Wednesday, April 29, 2015


There are many things in our lives that we take for granted and education is one of them. This is far from being the case in the developing world. Do your research and write an analysis of the problems faced in education in the developing world.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         Disparity in Educational Technology advancement in Schools 
Reading material to annotate or make notes on
·         “Global hundred-year-gap in education standards”
·         “Redefining education in the developing world”
·         “The situation in developing countries”
·         “How education systems can improve”
·         “Should developing countries shift from focusing on improving schools to improving parents?”
·         “School meals”
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “The education crisis in developing countries”
·         “Education versus poverty”
·         “Education in developing countries”

·         “Education in the developing world”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ENDANGERED SPECIES Problem and solution essay

Man shares this planet with some truly wonderful and diverse species. Throughout the millions of years since life began on the planet, many, like the dinosaurs, have emerged and then died out for a variety of reasons such as asteroids, the ice age and the like. The rate of extinction has gathered pace in recent years but this time, the reason is not a natural phenomenon occurring indepently of man it; it is man himself. If precautions are not taken soon, our children will only be able to see animals like elephants, rhinos, tigers, polar bears and many others in books along with saber tooth tigers and woolly mammoths.  A targeted approach to dealing with the problem of endangered species is required. This approach should address the root causes.
One reason for the hunting of certain species to the brink of extinction is the use of their body parts in Eastern medicine. The demand needs to be eliminated to be able to put a stop to the hunting and this is tough as the practice has continued for thousands of years. In the short term, legislation could be introduced banning the use of the body parts of animals in the preparation of remedies to illnesses. China, the main location for such remedies, is a totalitarian state and should, if they put their mind to it, find it easy to stamp out the practice. Legislation should go hand in hand with education and the provision of universal healthcare. This two pronged approach should help towards dealing with the problem.
A second reason for the hunting of endangered species is ‘esthetic’: people wish to make their skin and fur into coats to wear; they wish to use their tusks or horns to carve jewelry and ornaments. This sickening practice has mostly been stamped out in western countries where even many fashion models refuse to wear fur coats or ivory necklaces. However, this is not the case in many other parts of the world, especially the east where most ivory is shipped. The problem can be addressed with a sustained public awareness campaign and legislation banning these products. Such a campaign could include the horrific images of slaughtered elephants and how their young suffer for instance. People are not made of stone and will eventually respond.
There is one other step that needs to be taken in the fight against poachers, the illegal hunters of endangered species, and that is a shoot to kill policy when they are discovered by rangers in the bush. It is tempting to ensnare them in the wire traps they set out for big game and leave them there to get a taste of their own medicine but this would, unfortunately, be impossible in modern democracies. An adequate number of rangers should be on duty in the nature reserves dotted around Africa, they should be equipped with the latest technology and show no mercy. The slaughter of all the species we share the planet with has gone on long enough.
There is one final reason for the danger of extinction facing certain species and that is one that will affect us in the long run too yet we are too blind to see it: climate change and the consequent loss of habitat. The melting of the polar ice caps is affecting polar bears but will impact mankind as well as sea levels rise. Desertification, another manmade disaster, affects communities and animal species alike. Rapid urbanization and the erosion of the countryside is also having an adverse effect on human populations and animal species alike. Some, like the urban fox and bears, adapt but others just disappear. The solution is an all encompassing and sustainable climate protocol if not for the animals then for us. Countries should stop paying lip service to the issue and take the bull by the horns for once and for all.

In short, where there is a will, there is a way. Provided governments are prepared to take the problem seriously, poaching can be stopped. Cooperation is required to make the effort work but this should not be a problem in the modern global world as long as people really want to do something about it. 


In the modern world we do everything online: we shop, we work, we play, we do business and much more besides so online voting seems to be a logical step yet is it? Do your research and decide whether we should take this step or not.
Introducing the issue:
Reading material to make notes on:
·         “Electronic voting”  Click “arguments in favor, arguments against and case studies” from the ribbon on the left of the screen to get the full picture.
·         “It’s the 21st century! Why aren’t we voting online yet?”  
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “E-voting without fraud”
·         “ Prof. J. Alex Halderman  tells us why internet voting is a bad idea”
Live panel: online voting rewards and risks

Monday, April 27, 2015


Everyone wishes to lead a completely healthy life free of disease but this is a pipe dream. There will be periods of ill health in everyone’s life, some short and some long. Treatment options are available for many more diseases nowadays but there are still some which lead to a slow and painful death. When faced with such a prospect, one way out is euthanasia, the ending of the life of  terminally ill patients thus allowing them the opportunity to die in a dignified manner, in their own time. Although there is continued opposition to the legalization of euthanasia, it should undoubtedly be allowed mainly for humanitarian reasons but also for practical reasons.
Opponents of euthanasia seem to believe in continued suffering because they claim that human beings do not have the right to take a life. It is hard to see the point of prolonging the pain of a fellow creature and even harder to see why we should continue to torture them. Horses which break their legs or suffer a fall are immediately shot not to prolong their pain. Similarly, dogs and cats which have terminal diseases are put down; this being considered the humane thing to do. Why should mankind be subjected to the torture of a slow and painful death? Why can they not be treated as kindly as animals are?
Those who are against euthanasia also point to possible abuse of the system claiming that bribery, blackmailing and similar methods may be resorted to in order to kill off sick individuals before their time and against their will. In short, they claim that the legalization of euthanasia could pave the way to an increase in murder rates. Murder, however, is a crime and can be prevented by means of certain safeguards: a panel of doctors could be required to certify that the patient is in fact terminally ill and of sound mind. The same panel could also make sure that the patient does in fact wish to die. Provided this is done, there should be no problem in allowing euthanasia.
The last argument opponents of euthanasia put forward is the fact that there is always hope. It is sensible to be realistic though; how much hope does a patient suffering from stage four bone cancer really have? Alternatively, a patient who has neglected to get vaccinated after an attack by a dog and has developed full blown rabies has no realistic chance of recovery so it is best to bite the bullet and accept that death is inevitable. In this case, it is surely kinder and more humane to put the individual out of his misery provided that is what he wants.

In short, we should afford humans the same compassion that we afford animals and not give them false hope. Allowing people who have been suffering and will continue to do so to opt out is without doubt the only viable option; the reverse amounts to torture.


Most people cannot live without it; others make a living out of it bringing pleasure to themselves and others but why exactly is music so very important? Do your research and write an essay discussaing the reasons.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Copy of 10 reasons why music is so important to people”  
·         In February, the 7th and 8th grade band students were asked the following question:
Why is music important in your life, and to the world as a whole?
Here is just a sampling of the wonderful responses that were given
Reading material to annotate or make notes on:
·         “The importance of music in your life” 
·         “The importance of music in everyone’s life”
·         “Why we need music”
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “Why we need music”
·          “Psychological effects of music”
·         “The effects of music on the brain”

Monday, April 13, 2015


“We have art in order not to perish from the truth” said Nietzsche but why did he say this? Do your research and write an essay explaining why we need art in our lives.  
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “The importance of art”  
Reading material to make notes on:
·         “The Value and Importance of the Arts and the Humanities in Education and Life”
·         “The importance of fine arts education”

·         How arts and culture are important to every aspect of our lives

Videos to watch and make notes on:

·         Why Art Matters: Dr. Linda F. Nathan at TEDxTheCalhounSchool

·         Why art is important | Katerina Gregos | TEDxGhent
“How art changed my life”

Sunday, April 12, 2015


“Though he believed vocational education was key to empowerment, the former slave’s writings offer a reminder that subjects like literature and philosophy are still integral to social mobility”
By: E. Thomas Finan
Level of difficulty: ***
Before you move on to the text, access the site below, watch the videos and discuss them
1.       Which of the sentences below would best serve as the topic sentence of the first paragraph?
·         Technical education is very important for African Americans
·         People can only fulfill their dreams through education
·         Governments that deny people an education are wrong to do so
·         People realize their full potential through education
2.       Vocational training does not go far enough in Douglass’ view; …………………………is/are also needed to ensure ……………………………………
3.       To what extent would Douglass have agreed with the current educational policy in the US?
·         He would have completely agreed
·         He would have completely disagreed
·         He would have partially agreed
4.       Overconcentration on basic vocational training and neglecting………………means that ……..............................................................................................are neglected.
5.       What prejudicial opinion did Douglass seek to disprove by means of vocational schools?
6.       The purpose of Project Lead the Way is to………………………………………………………….
7.       “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man” Douglass stated. How could the slave be made a man?
8.       In certain parts of the world, certain groups of people are denied an education. What could be the reason for such denial according to Douglass?
9.       The reading of the Columbian Orator and other works helped Douglass to do three things:  to shake off …………………., get to better understand ……………………….and cease to be…………………
10.   Thomas Jefferson, like Douglass, felt that ……………………………………………proving that great minds think alike.
11.   Douglass was able to become “a free man” thanks to ………………………………………….
Further reading: Douglass’ letter to Harriet Beacher Stowe: you might find it interesting to read this lengthy letter to see what a man who had never been to school could achieve, if he wished. The letter is a masterpiece in more senses than one.
Write an essay in which you defend an education system which successfully combines a liberal arts education and vocational training. Imagine you are making this suggestion to counter current US policy on education.
This text is fascinating on all sorts of levels: on the one hand it argues in favor of an education system that combines vocational training and liberal arts, on the other it introduces a famous civil rights activist that not everyone may have heard about. The text and ensuing discussion will lead itself to a sophisticated essay task.
1.       The fourth
2.       Liberal arts, are, internal emancipation
3.       He would have partially agreed.
4.       Liberal arts, personal development, ethical maturation and preparation for civic life
5.       That African Americans were incapable of economic self sufficiency
6.       To expand economic opportunity
7.       By gaining knowledge / through gaining knowledge
8.       It would make them unmanageable
9.       The psychological web of slavery, his humanity, an uncritical instrument of his master’s will
10.   The principal ways to ward off tyranny was to illuminate the minds of the people at large.

11.   The Columbian Orator

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Where is the Red River and what terrible secrets does it hold? Do your research and tell the story of The Red River Murders.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “The Red River murder – lyrics”
Reading material and videos:
·         Red River search for missing, murdered women wraps up 1st day


Do your research and tell the story of the Suffragettes and what they tried to achieve.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Who were the Suffragettes?”
Simple podcats plus presentations
·         “Sylvia Pankhurst on Emmeline”
·         “Emmeline Pankhurst”
Reading material to make notes on:
·         “The Suffragettes”
·         “The history of Suffragettes”
·         “The women’s suffrage movement”   
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “Emmeline Pankhurst speech”

·         “Mark Steel on Sylvia Pankhurst”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Standardized tests are widely implemented in the world and much has been said and written about them, mostly negative. Most people have direct firsthand experience of these tests and know the pros and cons very well. Do your research to refresh your memories and write an essay arguing for or against standardized tests.
Introduction: familiarize yourself with the issue
·         Standardized tests”
·         “Standardized testing is not teaching”  
Podcast: Listen carefully and make a note of the general points.
Reading material to make notes on:
·         “Problems with standardized testing”
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “Standardized testing: the problem with America’s education system”
·         “None of the above – why standardized testing fails”
·         “What standardized tests don’t measure”
“Do standardized tests matter?”

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Task: How can the problems in the public education system that has led to the existence of a shadow education system be fixed? Start your essay with a brief summary of the text.
Shadow educational establishments are a global phenomenon. In most countries around the world, there is an educational market that offers private tutoring in all areas for a fee. In some countries like South Korea, this market is so big that some private tutoring academies are among the biggest corporations and some of their teachers are among the richest people in the country.
Unfortunately, this system creates terrible inequalities because the children from the most affluent families have access to the best tutors. Sending their children to these academies is a financial burden on most  parents who have to allocate money from the family budget and may even have to look for ways to make extra money. Students also pay a price because they have to spend their weekends and/ or afternoons studying at a second school. This means they have no time to relax, have fun and socialize. Teachers at these institutions also pay a price as they work longer hours and make less than public school teachers. They don’t have benefits like healthcare or paid holidays.
The reason why the shadow education system exists is simple: the poor quality of public education. Unfortunately, public school teachers lack the creativity, enthusiasm and commitment to student success like the teachers in the shadow education system. Serious measures have to be taken to improve the quality of education in public schools to avoid these negative effects. There are many things public schools can learn from shadow education establishments to improve their quality of instruction. Regular contact with parents in the form of emails, text messages, phone calls and face to face meetings is vital for a cooperation between schools and parents.  It is a act that the education of a child is a team effort and requires the cooperation of the family and teachers. Public schools, like shadow education schools, shuld carry out routine performance reviews. They should do surveys to measure student and parent saticfaction. This way, problems with motivation, dissatisfaction and ineffective teaching can be solved before they get too big. This will mean  more effective and positive learning for all students.
It is also important to improve the quality of public school teachers. Firstly, their salaries should be increased to attract more ambitious and idealistic students to Education Faculties. Secondly, these faculties should only accept top the highschool graduates of the country. Great minds make the best teachers. Public school teachers’ salaries should be fixed to their performance. Teachers whose students do better in creative thinking skills should get higher salaries. Student satisfaction should also affect their pay. All of these policies will mean teachers improve their teaching skills to get financial rewards.
Education of the young generation must be the most important issue for any country. Development, innovation and success are only possible with young people realizing their potential and being prepared for the challanges in life. A good education must be every young person’s right and not only offered to the rich. For this reason, public schools must give a high quality education. This is the only thing we need for a bright future! Hence there will be no need for a shadow education system that is a burden on its teachers, students and parents.

EBRU McCullum


“Confucius was an influential Chinese philosopher, teacher and political figure known for his popular aphorisms and for his models of social interaction”. His philosophy has helped mold Chinese philosophy. Do your research and tell his story.
·         Confucius quotes and sayings: top ten”
Familiarize yourself with issue:
·         “The Confusion tradition”
·         “Who was Confucius?”
Reading material to make notes on:
·         “Confucius”  
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “Confucianism: Views, Philosophy & Teaching”
·         “Confucius”

·         “Eastern philosophy: Confucius”

Monday, April 6, 2015


Buddhism is best described as a way of finding peace with yourself. There is a common misconception concerning Buddhism which is that it is a religion yet this is not true. Although many people follow Buddhism like a religion, Buddhism is, in fact, a philosophy and a means of attaining enlightenment. This being the case, those from different religions can believe in or follow Buddhist teachings.  Who was the Buddha and what do his teachings entail? Do your research and find out. When you are done, write an essay. This task involves the reading of a short book and should, therefore, be spread out over a week
·         “Buddhism for today”
Brief introduction:
·         “A five minute introduction”  
The teachings of Buddha:
·         “The fourteen teachings of Buddha”
·         “Buddha Quotes : the most inspiring Buddha quotes” ”
·         “Buddha biography”
Read the book:


The demand for ivory in the form of elephant tusks and rhino horns in East Asia has caused poaching to soar in Africa causing these majestic animals to face the danger of extinction. What is the extent of the problem and how can it be addressed? Do your research and write your essay. This essay has a double focus: the problem as well as the solutions. It is very hard to just write about solutions without touching on other aspects of the problem so be logical.
Familiarize yourself with the issue:
·         “Poaching”
·         “Anti poaching”   
Reading material to make notes on:
·         “Poaching crisis in South Africa”
·         “How tourism can help tackle poaching”
Videos to watch and make notes on:
·         “Drones used to stop elephant and rhino poachers in Africa”
·         “100,000 Elephants Killed In 3 Years As Poaching Rates Climb In Africa, Study Finds”
·         “China’s craze kills Africa’s elephants”

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Mass transit is the only way a lot of people can commute in urban centers be it for pleasure or for business. The buses, trains and subways in most metropolises are often packed during rush hours especially and can become very uncomfortable for women. Many women have been molested or harassed on mass transit and it is time to address the problem. Do the two reading tasks below, discuss the issue and write about it.
The Bystander effect

“There are ways to intervene that don’t involve putting yourself in danger”
By: Laura Bliss
Level of Difficulty: **

·         Access the online copy of the text. You will see the link to a video in the second paragraph of the text titled “30 seconds of the incident”. Watch the video and explain why you think no one intervened?
·         Explain what they could have done.
·         What would you have done?

Safety alert issued about suspect groping women in Denver City Park  Social Psychology- Sexual Harassment and Bystander Effect

1.       Replace the phrase “That’s when” at the beginning of paragraph 2 with a phrase from the text.
2.       For what two reasons didn’t anyone intervene when Chuva molested Lopez?
3.       Smiley helped Lopez by……………………..and…………………………However, he made matters worse when……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
4.       According to Edwards although not intervening in events like the case of Lopez is completely natural / completely understandable / completely useless / completely unnatural, there are things that can be done such as……………………………………………………………………………………..
5.       Which of the options open to bystanders is least likely to be selected? Why?
6.       What is the additional advantage of making a noise when witnessing an event like the case involving Lopez?
7.       In situations like the case of Lopez, delegating works too because ……………………………
8.       The authorities in New York have tried to help address issues like the case of Lopez by……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
9.       How else could the bystander effect be averted on subways?
10.    Not addressing the problem of harassment and molestation gives the completely unacceptable message that ………………………………………………………………………………………
“Cities trying to boost ridership have a few options but lots of room for improvement”
By: Ann Friedman
Level of difficulty: **
1.       What conclusion can be drawn from the story of the party goer?
2.       According to the text working class men / upper class men / working class women / upper class men are more likely to take public transport because……………………………………………
3.       What conclusion can we draw from the paragraph beginning “Women who aren’t” ?
·         Public places are  not safe for women
·         Public transport is not safe for women
·         Women must avoid public transport
·         Women should drive the family car
4.       Explain what “These concerns” in the sentence “These concerns often don’t show up in surveys of transit riders” refers to.
5.       More people can’t be persuaded to use mass transit systems at the moment unless……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
6.       The soaring numbers groping and harassment complaints and arrests in Boston are due to …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
7.       The app NextBus is useful because it prevents people from having to……………………………
8.       Gender segregated subway cars are a stop gap solution because they don’t……………………
Use the information in both the texts you have read to write about the problems women encounter on mass transit systems and how to address them. When suggesting solutions endeavor to justify them; say how this solution will help and why it is needed. It is also suggested that you discuss both short term and long term solutions.
This text addresses a worldwide predicament women find themselves in on mass transit systems: groping, harassment and even assault. Solutions are also suggested in the text and students can always think of their own too. The female students will probably have their own stories to tell as well helping to create more awareness.
1.       When she fell asleep (head cradled by the Plexiglas divider between her head and the doorway)
2.        There were a lot of people around them and no one else intervened.
3.       Capturing 30 seconds of the incident on video and going to the authorities; the video travelled from his phone to a free porn website, then to Gothamist before going viral
4.       Completely understandable; being direct, distracting or delegating
5.       The direct tack (or being direct); because it is stranger danger
6.       Noise can be a catalyst for someone else to step in and help in some other way
7.       It creates momentum
8.       Equipping cars with intercoms; rolling out platform help points; providing cell service
9.       Equipping subways with cameras
10.   What’s happening is socially acceptable enough that none of us will act
This text provides the necessary background and statistical information to the previous text and should help with the writing task to come.
1.       Public spaces especially at night are places where women can’t expect to feel safe
2.       Working class women; it is the only financially viable option; OR the cost of driving is getting too high
3.       Public transport isn’t safe for women
4.       Being nervous stuck in a subway car with one or two other people and being stuck in a packed subway car
5.       Widespread societal problems of harassment and sexism are solved
6.       PSA and easier ways for women to report harassment and assault
7.       Wait around for the bus in the cold or sweat it out on a subway platform in the heat of summer
8.       Address the big picture (and) concerns women have with public transit (there is grammar mistake in the original sentence)