Friday, 11 January 2019

Capital punishment: for and against (Chapter 5, ECPE Challenge)

To help you along with the essay on capital punishment at the end of Unit 5 in ECPE Challenge, here are some links to discussions on the issues involved.

1. A summary of the arguments for the death penalty, with counter-arguments, 
from the BBC Ethics page

2. A BBC Radio 4 documentary on the death penalty in the U.S. state of Tennessee, and prospects for its abolition.

3. A Washington Post position article (Nov. 2017) asking why the death penalty still exists in the USA, with multiple arguments against it.

Lastly, don't forget to look at the wealth of other material on the topic already published on this blog. Search for "capital punishment". Happy hunting!

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Computer room time!

First: Answer all grammar and vocabulary questions (without the cloze and the reading section) of Test 8 on your practice test books.


Now you are ready for your online missions!

1) Click on the link. It is Stephen Hawking’s documentary we mentioned in class and its 20 last minutes illustrate the technology necessary for humanity to venture into space.

“Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking: The story of everything”

2) Read the article on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (an enormous area of floating plastic we discussed in class) and click on the underlined words to get their definition.

3) It is Thanksgiving today! Here is a funny video of Friends celebrating Thanksgiving in their own unique way!

Friday, 9 November 2018

The semi-colon

The semi-colon or semicolon (;) is one of the least used punctuation marks. Appropriate use of it indicates advanced knowledge of English, which is why it is worthwhile creating an opportunity to use one in your exam essay. The key word here is appropriate: it should be used sparingly - no more than once in each essay- and in the right situations. Poor use or overuse will detract from the overall impression you make on the examiners, and could even cost you marks.
So here's a link to a grammar poster by zany U.S. cartoonist The Oatmeal, which should help you get to grips with the semi-colon. Keep experimenting with it in the run-up to the exam. Remember, as with connectors, USE WITH CAUTION!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Children's TV: How good and how much?

Thinking of the first essay topic in ECPE Practice Test 5, here is some food for thought on the subject of children's TV.

1. Research-based guidelines for parents from Stanford University on how much TV children should watch.

2. A course blog post from Penn State University on the positive and negative effects of TV on  children and adults, with plenty of links to other sources.

3. An article from The Washington Post on the positive effects of the highly popular children's show Sesame Street.

4. A letter to the Guardian newspaper in response to Australian proposals to advise parents on children's TV habits.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

"Zoothanasia": Is it ethical for zoos to kill healthy animals?

In preparing for the second essay topic in ECPE Test 5, here is a selection of links to discussions triggered by the culling in 2012 of a healthy male giraffe named Marius at Copenhagen Zoo.

 1. The Wikipedia entry for Marius, giving the background to the issue.

2. A 10-minute radio presentation from CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, on the reasons given for killing animals bred in captivity, and possible alternatives.

3. A 2012 article from the New York Times, looking further at the issue, and the difference in approaches taken by zoos on both sides of the Atlantic.

4. Another article from the popular science magazine Scientific American (an excellent source of reading material!), with detailed argumentation on the pros and cons of 'euthanasia' versus birth control in zoos, plus links to further information.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

Watch the video and click on the interactive script underneath to read the speaker's words

Use this online dictionary to help you with difficult words when necessary.

Read more about Sugata Mitra.

Now write your opinion on this TED talk in a comment or in a new post:

  • What is the 'Hole in the Wall' experiment all about? 
  • Do you agree that Minimally Invasive Education is effective? 
  • Could it ever replace traditional schooling?