Saturday, August 1, 2009

Homework wars

Many parents in these days are concerns about the amount of homework that teachers give to their children. According to the article “The Homework debate” that recently was published by The Washington Post “a new survey shows that parents and teachers don’t always agree on why homework is assigned” (Strauss, 2009, para.3). It’s a debate, because for one part teachers say that homework is very important in the learning process, and help children to develop study skills. However parents believe that teachers give so much homework to their kids because they don’t have time to cover the entire subject in school.

On the other hand, there is no evidence that homework increases academic achievement in the early school years. It’s a serious problem because this goes beyond the war that teachers and parents had, this affect children on many levels. We have to ask, “What did they have to give up, to gain these benefits?” Working on homework more than two hours a day may force them to give up a lot of informal learning opportunities, such practicing a musical instrument, or building an athletic skill. However research shows that homework is helpful and increased achievement is associated in the later grades. (Hetherington, 2005).

Many people disagree with the theory that homework really helps kids; for example Etta Kralovec and political economist John Buell, who co-authored the book “The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning”. They are saying, “We have no one to blame but ourselves when we find that national discourse on homework has embraced extreme position” (Gavel,2000). I think their position is very extreme, because many studies have found that a little bit of homework really works.

In my country works if it is an opportunity to practice skills or reinforce information learned very recently, especially in younger grades. In my experience, that helped me a lot to understand the classes more easily. Also it’s useful for children’s developmental capacity to remain focused on a task.

I think that homework cannot be use to introduce new material or difficult tasks. Additionally, it should never be used just to fill time. Also it’s really important to teach children how they can plan large projects, how to discover information on their own, and how to set aside time for important work.

They also need time to practice skills or reinforce information learned in school. If parents and educators keep these goals in mind, then the work that students take home can be valuable to their education.

Gavel, D. (2000). “Homework wars provoke debate: Experts face off over importance of after-school assignment”. The Harvard University Gazette. Retrieved on July 20, 2009, from:

Hetherington, R. (2005). “Homework: some is good, more is better”. Educational Leadership. Retrieved on July 17, 2009, from:

Strauss, V. (2009). “The Homework Debate”. The Washington Post. Retrieved on July 14, 2009, from:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Smoking Survey

I.- Introduction

Smoking is a serious problem that has affected us from many years ago. No one has proved that yet; there are physical reasons to start smoking. The body doesn't need tobacco the way it needs food, water, sleep, and exercise. Almost everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, emphysema, and heart disease; “Despite these deadly effects, about 35% of the adult men and 25% of adult women in the United States smoke cigarettes, averaging one and a half packs a day for a national grand total of some 600 billion packs a year”(Seal, 1998); that it can shorten our life by 10 years or more; and that the habit can cost a smoker thousands of dollars a year.

II.- Purpose

We wanted to do a survey, because we wanted to find out how many smokers are in SIUC, and how many of them are women and men. Also we were interested in knowing what the reasons are that people smoke, and if they have a particular preference for doing it, alone or around people.

III.- Hypotheses

I believe that from this survey, it is going to prove that more males smoke than females. Also that the most common reason to start to smoke is for stress. In addition, the majority is not going to admit that they are addicted. And it’s going to be more common to smoke around people than alone.

IV.- Materials

We used a questionnaire with 8 questions in total; for some to respond was yes or no; for others it was multiple answer, and in the rest they had to given their opinions. Some of the questions are, do you smoke; do you smoke mostly alone or with people; do you smoke in private or in public; are you addicted; and what’s the best way to quit.

V.- Methods

An 8-item survey was administered in SIUC in many different places like the hallway of the Faner building; to students of the summer CESL program; also outside of the library, and in the Student Center. We asked males and females of different ages; most of them with different backgrounds, and cultures, and from different countries.


Appendix A

VII.- Results

According to this survey it is very clear that males smoke more than females; there exist a very high difference in the result. The survey shows that 78.9% of the smokers are males and only 21.1% are females. Also we can see a distend preference that most of the people smoke in both ways, like with company or alone, with 75%. However just a few of them prefer to smoke in private; this option reaches 25%; but 66.7% of the people who took the survey don’t pay attention to that, and smoke with people too. Just 37.5% recognized that they are addicted, but 62.5% don’t. 42.9% of the people started to smoke because they felt a lot of stress in their life. And the majority believe that people start to smoke because they are influenced by their friends. And 39.5% also think that the best way to quit smoking is a program of training

VIII.- Conclusion

I had proved with facts many of my points from this survey; for example that more males smoke than females. Also I confirm that the most common reason to start to smoke is for stress; I think that is the major reason, because many people had told me that they feel relaxed when they smoke. In addition, I corroborate that the majority doesn’t admit that they are addicted; maybe it’s because they felt shame and they don’t want to admit that they had a problem.

IX.- Reference

Seal, B. (1998). Smoking. In Academic Encounter: Human Behavior. Pp. 31-33. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Rich and Famous"

According to the author, in his article “Achieving fame, wealth and beauty are psychological dead end”, he based it on a study by three University of Rochester researchers, which demonstrated that if you have many extravagant goals in life it can actually make you less happy. The research was based on tracking 147 alumni from two universities during their second year after graduation. They focused on important areas like satisfaction with life, self-esteem, anxiety, physical signs of stress, and experience of positive and negative emotion in their lives.

I think that our attitudes and cultures of consumerism have reached a breaking point over the last few years. We always want to be the best, have the best job and clothing, but just for fashion, to show others that we can buy those things. We have the wrong idea being successful is just having material thing. The best ways to stop this phenomenon are:

First, we have to know and give valve to the important things in our lives, like family having good friends, and feeling good about you. We have to forget about all the stress that caused thinking about money, fame and future.

Second, on piece of advice is that it is important that you know yourself deeply and fully, and explore aspects of yourself you’ve been afraid you pay attention to in the past. Knowing yourself helps you focus on thing that are really important.

And finally, but not less important, don’t get too hung up on your appearance, because after all. Beauty is pretty superficial. We have to care about us but not in an extreme way.

It’s important to have dreams and goals in life. However it’s more important to have peace and calm, and not worry about things that you can’t control.

Achieving fame, wealth and beauty are psychological dead end, study says. (2009, May 19). University of Rochester. Science Daily. Retrieved on July 9, 2009, from:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stress Impact in our lives

According to Bernard Seal in his article “coping with stress”, stress most of the time is not caused by things that happen, in some cases it’s more related to people’s reactions and response to stressful events. For this reason it is very important to develop the ability to control our behavior when a difficult situation is coming to us. In fact this will determine the impact that these events have on our lives. Sometimes people not only see the stress as an opportunity to be better, but also as a challenge.
It is normal to experience a range of moods, both high and low, in everyday life. These feelings are a part of life; sometimes, people fall into depressing feelings that persist and start interfering with their ability to complete daily activities.
Recently, much has been reported about stress and its relationship to other health problems, such as heart disease, blood pressure and depression. And today it’s a serious problem for us.
In my experience, two years ago I was suffering from stress; this caused me a serious illness, I lost so much weight, I was depressed, and I was isolated from my loved ones. I have so many things to do, like finish my major, go to work every day, and responsibility for my house. I always felt that I didn’t have enough time. After that I decided to get help from a therapist. I wanted to understand why if I have everything that a normal person wants like family, friends, a good support system, why I’m not happy. It was a difficult period to me.
The therapist helped me a lot; he made me see that I’m a human being, and humans make mistakes. I was trying so hard to be always perfect, to do everything on time, and in the end I realized that I was wasting my time and those things. At that time I was 19 years old, and I was living my life like a woman of 40 years.
But now I’m fine, and very healthy, so I decided to give a change to my life and move to another country and start from 0. I really think that with just our mind we have the control to handle any situation. And like and advice from my experience I can tell that we have to enjoy each day, because each day is a gift.

Seal, B. (1998). Coping with stress. In Academic encounters: Human behavior. (Pp. 15-16). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


This was a reporter of Thaindian that based the article in a recent interview with Stuart Backerman, who was the publicist and a close friend of Michael Jackson’s he talk with the Local Vancouver Sun Friday said that stress was the causes of the star’s death. He also said that the performer got financial problems with debt between $300 and $500 millions. On the other hand that he was taking too much Demerol to deal with his stress. He had used this painkiller since 1984, when he had an accident in the location for his Pepsi commercial. Backerman described that the physiological problem of king of pop began in that period. He started to wear wing and act strange since then. Also he never grew up, and maybe that was one of the reasons why he felt a connection with younger boys. So many things had been told about him but the clearest reason is that stress contributed to his death.

Stress killed Michael Jackson, says ex – publicist. (2009, June 27). Thaindian News. Retrieved on July 6, 2009, from

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summary #1

According to Mary McNmara in “not a black or white story” the life of Michael Jackson was very full of mixes. In on part he was the most popular performer of the 1980's and the other he had various accusations of child molestation. He had issues with drugs and anorexia and many people think those were the causes of his death. However no one can deny that he was an international star; he broke most of the stereotypes of his decade. Also won to many awards and made to many hits to his name.
In conclusion he is always going to be remembered as “the king of pop”, a person that everyone admired. And she thinks that “now, maybe we will know the truth about him whose music moved so many people, who in death will become more visible than he was in life.

McNamara, M (2009, Jun 25). Michael Jackson, not a black or white story (updated). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on July 1, 2009, from