Excellence is something that requires effort and dedication, not something that is achieved overnight. It is an ongoing process of consistency and hard work. Will Durant famously said,
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a not an act, but a habit.
Excellence is a habit that must be cultivated, rather than a destination that is reached and then forgotten. To become excellent, one must learn to be consistent, persistent, and diligent in their efforts. Excellence is not an achievement that is acquired quickly, but instead is something that must be built upon over time.
The Problem with Goals
We have all been taught many times over that goals are important, but goals are not the ultimate key to success. A goal is meant to provide a sense of direction or something to strive for. However, if you count on goals to reach and maintain a peak level of success or excellence, you are liable to end up like the proverbial dog chasing a car with no idea what he would do with it if he actually caught it.
In his famous book Atomic Habits, James Clear argues Durant’s case. Clear says in his book that systems are more important than goals and that you can achieve success by having good systems while ignoring goals. As you can probably put together from the title of the book, Clear’s “systems” are made up of good habits designed to make you a little bit better every day. The purpose of his book is to demonstrate how habits can create consistent growth and steady improvement over time to achieve your goals or even completely surpass them without leaving you feeling disappointed after reaching some arbitrary milestone. Let’s think through this premise a bit with an example.
Consider the goal of becoming a millionaire. Imagine working really hard for a long time and finally achieving that goal. What do you do when you have acquired all that money? What’s the point of continuing on your journey of financial gain if you have accomplished what you set out to do? Are you really content with being a millionaire, or are you just going to create a new goal to entertain yourself, such as becoming a billionaire? And what do you do when you reach that goal? Are you finally going to be content, or will the cycle continue? When is enough enough?
Whatever you decide to do about your finances, you will still need to come up with some new goal to keep yourself occupied at some point because retiring to a tropical island and spending your days in a hammock on the beach is going to get pretty boring after a week or two. We all know at least a few people who have retired comfortably only to go stir crazy and end up returning to work or starting a new project to keep themselves busy. They caught their car, and they didn’t know what to do with it. Goals can’t be our ultimate motivation. Once a goal is reached and the temporary high of success is over, we are left with no clear direction.
The Benefit of Habits
Now instead of aiming to become a millionaire, imagine that you have no end goal for your finances. Instead, your only goal is to maintain good financial habits. Now there is no final destination and no arbitrary number in your head that you have to reach. Your goal is not some final destination but is instead the maintenance of an ongoing process. And your finances will still be in great shape despite the lack of a lofty goal to shoot for. You will still be well on your way to becoming a millionaire thanks to your consistent financial habits, but now it does not matter if you ever reach a certain number or completely surpass it because there is no destination.
When you focus on maintaining good habits, your goal shifts from reaching a single event that will inevitably be underwhelming to being the ongoing maintenance of excellence, whatever that may mean for you. You can still have and achieve your goal, but your long-term satisfaction is no longer completely dependent on achieving that goal. Whether you reach that goal or not, your primary focus is still on maintaining excellent habits, which never have to go away.
So remember, goals are great, but habits are more important. Whether or not your habits take you to some lofty conclusion, they will still keep you on a consistent path of constant growth and improvement. A goal in and of itself does not accomplish that consistency and in most cases will not provide the satisfaction you were hoping for in the long term. Set goals to provide some direction and something to strive for but remember that there is really no final destination. No one ever “arrives” in life. There is always more to be achieved beyond any goal, but consistent habits can keep you moving forward indefinitely while also helping you reach goals and milestones along the way.
Adopting the right mindset is essential for long-term success in any educational setting. It’s important to understand that education doesn’t stop at the end of a class or semester. We should never allow ourselves to feel like we’ve “arrived” in life because there’s always more to learn and improve on.
There’s always more to learn.
Have you ever noticed that novices and charlatans often act like they know the most about something, while true masters of a subject or craft work on in humble silence? That’s because, as Aristotle famously wrote, “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.” This phenomenon is now known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect (illustrated below), which basically means that novices tend to overestimate their knowledge or ability until they become experienced and self-aware enough to realize how much they don’t know yet.
By understanding that there is a lot we don’t know, we can do ourselves (and everyone around us) a big favor. Accept that you have a lot to learn and see studying something new as an opportunity to expand your knowledge, skillset, and life experience, even if you have to study something you’re not particularly thrilled about. You never know what you might take an unexpected interest in or how your newfound knowledge may prove useful in the future.
It’s not always going to be “fun,” and it’s not supposed to be.
I’ve mentioned before that there is no shortcut to learning, and we shouldn’t expect to be entertained all the time. In our fast-paced modern world, we’ve grown too accustomed to instant gratification and constant entertainment, even in the field of education. There’s nothing wrong with having some fun when it’s appropriate or expedient, but there are some things in life that just aren’t fun. We can’t expect to be entertained all the time or enjoy every subject that we have to learn. No matter what app or game you’re trying to study with, how much fun can you honestly expect to have while studying dense and difficult subjects that you’re just not interested in?
It’s okay and even good for you to make yourself sit down and focus on plowing through something boring or difficult. Life is not about being happy and entertained all the time. That’s no way to grow and improve. As gym rats like to quip, “No pain, no gain.” Oddly enough, the same idea applies to more cerebral endeavors too. Wrestling with difficult subjects followed by proper rest and review trains your brain and helps you learn and remember more information. It might not be entertaining or instantly gratifying but setting aside time to train your brain through difficult study is well worth the reward.
Learn to “embrace the suck.”
David Goggins, former Navy SEAL and author of Can’t Hurt Me, often discusses the idea of “embracing the suck.” Embracing the suck means accepting that something is going to be difficult, maybe even painful, and welcoming the trial as a catalyst for personal growth.
It’s not a new idea either. Stoics like Marcus Aurelius also wrote about it (albeit a little more eloquently):
The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
(Ryan Holiday wrote an entire book on this quote, if you’re interested.) We can apply the principle of turning the obstacle into the way to just about anything in life, including our academic endeavors. Instead of becoming discouraged and put off by difficult subjects, welcome the challenges they present as opportunities to grow.
Manage and remember.
Embracing the suck and turning obstacles into opportunities can be a lot of work, but there are practical ways to make learning even the toughest of subjects manageable. You might have to plow through some difficult subjects, but that doesn’t mean you have to bulldoze all the way through the course in one sitting!
Create realistic study routines divided into manageable increments of time that you can commit to every day. Study consistently every day instead of trying to cram in too much information all at once. There are lots of different study routines and note taking methods out there, but what’s important is to figure out what works for you and stick to it. Consistency and moderation are more effective and make studying new material more manageable than cramming at the last minute.
One of the most important parts of a good study routine is scheduled review to make sure you remember what you learn. Keep your notes in an organized and accessible format so you can review them often. If you write notes by hand at first, consider reformatting and reviewing at the same time by typing them out later. Use flashcards and apps like Quizlet and Anki to keep important facts and terms memorized easily through spaced repetition.
Learning is a life-long process. Remember that there’s always more room for everyone to keep learning and growing. Nobody ever “arrives” in life, and, while learning can often be enjoyable, it’s not all about having fun or getting quick results. Don’t back down from a challenging subject or skill, and always be ready to embrace an obstacle as an opportunity to grow. Make learning manageable and memorable by creating realistic routines to study and review. Happy learning!
International schools come in many shapes and sizes in Korea. Teaching at an international school can be the experience of a lifetime or a complete nightmare, depending on the school and its management. Here are some things to be aware of when considering international schools in Korea, whether you’re a teacher looking for work or a parent looking for a good place to educate your kids.
Perhaps one of the most significant factors when considering an international school is accreditation. There are several ways that a school could be recognized in South Korea. The best, most trustworthy schools will obviously be accredited by a reputable board, whether Korean or foreign.
The biggest international schools with the strictest requirements for teachers and facilities will be international schools recognized as such by the Korean government. Officially recognized international schools have to meet government-approved standards, and teachers must be appropriately educated, licensed, and experienced in their fields of study. Real registered international schools are typically sizeable, reputable, and well-funded with their own property and facilities.
Other Accreditation Councils
Many private international schools may also have accreditations or memberships associated with various international school associations and councils that all have their own standards and requirements. Schools with these accreditations and memberships may or may not be registered as schools with the Korean government. There are too many different associations to list exhaustively here, but a few memberships and accreditation associations you might see include East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS), Korea Council of Overseas Schools (KORCOS), and Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Also be aware that some organizations offer different levels of membership, such as full membership and associate membership. Lower levels of membership may or may not guarantee serious standards from member schools.
Whatever accreditations or councils you see a school advertising on their website, you should do your own investigation into what those associations actually mean and what their standards are. Reputable organizations have high standards and ensure that their members continue to uphold those standards to maintain membership, while other no-name associations are simply there to make things look official without really checking up on their members or guaranteeing any kind of standard.
Lack of accreditation should be an immediate red flag to teachers and parents alike. A school without some kind of accreditation may be a small, perfectly well-meaning private school, but without some kind of official recognition, it may be difficult to tell. If a school you are interested in is not accredited, here are a few things you can ask to dig deeper:
When was the school founded? A young school may not have been open long enough to get accredited yet. Some organizations require that a school be in operation for a certain number of years to be eligible for membership or accreditation. The accreditation process may also take several years to complete. If a school has been operating for several years and has not bothered to begin some kind of accreditation process, they have probably chosen not to—likely because they don’t want to do what it takes to become accredited or they already know they won’t be approved.
Have they started the accreditation process?If so, how far along are they? Some unaccredited schools may say that they are still in the process of becoming accredited. This may be true, but some have been saying this for years just to sound good but actually have no intention of becoming accredited. If it’s been a long time since a school supposedly started the process and they’re still not very far along, they’re probably not really going to get accredited anytime soon.
Were they previously accredited? Some schools have previously been accredited but lost their accreditation or let it expire. They might even leave their framed certificate on the wall for everyone to see, knowing that nobody is actually going to look at the date. There is not really a good reason for a previously accredited school to no longer be accredited. They’ve either let their standards slip, or they’re too cheap and lazy to keep up with the renewal process. Even if they have a legitimate reason for no longer being accredited by a certain organization, they should at least be in the process of joining another.
Why are they unaccredited? It is possible that a small private school may be great at what they do but truly lack the means or facilities to become accredited, but most schools should have some kind of motivation to seek accreditation. Even a small private school would need a pretty convincing answer to this question to still seem legitimate in any way.
If the management of a school can’t answer the questions on this list honestly and convincingly, the school is probably not worth any more of your time or consideration.
Closely related to accreditation, a school’s registration within Korea determines a lot about the standards and requirements a school must meet. International schools registered as schools with the Korean government must follow strict requirements and guidelines like any other Korean school would have to. However, not all supposed international schools in Korea are actually registered as schools. In fact, a lot of them aren’t.
Many small international schools are only registered as hagwons or miscellaneous businesses. Although hagwons are academic in nature, they are still just businesses in the eyes of the Korean government. Hagwons are not schools, and their teachers are only required to have an E-2 visa for teaching conversational English.
Because of the relative ease of starting and running a hagwon, it is not uncommon for low-budget international schools to have conversational English classes like any other hagwon in the afternoons while having international school classes during regular school hours. Since they are only registered as hagwons, such schools can easily hire teachers that only have to get E-2 visas rather than the E-7 or F-series visas teachers would usually have at registered international schools.
Hagwon status and its academic nature give sub-par international schools the apparent legitimacy of some kind of registration and membership within the Korean hagwon association, but it still doesn’t make them real schools, even if the words international school are part of their names. To unsuspecting foreigners, hagwon registration might be enough to make a small operation seem like a legitimate school, but hagwons are actually just businesses and do not have to meet the same criteria as actual schools.
The more highly-accredited a school is, the stricter the curriculum requirements are likely to be. The important thing is that a school has a proper, reputable curriculum of some kind and that they stick to it properly. Different accreditation organizations have their own curriculum standards, so things will vary from school to school.
A good school will use reputable, up-to-date curricula and textbooks. Students and teachers alike will be properly equipped with the textbooks they need for each subject. The school will be able to confidently show and explain their curriculum and textbooks to prospective employees and students.
A sketchy school might not even have proper textbooks or materials. In some cases the teachers might not even have the books or materials they need and be left to come up with their own plans and materials. Particularly bad or poorly equipped schools (probably of the unaccredited hagwon flavor) may end up photocopying books and printing a hodgepodge of free worksheets off the internet rather than providing everyone with appropriate textbooks and materials. Always ask to see the curriculum and textbooks a school uses. If they can’t or won’t show you a thorough and complete curriculum with appropriate textbooks and materials for every subject, they’re probably hiding something.
Faculty and Staff
As the word international implies, an international school would typically have a lot of international teachers. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, but the point of having an international school is to teach international students in a language that they can all understand, typically English. It’s normal to have some local Korean teachers too, but many of the faculty and staff at a legitimate international school are likely to be foreigners.
More importantly, the staff at a real international school will have to meet certain requirements to be hired. To work at an official international school, faculty will typically need to be licensed teachers with master’s degrees in their fields of study to get E-7 visas. Teachers who have been in country for a while may also have F-series visas instead.
If the teachers at an international school are not licensed or are hired on E-2 visas, then the school is not registered with the government as a true international school. It is probably only registered as a hagwon at best.
Reputable international schools will typically have their own property and buildings. They should have all or most of the equipment and facilities you’d expect at a normal school anywhere else. Small-time private schools and hagwons will often just be renting a building, or even just a floor or two of one. Really low-budget operations will have bare minimum classroom supplies and equipment. The smaller and sketchier the facilities, the more alert you should be for other red flags. Always ask for a tour, even if it has to be by video call.
Avoiding Bad Schools and Hagwons
If you’re a teacher looking for work, you should seriously consider getting hired through a recruiter to make sure you end up at a legitimate school or hagwon. Recruiters work for the benefit of teachers to ensure that they are hired by legitimate schools offering appropriate pay and benefits. And whether you’re a teacher, parent, or student, you should check out some of these review sites and blacklists for schools and hagwons to avoid:
These lists and reviews are far from exhaustive, but it’s good to at least make sure a school you’re considering isn’t on a blacklist. If you’re up for a little more digging around online, you might also consider joining a Facebook group for foreigners living in the same city. Other foreign teachers in the same city have likely at least heard about the other hagwons and schools in their area and may be able to give you specific information that you won’t find anywhere else online.
Depending on what you are looking for, it may not matter to you if a school is public or private, government-funded or small-time and unaccredited. After all, it is possible to get a good education from good people without fancy facilities and accreditations. That being said though, the more highly-accredited and government-regulated a school is, the easier it will be to know exactly what you’re getting into. Especially when considering small private schools, be sure to do your own due diligence and ask lots of questions to make sure they are legitimate.
Enjoying the site? Subscribe below to get notified of new posts!
Have you ever considered teaching English in Korea? Teaching English can be a great way to travel and gain valuable work experience, but it can be a bit risky if you don’t know what to look out for while seeking employment. Signing a contract with the wrong employer can quickly turn an overseas adventure into a hagwon horror story! Hagwon life is not for everyone, so if you are considering teaching English in Korea, be sure to do your research and ask lots of questions before making any agreements.
What is a hagwon?
A hagwon (학원) is an afterschool academy where students get extra lessons and tutoring. Many hagwons specialize in one subject, such as English or math, while other hagwons offer classes on a variety of subjects all in one place. Some hagwons are independent businesses, while others, such as 눈높이, are part of a large chain of hagwons. Although hagwons are academic in nature, they are still businesses, not schools. The popularity and relative simplicity of hagwons makes them very abundant and, unfortunately, very attractive to some unsavory businessmen looking to make easy money.
Good hagwons vs bad hagwons
Bad hagwons have red flags big enough to see from space if you know what to look for. Unfortunately, most unsuspecting foreigners have no idea what to look for or what kinds of questions they should be asking when considering job offers from hagwons. Here are a few things to consider and ask questions about when applying and interviewing for hagwon work:
Reputation: Good hagwons have good reputations that they have earned over time. As such, they are well-trusted, have good systems and methods in place, and get plenty of business to keep things running profitably. Bad hagwons often pander to parents and bend over backwards to keep them happy and keep them paying, even if that means the hagwon has to shoot itself in the foot and mess up its own system to cram in a new student, move classes around, or send a kid to class with no textbook for several months.
Discipline: A good hagwon with a good reputation wants to maintain that reputation. Their work speaks for itself, and they are not afraid to discipline or expel problematic students when necessary. They do not need to pander to unreasonable parents or put up with terrible students just to keep their tuition money coming in. Bad hagwons have little or no discipline because they fear angering parents and losing students. In a bad hagwon, teachers who complain about problematic students are often given a lame excuse such as, “That’s just how it is,” or told that it’s not a problem with the hagwon, but rather with their teaching abilities.
Class structures and levels: Good hagwons have clear class structures and levels for students to advance through as they study and improve, and they do their best to place students correctly and stick to the system. Bad hagwons bend over backwards to cram in any new students they can get and randomly move students around between classes and levels to make room or satisfy complaints from controlling parents. Bad hagwons often end up with classes full of students on different skill levels with different textbooks (or no textbooks at all) because they wanted to make room for some new students in another class or because someone’s overcompetitive mom called and demanded that her kid move up a level.
Curriculum: Good hagwons have a curriculum to follow. They may use a curriculum they’ve developed themselves over the years, a series of textbooks, or a bit of both. However they choose to do things, they have a system in place and follow a logical progression of lessons and textbooks. Bad hagwons have no clear system, or, if they do have one, they don’t actually stick to it. With all the pandering and moving around, they end up with students who have multiple unfinished textbooks, the wrong textbooks for the class they are in, or no textbooks at all, creating quite a nightmare for teachers. Teachers in bad hagwons often have to teach off the cuff, change schedule with little or no prior notice, make copies of textbooks for kids who don’t have any, and spend hours creating their own tests and quizzes.
Facilities: Appearances are very important in Korea, so good and bad hagwons alike will do their best to look presentable to parents. Behind the scenes, however, bad hagwons’ facilities are often lacking. They may be missing simple things like a decent computer and printer for teachers to use, and the computer they do have will probably be old and slow and lack proper office software. In some cases, the entire business might be running on one cruddy old laptop! Chairs and tables may be severely worn out and falling apart. The hagwon likely won’t provide copies of textbooks for teachers to use in class. Bad hagwon owners either can’t afford to maintain their facilities, or, more likely, they simply don’t want to spend the money.
Pay: Pay will vary even among good hagwons, depending on things like location and what other benefits the hagwon offers. A good hagwon should typically offer somewhere around 3 to 5 million won per month. A hagwon in a smaller, cheaper city might offer a paycheck around the lower end of the spectrum, while a hagwon in a large, expensive city might offer a relatively high paycheck. Pay can also vary depending on whether or not the hagwon offers other benefits like housing and insurance. Always read the contract carefully when considering a hagwon, and, if something is not crystal clear, ask lots of questions until you know exactly what you’re getting into. Sneaky employers may describe a certain salary per year but neglect to mention anything about sick days and reserve the right to cut your pay by the hour if you miss work for any reason.
Teachers: Korean parents understandably want their kids to learn English from native speakers, so most of the teachers at a good English hagwon will be foreigners from places like the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, and South Africa. Of course, hiring foreigners is more expensive than hiring locals, so bad hagwons may try to cut corners by rotating one or two foreign teachers through the classes while local Korean teachers fill in on the off days. It’s not bad or uncommon for a hagwon to hire some Korean teachers to help out, but if most classes are not primarily taught by foreign teachers, you might be dealing with a bad hagwon.
Hagwon and International School Combos
In your search for hagwon employment, you may come across international schools that also offer hagwon classes in the afternoon. Such institutions might be looking for someone who can teach at the international school during the school day and then teach hagwon classes in the afternoons. A setup like this may not be impossible, but such an “international school” is likely not legitimate. And even if it were a legitimate school, the number of teaching hours one person would have to put in per day is ridiculous.
Many people have taken it upon themselves to help out their fellow humans by sharing their hagwon horror stories online so the rest of us don’t have to suffer the same horrible fates. Unfortunately, online backlists are not nearly exhaustive, but they are still very helpful. If you’re considering a hagwon, look for their name on these popular hagwon blacklists to be safe:
Even if you don’t find a hagwon’s name on a blacklist, always do your own research and ask plenty of questions to make sure you don’t end up being the one to add them to a blacklist yourself!
If you’re still looking for more detailed information on a specific hagwon, you might also try looking for a social media group for foreigners living in the same city—Facebook pages for foreigners in Jeonju or Busan, for example. Ask around the group to see if other foreigners in the city have heard anything about the hagwon you’re considering. You might even find someone who’s worked there!
Teachers looking for work should also seriously consider getting hired through a recruiter, rather than shopping around alone and hoping they don’t get duped by a bad hagwon. Recruiters work for the benefit of foreign teachers to ensure that they are hired by legitimate schools offering appropriate pay and benefits.
Teaching English in Korea can be a fun and rewarding experience if you find a good school or hagwon to work for. Just be careful to avoid the shady characters looking to make a quick buck and ruin the experience!
Enjoying the site? Subscribe below to get notified of new posts!
We’ve all been in a situation where we had a lot of work to do and not enough energy to do it. Whether it’s college papers or projects at work, sometimes you just have to trudge on through and get things done for a deadline even if it kills you. Here are a few quick tips and ideas to maintain your energy levels and power through those projects like a champ.
This is a fairly obvious tip and one that a lot of gurus are already promoting, so I won’t stay on this one for long. Sometimes all you need is a glass of water to get rehydrated, and you’ll feel much more awake. If you often get too busy and forget to have a few glasses of water throughout the day, set a reminder on your phone or smartwatch to keep yourself hydrated.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule
Being mindful of your circadian rhythm can make a big difference in how you feel throughout the entire day. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Make bed time non-negotiable, and do whatever you have to do to make yourself get up in the morning. If you have a hard time getting out of bed on time, Jocko Willink has some brilliant ideas for making yourself get up.
Sleep is a very deep topic to study, and everyone is unique. At the end of the day though, we all need enough sleep to stay healthy and function at our best. If you’re interested in digging deeper into the importance of sleep, I recommend the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD.
Make bed time non-negotiable, and do whatever you have to do to make yourself get up in the morning.
If you’re the type to get intensely focused on your work, you might tend to skip meals. As tempting as it might be, don’t skip breakfast in the morning or cut corners by eating junk food like Pop-tarts or donuts. Sugary foods will only give you a temporary boost that will be gone as quick as it came. Eat healthy, and eat regularly to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
Don’t eat anything
This point might sound like the exact opposite of what I just mentioned, but hear me out. You can still eat, but it might be a good idea to put off your meals or rearrange your schedule. We all know that feeling of lethargy and sleepiness after a big meal. The digestive process can sap a lot of energy and leave you feeling lethargic for a while, especially if you eat something heavy and unhealthy. Eat light, healthy meals that are easy to digest to avoid feeling bloated and sleepy.
If you’re already eating healthy but still feeling sleepy after your meals, consider changing up your schedule so that your meal times don’t come before or in the middle of working hours. Some people even find intermittent fasting routines helpful for avoiding eating during work hours.
And of course (as common sense hopefully tells you already) you should always consult your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.
A change of scenery
It can be hard to stay focused in certain environments. If you’re working at home, you might be distracted by all the chores you need to get done around the house or all the mediums of entertainment at your disposal. If you’re at your work office, your coworkers might keep stepping in for small talk. Whatever distractions you face, sometimes the best way to make yourself get something done is just to do your work somewhere else where you don’t have anything else competing for your attention. Work in a place that is dedicated to productivity, such as a library or study center. Go to a café where you have nothing else to do and no friends around to talk to. Everyone has different preferences and pet peeves, so find a place that works for you and makes it easy to stay focused on the work at hand.
Get some sunlight
Sunlight plays a significant role in our sleep cycle. It’s one of the cues that helps our bodies know when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to start winding down for the day. Wake yourself up by getting some direct exposure to sunlight in the morning. If you can, do your work outside or next to an open window to allow for direct sunlight exposure. Even a quick fifteen-minute walk during lunch break can help you feel much more awake and energized after being cooped up inside all morning.
Regular exercise can be beneficial for lots of reasons. If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, going to the gym might help exhaust you enough to fall asleep at a decent hour. If you feel groggy in the morning, an early workout can get your blood pumping and help you feel alert and energized.
In addition to your regular exercise routine, some brief physical activity when you’re feeling sleepy or lethargic during the day can help clear your head and get you reenergized. A short walk outside might help you brush off that afternoon grogginess at work. And if you’re really getting sleepy, an intense set or two of burpees or jumping jacks will wake you right up. You’ll almost never be so tired that some burpees can’t wake you up!
You’ll almost never be so tired that some burpees can’t wake you up!
If your schedule and environment allow, a quick power nap can give you a great energy boost to get through the rest of your day. A nap cannot replace a proper sleep schedule, but it can be a great compliment to one, or at least help you power through a temporary lack of sleep for a big project. For more information on the art of napping, I recommend this article from The Art of Manliness.
Use coffee for a temporary boost
As you may have read in this previous post about coffee, caffeine is usually not a great idea. However, it might be useful as a temporary boost in particularly demanding circumstances. If you’re going all out for a few days to finish a big project or burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline, caffeine might be useful to keep yourself going for those last few hours before you inevitably crash. Used in conjunction with a power nap, caffeine can be used for a strong temporary energy boost. Simply chug a cup of coffee and immediately crash for a brief power nap. When you wake up in twenty minutes or so, you will not only be reenergized from the nap, but the caffeine should also be kicking in for an extra boost. Caffeine is not a good long-term solution, but it can be very effective when used strategically.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo. It is designed to help you get work done in short stages or bursts of productivity followed by short periods of rest. To use the Pomodoro Technique, set a timer for twenty-five minutes. During those twenty-five minutes, get as much work done as you possibly can. When the twenty-five minutes of work is over, you get five minutes to rest and do whatever you want. After five minutes of rest, set the timer for another twenty-five minutes of work, and repeat the process as necessary. Every four cycles you’re free to take a longer fifteen- to thirty-minute break.
You might find setting a short timer and knowing that there is an end in sight very motivating. Or you might find that you just needed the timer to get yourself started and find a break completely unnecessary once you get the ball rolling. Experiment with different lengths of time to find a cycle that helps you get the most done.
You probably noticed that a lot of maintaining energy levels comes down to being healthy and consistent in day-to-day life. Eating healthy, sleeping on time, and exercising regularly are important to just about every aspect of life. However, there are times when even the healthiest among us have to rely on a few life hacks to power through projects in trying circumstances. Stay healthy and hack wisely!
Enjoying the site? Subscribe below to get notified of new posts!
If you’re one of the many people trying to learn a new language, you know how difficult it is to remember a bunch of vocabulary words. There are tons of different apps and methods out there for learning new vocabulary, but the most useful and practical memorization tool I’ve ever used is Anki.
What is Anki?
Anki is a powerful flashcard app designed to help you memorize just about anything. It can be used to make flashcards for learning a language, memorizing terms for a science test, or remembering mathematical formulae. Anki is packed with features and options that can be optimized to fit any preference or study schedule.
There are tons of different apps and methods out there for learning new vocabulary, but the most useful and practical memorization tool I’ve ever used is Anki.
One of Anki’s best features is that it can be synchronized across devices. With apps available for any computer or mobile device, you can start studying flash cards on your computer at home and pick up right where you left off any time you have a few spare minutes throughout the day with your phone. This article is not meant to be a full walkthrough of Anki’s capabilities, but you can visit Anki’s website to read about more details and amazing features.
How Anki Works
Anki is designed to help you memorize terms by spaced repetition. Each time Anki shows you a flashcard, it asks you how difficult it was. The easier the card was to remember, the longer Anki will wait to show you the card again in the future. The more difficult the card was to remember, the sooner Anki will bring it up for review again.
You can change Anki’s settings to review cards more or less often if you like, but the default settings have always worked great in my experience. If you forget a term, you can always tell Anki to review it again when it asks how difficult it was. You can always count on Anki to review each card again eventually, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling reviews or forgetting terms that you learned in the past.
But I already use Quizlet!
Already made a bunch of flashcards on Quizlet? Quizlet is great too, but it doesn’t have all the options and features that Anki has. If you want to switch from Quizlet to Anki or use your flashcards on both, you can easily move flashcards to Anki without making them all over again. Simply export flashcard decks from Quizlet and import them to a new Anki deck!
How I Use Quizlet for Vocabulary
I like to keep things simple, so I put all of my vocabulary flashcards in one big deck for each language. As I study and come across new words and phrases that I want to remember, I add them to the deck. Since Anki reviews cards by spaced repetition, not by topic or deck, it doesn’t matter if you have one deck or twenty. All the cards that need to be reviewed each day are due on that day, no matter what deck they are in or how you prefer to categorize them.
A tactic I employ to ensure thorough memorization of vocabulary is creating two versions of each card. For example, when I add flashcards to my Korean deck, I create an English-Korean card and a Korean-English card. Sometimes I can easily remember the English translation of a Korean word, but I struggle to remember the Korean translation of an English word. By creating two versions of each flashcard, I ensure that I can more easily bring to mind each word that I learn in either language.
Since both versions of each flashcard are already in the same big deck, Anki will review each word both ways each time it comes up. However, if you wish to keep both versions of a card together in a deck, you must create them back-to-back and use the default “Show new cards in order added” option rather than the “Show new cards in random order” option. Otherwise, the two cards will be randomly shuffled into the deck and will likely end up being reviewed separately days or weeks apart from each other. Don’t forget to sync your account when you add new cards or finish a study session!
Finally, try not to skip a review day with Anki. If you have a few small decks, catching up the next day might be easy, but when you have multiple decks and hundreds or thousands of flashcards, missing a day can really cause things to pile up! If you find that you have too many flashcards to review in one day, you can change the “Maximum reviews/day” setting in the “Reviews” tab of the options menu.
As you’ll see for yourself, Anki is a powerful app with tons of great options and features. There is so much more that could be said about Anki, but exploring all of its options and features would take us far beyond the scope of this post. I hope you’ll find Anki as helpful as I have on your own educational journey. Do you use Anki or any other study apps? Share your own tips and tricks in the comments!
Enjoying the site? Subscribe below to get notified of new posts!
At some point most of us find ourselves needing or wanting to learn another language. Thankfully, we live in a world with a surplus of available information. There are countless free and paid learning resources available. We have apps, books, online courses, and everything in between that promise to teach us just about any language we could possibly want to learn. And all of these learning methods promise to teach us more effectively than all the others. Language courses claim to have the latest and greatest instructional methods that guarantee the fastest and easiest way to become fluent.
Sadly, as we can often instinctively tell, most claims of fast and easy fluency are exaggerations at best and sometimes flat-out lies. Many of us are all too familiar with the falsehood of such claims. We’ve signed up for a subscription for some app that promised us the easiest way to fluency or bought a phrasebook that promised to teach all the essential vocabulary we’d need to speak like a native and found out the hard way that such short cuts don’t work. We’ve seen the advertisements and infomercials about language courses that immerse us in a new language so that we can have fun learning naturally without having to study grammar or memorize vocabulary and ended up bored or frustrated.
If you’ve looked into learning a new language, or really anything else, you’ve probably noticed the trend learning systems are following. They’re promising that learning will be easy and fun. We’ve been indoctrinated with the fallacious idea that education is supposed to be entertaining since we were toddlers watching Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer, and developers are using the false doctrine of “edutainment” to make a profit. This doctrine is so pervasive that many of even the most conservative and traditional educators promote the idea that learning should be as fun as they can make it.
Replacing real education with cleverly disguised entertainment breeds ignorance and frustration. Having all grown up under the delusion that we need to be constantly entertained, we’ve shortened our attention spans and weakened our ability to sit still and pay attention to something that is not meant to be entertaining. We are shocked at the idea that people living before the subtle takeover of entertainment culture could willingly sit and listen to speeches, lectures, and sermons for hours at a time and read books for pleasure. Now it’s hard enough to find an adult, let alone a child, who could sit alone in a room with his own thoughts for an hour or two without desperately craving some kind of entertainment or media to consume.
Having all grown up under the delusion that we need to be constantly entertained, we’ve shortened our attention spans and weakened our ability to sit still and pay attention to something that is not meant to be entertaining.
In addition to making everything entertaining, language educators are also claiming that they can make learning easy, especially by eliminating the study of grammar. Grammar is often presented as some terrible monster of a subject that no one in their right mind would approach. Many people growing up in the public school system don’t even learn much grammar anymore, if they learn any at all. When people are ignorant and fearful of the grammar of their own language, mastering the grammar of a foreign language seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Language instructors then design apps and curriculums that attempt to teach languages with as few technical grammar points as possible.
When people are ignorant and fearful of the grammar of their own language, mastering the grammar of a foreign language seems like an insurmountable obstacle.
Language learning techniques that claim to be easy and entertaining sound great. Everyone wants to achieve maximum results with minimal effort, so most popular language learning tools strive to provide easy and entertaining courses without dry or difficult material like grammar. Entertainment sells. When consumers get bored with an app, they end their subscription and uninstall it. When learning a language gets dry and difficult, we often become frustrated and discouraged. We lose our steam and want to quit and find something better. And without the motivation of a serious financial investment in a real language class and a report card to keep us committed to our studies, it’s all too easy to cut our loss of a few dollars and move on to something else. In the end, we don’t end up learning much of anything.
We could blame the developers of “easy” and “fun” language learning systems for making exaggerated and inaccurate claims about their grossly inadequate curriculums, but the truth is that they only produce the products that consumers want. They’re only making what sells. The reason educators are producing lazy curriculums is that we the consumers are lazy. Businesses sell what consumers want, and what consumers want is to be entertained. We have lost the discipline and mental fortitude required to make real progress.
Businesses sell what consumers want, and what consumers want is to be entertained.
Most of us would readily admit that great thinkers and leaders of the past were much more intelligent than we are today. We wouldn’t dare compare ourselves to historical figures like Plato, Marcus Aurelius, Sun Tzu, or Alexander Hamilton. But did any of these men become highly intelligent and successful by learning through entertainment? Absolutely not. Benjamin Franklin did not learn French by subscribing to an app. Napoleon did not become a great strategist with brain teasers and puzzles. King Solomon did not become wise by watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. Great thinkers of the past learned by putting in significant effort. They studied. They wrote. They practiced. They memorized. They read all the books they could get their hands on. They weren’t expecting to be entertained. They realized the importance and necessity of applying themselves and working hard even when something was not easy or entertaining.
At some point, studying will get difficult and boring. We’ll have to struggle with difficult words and grammatical concepts from time to time. That’s how we learn. We can’t master a new subject if we’re just looking for novelty all the time. As entertaining as the “fun” teachers are, they might not always be the best for us if they don’t also make us work. The teachers I would have claimed as favorites in school were the ones who were funny and entertaining. I remember them well, and I even remember some of their funny stories, but I don’t remember much of what they taught in their classes. However, I do remember lots of boring things like grammar, multiplication tables, and spelling rules that my strict teachers forced me to memorize day in and day out. I didn’t have fun in their classes, and I hated all the homework. But all the hard work and memorization forced me to learn things that are nearly impossible to forget now.
The real shortcut to learning is to stop looking for shortcuts. Stop demanding constant novelty and entertainment. We master subjects by wrestling with new ideas and concepts, making mistakes, and building on the foundations of what we’ve learned before. To make real progress, we have to stop demanding that everything be fun and easy and develop the discipline and mental fortitude necessary to truly succeed.
The real shortcut to learning is to stop looking for shortcuts. Stop demanding constant novelty and entertainment.
The modern mind is like a spoiled child demanding constant entertainment. We need to stop spoiling our brains, stop trying to work around their childish cravings for novelty, and start disciplining them. There is truth to the saying that the mind is a muscle. Like our other muscles, the mind will grow through strenuous activity. Just as we gain strength and muscle mass by challenging our physical limits, so too will we gain mental strength by challenging our intellectual limits. We need to stop looking for shortcuts and falling for sales gimmicks telling us what we want to hear and start disciplining ourselves to work hard toward meaningful progress.
Enjoying the site? Subscribe below to get notified of new posts!
With all the technological advancements in the last few decades, texting has become a commonplace form of communication. The brief nature of texting has popularized an abbreviated communication register referred to as “textese.” Due to the informal nature of textese and its blatant disregard for basic grammar and spelling rules, many people may assume that the use of textese damages skills like spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and literacy. However, research on the effects of texting shows some surprisingly positive results. Texting is not always detrimental to literacy and grammar and is actually beneficial in many ways.
Studies largely indicate that texting has positive effects with few or no negative effects on literacy and grammar among children and adults. M.A. Drouin points out that “studies in both the United States and Britain have shown that there are no significant, negative relationships between the use of textese and standard measures of literacy,” and that those studies actually indicate positive effects among children and little effect on young adults. With so many variables in regard to people and their environments, it is difficult to determine consistent trends and effects of texting, especially with adults, which makes it even more difficult to associate poor literacy with texting in any meaningful way.
It is likely that an adult’s comprehension of literacy and grammar systems is determined more by his competency than by his use of language. Competent adults are able to differentiate between the registers of textese and standard English and know the appropriate times and places to use each register. Drouin says, “It does not appear that textese just seeps out into writing everywhere and in equal amounts; instead, the average person uses textese thoughtfully, and more often within the contexts deemed ‘appropriate.’” People are not usually oblivious when using textese. They seem to make the deliberate choice to use it or not. Wood, Kemp, and Waldron also pick up on this idea in their own research: “Our results suggest that the impact of ‘lazy’ language use when texting may have been overstated. Our findings reinforce the need to differentiate between the deliberate violation of grammatical or orthographic convention and a genuine lack of understanding.” When a person uses textese, he is likely doing so consciously. The use of textese does not necessarily mean that people are becoming completely ignorant of the proper rules of grammar and syntax in standard English. People are aware of two distinct forms of communication, even if they do not always choose the best one.
Even in the case of a truly oblivious or grammatically incompetent individual, textese could still prove useful. De Jonge and Kemp assert that “if less competent language users are drawn to the creativity and flexibility of textese in a way that improves their language skills through exposure to written language (as has been suggested with younger children), then mobile phones could prove useful in educational settings.” As with children, textese could prove beneficial even to young adults, if it serves to expose them to written language and encourages them to experiment and manipulate it in different contexts. Of course, texting is not preferable or comparable to real language education, but something is better than nothing. Texting has the potential to be beneficial to people at various levels of linguistic competency.
In addition to competency, Wood, Kemp, and Waldron point out that things like the state of the person texting and even the texting device he is using also make a difference. Factors such as time constraints, emotional states, and the intended recipient of a message can all affect how a person texts, as “the use of kisses, emoticons, and multiple punctuation marks might have more to do with one’s tendency to feel or to display emotion and affection, than with one’s grammatical or orthographic prowess.” Different situations call for different levels of correctness and formality; the use or neglect of standard grammar and punctuation in a situation that does not require their strict application does not necessarily indicate any detrimental effects of texting on an individual. Wood and associates also indicate that “the inclusion or omission of conventional punctuation and capitalization might be determined more by the sophistication of self-correcting phone technology than by the skill of the writer.” Even the notorious “auto-correct” functions account for some of the apparent lack of literacy and grammatical skill associated with texting.
Texting is not necessarily as detrimental as people often assume, and it can actually be quite beneficial, particularly to children. Research shows that children who text frequently tend to be better readers. Deacon and Whitzman point out that the more proficient a child is at texting, the more proficient he is at spelling and reading standard English and believe “it seems unlikely that texting, on its own, impairs children’s development of the vital reading and writing skills that they need in the classroom.” Studies indicate that texting does not have negative effects on children’s literacy and rather show the opposite. Van Dijk and associates assert that in most studies “children’s use of textese and their spelling and literacy abilities were found to be positively related.” Drouin and Driver agree that textisms are positively related to children’s literacy. Wood, Kemp, and Waldron also observe that school children “who used more ungrammatical word forms and more unconventional orthographic forms showed better . . . spelling and growth in orthographic processing.” Research indicates that the more children use textese, the more their literacy improves.
There are several possible reasons for the positive effects of textese on children. One common idea is that texting is fun because it allows children the freedom to play and experiment with language without regard for spelling and punctuation rules. If children enjoy the fun of texting and using language in this way, they are more likely to enjoy and appreciate other literacy-based endeavors as well, further increasing their interest in the use of language. Van Dijk and associates suggest that texting exposes children to more text and also increases their “phonological and phonetic awareness” to improve their reading skills, suggesting that simple exposure to text itself, whether typing it or reading it, provides practice of sorts and increases children’s awareness and mastery of reading and using text. Wood, Kemp, and Waldron echo this idea as they discuss the phonetic nature of many textisms: “Their use contributes to phonological awareness and phonological processing, which in turn contribute to spelling development.” Simply gaining more exposure to language and putting it to use in different ways contributes to children’s linguistic development.
Van Dijk and associates also suggest that texting generally increases children’s awareness of different registers and the appropriate times and places to use each register. Texting may help children to understand that there are different registers of speech and writing and to differentiate between those registers as they learn where and when each register is appropriate. Children who frequently use textese may develop advantages similar to those of bilingual children. It is possible that switching between the registers of textese and standard English may exercise similar mental functions to switching between languages. Van Dijk and associates point out that being bilingual strengthens one’s abilities to suppress certain information while making use of information relevant to a given situation, even a non-linguistic situation. A similar process for choosing between registers of speech and writing could offer the same benefits.
Texting has been found to have positive effects not only on children’s literacy but also on their grammar. Much like the effects of texting on basic literacy functions, its effects on grammar are largely positive. Van Dijk and associates found that “the more words children omitted in their text messages, the better their grammar performance,” suggesting that the omission of words in textese may train children’s grammar systems and improve grammatical performance in their speech. Similar to the way exposure to texting and manipulation of language improves phonological awareness, experimentation with omitting words enhances grammatical performance. Van Dijk and associates further explain that “by using textese, . . . children apply rules of grammar and do so in a context-sensitive manner.” When children regularly analyze sentences and make decisions about which words to drop in ever-changing contexts over text, they are essentially doing grammar exercises without even realizing it. Wood, Kemp, and Waldron’s studies agree that texting has no detrimental effects on grammar and found that grammatical violations in texting do not appear to be linked to loss of grammar skills. Texting has no significant detrimental effects on grammar, but rather improves understanding of grammar.
Writing is an art form, and as with any art, one must understand the rules before he can break them. Combined with an understanding of the rules of standard English grammar, textese can help deepen a student’s understanding of grammar as he picks grammatical constructions apart and uses them in different ways and contexts. The manipulation of language to write in textese actually exercises grammar systems and improves understanding of grammar. As long as the correct rules are learned, remembered, and applied when appropriate, breaking them through textese offers only benefits.
Studies indicate that texting is likely beneficial to literacy and grammar skills. Texting is especially beneficial to children and likely harmless if not beneficial to adults as well. Texting exposes children to text in new ways and contexts and serves as a mental exercise to sharpen their understanding of grammar. Texting may break a lot of rules, but, so long as the distinction between registers is understood and each register is used appropriately, there is likely no need to worry about texting destroying our language skills.
Looking for a good grammar book? Grammarai Warrior recommends Farlex International’s Complete English Grammar Rules. This book is a thorough, affordable, and easy-to-use reference book that is perfect for any serious student of English grammar.
As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
Enjoying the site? Subscribe below to get notified of new posts!
. M.A. Drouin, “College Students’ Text Messaging, Use of Textese and Literacy Skills,” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 27, no. 1 (February 2011): 69, accessed April 5, 2017, Academic Search Elite, EBSCOhost.
.Clare Wood, Nenagh Kemp, and Sam Waldron, “Exploring the Longitudinal Relationships Between the Use of Grammar in Text Messaging and Performance on Grammatical Tasks,” British Journal of Developmental Psychology 32, no. 4 (November 2014): 427, accessed April 5, 2017, Academic Search Elite, EBSCOhost.
. Sarah De Jonge and Nenagh Kemp. “Text-message Abbreviations and Language Skills in High School and University Students,” Journal of Research In Reading 35, no. 1 (February 2012): 65, accessed April 5, 2017, Academic Search Elite, EBSCOhost.
. Wood, Kemp, and Waldron, “Relationships Between Grammar and Texting,” 427.
. Wood, Kemp, and Waldron, “Relationships Between Grammar and Texting,” 427.
. Helene Deacon and Sara Whitzman, “Does Texting Lead to Poor Literacy Skills?,” Literacy Today no. 67 (December 2011): 15, accessed March 29, 2017, Academic Search Elite, EBSCOhost.
. Michelle Drouin and Brent Driver, “Texting, Textese, and Literacy Abilities: A Naturalistic Study.” Journal of Research In Reading 37, no. 3 (August 2014): 264, accessed March 28, 2017, Academic Search Elite, EBSCOhost.
. Wood, Kemp, and Waldron, “Relationships Between Grammar and Texting,” 427.
. Van Dijk et al., “The Influence of Texting Language,” 3.
. Wood, Kemp, and Waldron, “Relationships Between Grammar and Texting,” 425.
Latin may be a dead language, but it is not useless or irrelevant. For years the study of Latin was common practice in schools and colleges for good reason. Though Latin is no longer a requirement in most schools or college majors, the study of Latin still has benefits, no matter what discipline one might be studying. The study of Latin sharpens the mind and enriches a good education in other areas of study.
The study of Latin enriches a student’s education through its deep connections to history, philosophy, and culture. Many great Roman thinkers, scholars, and writers recorded their works in Latin. Roman thinkers had great influence on other peoples, languages, and legal systems, including America’s: “Our own culture, including our system of government, architecture, art and religion, shows the heavy influence of Rome.” Studying Latin gives a student a better appreciation and understanding of these ancient scholars, their works, and their enduring influences in today’s world. As Claude Pauver observes, “You don’t just read about Seneca or Caesar; you read the words of Seneca and Caesar themselves.” The study of Latin gives a student a deeper understanding and appreciation of influential Latin works by enabling him to study works in their original language. Latin’s historical and cultural roots improve a student’s understanding and appreciation of ancient literary works and their influence on world history and culture.
Studying Latin also improves a student’s study of English and foreign languages. An understanding of Latin improves a student’s study of grammar and expands his vocabulary. According to the University of Illinois, “Students of Latin see immediate benefits to their spoken and written English. More than 65% of English words come from Latin.” Studying Latin improves a student’s understanding and use of the English language. Pauver asserts that after studying Latin, “you don’t just speak your own modern language unreflectively, but you learn where much of it came from, after actually seeing the contents and the workings of one of its greatest sources.” These benefits are not only gained by English speakers, but also by speakers and learners of other foreign languages that have Latin roots and influences, such as French and Spanish. An understanding of Latin enhances a student’s study and comprehension of English and other languages that are derived from and influenced by Latin.
In addition to improving a student’s understanding and appreciation of history and languages, the study of Latin also sharpens a student’s mind for better mental performance in general, no matter what he is studying. Latin forces a student to stretch his mind and think in new ways, because it is difficult and takes discipline to learn. The mind is like a muscle: it improves as one uses it and wrestles with new and difficult concepts. With these facts in mind, Sal Khan asserts that “our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.” Wrestling with a difficult subject like Latin forces a student’s mind to grow and improve for better function in any field of study. By sharpening a student’s mind, studying Latin can enhance performance in all his academic endeavors.
Despite being a dead language, Latin continues to offer multiple benefits. An understanding of Latin improves a student’s understanding and appreciation of many ancient works and other areas of study, and it stretches and sharpens a student’s mind for increased function in any other mental undertaking. Even in the modern world, the study of ancient Latin has limitless benefits.
Have you ever wondered why we use such strange terms for groups of different animals, or where these terms came from? Having so many ridiculous names for groups of animals might seem a little excessive or pointless, but they were originally coined with a purpose.
Words referring to groups of animals are called terms of venery, an old word for “hunting” derived from the Latin word venari, meaning “to hunt, or pursue.”1 Although most terms of venery are largely unknown and unnecessary for most of us today, they were once part of Medieval hunting traditions, which included a plethora of specific terms for groups of animals. Considering the sheer number of terms and the arguable lack of practicality of such jargon, it is quite possible that many terms of venery may have been used more for academic purposes or as an indicator of one’s expensive education rather than for regular use among the common folk.2 Even solitary animals that do not naturally form groups have their own special terms for no apparent reason other than to say they have one.
Now that we know where all the strange animal terminology came from, let’s have a look at a few interesting and humorous names for groups of animals.
Apes: a “shrewdness” — A clever term for one of the more clever creatures of the animal kingdom.
Cats: A group of cats may be called a “clowder” or a “glaring.” The latter is easy to remember since cats have those big “glaring” eyes they always glare so disapprovingly at everyone with. A group of kittens is called a “litter” or a “kindle,” and a group of wild cats is aptly named a “destruction.”
Cockroaches: an “intrusion” — This might be the most fitting term on the list.
Crows: a “murder” — A fitting name and easy to remember considering their associations with death.
Flamingos: a “stand” or a “flamboyance” — Both of these words are very appropriate, but “flamboyance” has to be more fun to say. And what bird is more flamboyant than a bright pink flamingo?
Frogs: an “army” — Remember this one by thinking about the second of the ten plagues God sent on Egypt in Exodus 8. Egyptians saw frogs as a sign of fertility associated with their goddess Heqet. It’s interesting how God used their own idols and gods against them.
Giraffes: a “tower” — Never mind, this one might be more fitting than an intrusion of cockroaches.
Hippos: a “bloat” — They do look a little bloated.
Jellyfish: a “smack” — Should have been a “sting.” *Ba dum tss*
Komodo dragons: a “bank” — What creature has ever been better at guarding gold than dragons? From Beowulf to the The Hobbit, dragons have always been very stingy with their money.
Lemurs: a “conspiracy” — Makes sense. Their eyes make them look like they’re up to something.
Locusts: a “plague” — Another one to remember from the plagues on Egypt. This one begins in Exodus 10.
Monkeys: a “barrel” or a “troop” — So that’s why that game was called Barrel of Monkeys.
Owls: a “parliament” — This term is sensible given the owl’s association with wisdom and intelligence. It was probably meant to be a compliment to the owl to be associated with human politicians when the term was coined, but it might be more of an insult.
Penguins: A group of penguins on land may be referred to as a “colony,” a “rookery,” or a “waddle;” while a group of penguins floating in the water is called a “raft.”
Rattlesnakes: a “rhumba” — This one just makes me think of robot vacuum cleaners, which could be equally startling to unsuspectingly stumble upon.
Ravens: an “unkindness” — This name makes good sense since ravens have similar connotations to crows — not to mention how “unkind” their call is to the ears.
Seagulls: a “squabble” — Makes perfect sense, especially if you’ve ever seen seagulls “squabbling” for a piece of food.
Tigers: an “ambush” — “Ambush” is an accurate description of a tiger’s hunting methods, which often involve stalking its prey and hiding in the bushes before a swift surprise attack.
Toads: a “knot” — Toads are so lumpy that they do sort of bring to mind a knot in a tree or log.
Vipers: a “generation” — Brings to mind Matthew 23:33, where Jesus called out the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees and asked them, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
Vultures: A group of vultures is called a “committee” when resting, a “kettle” when in flight, and a “wake” when feeding. Since they feed on carcasses, “wake” is a very fitting term.
Worms: a “bunch” — I would have guessed “can.” Sorry, that was bad.
Zebras: a “zeal” — Not sure what zeal has to do with zebras, but at least both words start with Z for easy recollection.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this article. Share your favorite terms of venery in the comments below!
Enjoying the site? Subscribe below to get notified of new posts!