The Perfect Amount of Homework

 

 

How long should students spend their time on doing their homework?

Researchers at the University of Oviedo in Spain studied more than 7,000 students and they found out that 70 minutes of homework per night has plenty of benefits but if teens are asked to do more than that, the benefits start to decrease.

The students answered a series of tests and questionnaires. They found out that those who regularly do their homework had good test scores and those who don’t do their homework regularly had lower test scores. However, those students who spend more than 90 – 100 minutes of homework per night did a little worse on the tests.

While it’s still true that requiring students to do homework is beneficial, the amount of time being spent in doing it affects their performance in school.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Plenty – a large or sufficient amount or quantity; more than enough
  2. Series – a number of things, events, or people of a similar kind or related nature coming one after another
  3. Questionnaires – a set of printed or written questions with a choice of answers, devised for the purposes of a survey or statistical study
  4. Beneficial – favourable or advantageous; resulting in good

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. How many minutes/hours do you spend in doing your homework? Why does it have to take that long?
  2. Do you think homework is beneficial for students? Why or why not?
  3. How many minutes/hours should students spend on their homework? Why do you think so?

    How long should students spend their time on doing their homework? Researchers at the University of Oviedo in […]


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Level:

Intermediate

Love and Science

MAR. 24 491-illust_(Mar24)science of love

 

 

Can science prove we are in love?

American Physiological Society examined the brains of 17 men and women who were in love by using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). fMRI shows where our blood is flowing through our brain, which will tell us which area in our brain works the hardest when we are in love.

Experts were surprised to know that the parts of our brain that is connected to motivation, reward and drive are most active when we are madly in love. Experts were expecting to see the areas for emotion and sex to light up but they didn’t.

Additionally, another study by Frontiers of Neuroscience did another study with 100 subjects who are also in love. They found out that our brain has a different structure during our lovey-dovey period compared to the time when we are not in love.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Physiological – the general desire or willingness of someone to do something
  2. Motivation – the general desire or willingness of someone to do something
  3. Drive – compel (someone) to act in a particular way, especially one that is considered undesirable or inappropriate
  4. Madly – to an extreme or excessive degree
  5. Structure – the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex
  6. Lovey-dovey – overly affectionate

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. How would you describe your behaviour when you are in love?
  2. Do you agree that people are highly motivated when they are in love compared to when they are not in love? Why or why not?
  3. Do you believe that Science can measure love? Why or why not?

    Can science prove we are in love? American Physiological Society examined the brains of 17 men and women […]


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Level:

Intermediate

English Words Invented By the U.S. Presidents

 

 

Who invented the words iffy, sugar-coat and belittle?

Sometimes we find it difficult to find a word that best describes our feelings. The Presidents of United States are similar to us, however, in their case, they decided to invent words to describe what they felt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt used the term “Iffy” to ignore questions at press conferences in the 1930s. Nowadays, we use the word “Iffy” to talk about things which are doubtful.

Abraham Lincoln used the word “Sugar-coat” when he was trying to send an urgent message to the Congress. An official government printer found the word too casual and asked Lincoln to change it but he refused. Sugar-coat means, “To make something attractive or acceptable by exaggerating its characteristic.”

In 2010, Washington, D.C. had experienced a huge snowstorm and President Barack Obama described it as “Snowmaggeddon“. It’s a combination of Snow and Armageddon.

Thomas Jefferson likes to write. In fact he invented a lot of words such as belittle, monotonously, pedicure and many more.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Doubtful – uncertain; not sure
  2. Urgent – requiring immediate action or attention
  3. Exaggerate – represent (something) as being larger, greater, better, or worse than it really is.
  4. Armageddon – end of the world
  5. Belittle – cause to seem less serious; play down
  6. Monotonously – in a boring repetitious manner or lacking in variety
  7. Pedicure – professional care for the feet and toenails

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Have you heard of these words before you read the article?
  2. Do you think it’s alright to invent new words to be used? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think it’s better for us to study English harder and use the old words so we won’t forget them? Why or why not?

    Who invented the words iffy, sugar-coat and belittle? Sometimes we find it difficult to find a word that best […]


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Level:

Advance

Twice a Month: No Game Days

FEB. 03 460-illust_(Feb3Twice a Month- No Game Days

 

 

Should students spend less time in playing video games and study more to get a high score in an exam?

The Board of Education in Japan is making a proposal to urge parents to declare the first and third Monday of each month to be No Game Days.

The reason for this proposal is due to the recent results of tests of students from Hokkaido who earned lower scores than the average of Japan. Japanese educators thought that there must be something that is keeping students from studying longer and they came to the conclusion that it must be the video games. The educators even encourage adults to follow the No Game day as well.

However some gamers opposed the idea by saying video games is not the only reason why students are having less time for study. Other gamers said that students having mobile phones is also one of the many reasons why students are failing their tests.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Urge – push for something; recommend; encourage
  2. Declare – announce publicly or officially
  3. Proposal – something that is proposed (such as a plan or an assumption); proposition
  4. Conclusion – a position, opinion or judgement reached after consideration
  5. Encourage – same with urge; to promote; recommend
  6. Oppose – be against; express opposition to; fight against or resist strongly

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you think are the other reasons why students are spending less time studying?
  2. Do you agree with the proposal of the Board of Educators in Japan? Why or why not?
  3. What are the other things that parents should do to encourage their children to study harder?

    Should students spend less time in playing video games and study more to get a high score in […]


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Level:

Intermediate

The Oxford Comma

 

 

What is it and why should everyone use it?
The Oxford Comma is a comma before the word “and” at the end of a list. It can also be used to conjunctions like “or, nor, etc.”

We sell fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Printers, editors and readers of Oxford University Press traditionally used it. However, not all writers and publishers use it. Sometimes people call it as “Serial Comma.” In fact, The Oxford Comma is not commonly used in United States and some native speakers are not aware of it. But is it really important? Should everyone use the Oxford comma? In order to fully understand the importance of it, let’s use an illustration. the-oxford-comma_52c855ed979ed_w1500 Basically, if you don’t use the Oxford Comma, the meaning of the sentence will change.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU
Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Editor – a person responsible for the editorial part of publication; the person who decides the final content of a text (especially of a newspaper or magazine)
  2. Traditionally – according to tradition; in a traditional manner
  3. Publisher – a person engaged in publishing periodicals, books or music
  4. Illustrations – artwork that helps make something clear or attractive (usually pictures)
Perspective Exchange:

  1. Are you familiar with the Oxford Comma? Do you use it when you write in English?
  2. Do you have a rule in your language that is similar to Oxford Comma?
  3. After reading this article, do you really think it’s really important to be aware of the Oxford Comma? Or do you think it’s unnecessary?

    What is it and why should everyone use it? The Oxford Comma is a comma before the word […]


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Level:

Beginner

India and the Caste System

 

 

Have you heard of the Caste System?

Many foreigners have heard of India’s caste system, however, we are not very familiar with the ins and outs of it. This article is all about the gist of the caste system.

By definition, a caste system is a process of putting people in an occupational group. It is developed through religion and based on a division of labour. It describes the type of occupation a person can get and the social interactions that a person may have.

Caste System is ranked in hierarchical order. It has four main classes which they call as “varnas.” Indians are divided based from their personality, profession and birth.

  • Brahmana (commonly spelled as Brahmin). People in this category are engaged in scriptural education and teaching.
  • Kshatriya. People who are involved in public service like administration, maintenance of the law and order and defence.
  • Vaishya. People in this category are engaged in commercial activity such as businessmen, merchants, etc.
  • Shudra. Workers are categorized here because they are semi-skilled or unskilled.

The problem with this system is the lower class is prevented from climbing higher to the higher class, therefore, economic progress is restricted. Nowadays, Indian government is correcting the caste system by giving more opportunities for lower castes.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU
Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Ins and outs – the correct and successful way to do something; the special things that one needs to know to do something
  2. Gist – the central idea; point or substance of an argument, speech, etc.
  3. Occupation – a person’s job or work
  4. Division – the act or process of dividing
  5. Labour – productive work (especially physical work done for wages)
  6. Interaction – the act or process acting on each other
  7. Hierarchical – related to the series of ordered groupings of people or things within a system
  8. Scriptural – related to religious books like the Bible.
  9. Prevent – keep from happening; make impossible
  10. Restrict – kept within certain limits; limited
Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you feel about India’s Caste System?
  2. Do you agree with having a caste system? Why or why not?
  3. Does your country have a similar caste system in the past?

    Have you heard of the Caste System? Many foreigners have heard of India’s caste system, however, we are […]


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Level:

Advance

E-learning: iPads instead of Books

NOV. 12 425-illust_(nov6) E-learning- iPads instead of Books

 

 

Is it better to use modern technology to study and learn than real books?

Sarah Marsh, a journalist, investigated schools in Netherlands who swapped textbooks to iPads as their main material for teaching and learning. These schools are called as “Steve Jobs schools” and they have over a thousand students from the age of 4 to 12 years old.

You won’t see notebooks, blackboards or lesson plans in these schools. In fact, there is no seating plan and 45% of learning takes place on an iPad which every child is given when they join. These children will then take a 30-minute workshop on various subjects. Marina Donker who teaches at Ontplooing Steve Jobs School in Amsterdam explains that the use of web-based learning is good for students who get bored easily on a traditional classroom.

Although these kinds of schools are unique, the use of iPads and other modern gadgets in a classroom is not new. Apple reported that more than 10 million iPads were purchased by schools worldwide.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Investigate – study; try to understand; examine carefully
  2. Swap – exchange or give something in exchange for
  3. Workshop – a quick course for a small group
  4. Unique – a single one of its kind; highly unusual or rare

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Is there a school or institution in your country that uses modern gadgets as their main tool for teaching students?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages you can think of in using modern technology for learning?
  3. Do you agree that we should replace real books and lesson plans with modern gadgets as the main materials for learning? Why or why not?

    Is it better to use modern technology to study and learn than real books? Sarah Marsh, a journalist, […]


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Level:

Beginner

Studying Abroad Can Make Us Smarter

OCT. 08 389-illust_(oct8)Studying Abroad Can Make Us Smarter

 

 

Have you tried studying or working abroad?

William Maddux, an associate professor of organizational behaviour at INSEAD, found that those students who are enrolled in an international MBA program adopted an open attitude toward foreign cultures. They were able to make connection among disparate ideas.

According to Maddux’s research, those people who experienced living internationally are better problem solvers and display more creativity. He also found out that those people having international experience will likely create new products and set up new businesses.

Another professor, Angela Leung of Singapore Management University, has investigated the psychological effects of living abroad. She stated that people with more experiences of different cultures generate creative ideas faster and are more flexible compared to those who have never experienced studying in other countries.

Vocabulary Enhancement

  1. MBA – a master degree in business
  2. Adopted – acquired as your own by free choice
  3. Disparate – essentially different in kind; not allowing comparison
  4. Flexible – able to adjust readily to different conditions

 

Perspective Exchange

  1. Have you studied or worked abroad? Where and how long?
  2. Did it change the way you think? How so?
  3. Do you believe that experiencing different culture can make us more flexible and generate more ideas? Why or why not?

    Have you tried studying or working abroad? William Maddux, an associate professor of organizational behaviour at INSEAD, found […]


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Level:

Beginner

To Wear or Not to Wear School Uniforms?

SEPT. 23 375-illust_(Sep23)To Wear or Not to Wear School Uniforms

 

 

Should we ban wearing school uniforms?

In some countries, like Japan, Hong Kong, the U.K. and others, school uniforms are worn in almost every school while in countries like France and Germany only a few schools require their students to wear uniforms.

Some people, both students and teachers argued that students should be allowed to wear their religious dresses in school. An example of this argument is that sometimes school skirts are not long enough for Muslim girls. They also said that school uniforms are not comfortable and practical. Some female students might not feel comfortable wearing skirts and there are some school uniforms which require students to wear three or more items. Additionally, school uniforms are often expensive.

On the other hand, school uniforms create a sense of equality. Students will think that the administration treat all students equally when all of them are wearing the same uniform. Also, school uniforms encourage discipline. It teaches their students to respect their school and their teachers and they will behave properly knowing that other people can recognize the school there are attending to base from their uniform.

Vocabulary Enhancement

  1. Argue – have an argument about something
  2. Argument – a discussion between two people who have different beliefs
  3. Discipline – a system of rules of conduct or method practice

 

Perspective Exchange

  1. Do students in your country wear school uniforms? Are there some schools that don’t require students to wear school uniforms in your country?
  2. Give other reasons why students should not wear school uniform. Give other reasons why school should wear school uniform.
  3. Do you agree or disagree in banning the wear of school uniforms? Why?

    Should we ban wearing school uniforms? In some countries, like Japan, Hong Kong, the U.K. and others, school […]


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Level:

Beginner

6 English Words We Use Incorrectly

AUG. 24 361-illust_(Aug24)6 English Words We Use Incorrectly

 

 

Do you know what crutch words are?

English has become a common language to interact with people all over the world. While many of us think that we know the basic grammar principles by heart, we still misuse some common words in our everyday conversations.

Dictionary.com collected a short list of these words that we carelessly insert into our sentences. We call them “crutch words” and they are being used to add emphasis to a sentences but do not add meaning to the statement.

  • ACTUALLY. We often used it incorrectly to add an extra word to a sentence (For example, “I actually have no idea.”) but the literal meaning of this word signifies that something is present or exists in reality (He thought that Mary is shy and quiet but actually she is very loud and energetic).
  • LITERALLY. This adverb is used to describe an action that occurs in a strict sense. However, we often use it to emphasize a hyperbolic statement. (“I literally ran 250 miles today.”)
  • BASICALLY. The purpose of this word is to signal truth, simplicity and confidence (“Basically, he made a bad decision.”) But people often use it to create a sense of authority and finality.
  • HONESTLY. Most often, when people use this crutch word, it doesn’t add honesty to a statement.
  • LIKE. This is one of the most famous crutch words that are being used to give a speaker more time to think. Often, it is used involuntarily in a conversation and most often, we are not aware that we are using it.
  • OBVIOUSLY. This word should mean an action is recognized, readily observable and understood. However, people use it to emphasize their point about things that are not really “obvious.”

Here’s a perfect all the 6 crutch words included in one sentence:

Honestly, I like, basically, actually only use these words correctly. Literally.

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Misuse – wrong use of something, apply to a wrong thing or person or applied incorrectly
  2. Hyperbolic – exaggerated or enlarged beyond truth or reasonableness
  3. Authority – the power or right to give orders or make decision
  4. Involuntarily – doing something that you didn’t want to do in the first place; doing something that is against your will

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Are you familiar with these crutch words? How often do you hear them?
  2. Do you use any of these words in your day-to-day conversation? How?
  3. What do you feel when you hear these words in a conversation? Do you feel annoyed, confused or it’s alright with you? Why?

    Do you know what crutch words are? English has become a common language to interact with people all […]


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Level:

Advance