1.Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? All school teachers should be required to take courses every five years to update their knowledge.
Every subject is constantly developing with the forefront being renewed on a yearly basis, so it is believed that teachers should update their knowledge accordingly. However, asking the teachers to take courses every five years would be inadvisable, since it would be unnecessary for teachers at certain levels of education.
To begin with, it would clearly be quite unnecessary for the primary school teachers, since they only offer basic knowledge, which seldom changes in five years. For example, the basic calculation principles have never changed since they were invented; the basic grammatical rules have also remained almost the same for centuries. Teachers of these subjects obviously do not need to update their knowledge of the subject they are teaching every five years. Besides, subjects such as music and PE are all the more stable, with almost no requirement on new knowledge.
A first sight, it would seem necessary for university professors as they usually have to keep themselves informed of the forefront of their own fields of study. However, the fact is that professors and lecturers attend conferences or seminars, and read newly-published academic articles themselves so as to keep up with the latest development of their field. Taking courses would only waste their time and impair the academic freedom. These teachers would spontaneously seek out information about their field regularly, so it would be unwise to force them to take courses at too long an interval.
In fact, among teachers of different levels of education, only middle school teachers might find it necessary to take such courses. This is because the syllabus and test forms may change regularly and if they are not familiar with the modifications, they may fail to enhance the academic performance of their students. For example, middle school teachers should be fully aware of the reform in SAT writing and teach the students the new skills required; otherwise, their students might be wrongly instructed and score too low in the test, failing to get enrolled in top-notch universities. More often than not, the changes in the syllabus and test forms are subtle but complicated, so assembling the teachers and giving them instructions would lead to a most satisfactory result. In this way, the education bureau can make sure that every teacher understands the changes and that they can teach students more effectively.
In conclusion, although teachers do have to update their knowledge, it is not necessary to require teachers of all levels to take courses every five years.
2.Some people think that giving students time during a class to discuss ideas with each other is a good way to help students learn; others think giving students time for discussion is ineffective or a waste of time. Which idea do you agree with, and why?
As is known to all, the education in China is exam-oriented. Everything students learn in class is for passing the exams. There are few open topics for students to discuss in Chinese class. It is believed by both Chinese teachers and students that discussion in class is an ineffective way to learn. I totally agree with it.
To begin with, Chinese students have got used to the way they are educated. Most students are required to listen carefully to the teachers and take as many note as possible in the class from primary school to senior high school. It will be too much to ask for students to accept class discussion within a short period of time. It is possible that students might not know what to say in the first place. When topics were given in class, it would be possible that the whole class would be silent. It is not only a waste of time, but also embarrassing.
In addition, the effectiveness of class discussion depends on the students’ personality. Unlike students from western countries like the United States, Chinese students are introverted who are reluctant to express their ideas in front of their fellow classmates. Some students might be afraid of speaking in public. They are worried if they do something wrong, it will be quite humiliating. Some students are just not interested in sharing although they have plenty of amazing ideas in mind.
Moreover, in order to conduct successful class discussion, the teacher plays the most crucial role. It is quite tough for the teacher to supervise the process. He is supposed to be capable of dealing with various challenges. He has to know how to start the topic when the whole class remains silent. Also he has to know how to engage as many students as possible. He has to know what to do when the discussion is absolutely off the topic.
In sum, class discussion might be an effective teaching method in other countries. However, it is not the case in China. It takes time for Chinese students to get familiar with it. It might be good when students become more extraverted. The qualification of the teacher matters the most in carrying out a successful class discussion.
3.Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: people should not spend a lot of time on communication by technologies, such as through social media or with text messages.
With the development of modern technologies, people today are enjoying communicating through social media and text messages, which is convenient compared to scheduling face-to-face meetings. However, some people argue that people should not spend too much time on communication using technological devices. I totally agree with this viewpoint for the following reasons.
To begin with, communicating through social media reduces the time people meet in real life. Convenient it might seem, in fact, this type of communication could isolate people from each other. To illustrate, while chatting through social media, we usually choose to type and send text messages, which lacks tones, intonations, and facial expressions to show our feelings. Even if we could use emoji, the emoji still fails to express our true feelings because those symbols and pictures are identical in everyone’s computer screens or cellphones. Gradually, people will not consider seriously the feelings conveyed by texts and emoji and thus the communications become less effective. For example, some people only “like” others’ pictures and sharing on Facebook without any comments. It is inevitable that people feel more and more isolated from each other by simply “liking” each other’s postings online without meeting in person.
Moreover, always sticking to our cellphones or sitting in front of computers is harmful to our physical health. For instance, many people have found themselves suffering from muscle pain because of a sedentary lifestyle. On the contrary, if people meet in person, they might hang out and take a walk while taking to each other. Though different from doing exercises in gyms, this in person meeting at least enables people to relax and even sweat a little bit.
In addition, during spare time, people could choose to schedule a short trip, do some exercises, or simply read some books that they are interested in. The above types of activities are beneficial for our physical health, and could help broaden our horizons. In order not to become addicted to social media, it is necessary for us to limit the time we spending on our cell phones as well as the Internet.
Based on the above discussion, people should not spend a lot of time on communication by technologies, such as through social media or with text messages. On the contrary, we could meet in person, which could help us maintain social relationship with others. Besides, we should make use of our leisure time to do some beneficial activities instead of staring at the screen of our cellphones or computers all the time.