The Rules of the Game as Set out by Mother Nature
Mother Nature is not renowned for providing safety nets or back up for those deemed inferior, lacking or ailing in some way. As Darwin so aptly pointed out in The Origin of Species, it is the survival of the fittest, the strongest, the ablest and the most knowledgeable that matters. In short, if you have got what it takes in accordance with the rules of the game as set out in the beginning, you survive and also prosper if you are lucky; if not, you are relegated to the rubbish heap of nature: extinction; like that error of creation the dodo. The sick, the young, the weak and the runts fall victim to various members of the cat or dog family and the vultures deal with what is left making the whole scene look as if the individual in question was never there in the first place. There are certain freak cases that defy all rules and are evolutionary success stories like cockroaches who, I am reliably informed, are the single most successful species of all having been around since T- Rex roamed the world. I am also told they are continuing to evolve to dislike sweet things and resist current sprays; all this in blatant defiance of the super animals of prehistoric times like woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers.
The Modern World Was Quick to Follow
Human society has always deemed it necessary and morally right to help those who are less fortunate, the trend gathering pace in the last century and opening the doors to the modern welfare state but this was meant for the most extreme cases, not the average Tom, Dick or Harry who finds the going tough. The latter were left to the mercy of modern capitalism and the free market economy with rules of survival even Mother Nature would frown on. Competition is now firmly embedded in the psyche of all of modern mankind and it starts young and by young I mean kindergarten for which the young victims have to interview and take a test in Japan. The destructive influence of this cut throat competition is best exemplified by a child who, if I remember correctly from an article I read in the Economist some years ago, was either South Korean or Japanese and jumped to his death having failed to complete his homework. The life of the modern child is like the never ending hurdles which the child erroneously supposes will come to an end upon graduation. Little does he know; the private sector takes over where school leaves off.
The Ten Thousand Meter Dash and its Consequences
One of the hurdles described above in our part of the world is the preparatory year of most famous English medium universities. The law governing these institutions is clear: students are allowed one year to master university level English in preparation for their freshman year or else. Fail in June, and they have a right to attend a summer school program, which has, over time, come to be seen as the third term for beginner and pre intermediate students. Fall at the next hurdle and they are left to their own resources but allowed to come back to repeat the proficiency test a number of times. By law, the students do have the opportunity to transfer to a Turkish medium university; an option most of those who fall at the hurdle regard as giving up on their dreams and being sent to finish their dinner in the kitchen. It is no exaggeration to say that students at such universities see passing the proficiency as a matter of life and death as they feel it is a turning point on which the course their futures will take depends. A degree from one of the top English medium universities will enable them to rise out of the working class or lower middle class and lead lives their parents dreamt of for them with all the accoutrements of middle class life. It is, in short, the route to success and happiness – whatever that may be.
To return to the average prep year and what it entails, common sense, above anything else, dictates that completing the task is a reasonable possibility for most who undertake to do so and that everything humanly possible has been done to minimize failure and this is indeed the case and a continuous struggle. Yet in order to be able to state whole heartedly that such is indeed the case, one has to be very sure of one’s syllabus, one’s teaching staff, the teaching methods employed, the teaching aids which are available and, importantly, the students. There are countless reasons for failure which are directly related to action taken by the institution. Most of these issues have already been covered in previous papers yet the most important players in this game, the students; have not, so it is to them that I shall now turn.
What if the Students are Human?
The punishing pace of the syllabus as hinted at above naturally produces frantic teachers who, well aware of the rules of the game as well as the track, can’t help but crack the proverbial whip to maintain the momentum. There is a slight problem with this truly punishing pace thought: the athletes are humans not replicas of Deep Blue. The human brain is certainly a wonderful computer equipped with a wonderful electrical circuit powered by 20 volts or so of electricity yet learning is not quite as simple as entering code, writing a program and being done with it. Humans, unfortunately for the coach – the teacher whose duty it is to keep up the pace – have emotions and personalities; definite obstacles to learning in some cases. They also have limits to what they can absorb in an average work day and to add insult to injury, they get tired! Therein is the problem: there will be those who are left by the way side, who drop out of the race and the greater the number of these failures, whatever the reason, the more unpleasant it becomes for the management of the club – the school administration. Large numbers of failures look terrible for a school: the implication is that the institution is just not able to get the job done or worse still, has no idea how to rectify the problem; a most definite no-no.
Corporate business has its own remedy to the problem of failure: sack those responsible, sweep everything else under the carpet and “disappear it all”; it is quick and efficient. Unfortunately for university administrations, this is not possible in the case of students who will hold demonstrations, bang on doors and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Then of course there is the press and before you can say Jack Robinson, the headlines are in the nationals: university fails hundreds and deserts them to their fate! To be fair, the coaches hate members of their team to fail with a passion that can only be imagined; they have powerful instincts pushing them to get the whole team to the finish line and they are prepared to resort to any subterfuge to do so giving Machiavellianism a whole new twist. No subterfuge is beyond them and no stone is left unturned in efforts to cheer on anyone who is lagging behind all in a very noble cause obviously: to get the students through to their freshman year. There is a lot that can be done to help students who are having trouble ranging from counseling, which is available to students at our university free of charge, to the rethinking of aspects of the syllabus and methodology but it is to another of these safety measures that we shall now turn: the writing center.
One Small Step for a Teaching Establishment, One Giant Step for the Students
The writing center has been operational at our university as an afterhour’s project for many years involving teachers spending three hours a week seeing individual students for fifteen minutes each and providing face to face feedback on essays on an individual basis. Writing academic essays to the standards demanded by our university is no easy task especially if much of primary and secondary education has been spent focused on the those infamous test type exams coming at one thick and fast. In such a learning environment, certain cognitive skills that facilitate essay writing proper remain, quite understandably, atrophied leaving people like myself and my colleagues to bring them alive at the ripe old age of eighteen. The students in this university can score full points on the SAT, which is very little use when it comes to essay writing per say. Their inability to write is also linked to the lack of a reading habit, which can partly be blamed on the competition focused education system so prevalent in the world and partly to the effects of modern technology. This is not a universal affliction by any means but it is widespread. Hence comes our conundrum: how to get intelligent students who have a very mediocre reading habit and untapped essay writing abilities up to par.
The syllabus is prepared with military precision with all this in mind; the aim being to fill the gaps in their background knowledge, widen their horizons as well as furnishing them with the skills a university student needs. Naturally, while doing all this, the secret wish, the desire closest to all our hearts, is for our students to also learn to love learning for its own sake discovering many avenues of interest they delve into throughout their lives besides building a career. This, we hope, will make the effects of the tight grip the business world can have on them less stressful opening the doors to sources of happiness they never thought possible.
The first and foremost safety net if you will, the writing center, was established with this lofty goal in mind; at least this was the dream of the dedicated members of staff who faithfully taught them for years. Initially, the writing center was an afterhour’s project with teachers seeing students for brief periods on an appointment basis. Though dedicated and idealistic, these teachers devoted time to this project after a full day’s teaching and with the full knowledge that they had papers to correct on reaching home not to mention lessons to prepare. The pressure of work and responsibilities probably hampered efforts in this initial version of the writing center, which is very understandable considering the work load. Well aware of the benefit of this safety net, our administration moved to make the writing center a full time job as soon as they could spare the staff and conditions allowed. It is to this altered version of the writing center that I shall now turn.
The Mantra of the Writing Center
The first step to take on embarking on such a venture is to determine the job description by setting out clearly what the duties of the writing center are. These principles can be listed as follows:
· To disabuse students of the idea that they can write essays with divine inspiration as their only guide.
· In lieu of this, to convince them of the need to preface the actual writing with adequate research in the form of reading and listening.
· To help them develop basic research skills – a must in this part of the world where not everyone grows up with access to computers
· To convince the students that the absence of adequate research leads to their native language becoming the source of inspiration
· To demonstrate the pitfalls of the above with concrete proof of speedy progress
The first hurdle my colleagues and I had to overcome was changing students’ mind sets and persuading them to accept this mode of study. This was no mean task as most students in this country are accustomed to “the segmented approach to education” with each subject neatly packed away in its little pigeon hole. Thinking across disciplines, and we are not talking of leaping off the Victoria falls but just stepping across the merest trickle of water, was a completely alien concept. Gentle persuasion and proof of the advantages along with our professional talent of persuasive speech helped overcome this first hurdle not after a struggle though. One objection that was voiced was as follows:
· Students seemed to feel that since no research or preparation was done before writing tests, none should be done while preparing for the said tests.
The faulty logic and absurd reasoning is painfully obvious to us as is the fact that students equate studying with preparing for tests. They also seem to think that endless trial runs will eventually get them there. Changing that view was an uphill struggle and we didn’t always win. The second problem we encountered was the following:
· The students were not nearly as tech savvy as we had initially thought; not when it came to using the internet for intellectual pursuits anyway. Many seemed oblivious to the depth and breadth of the World Wide Web. They ended up having to have their hands held and guided through the maze.
· The students, I discovered to my utter amazement, could not do research
The problem they encountered while doing research was selecting key words to google, which is after all a summary task if you like. For instance, I would ask them to find a video concerning the issue dwelt on in a particular reading activity and the students would then print the title of the reading text in the search section of ted.com and naturally get nothing. One example I recall is a student who having done the reading activity titled “War Against Girls” on my blog, wished to find a video before tackling the writing task and failed because he printed the title of the text in the search section. The solution to such problems is adopting a holistic approach to teaching from the word go, which would enable a host of mental skills to develop more successfully as well as furnish the students with the necessary technical skills. Another problem this failing on the part of the students hints at is the inability to summarize, paraphrase and annotate a reading passage. These skills are a prerequisite in any reading and writing program worth its salt and should be integrated in the syllabus from the word go. That such skills do not get the attention they deserve in secondary education goes without saying; a natural consequence of a test based and exam oriented system. You will find in the appendix a sample reading task with two writing tasks: the first a summary and the second an essay. This format should probably be a rule of thumb in any reading program where reading into writing is the goal.
Putting Pen to Paper
Having established the ultimate goal of enabling students to write essays to the standards required by any respectable proficiency test ( IELTS, TOEFL) and having determined the approach to writing – a holistic one – one should set about listing the steps the students needed to follow to write the essay. These steps, of which the students should be informed at the outset, are as follows:
· Making sure the essay or paragraph followed some reading and preferably some listening as well.
· In connection with, this to base essays on reading they had covered in class
· Alternatively, to search for texts related to a topic they decided to write about, read and annotate the texts
· Then seek out videos on the topic, listen and make notes
· Lastly to use all the notes they had compiled and opinions they had formed to write their essays
With a view to helping students in their endevours, I established a blog some years back (http://theproproom.blogspot.com ) which has grown in scope over the years as I add ever new reading tasks. One thing I always make sure of is a reading related writing activity or a summary as this is the best way to guarantee full grasp of the text, enable transfer and consolidation of information and also help students learn to enjoy reading – the ultimate aim being the establishment of a lifelong reading habit. I also prepared writing activities following the same principles I wished students to follow to set the ball rolling so to speak. One such writing task I prepared is provided below:
RESEARCH RELATED EFFECT ANALYSIS ESSAY: CHILD BRIDES
Every year millions of young girls are married off before the age of eighteen in many parts of the developing world. This cruel practice has devastating effects on the girls themselves and on future generations. Do your research and write an essay discussing the causes, effects and solutions to the problem. This will end up being a longish writing task but brilliant practice. If you want to shorten the task, consider the causes or the effects or the solutions.
1. “Girls not Brides” http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/ ; click on “Where it Happens”, then click “What is the impact”
2. Millions of Young Girls Forced into Marriage; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130313-child-brides-marriage-women-sinclair-photography/#
3. “Child Marriage” http://www.icrw.org/what-we-do/adolescents/child-marriage
4. “Photo Essay: Child Brides” http://www.viiphoto.com/showstory.php?nID=712
5. Child bride, 13, dies of internal injuries four days after arranged marriage in Yemen
1. “Too Young to Wed: The Secret World of Child Brides” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYleXcpbzKY
2. “Child Brides, A Cruel Custom” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S86ht1LMqTQ
3. “Turkey's never ending tragedy: Child Brides” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6xB2Noa7BM
What I recommend is starting with the photo gallery, discussing the photographs and then moving on to the reading and listening. I suggest that students do their research over a day or two, reading and annotating a few texts and making notes on a video each day. Coming back to a topic over a day or two helps consolidate learning. If the activity is to be done in class, it would be a good idea to start with the photo gallery and then assign the research as homework. The students could then come into class with all their notes on a specific day and write their essays. An alternative would be to do half the research together in class and the rest at home. This type of writing activity has turned out to be very popular with the students as they both learnt a lot and broadened their horizons and improved their language skills. A second example is as follows:
ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY: ARE DRONES A LEGITIMATE WEAPON OF WAR?
Currently, drones are being used ever more widely to target specific individuals considered a threat by the US. What are the merits and demerits of the use of this new weapon of war? Do your research and write an argumentative essay on the issue.
Reading Material to Annotate
1. “The arguments for and against drones” by John Rentoul
2. “Everything you need to know about the drone debate in one FAQ” by Dylan Matthiews
3. What is not wrong with drones? By Rosa Brooks
4. The case for and against drones
Listening Material to Make Notes on
1. The legal, political arguments for drones
2. Drones are not ethical and effective
As can be seen, one attraction of this type of activity is the fact that it is very topical; students develop the long term habit of following current affairs and thus become better informed and more aware of what is going on in general. More examples of such activities are on my blog. Below you will find an essay written on the above topic after completing the research; this student passed our proficiency exam in June. This essay is a second draft, written after a session at the writing center but as I am sure you can guess, the first draft was also good. An example of the proficiency test is on our university website should you care to gage the standard.
ARE DRONES A LEGITIMATE WEAPON OF WAR?
In the course of time, people’s values and priorities have changed yet there is one that has remained the same since the beginning of time: the need for security and to win battles of all kinds at any cost. People have tried yet failed to eliminate wars, but they work hard to preserve their own safety. Because of this, scientists developed UACs and drones thanks to technological developments. In this century, people are killed easily by push button crafts. Drones are one of these UACs and the legality of drones is a matter of debate in many countries. Some of them are in favour of the drone strikes whereas others are against it for some valid reasons. It ıs my contention that drones are not a legitimate weapon of war.
First of all, many civilians are killed by drones. In spite of the murders being committed right and left, the drone technology is moving ahead at full speed. Drones were used firstly in the Yugoslav conflicts, and the use of drones escalated in the Afghanistan war. Due to the drone strikes, not only militants but also noncombatants are killed. According to some research, there have been 41 known drone strikes in Pakistan since Obama became president and due to these strikes, 450 locals have been murdered. This is an enormous mortality rate. The drone strikes are giving more damage to the civilian population than militants. Because of this, the drone strikes pose a great risk for humanity.
A further argument against the drone strikes is that the drone strikes have some adverse effects on the drone operators. The drone operators suffer from conflict-zone trauma, despite not being in the line of fire. They are faced with the knowledge that they themselves are responsible for the death of innocent people. Moreover, the drone strikes are controlled via some computer software; therefore, this system can be turned into a military threat by hackers. Hackers can enter the military network and take control to drive the drone into the ground or use it for their own personal gain. For example; Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, showed how his research team was able to take control of a US military drone just by using a store –bought GPS in 2012. This is not impossible; therefore, drones should not be used in order to preserve world peace.
The supporters of drone strikes claim that these aircrafts are far cheaper than other weapons because the initial cost is not as high as manned aircraft. It is asserted that when the government uses the drones, military spending may decrease in the country. However, this is a very superficial idea. The initial cost is just the beginning of the story. The personnel will need to specialize in training operations; therefore, the operation cost is likely to soar over time. The driving of a drone is harder than manned aircrafts; thus, the requirement for specialized men will escalate in the country.
To sum up, UACs provide some advantages for the military but the drawbacks cannot be overlooked. Due to the drone strikes, a lot of people suffer from trauma and many civilians are murdered. Because of this, the drones are not a legitimate weapon of war.
Written by: Hilal Demirtaş; May 2013
This brings us neatly to how exactly one should work with the students in the writing center and how the practical aspects are organized and it is to this aspect that will be dealt with next.
Getting Down to Brass Tacks
It is necessary to specify at this point that correction of an essay involves not only tackling grammar mistakes but also every lexical and organizational aspect of the piece of writing. The procedure to be followed could be listed as follows:
· Correction and explanation of grammar mistakes
· The introduction of better ways of expressing a specific idea with explanations – in accordance with the students’ level
· The correction of misused vocabulary
· The provision of alternatives to the above with explanations
· The amendment of organizational mistakes
· The provision of alternatives to the above
· The rewriting of especially introductions and conclusions as examples – in accordance with the students’ level
· Instruction on how to use outside sources without plagiarizing
One word of warning though: correction and instruction are inseparable and the tutor should be prepared to do both if he is to prevent that mistake from rearing its ugly head again and again. A writing center is not an assembly line where essays are fed in at one end and they emerge corrected at the other. Such an approach would be very inadequate. The tutor must be prepared, for instance, to change unless to if not and also explain he is doing this because if not means otherwise in the said sentence. He needs to say change vital to grave and explain that vital means important and necessary but the student was referring to a problem. He then needs to make some sample sentences so that the point registers. If the student has not grasped the essence of how to write introductions or conclusions, the tutor needs to be prepared to demonstrate; the tutorial provides by far the best opportunity to iron out any problems after all.
As for organizational mistakes, they usually disappear very quickly in this ‘source related’ way of handling writing; students absorb the correct organization quite comfortably while reading with the help of basic common sense. The American college system of handing down ‘formulas’ for writing various ‘types of essays’ should be avoided as it takes all the joy out of researching a subject and writing as well as making sure all those cognitive skills remain atrophied. Research related writing is a superb learning opportunity guaranteeing a flow of information ranging from vocabulary and structure to relevant content into the student essay; this flow should not be interrupted.
Naturally, no essay writing activity of this sort would be possible without first showing students how to annotate and make notes on a text for which purpose I prefer the Cornell Method. This method which involves making short notes on a reading passage, eliminating unnecessary details and reorganizing of the notes in preparation for summary writing is by far the quickest and most efficient way to help students acquire these skills.
The session being complete, the student should be required to go home and write a second draft of the essay with the corrections and suggestions for improvements in mind, which should also be seen by the tutor where possible. It is also recommended that students keep a log of their typical mistakes which they can then refer to the next time they write an essay. It is also advisable for students to file both drafts of their essays away for future reference
The Man on the Ground: The Old Dog
The next decision to be made concerning such a venture involves those who are to man the tiller and the best choice is experienced members of staff; a view shared among my colleagues. There are various reasons for this and you could be forgiven for thinking anyone is up to the job. Any well qualified language teacher can fulfill the tasks described thus far in the paper; the problem though is this: they can’t do it fast enough. There is a limit to how long tutorials can be; the said limits being determined by student numbers and available staff and most institutions have too many of the former and too few of the latter, which seriously curtails the time allowed for each student. The time allowed is often in the vicinity of 15 or 20 minutes, which brings us to our problem: only experienced staff can rattle off answers to all the questions a student may ask as well as correct stylistic and organizational mistakes. Speed and efficiency come with experience so where possible, senior members of staff should be assigned to this post.
Reward for Good Work
The long term goal of any writing center is to maintain the flow and keep the students interested and keen. This can be achieved in various ways. For instance, monthly writing competitions for each level could be held with a jury of teachers who don’t teach at that level reading the entries. The essays of the winners could then be posted on bulletin boards or on the school website. This idea was applied by my friend and then assistant director Deniz Atlı with a great deal of success. Another idea would be the publication of level newspapers which could be published once a month. The papers would not have to be printed; they could be published online on a website the students could set up. Class blogs could also be set up with students contributing on a regular basis with pieces of writing concerning both in class and extracurricular activities. The teacher could also contribute to the blog making it real teamwork. With research and writing thus becoming a central part of the students’ lives, success will be a certainty. Students will also broaden their horizons, learn to enjoy reading and writing, become more pro active citizens and hopefully also be happier; advantages that we all dream of.
A Reward of a Personal Nature
One unexpected bonus of the writing center was the realization that students were really benefitting from the mentoring that was naturally taking place at the writing center. Discussion of essays inevitably led to study habits and some brief discussion of the personal problems the students were facing while trying to meet the demands placed on them by the school. University education in this part of the world where the number of truly outstanding universities is low and are congregated in the big cities of a vast country, the demand is huge and resources are stretched is a strangely impersonal affair. The tutorials which are the pillars of university education in the UK do not happen here, class sizes can go above a hundred reducing opportunities for a one on one relationship between lecturers and students to the detriment of education. How deeply this alienation, if you like, was felt became apparent to me during tutorials. I observed that those students who came regularly to see those of us conducting the tutorials became happier, better adjusted and more engrossed in their work. It must be remembered that university is the first time many students leave their home towns to travel to huge metropolises to start their university education, which means that this first year is also one of the toughest on a personal level. All this means that students actually benefit from the writing center tutorials on a personal level too lending further support to my view that remedial work is of vital concern at an establishment such as our own.
In Conclusion: The Importance of Remedial Work
It is sad but true that remedial work and help for those experiencing problems with the syllabus are being neglected in the hurry to speed up ‘through put’ – the pressures to make way for ever increasing numbers of students coming in each year being enormous and driving university administrators to distraction. A system such as the one described above however, is easy to set up and keep going; what is more, the rewards are enormous: ‘through put’ is increased due to the fact that students find the support they get helps enormously to increase their individual success rates both in the short term and in the long term as reading habits, intellectual curiosity and good study skills become entrenched. The writing center helps students who would otherwise have difficulty keeping up with the ‘system’ to get on the right track and fulfill their potentials, and as such is very rewarding for tutors who are fortunate enough to take on such a task. It is not the whole answer by any means but it is an important and feasible step in the right direction; especially in the current age of technology where the internet can also help with ‘the teaching’ provided students know where and how to look.
Below you will find one of three reading activities on aspects of the same problem and the sample writing activities. All these reading activities are available on http://theproproom.blogspot.com
STUDENT ‘ADDICTION’ TO TECHNOLOGY SIMILAR TO DRUG CRAVINGS STUDY FINDS
By: Andrew Hough
Published: The Daily Telegraph; 8 April 2013; www.telegraph.co.uk Alternatively, just google the title and writer’s name
Level of Difficulty: *
Note to the Student: This task should be covered in conjunction with “Twitter and Facebook Addicts Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms” and “Toddlers Becoming so Addicted to iPads They Require Therapy”. The writing tasks involve all three so don’t attempt them until you are ready.
BEFORE YOU READ
· Read the title of the text. Do you believe this kind of addiction is possible? Explain.
· What are the symptoms of addiction?
· Would you describe yourself as an addict?
· Do you know any addicts?
1. What proof do we have that college students are addicted to technology?
2. What symptoms did the students in the study who didn’t use their gadgets experience?
3. What does “These” in the phrase “These included emotions such as …” refer to?
4. Which of their reactions to lack of technology came as a surprise to the students?
5. Why did the students in the study experience all these reactions?
6. In the study at Bournemouth University, what were the students allowed?
7. What hypothesis did the study confirm?
8. What positive outcome was noted?
THE FIRST WRITING TASK
After you have also completed the two other related writing tasks, write a combined summary of all three in no more than 100 words. Your teacher will show you an example when you are done.
THE SECOND WRITING TASK
Write a paragraph describing the disadvantages of excessive use of social networking sites. Remember: you will need to complete all three reading tasks first. Your teacher will show you an example when you are done.
STUDENTS ‘ADDICTION’ TO TECHNOLOGY ‘SIMILAR TO DRUG CRAVINGS’ STUDY FINDS KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
It is really wonderful to find three texts on a topical issue which have a wow factor and also lead to a combined – three text summary. Don’t let the summary scare you; it is very straightforward I assure you. I would suggest putting a few notes on the board or the screen, repeating the process for the other two texts and then crossing out repetitions – of which there are plenty. What is left will be very easy to summarize in a 100 words. The longer writing task should follow the summary; it isn’t an either or proposition; they both need to be done I feel. Examples are available under Sample Essays.
1. Nearly four in five students had significant mental and physical distress, panic, confusion and extreme isolation when forced to unplug from technology for a whole day.
2. Cravings, anxiety attacks, depression
3. The words the students used to describe their emotions
4. The psychological effects ( is enough; you don’t need the rest)
5. Because they have spent their whole lives plugged in
6. Landline telephones and books
7. That students were addicted to modern technology
8. The students got into more in-depth conversations; OR, a difference in conversation in terms of quality and depth
THE FIRST WRITING TASK: COMBINED SUMMARY OF THE FOLLOWING THREE TEXTS:
· Student ‘Addiction’ to Technology ‘Similar to Drug Cravings’, Study Finds
· Twitter and Facebook ‘Addicts’ Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms
· Toddlers Becoming so ‘Addicted’ to İPads They Require Therapy
Addiction to technology is a modern phenomenon including toddlers as well as adults. Denial of access to gadgets causes withdrawal symptoms similar to those of alcoholics and drug addicts in all age groups and a host of social problems especially in young children. These children find it difficult to form healthy relationships later in life. The quality and depth of adult conversations suffer too along with daily chores. Although social networking is now a fact of life and those with no accounts are called vagrants of the digital age, moderation in the use of technology is advised.
THE SECOND WRITING TASK: THE DISADVANTAGES OF EXCESSIVE USE OF GADGETS SUCH AS MOBILE PHONES AND İPADS
Reading related writing activity: The reading texts are as follows and are in the file marked Level*:
· Toddlers becoming so addicted to ipads they require therapy
· Twitter and Facebook addicts suffer withdrawal symptoms
· Student addiction to technology similar to drug cravings study finds
In the modern world, our lives have shifted, at least partly, to the virtual world thanks to all the opportunities provided by modern technology. Smartphones, androids, ipads, computers and all the hundreds of apps available provide us with the opportunity to lead a parallel existence; that is if we become too fond of all the above. Becoming too fond of technology, in other words getting addicted to it, has countless negative effects the first and foremost being withdrawal symptoms, which are both physical and psychological. This is true for adults as well as toddlers all of whom need therapy to kick the habit and get their lives back. Although social networking provides countless opportunities for socialization, carried to extremes, it can affect the quality and depth of conversations people have in daily life. Daily tasks and chores also get neglected; not to mention the physical effects of being glued to a screen 24/7. Toddlers and young children are the worst effected as these young addicts find it difficult to form healthy relationships and if they are not treated, find their teens to be a very lonely period. To sum up, although the countless advantages of modern technology can’t be denied, we should exercise moderation to avoid the countless disadvantages of our cherished gadgets.