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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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When it comes to choosing history and literature materials for children, there is a common belief that national materials are more important than foreign ones. Though this view is reasonable, it does not necessarily mean we should completely disregard the culture of other countries.

The most common reason for teaching the history of one’s own country is that it builds a sense of nationalism. Take Israel, the country of the Jews, for example. In the past, the Jews diaspora scattered all over Europe, and they spoke different languages. As a result, this made them vulnerable against antisemitism. But, partly thanks to the Zionist movement, which facilitated the teaching of Jewish history and Hebrew literature, all the Jews are now living in prosperity on the same land. This particular example shows how impactful the native history can be.

However, it is also unreasonable to simply neglect the history and literature of foreign countries. The stories from an unfamiliar land can be very attracting to many, children included. If we look at the enormous sales of Western adolescent novels like Harry Potter in the East, it is apparent that many children simply enjoy foreign literature, and there is no reason to stop them. Also, the history of another country may work well as a precedent example for our country. All the suffering in the Second World War has taught us that how much evil intentions can destroy the world, and we shall not let it repeat.

To conclude, I agree that national history and literature is more important than foreign ones. That being said, there are definitely some rooms for teaching both of them in the same curriculum.

Words: 276.

Anh Tran

1) When it comes to: this usage of "come to" is marked informal (#7) here:
https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/come-to

2) https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=there+is+a+common+belief%2Cit+is+widely+held&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cthere%20is%20a%20common%20belief%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cit%20is%20widely%20held%3B%2Cc0

3) "Material" is in the sense of classroom materials is marked as both uncountable and plural. The phrase "national materials" would normally refer to metals, wood, and manufacturing supplies. It might be easier to frame the sentence in terms of the national school curriculum just to avoid these issues. (The curriculum should focus on ...)
See here:
https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/material

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=classroom+material%2Cclassroom+materials%2Chistory+material%2Chistory+materials%2Creading+material%2Creading+materials%2Cliterature+material%2Cliterature+materials%2C+national+materials&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cclassroom%20material%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cclassroom%20materials%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Chistory%20material%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Chistory%20materials%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Creading%20material%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Creading%20materials%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cliterature%20material%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cliterature%20materials%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cnational%20materials%3B%2Cc0

4) "common belief", "The most common reason": where is your evidence for this? The score for Task Response can be marked down for overgeneralizing. -> One reason for ...

5) As a result,: not required in as used in this context.

6) "But": some traditional-minded people might still regard starting a sentence with "but" as an error. -> However.

7) "all the Jews": overgeneralizing. If there is even just one Jewish person still living outside Israel, or just one who is not prospering somewhere, the argument is undermined.

8) impactful: from thefreedictionary.com: "Usage Note: The word impactful rankles many people. Even though the -ful suffix was historically productive, yielding helpful words like eventful, bountiful, wonderful, and helpful itself, many view impactful as an affront to the English language, perhaps because of its association with the jargon of advertising and business. In our 2015 survey, 77 percent of the Usage Panel found the sentence This software will allow you to create impactful and original imagery to be unacceptable. Using this word in your speech and writing will be undoubtedly have a great impact, but probably not in the way you'd like."

9) I am not quite sure how relevant your example is, as the question is really about the (national) school curriculum, and the example seems to refer to extra-mural teaching. I might be wrong here.

10) attracting -> attractive, or perhaps interesting

11) a precedent example -> an instructive example

12) All the suffering in the Second World War has taught us that how much evil intentions [perhaps better uncountable: evil intention] can destroy the world, and we shall [-> should] not let it repeat [-> allow such a conflict to happen again].

13) I am not sure that any leader in WWII knowingly had evil intentions: at least, in their own mind they thought they were doing the right thing for their country and people. Again, I might be wrong here, but in general it is important to make sure your examples are relevant and stack up. In your planning for the essay, consider changing your position to fit the examples that come to mind: the essay does not have to reflect your real stance and thinking; it just needs to hang together.

14) The third paragraph would perhaps be better if it focused on one point (ie Harry Potter and the insights from foreign literature), and developed and supported that further, rather than trying to make one and two half points.

15) national history and literature is more important than foreign ones: 'ones' is awkward here. -> national, as opposed to foreign, history and literature is more important.

16) there are definitely some rooms [sounds like a hotel!] -> there is definitely room for ...

17) both of them : unclear reference: could be taken as referring to 'history and literature'.

Dear Simon,

I was wondering if 'discuss both views+ your opinion' essay would appear in General Training Task 2.

What are exactly the questions types in GT? Are they exactly the same with Academic (4 types), or they happen to be simpler, asking mostly one side opinion?

Hi Simon,
When I read the passage ( lots of your writings) , it actually is not easy to get all mentioned meanings. I need to think of and write it down in a couple of times to get the ideas. I don't want to translate by my native language, but I want to understand as a English person read. I wonder is it right way?
Now I'm completely using English dictionary, read newspaper slowly and watch videos by subtitle.
For example, I'd like to ask some good meanings of the mentioned phrases as I use my way.
A sense of identity : It is our sense of identity that makes us who you are and how we are different from everybody else.
This approach is likely to please parents : this approach is probably to make happy for parents.
School work : the work that a child does at school or at home ( like homework).
There is educationaly continuity across the generations : the continuing education is transfered for next generations.
An emphasis on...: An important factor is...
A narrower teaching scope : The limited distance of approached teaching.
Curriculum design : courses design.
Thanks.

Hi all,

Do you think adding a comma in the place I put will make the sentence more smooth?

At the same time, this approach is likely to please parents, who studied the same books and historical events(,) and can therefore help their children with school work.

Eirca

", who......work." is a non-defining relative clause, and as such must be comma-ed off. Introducing an extra comma into this type of clause could confuse the reader who might then assume that the subject of "can" is "this approach" until encountering "their children" later in the sentence.

Hi Simon
I am little confused about your second perspectiive,you said that learn national history and literature makes easier for parents to help children to study what they have studied before. But if both parents and children are taught history of other countries, they still learn the same knowledge, and parents can still help their children about it.
So I wonder does it can support the view?
Thank you very much!hope your reply

Hi, Simon,

Can you please share conclusion for a cause effect related essay.

It is argued by some that national history and literature should be prioritised over its foreign counterparts. I mostly agree with this idea, but also believe that studying international cultures would be benefical for us to some extent.
There are several reasons why schools should place more importance on teaching children their own culture and history compared the with foreign ones. Firstly, as a native citizen, every person have a natinonal obligation to have knowledge on his/her country’s deep rootes, etnicity, culture,history and other related pathways that a nation has undergone. There could be a situation in which person could be asked by foreigners about any nuance of history of its nation, and being unable to repond appropriately would be more likely mean an embarrassment for that citizen. Therefore, it is essential to have those knowledge from an early age taught in schools. Secondly, let alone being questioned about history or culture of nation, young people must feel enjoyment of learning about their ancesstors, ancient history,brave heroes which in turn make them begin to develop a sense of identity.
On the other hand I also supporter of the viewpoint that common knowledge about other countries’ history is also important. Nobody can deny the fact that today’s children will be tomorrow’s economists, doctors, police officers and politics. Throughout all over the world schools, children beginning from a certain age are already given classes on world history and this serve to certain purpose. By getting universal knowledge and understanding about world history, how countries emerged, how their relationships changed over time depending on their interests can teach children more about the realities surrounding them. They gradually develop a greater understanding of emergence of countries, cultures, religions and fundamental knowledge about other important issues. Only in this case, people regardless of their involvment in politics, can easily understand and perceive what is at stake in a global world.
In conclusion, it seems to me that while it is key for children to possess key knowledges about their own countries’ culture and history, it is also advisable to gain the universal awareness of world history.

Hi Simon,

How about partly agree with this type of essays?

Could you rate below essay?

It is argued by some that national history and literature should be prioritized over its foreign counterparts. I mostly agree with this idea, but also believe that studying international cultures would be benefical for us to some extent.


There are several reasons why schools should place more importance on teaching children their own culture and history compared the with foreign ones. Firstly, as a native citizen, every person have a natinonal obligation to have knowledge on his/her country’s deep rootes, etnicity, culture,history and other related pathways that a nation has undergone. There could be a situation in which person could be asked by foreigners about any nuance of history of its nation, and being unable to repond appropriately would be more likely mean an embarrassment for that citizen. Therefore, it is essential to have those knowledge from an early age taught in schools. Secondly, let alone being questioned about history or culture of nation, young people must feel enjoyment of learning about their ancesstors, ancient history,brave heroes which in turn make them begin to develop a sense of identity.


On the other hand I also supporter of the viewpoint that common knowledge about other countries’ history is also important. Nobody can deny the fact that today’s children will be tomorrow’s economists, doctors, police officers and politics. Throughout all over the world schools, children beginning from a certain age are already given classes on world history and this serve to certain purpose. By getting universal knowledge and understanding about world history, how countries emerged, how their relationships changed over time depending on their interests can teach children more about the realities surrounding them. They gradually develop a greater understanding of emergence of countries, cultures, religions and fundamental knowledge about other important issues. Only in this case, people regardless of their involvment in politics, can easily understand and perceive what is at stake in a global world.


In conclusion, it seems to me that while it is key for children to possess key knowledges about their own countries’ culture and history, it is also advisable to gain the universal awareness of world history.

Dear Simon

I made small changes to my essay so that you can review.

My question was about writing this sort of essay having partly agree view. What do you think?

It is argued by some that national history and literature should be prioritised over its foreign counterparts. I mostly agree with this idea, but also believe that studying international cultures would be benefical for us to some extent.


There are several reasons why schools should place more importance on teaching children their own culture and history compared the with foreign ones. Firstly, as a native citizen, every person have a morall obligation to have knowledge on his/her country’s deep rootes, etnicity, culture,history and other related pathways that a nation has undergone. There could be a situation in which person could be asked by foreigners about any nuance of history of its nation, and being unable to repond appropriately would be more likely mean an embarrassment for that citizen. Therefore, it is essential to have those knowledge from an early age taught in schools. Secondly, let alone being questioned about history or culture of nation, young people must feel enjoyment of learning about their ancesstors, ancient history,brave heroes which in turn make them begin to develop a sense of identity.


On the other hand I also supporter of the viewpoint that common knowledge about other countries’ history is also important. Nobody can deny the fact that today’s children will be tomorrow’s teachers,philosophers and that’s why it is so necessary for them to acquire certain fundamental knowledge to be well-informed about the world. Almost in every school around the world, children beginning from a certain age are already given classes on world history and this serve to certain purpose. By getting universal knowledge and understanding about world history, how countries emerged, how their relationships changed over time depending on their interests can teach children more and gradually develop a greater understanding of emergence of cultures, religions and fundamental knowledge about other important issues. Only in this case, people regardless of their involvement in politics, can easily understand and perceive what is at stake in a global world.

In conclusion, it seems to me that while it is key for children to possess key knowledges about their own countries’ culture and history, it is also advisable to gain the universal awareness of world history.

Ali

1) At 361 words the essay may be too much to write in the time available. Chopping it down to around 260-280 would be good practice.

2) 'every ' takes a singular verb

3) 'knowledge' is uncountable.

4) I am also a supporter

5) -> this serves a certain purpose.

6) -> to gain a universal awareness

The question remains as to exactly how much classroom time should be devoted to local, as opposed to foreign, history and literature: should it be 50/50 or 80/20 or 20/80 ? On what basis is this to be decided?

This was the topic i got the other day on my test day.
Some people agree to the view that TV advertisements are useful while others don't.
Do you agree or disagree
(I don't remember exact statement, but "TV advertisements are useful" part of the statement is exactly what is give)
Hi Simon - First of all, thanks for the wonderful blog, I was already ready with some good ideas as you have discussed about advertising long back.

Request you to kindly address the following query related to this topic
- Since they have mentioned usefulness in the question prompt, is it ok if I write my essay in benefits/drawbacks + my opinion way


I firmly believe that children should learn a foreign language and the associated literature. As for history, to me, it does not matter whether it is local or foreign.

People do not learn well from history. Mistakes are often repeated. At Fukushima there were large stones on the hillsides marking the height of the last tsunami. They were ignored and so many, many lives and homes were lost because people had built in the valley by the shore. Similarly, there was Chernobyl, but the lessons have still not been taken to heart. There were also Nagasaki, and Hiroshima, but we still stand on the brink of nuclear war. There was a Great War, the war “to end wars”, in Europe last century, and the same twenty-five years later. Had no-one learnt the lessons of history? I wish I knew the answer, but it is clear to me that blindly teaching a national history curriculum is not the right answer.

Foreign language and foreign literature are entirely different. They help us understand our neighbours. They make us realize that our ways are not the only ways, not necessarily even the best ways. They may even give us insight into how others see us. They protect us from one-eyed nationalism and stereotyping. They help us to see strangers and strange customs as just different, and not stupid or threatening. Studying the literature of a powerful neighbouring country is a first step toward good relations.

In my view, the school curriculum should include one compulsory foreign language and literature, and the history curriculum should focus on what matters for the future, regardless of whether the subject matter is local or foreign.

Hi Simon,

I also have the same question about your second point in the first paragraph as Anna. So combining your work, I created a new paragraph.

There are several reasons why I believe that schools should focus on teaching national literature and history. Firstly, an emphasis on national literature and history gives educators a narrower teaching scope, making curriculum design an easier task. Besides, children have a natural curiosity about the world around them. They tend to enjoy learning about where they live, and by studying the ideas, culture, and history of their own countries they begin to develop a sense of identity. From another perspective, it seems that the literature and history of a country provide its young people with deeper insights into the way of ‘survival’. For example, the literary work of ‘Water Margin’ is a classic example of the Chinese politics and interpersonal relationships. If children were to develop their careers for the future in their own countries, they may probably benefit from receiving education associated with their own literature and history

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