JC STUDENTS CHAMPION SMALLER CLASS SIZE


http://www.tanjeesay.com/2011/07/jc-students-champion-smaller-class-size/

extract::
For their JC 1 Project Work, a group of Pioneer Junior College students have come up with a creative and innovative way to achieve smaller class size in schools. Noticing that their school hall is used only sparingly, usually for the school assembly, and is empty most of the day, they suggested that the hall be partitioned into separate units of small classrooms with movable structures that can also block off noise. To overcome the cost and difficulty of recruiting more teachers that are needed, they urged greater use of new social media such as Facebook and Twitter to promote teaching as a career.
The students discussed their proposals with Michelle Lee and me on Wednesday 22 June 2011. They were attracted by our $60 billion National Regeneration Plan (described in New_Singapore_Economy_-_summary_extract_15_Feb_2011) which spells out, among many other proposals, why we should and how we could halve the current class size in schools. The students were concerned that shortage of land and building costs could hold back our plans.


Filed by PJC correspondent, kanazama.

GP Practice Essay 2

1. Sports is the only global language. Discuss.

2. Do you agree that most people today have no regard for the Arts?

3. “Not all boundaries which divide people are drawn on maps.” Discuss.

4. Discuss, with regard to Singapore, the need to regulate the media.

5. “We are prisoners of history.” Comment.

6. To what extent do you agree that knowledge is good and ignorance is evil?

7. Is it better to be a leader or a follower?

8. Is it fair to say that Singaporeans pursue education to get good jobs and earn lots of money?

9. Do you think it is fair to say that Science has done little to improve the quality of our life?

10. What are the most basic human rights that need to be protected?

11. Do you believe that nature determines the gender roles that we play?

12. Is what way is the younger generation’s perception of the future different from that of their elders?

GCE A Level 2005 Paper 2 Answers

. Explain in your own words as far as possible why there is ‘perpetual competition’ (line 3) between all living things. [2]

[PARAPHRASING QUESTION]

LIFTS (FROM PASSAGE)

Suggested answer

‘Since nourishment is necessary to support life, and since the resources available to supply nourishment are finite, there is perpetual competition to acquire it.’ [Lines 2 – 3]

It exists because the supply of sustenance which all living organisms need in order to survive [1], is always limited relative to their needs. [1] There is thus an endless race to vie for these resources.

2. Why does the author include the word ‘significantly’ in line 13? [1]

[PURPOSE]

LIFTS (FROM PASSAGE)

Suggested answer

‘Like every other creature they are born with the impulse to seize what they need and avoid what will harm… eventually they obtained the dominance which was necessary to establish order and direction among groups of competing individuals. [Lines 12 – 17]

He wanted to highlight the fact that the first invention of man was one of aggression and one that allowed them to gain advantage and to rule over all defenceless creatures. [1]

3. Why does the author believe that the ‘attempts to usurp’ authority were ‘inevitable’ (line 18) [1]

[INFERENCE QUESTION]

LIFTS (FROM PASSAGE)

Suggested answer

‘Like every other creature they are born with the impulse to seize what they need and avoid what will harm… [Lines 12 – 13]

‘Human beings armed with flint arrow-heads were the masters of animals and unarmed humans; eventually they attained the dominance …among groups of competing individuals.’ [Lines 14 – 17]

It is because every individual human being will instinctively react against forceful attempts to subjugate their free will. [1]

4. Explain how (a) ‘population pressure’ and (b) ‘dynastic ambition’ might be ‘possible motives for war’ (lines 24-25). [2]

[LINKING QUESTIONS]

a)

LIFTS (FROM PASSAGE)

Suggested answer

‘Under such a rule, the community flourished and grew. This growth required expansion, either into territory where only animals had to be fought, or – increasingly – into land already occupied by other groups of humans who had to be subdued to ensure the survival of the aggressors.’ [Lines 19 – 22]

As the population of a community increases exponentially, it requires more resources to sustain itself, [1/2] which can only be obtained by conquering other communities. [1/2]

b)

LIFTS (FROM PASSAGE)

Suggested answer

‘Once established, this ordered community could only be sustained by individuals who relied on force to subdue the inevitable attempts to usurp their authority. [Lines 17 – 19]

Rulers may resort to violence to ensure that future successors are from their lineage. [1]

5. Using your own words as far as possible, explain the circumstances under which, according to the writer, ‘war might be thought to be acceptable’ (lines 28-29).

[PARAPHRASING – THREE CIRCUMSTANCES] [3]

LIFTS (FROM PASSAGE)

Suggested answer

‘…should be waged only in response to aggression…’ [lines 29-30]

‘…was justifiable only if undertaken by legitimate authority…’ [line 30]

‘only as a last resort.’ [line 30]

War was thought acceptable under the conditions that it was in reaction to the forceful actions of others, [1] carried out by leaders recognized on lawful grounds [1] and employed only when no better alternatives were available. [1]

6. What are the two sources of conflict for which the author claims, in paragraph 6, can be resolved by science? Why, according to the author, are they not being resolved? Use your own words as far as possible.

[PARAPHRASING/INFERENCE] [3]

LIFTS (FROM PASSAGE)

Suggested answer

‘Science has already given us the ability to control the number of people on the planet, as well as the ability to increase the agricultural productivity on which people depended.’ [line 58-59]

The writer suggests that science can reduce the competition for resources through the regulation of population size [1/2]. It can also increase the yield of crops, a resource that people rely on [1/2].

‘…all that is lacking is willingness of governments to give priority to the spreading of information.’ [lines 61-62]

‘…political will to devote the necessary resources which is lacking...’ [lines 65-66]

These two sources of conflict have remained unresolved because of the reluctance of governments to attach primary importance to the sharing of knowledge [1] and the absence of commitment in using what is required of their capabilities to meet these ends. [1]

7. From paragraph 8, identify three statements which might seem controversial, and in each case, show how the author’s language seeks to give an impression of open-mindedness.

[LANGUAGE/WORD CHOICE QUESTION] [3]

Suggested answer

(1) ‘It is possibly true that aggression and competitiveness are primarily masculine characteristics.’ [lines 79-80] [1/2]

The use of the word ‘possibly’ gives clue of his open-mindedness to differing opinions. [1/2]

(2) ‘Consequently, perhaps the most encouraging development of recent times is the gradual but unstoppable growth of the power and influence of women.’ [lines 80- 81] [1/2]

The use of the word ‘perhaps’ suggests he is proposing, not stating, that increased dominance of women is the most important consequence. [1/2]

(3) ‘The particular virtues of women are widely claimed to be cooperation, care and concern for others.’

or

‘Therefore, women may enable the human race to tame and render harmless the aggressive instinct…’ [lines 84-85] [1/2]

The use of the word ‘widely claimed’ or ‘may’ shows the writer is aware of the existence of alternative viewpoints/opinions. [1/2] [general opinion vs asserted fact]

8. Give the meaning of the following words as they are used the passage. You may write your answer in one word or a short phrase. [5]

1 m

½ m

0 m

Fundamental adj. (line 1)

Of primary importance, central, key, basic

Vital, crucial, essential, necessary, integral

Exercised v.

(line 45)

utilized, put in action, practice/put into practice, applied

Cultivated, developed, fostered, performed

Equilibrium n.

(line 50)

Balance, stability

Equality, uniformity, sameness/similarity, in proportion

Disseminated v.

(line 61)

Circulated, distributed

Propagated, declared, proclaimed, spread, communicated, published

Parrot-cry n.

(line 87)

Phrase that is mindlessly repeated

Imitation, response, chorus, refrain

9. In paragraph 5, the author draws two conclusions about aggression.

Using material from the first four paragraphs of the passage (lines 1-51), summarize the case the author makes to justify these conclusions. Write your summary in no more than 120 words, not counting the opening words which are printed below. Use your own words as far as possible. [7]

The author argues that aggression is inevitable because……

LIFTS (FROM PASSAGE)

Suggested answer

  1. Nourishment is necessary to support life, and since the resources available to supply nourishment are finite, there is perpetual competition to acquire it…. The plants and animals which survive by these means contribute to the development and improvement of their species.

  1. Human beings armed with flint arrow-heads were the masters of animals and unarmed humans; eventually they attained the dominance which was necessary to establish order and direction among groups of competing individuals. Once established, this ordered community could only be sustained by individuals who relied on force to subdue the inevitable attempts to usurp their authority.

  1. Under such a rule, the community flourished and grew. This growth required expansion, either into territory where only animals had to be fought or into land already occupied by other groups of humans who had to be subdued to ensure the survival of the aggressors.

  1. There are many possible motives for war: … Whatever the motive, those who are attacked must defend themselves with equally aggressive intent and efficiency if they are to survive.

  1. Some would argue that all wars, whether or not they are regarded as “acceptable”, produce beneficial effects… can also motivate the builders of cities and captains of industry, whose efforts bring prosperity to their workers and to the wider community.

  1. It is undeniably true that many of the great technological and medical advances of the twentieth century were made in response to the urgent and vital needs of nations at war. The jet engine and developments in disease control come to mind.

  1. And without conflict, how would the heroic virtues be exercised? Is there no merit in bravery… or in the compassion…Some people, indeed, will even argue that warfare is a natural solution to the problems of population excess and imbalance.

The author argues that aggression is inevitable because living things constantly fight to obtain limited sources of sustenance. [1]

Humans used weapons against rivals to create a hierarchical society, asserting aggression to overthrow/crush threats to their power. [1]

As society prospered and population increased, land would be conquered forcefully to accommodate this. [1]

Those threatened must retaliate against those who hit out at them with similar hostility. [1]

The author also argues that aggression brings positive outcomes, inspiring cultural revolutions and spurring construction of societies, thus generating wealth. [1]

Numerous significant scientific and medical developments were produced because of immediate necessities of countries at war. [1]

Noble attributes also surface during war times. [1] In the process, war may also resolve the issues of overpopulation that lead to a strain on the Earth. [1]

(118 Words)

10. Having reviewed the apparent inevitability and compensating benefits of aggression in the past, Arthur Woolgar suggests some reasons why aggression may play a much reduced role in the future. How convincing do you find these reasons, and do you consider the gains would outweigh the losses if aggression ceased to be a central feature of human behaviour? [8]

R1A: What are the reasons why aggression may play a much reduced role in the future & are they convincing? (Cite two)

R1B: Would gains would outweigh losses if aggression ceased to be a main feature of human behaviour?

R2: Evaluate author’s arguments to support your R1A & R1B.

R3: Use evidence/examples from your own knowledge & experience.

R1A: Reasons & Evaluation of whether they are convincing

Reasons:

1) Technological change enables the human race to control the population and to increase agricultural productivity, such that human beings do not have to rely on aggression to attain land or sources of nourishment anymore.

2) Sporting events as a form of competition have replaced wars.

3) Aggression and competitiveness are masculine characteristics, therefore these characteristics will be downplayed as women become more influential and powerful. Therefore, characteristics associated with women such as cooperation, care and concern will nullify the masculine characteristics needed for conflict and war.

Possible arguments on how convincing the reasons are:

· Convincing

o It is true that people compete for food sources, living space and what is deemed valuable.

o Swift advancement of technology

o Sporting events as an outlet to release competitive spirit. Means for nations to interact.

o Sporting events are an alternative rallying point for nationalistic sentiments.

o Women are gaining more seats in governments around the world, as well as more rights.

o Women do tend not to resort to physical violence as a solution to conflict.

· Not convincing:

o Nations develop at different rates, therefore, not every nation is capable technologically of controlling the population or increasing agricultural productivity. Therefore, these nations might still rely on aggression to attain what they need.

o Technology as double-edged sword: Author based argument on utopian ideals of sharing of knowledge in technology advancement, but nations with the technological edge might use it as an advantage to assert their dominance over nations who have not developed at the same pace as them. Therefore, war just changes its form.

o Other causes of war: Over population and need for sustenance are not the only reasons why people go to war. There may be a clash in ideologies, political systems, religion (ie. Israel and Palestine, America and Iraq). War is also brought about by desire for power, fame and wealth

o Winning in sporting events do not reap the same benefits as going to war. (contrived setting)

o Feminine characteristics may not necessarily neutralize men’s desire for conflict.

o Also, aggression may not be a gender-specific trait.

R1B: Possible Points for Gains & Losses

Gains

Losses

§ Peace and harmony among nations

§ Security and stability

§ Stability in living expectations and the acquisition/supply of food.

§ No loss of lives

§ Growth in economy (Cite examples of war-torn countries not being able to sustain economic growth!)

§ Learning of alternative ways of relating with each other.

§ Civility as a hallmark of refined society – as opposed to aggression/violence which is a throwback to a more primitive past. Less inclination to resort to brute force, more attempt at diplomacy.

§ No nationalistic sentiments?

§ No urgency to advance intellectually and in science and technology

§ Complacency on being able to attain food.

§ Taking peace for granted

§ No reason to strive for better governments, further advancements in warfare.

§ Difficulty in removing corrupt authorities – passivity, political apathy

§ No angst or turmoil to inspire artists!

§ Aggression is not necessarily tied to violence alone – it is a basic human impulse associated with motivation, providing an impetus for action. We become passive, apathetic, stagnant as a society. L

· Note: Gains generally outweigh losses, but some level of aggression should still play a part in society for the sake of competition and progress.

· Be careful not to sound lame.

Sample AQ

Woolgar argues that the need for aggression is diminished by the proliferation of technology and the solutions it provides. Despite the inadequacy of the political desire to ensure the spreading of this know-how to the developing world – the countries that need it the most and which might display aggression to achieve it – Woolgar feels that aggression will no longer be necessary when the Third World places more political pressure on the developed countries and the developed world as a result of this relinquishes the relevant technology and aid. However, I feel that the developed world would have the means to dig in their heels and resist the often belligerent demands of the Third World for a full technological transfer. Despite the outpouring of aid to disaster-struck countries such as Myanmar and Sichuan, China, most governments do not have the patience to make a concerted and sustained effort in structurally improving the economy and society of another country, especially when there is little benefit for them. This is ironic, for the fierce desire to stay ahead and the unwillingness to allow other developed nations to overtake them is a characteristic of aggression. The unwillingness and insincerity of first-world governments are shown through the phenomenon of tied debt and tied aid, where aid comes with the conditions and prerequisites such as unfair trade concessions, which may not amount to physical provocation, but are nonetheless subtle forms of manipulation and aggression. Hence, there is little sign of the change necessary to give the third world the tools necessary to match population growth to resources available. Hence Woolgar’s hopes are likely untenable.

Woolgar also argues that sport is a viable substitute for war, and that people live vicariously through the competition and controlled conflict that occurs with the sanitised environment and the grip of rules present in a sporting arena, and hence do not seek to wage war. However, sport hardly diminishes violence and aggression. Major sports tournaments, such as the Copa America, often bring with them immense violence as supporters are often knifed, attacked and roundly abused by fans of another team. The Heysel disaster which occurred when Liverpool Football Club and Juventus in the Champions League resulted in the deaths of 39 youths. Even the recent Beijing Olympics have been marred by protests surrounding the Chinese repression of Tibet. Sport remains a magnet for violence and aggression – not merely off the field, but also on it. How often have we seen massive on-pitch brawls or heinously violent tackles on opponents that have landed them in the hospital, and worse, sometimes even in death? Sport engenders hostility and violence, and hardly leads to the reduction of the role of aggression. In fact, sport in some ways fuels aggression rather than diminishing it. Neither have wars ceased and conflicts stopped because of sport: civil war and conflict continue to rage on in every part of the world, in innumerable countries ranging from the Darfur Ethnic Cleansing to the recent uprising of the monks and the violent reprisals of the army in Myanmar. Furthermore, the prevention of World War III could be due to a number of reasons, such as the institutionalising of international law through the creation of the United Nations, or the rise of international trade, which diminishes the need for resources through war and acts as an incentive to maintaining cordial relations with another country.

However, aggression is and should continue to be a central part of human behaviour – but the level of aggression should be tapped or limited. Aggression is a necessary instinct that is a requirement for survival and needed in daily life – confrontation and the thirst for victory is what allows us to pursue development and growth, whether we are triumphant over a colleague at work, an opponent in sport, personal demons or the realisation of an artistic vision. Humans cannot be passive – society moves and grows and flourishes because of our aggression. Yet while aggression has its inevitable gains, it is also important to note that for most of the world, survival is beyond hunting animals and who has the technology and ingenuity to create flint arrow-heads. We have the capability to rise beyond the immediate and the necessary that is required for survival – the basic simple survival instinct of aggression and hostility to defend one’s health and home is no longer relevant. Instead there should be a focus on resource allocation to give the Third World what the First World has. Aggression must continue to exist, but it must be properly channelled.

With teacher’s notes:

Woolgar argues that the need for aggression is diminished by the proliferation of technology and the solutions it provides. Despite the inadequacy of the political desire to ensure the spreading of this know-how to the developing world – the countries that need it the most and which might display aggression to achieve it – Woolgar feels that aggression will no longer be necessary when the Third World places more political pressure on the developed countries and the developed world as a result of this relinquishes the relevant technology and aid. (R2A: selecting/paraphrasing/expanding author’s argument) However, I feel that the developed world would have the means to dig in their heels and resist the often belligerent demands of the Third World for a full technological transfer. (EV: own opinion) Despite the outpouring of aid to disaster-struck countries such as Myanmar and Sichuan, China, most governments do not have the patience to make a concerted and sustained effort in structurally improving the economy and society of another country, especially when there is little benefit for them. (EX: showing opinion/observed principle in real-life examples) This is ironic, for the fierce desire to stay ahead and the unwillingness to allow other developed nations to overtake them is a characteristic of aggression. The unwillingness and insincerity of first-world governments are shown through the phenomenon of tied debt and tied aid, where aid comes with the conditions and prerequisites such as unfair trade concessions, which may not amount to physical provocation, but are nonetheless subtle forms of manipulation and aggression. (EX/EV: Subverting author’s arguments through examples; intentional evaluation/exploration of the meaning of these examples) Hence, there is little sign of the change necessary to give the third world the tools necessary to match population growth to resources available. Hence Woolgar’s hopes are likely untenable. (R1A: Stand – R2A is not convincing)

Woolgar also argues that sport is a viable substitute for war, and that people live vicariously through the competition and controlled conflict that occurs with the sanitised environment and the grip of rules present in a sporting arena, and hence do not seek to wage war. (R2B: selecting/paraphrasing/expanding author’s argument) However, sport hardly diminishes violence and aggression. (EV) Major sports tournaments, such as the Copa America, often bring with them immense violence as supporters are often knifed, attacked and roundly abused by fans of another team. (EX) The Heysel disaster which occurred when Liverpool Football Club and Juventus in the Champions League resulted in the deaths of 39 youths. (EX) Even the recent Beijing Olympics have been marred by protests surrounding the Chinese repression of Tibet. (EX) Sport remains a magnet for violence and aggression – not merely off the field, but also on it. (EV: Personal opinion/argument) How often have we seen massive on-pitch brawls or heinously violent tackles on opponents that have landed them in the hospital, and worse, sometimes even in death? Sport engenders hostility and violence, and hardly leads to the reduction of the role of aggression. In fact, sport in some ways fuels aggression rather than diminishing it. (EV: Personal opinion/argument) Neither have wars ceased and conflicts stopped because of sport: civil war and conflict continue to rage on in every part of the world, in innumerable countries ranging from the Darfur Ethnic Cleansing to the recent uprising of the monks and the violent reprisals of the army in Myanmar. (EX/EV) Furthermore, the lack of World War III could be due to a number of reasons, such as the institutionalising of international law through the creation of the United Nations, or the rise of international trade, which diminishes the need for resources through war and acts as an incentive to maintaining cordial relations with another country. (R1A: Stand – R2B is not convincing)

However, aggression is and should continue to be a central part of human behaviour (R1B: More gains) – but the level of aggression should be tapped or limited (EV: Personal opinion on DEGREE). Aggression is a necessary instinct that is a requirement for survival and needed in daily life – confrontation and the thirst for victory is what allows us to pursue development and growth, whether we are triumphant over a colleague at work, an opponent in sport, personal demons or the realisation of an artistic vision. (EX) Humans cannot be passive – society moves and grows and flourishes because of our aggression. (EV: Personal opinion) Yet while aggression has its inevitable gains, it is also important to note that for most of the world, survival is beyond hunting animals and who has the technology and ingenuity to create flint arrow-heads. We have the capability to rise beyond the immediate and the necessary that is required for survival – the basic simple survival instinct of aggression and hostility to defend one’s health and home is no longer relevant. (EV: Weighing gains with losses) Instead there should be a focus on resource allocation to give the Third World what the First World has. Aggression must continue to exist, but it must be properly channelled. (R1B: Stand – gains vs losses)