and a blanket in the shelter.

It begs the question […] : This phrase refers to a statement or situation that raises a particular question or issue that needs to be addressed.

  • His sudden resignation begs the question of what really happened.
  • The significant increase in pollution begs the question of whether more should be done to combat climate change.

anecdotally: This adverb refers to information that is not scientifically verified but is based on individual observations or reports.

  • Anecdotally, many people claim to feel better after reducing their consumption of sugar.
  • The benefits of the new medication were supported by anecdotal evidence from the patients.

a lay person: This phrase refers to someone who does not have specialized or professional knowledge in a particular subject.

  • To a lay person, the scientific jargon in the report was confusing.
  • He tried to explain the complex legal process to the lay person.

ZIP code: This term refers to a system of postal codes used in the United States, given in the form of a number, which helps in identifying the location of a place.

  • The ZIP code for Beverly Hills, California is 90210.
  • You will need to provide your ZIP code when ordering items online for delivery.

barren: This adjective is used to describe land that is too poor to produce much or any vegetation, or a place showing no results or achievements.

  • They had to cross a barren desert to reach the city.
  • After many attempts, their efforts to develop a new software were barren.

a person’s background: This phrase refers to a person’s past experiences, education, family history, and the overall environment in which a person was raised.

  • Understanding a person’s background can provide insight into their beliefs and behaviours.
  • Her background in engineering helped her solve practical problems.

be upstream of our experiences: This phrase refers to the fundamental causes or origins of our experiences, which often shape and influence the experiences themselves.

  • Genetic factors are upstream of our experiences of health and illness.
  • His childhood trauma was upstream of his experiences in adult relationships.

ubiquitous: This adjective describes something that appears or is found everywhere.

  • Cell phones have become ubiquitous in today’s society.
  • Fast food chains are ubiquitous in the United States.

pluck a leaf: This phrase refers to the act of removing a leaf from a plant or tree, often gently or carefully.

  • She plucked a leaf from the tree to examine it more closely.
  • The child plucked a leaf from the bush out of curiosity.

proverbial: This adjective is used to refer to a well-known or commonly referred phrase or name.

  • He’s as quiet as the proverbial mouse.
  • She opened the proverbial can of worms when she mentioned the controversial topic.

journaling: This noun refers to the practice of keeping a diary or journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of one’s life.

  • Journaling is often recommended as a stress management tool.
  • She found that journaling helped her to organize her thoughts and feelings.

an underlying belief: This phrase refers to a belief that is at the base or root of one’s thoughts, actions, or attitudes, even though it may not be clearly seen or expressed.

  • His underlying belief in fairness influences all his decisions.
  • Despite her outward confidence, her underlying belief was that she was not good enough.

lock horns with someone: This phrase means to get involved in a disagreement or conflict with someone.

  • She locked horns with her colleague over the direction of the project.
  • The two politicians are expected to lock horns in the upcoming debate.


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