Should bright students be taught separately? (1)

Is it fair to students to have different abilities in one classroom?

In some schools, students are divided into classes with different levels of ability. In other school systems, students are taught together, regardless of ability. In this essay, I will discuss if students benefit from being educated together.

In many countries, students are educated together regardless of ability for a variety of reasons. Political correctness is one: some policymakers believe that ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ are more important than meeting the needs of individual students. Another reason is ease of administration. Schools just randomly assign teachers and students to classes. The results, however, are that bright students are bored because they are not challenged. Weaker students stay weak and demotivated, and the country is deprived of the opportunity to create an elite group of students in arts, engineering or other disciplines who will go on to excel in university.

There are some arguments for educating students of different ability together. One claim is that students will learn to cooperate with other students of different abilities. It’s also suggested that few students are good at everything: they can learn from being in classes with students with different skills. These situations are similar to work and real life. However, the main reason against having separate classes is often political: some people fear that it leads to the development of an elite or favored group, with weaker students or schools being left with inferior teachers and fewer resources.

In conclusion, instead of being an educational debate about how to serve students well, it is often a political one. We need to find out which system works best for our students and give them the best chance to succeed.

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Violence on Television (short)

Television news shows many scenes of disasters and violence. What effect can this have on individuals and society?

It’s almost impossible to avoid seeing images of famine, war, natural disasters, and violence on our screens. These graphic images can encourage us to act, or leave us cold. In this essay I will discuss the effects of these constant powerful pictures.

It’s natural to respond to other people’s suffering. When we see hungry children or frightened refugees on our televisions, we want to send money or support. Huge relief efforts such as Live Aid or Action for Haiti have resulted from ordinary people’s reactions. Another natural response is anger. We ask our leaders to act to change the political or economic situation that causes the pain. Some people also take action themselves. They volunteer time in their home communities to raise funds, or even work or fight in the affected region.

Have a look at a longer (400-word) version of this essay

However, the frequency of these painful and violent scenes can also have opposite effects. First of all, it doesn’t seem right to watch tsunamis or other disasters while we are eating breakfast. Some people become obsessed with bad news on the television or internet. Second, it’s also natural to protect yourself and those around you. To reduce the impact on ourselves or our families, we change the television channel or make a joke about the conflict or continent affected. Finally, because the images seem never-ending, we get fed up sending money which does not seem to have any effect. Many people feel powerless and therefore do nothing, until an even more powerful image is forced on them.

In conclusion, these scenes can motivate us to act and help others, or they can discourage and depress us. It’s probably better to think carefully about what we watch and our reasons for watching.

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Development and Technology

The rapid pace of development is damaging our environment. Some people say the answer is for all of us to lead a simpler life, but others say that technology can help solve our environmental problems. What do you think?

Our planet is definitely suffering from the effects of seven billion people. Is the answer to go back to living in villages and farms, or is it to find new technological solutions for our problems? In this essay, I will say why we need to consider both these options.

Technology by itself cannot solve our environmental problems. First of all, it is neutral, neither good nor bad: Only the user can decide how it is to be used. Secondly, it is difficult to imagine in advance how new technology can be used, or misused. For example, if we learned how to produce endless cheap energy , would the results be necessarily all good? A third point is that technology generally belongs, at least at the beginning, to the rich and powerful, who use it for their own ends.

However, we cannot just shun technology and go back to living simple lives in villages. For one thing, there would not be enough space in our rural areas. Imagine if all Bangkok’s or Mumbai’s millions left the city and went back to farming or weaving. But we can make a difference by consuming much less, and reusing what we have. A switch from meat to vegetables or beans for one or two days a week would keep us healthier and reduce pressure on the Amazon rainforest. Walking instead of driving, demanding that products be recycled, and thinking about our consumption would make a huge difference.

In conclusion, we should look at ways of using technology to tackle environmental issues, rather than using it for mindless consumerism. When future generations see our mountains of abandoned cars and iPods, what will they think of us? Or will they get the chance?

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Violence on Television (Long)

Television news shows many scenes of disasters and violence. What effect can this have on individuals and society?

Satellite television and 24-hour news channels mean that viewers are inundated with images of natural disasters, wars and conflict from around the world. While it’s important to know what is going on in our world, it can be depressing or counter-productive to watch repeated images of famine, fighting or fear. In this essay, I will ask if these scenes have a negative effect on us.

Have a look at a shorter, 300-word version of this essay

Most people agree with the need for news organizations to provide us with up-to-date and accurate information, and live pictures convey information in a way that words cannot. For one thing, live footage or pictures allow us to understand the situation very rapidly. People can grasp what is happening much more quickly than by reading long articles. A second point is that pictures allow us to form our own idea of the situation, without input from the reporter or journalist. A picture of a starving refugee baby or of riot police and tear gas does not seem to need explanation. Finally, graphic pictures force us to see the situation as it affects normal people, not the politicians at their meetings or in their expensive cars.

However, the constant barrage of images can be counterproductive. Instead of learning more about the starving baby and what led to the situation, we push the image from our mind. To protect ourselves, we group the images: another typhoon in the Philippines, another earthquake in China, another bomb in Gaza. As more and more images appear we feel more and more powerless and unable to contribute to solving the problem. A second point is that news organizations compete to make their images more graphic: greater carnage, more crying mothers, angrier protestors. We also have to question the reliability of some of the images: are they staged? Many television stations and journalists have their own bias and agenda. The result of this is that watching the news becomes harder and we respond less and less to the situation and to the human suffering.

In conclusion, we need to stay informed but we also need to limit our exposure to the constant tide of news and shocking images. Too much can wear us down or make us callous, and we need to get past the simplistic images and understand the story behind it.

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How many subjects in secondary school?

In some countries, secondary education focuses in depth on two or three subjects, while in others students take a large number of subjects. Which system do you think is better?

If you had a medical problem, would you rather go to a specialist or to a general practitioner? There are times when both are needed. In this essay, I will discuss whether studying a wide range of subjects is better than concentrating on one or two areas.

First of all, it’s not surprising that many countries have opted for secondary school systems with a large number of subjects. For one thing, having many subjects helps young people to become more balanced They learn about the world through science, art, music, literature, sport, cooking, woodwork, design, or computing, and they learn skills in each area. A second point is that there is plenty of time to specialize. Now that more people go on to college and futher degrees, there is no need to begin to concentrate too early. In addition, specialization does not allow people to change. As we grow, our tastes may change, and someone who is interested in math at 12 years may suddenly prefer to study music when she is 17.

However, many countries prefer fewer skills in secondary school. In the UK for example, students take only a couple of subjects at A level. This can have several advantages. First of all, it leads to excellence in each subject. Students can learn much more than when they are taking 9 or 10 subjects. Secondly, it makes it easier for students to get into university and to do well. The student already knows the subject in depth, and does not have to make difficult choices. But an important point to remember is that studying one or two subjects in depth does not mean students know nothing about other topics. Doing A-Level chemistry does not mean that you cannot play the violin or excel in Russian.

In my opinion, students should be able to choose between these two options. For some, a wide range of subjects is a better choice, but for others, it’s more interesting to dig deep and specialize in only one or two areas. I believe it depends on the student’s personality, and while most students are adaptable, one or other approach will suit most students better.

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Are Parents the Best Teachers?

Are parents always the best teachers?

Throughout my life, I have been lucky enough to have a very good relationship with my parents. They have supported me, given me necessary criticism, and taught me a great deal about how to live my life. Parents can be very important teachers in our lives; however, they are not always the best teachers.

Parents may be too close to their children emotionally. Sometimes they can only see their children through the eyes of a protector. For example, they may limit a child’s freedom in the name of safety. A teacher might see a trip to a big city as a valuable new experience. However, it might seem too dangerous to a parent.

Another problem is that parents may expect their children’s interests to be similar to their own They can’t seem to separate from their children in their mind. If they love science, they may try to force their child to love science too. But what if their child’s true love is art, or writing, or car repair?

Parents are usually eager to pass on their values to their children. But should children always believe what their parents do? Maybe different generations need different ways of thinking. When children are young, they believe that their parents are always right. But when they get older, they realize there are other views. Sometimes parents, especially older ones, can’t keep up with rapid social or technological changes. A student who has friends of all different races and backgrounds at school may find that his parents have narrower views. A student who loves computers may find that her parents don’t really understand or value the digital revolution. Sometimes kids have to find their own ways to what they believe in.

The most important thing to realize is that we all have many teachers in our lives. Our parents teach us, our teachers teach us, and our peers teach us. Books and newspapers and television also teach us. All of them are valuable.

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Childcare: Who should provide it?

Why should the government help working parents by providing childcare facilities?

Should parents, particularly mothers, stay at home to take care of children? Or should they be allowed to help their family and their country’s development by going out to work? In some countries, the government provides financial assistance to parents who use childcare, and I will give some reasons why I think this is a good idea.

Firstly, childcare centres may assist children in their early development. They give children an opportunity to mix with other children and to develop social skills at an early age. Indeed, a whole range of learning occurs in childcare centres.

Moreover, parents and children need to spend some time apart. Children become less dependent on their parents and parents themselves are less stressed and more effective care-givers when there are periods of separation. In fact, recent studies indicate that the parent-child relationship can be improved by the use of high-quality childcare facilities.

In addition, parents who cannot go to work because they don’t have access to childcare facilities cannot contribute to the national economy. They are not able to utilise their productive skills and do not pay income tax. In fact, non-working parents can become a drain on the tax system through social welfare payments for dependent spouses or other tax rebates, instead of earning their own money and paying tax.

In conclusion, government support for childcare services assists individual families and is important for the economic well-being of the whole nation.

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Should boys and girls attend college together?

Should male and female students be allowed to study together in college? What are some of the possible problems and benefits of studying separately or together?

In some colleges in the UAE, men and women are educated together. However, in most colleges, male and female students study separately. In this essay I will ask if having men and women together in class is always a good thing.

There are some reasons why male and female students should be educated separately. First of all, one reason why it’s good to teach them separately is because men and women think differently. If they are taught in the same class, the men or women may not understand the topic fully. Another reason that some people give is that young men and women will not be able to concentrate on their studies. They claim that the students will be focusing on each other instead of learning. Finally, some people say that women suffer in mixed environments. The women don’t get heard as much and the women’s participation drops.

However, there are many strong reasons why college should be coeducational. In the first place, it’s good preparation for the real world. When people start working, they will work side-by-side with women. Secondly, it allows us to learn different ways of thinking. Men and women have complementary learning styles, and the result can be better project work. Finally, while it’s true that young men and women will be interested in each other, this does not mean that their grades will suffer or they they will stop concentrating: In fact, they may even be more interested in college.

In conclusion, although some people are afraid that educating men and women together can lead to lower grades, especially for women, I believe it will be better for work and make college more enjoyable. If we allow our students to learn together, the result will be better graduates, workers and partners.

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Young people and free time

Young people today have a lot of free time. In your opinion, do they use this time well or do they waste it?

Do young people today use their free wisely? Or do many of them just waste it doing pointless activities? In this essay, I will discuss how most of the young people I know spend their free time.

Of course, many young people, just like many old people, waste their time. Some youngsters choose to sleep instead of getting up and being active. They get used to being lazy and the slightest effort is too much. Others are more active, but prefer to spend all their time in the mall or in the coffee shop, just watching girls or chatting with their friends. This if fine for a while, but it’s not very productive. Still others of course never leave the house and just sit around chatting on the internet or watching sports on television. It’s a lot easier to just sit at home and criticize your team than to get fit and take part, but that’s what many people prefer to do.

However, there are also many young people who are extremely active and productive. After all, most sport is played by young people, and stadiums are full of people supporting their favorite teams. Secondly, most young people are trying to create a good future for themselves. A lot of young people do extra courses or spend their time reading in order to do better in their studies. But the most important point is that young people are not very different from older people. Sometimes we all spend too long doing one thing, when we should try to have a balanced range of activities. All of us need to relax and have fun, and all of us, young and old, need to try new things and meet with friends and family.

In conclusion, it’s not really a question of age. Old and young people can choose to use their time well or to fritter it away. Hopefully we can all make choices that benefit us in the long run.

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What’s the best way to help poor countries?

Many poor countries receive financial help from richer nations, but poverty is still a problem. Should we give other kinds of help to developing countries in order to eliminate poverty? What other kinds of help can we give, or is money sufficient?

There is a saying that the poor will always be with us, and it sometimes seems that despite years of poor countries being helped financially, the need is just as great as ever. Where has all our foreign aid gone? Why has it not helped? In this essay I will discuss whether we need to reconsider the types of aid we give to poorer countries.

There are many different forms of development aid. When we hear about earthquakes or floods, it’s natural that we rush to our cupboards to look for blankets, clothes, and tins of food. These pile up outside collection depots in our country and cost a fortune to ship to the suffering country, where they clog up warehouses for months and often end up on the black market or make local food or clothing businesses unprofitable. Another form of aid is military aid. We generously sell our planes or tanks to our friends in developing countries, or even give them loans to buy our stuff. Since these countries have frequent wars or need to keep down their own population, it’s a good business, for us. A third type of aid is human expertise. We send consultants and economists, engineers and academics, trainers and managers. They drive around in imported four-wheel drives and live in expensive, secure villas, eating imported food.

Of course, financial aid is not perfect either. Too often, our money disappears into the pockets of ministers and generals and their friends, never reaching the needy. However, the right amount of money, given to the right people in the right way, can do more than our jet fighters, expensive generators, and bags of expired pasta can. Money moves quickly: it does not need trucks or petrol or airlifts. It stimulates local business and allows the people to make their own choices about what to buy and what the most urgent needs are, short and long term. If correctly distributed, money gives people independence. Yes, teach people to fish and you teach them for a lifetime, but give them some money, and they can set up a fish canning factory or a shrimp farm, employing and feeding hundreds.

In summary then, money is still a good way to help other people. Of course, it cannot be thrown at the problem, but without cash, every other form of aid is useless. In our blessed, comfortable lives, we cannot function without money – why should we expect the less fortunate to do so?

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