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Gavin Moodie, Stella Cottrell, Pollard McHugh: Comparison

Gavin Moodie. “Follow the course of your heart’s desire”

In this article, Gavin Moodie examines the factors, which influence the academic performance of students. In particular, the author focuses on motivation; he argues that in the overwhelming majority of cases, only those people, who have entered college or university to develop their talents and fulfill their potential, are most likely to succeed, whereas those students, who enroll for job-related purposes, tend to score lower (Moodie, 2006, p 1).

Certainly, the scholar does not claim that this is a universal pattern, and there are some exceptions to this rule. Apart from that, the educator urges students not to be embarrassed about changing majors. In his opinion, it is much more prudent for a person to choose something that interests him or her than to study those subjects, which seem to have little or no relevance. His overarching thesis is that people must not think only about career prospects or the profitability of a profession.

From his standpoint, such an approach to education yields virtually no results. In addition to that, the scholar analyzes the impact of the school on the success or failure in college. He states that a student will achieve good academic results if the school teachers use the methods and techniques, similar to those of university, in this case, it is quite easy for a person to adjust oneself to new standards and demands (Moodie, 2006, p 1).

Furthermore, he analyzes some other parameters that can also affect academic performance, namely, gender, self-discipline, motivation, and so forth. Although the author does not provide a thorough analysis of this issue, we may say that his views are quite grounded.

Stella Cottrell “Skills for Success”

In her book Skills for success, Stella Cottrell discusses such concepts as emotional intelligence and personal distress. She also provides helpful tips for decision-making and problem-solving. On the whole, the author believes that the underlying cause of virtually all our troubles is unexpressed feelings or emotions. According to her, they may subsequently manifest themselves in various forms and shapes, for example, the displacement or the tendency to vent one’s spleen on someone else. Another example is distorted thinking, which has several forms, for instance, all-or-nothing philosophy, the propensity to exaggerate bad news, or the inability to concentrate on important issues (Cottrell, 2003, p 78). With the reference to this question, Stella Cottrell examines the sources or probably, it would be better to say the mechanisms of distress. The psychologist adheres to the so-called ABC model, developed by Dryden and Gordon. This process comprises the following stages:

  1. activating event or something that has upset you,
  2. prejudiced beliefs, which are mostly pessimistic and only intensify the feeling of helplessness and desperation,
  3. consequences, or various manifestations of the distress, namely, failure to concentrate, languidness, and sometimes even depression.

Stella Cottrell is firmly convinced that many people are inclined to overstate their difficulties and usually look only at the negative side. Besides, the author examines the strategies for alleviating the after-effects of this mental disorder. She says that it is of vital importance to understand what actions or inactions have led to this problem (Cottrell, 2003, p 78). Secondly, it is necessary to focus on creative decision-making that may enable us to find a way out. Stella Cottrell states that self-blame is of no avail in such circumstances, only positivism, and realism.

Beard C, Clegg S, et al “Acknowledging the Affective in Higher Education”

In this research article, the authors investigate the role or impact of emotions on higher education. Special attention is given to first-year students and especially, to the positive and negative feelings they have about being at college or university. The scholars employed the method of written unstructured interviews. The respondents were asked to enumerate the positive and negative sides of studying in the institution of higher education.

The interviews were conducted at various stages, name, in the fourth week of September, at the beginning of November, and finally in March. The main goal that the researchers pursued was to describe the evolvement of students feelings. It should be borne in mind that all questionnaires were anonymous; therefore it was rather difficult to analyze the role of emotions, especially in connection with academic performance. The researchers ascertained that some emotions had a temporal dimension and what is, more importantly, they developed according to a certain pattern. The authors focused on such aspects as sociality, or relations with other people, spatiality or the influence of the location on the situation, the relationships with the opposite sex, and many others (Beard C et al, 2005. p 248).

The research identified the major sources of emotional distress especially if we are speaking about the undergraduate, for example, the fear of being left to ones own device, inability to make new friends, and the differences in teaching methodology, which exist between school and university: students claimed that the faculty assumed a different attitude toward them, some of them were even complaining of the lack of attention. This work may help to develop strategies for solving the emotional problems of students.

McHugh, Pollard “Business Communication”

This excerpt comes from the book Business Communication, in this part Conflict Resolution, the authors explore the nature of conflict and its positive and negative sides. Additionally, the scholars discuss various techniques and approaches to the resolution of disputes, or clashes between the opposing parties. According to them, this opposition may be caused by a great number of factors such as fear, differences in world view, personal circumstances, and constant stresses (McHugh et al, 1996, p 251).

Psychologists believe that conflict is a gradual process and it usually consists of several stages, such as the feeling that something is not quite right, misunderstanding, irritation, and the rupture of relations. Thus, it is necessary to identify the origins of conflict at the very beginning. There are very techniques of alleviating the situation, but the most effective and productive is the search for the decision that suits both sides. McHugh and Pollard call it “the owl”.

It aims not only to resolve the conflict but also to relax the tension (McHugh et al, 1996, p 255). They state that at first, a person has to identify the cause of the problem and understand how exactly he or she has contributed to it. Apart from that, the scholars advise that we should always look at every problem as a system that has subsystems, and we need to break it into smaller parts because they are easier to deal with this, by coping with the separate parts it is possible to find the most optimal decision (McHugh et al, 1996, p 256).


Beard C, Clegg S, et al (2005). “Acknowledging the Affective in Higher Education” British Educational Research Journal, (39), 2, 235-252.

Gavin Moodie (2006). “Follow the course of your heart’s desire”. The Australian newspaper.

McHugh, Pollard (1996). “Business Communication” Longman Australia.

Stella Cottrell (2003). “Skills for success” Palgrave McMillan Ltd.


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