Is learning uncool?

     So is it? In my opinion, learning is “cool” because if we didn’t learn about anything then how would we know what is cool or not. Also, learning is “cool” (I should find a different word) because people learn something new every day whether it’s something new about a loved one or a new word in a different language. I recently realised that many people would like to  learn if they feel the need or desire to learn. For example, there are some people who have never even left their home town just for a day to experience a different way of living, and it seems, from my limited experience with people like this, that they are the ones who don’t want to learn about the places around them and are satisfied with the news from the town they live in. However there is an exception to this rule as with most rules. This exception is that if the person become motivated to learn by some one who is close to them, then they will try to learn more than they already know with that person.

     A great example that shows how learning is cool is by the number of people who want to be bilingual. In the month of September, I met a girl about my age who thought it was (really need to find a new word) “cool” that I could speak both english and french and that she would love to learn the language. I like being able to switch between languages and this is only possible because of the eduction that I have received over my years at school, and I’m still learning new this everyday about the french language. It’s complex, but some how sound so elegant when spoken properly. Recently, the government has thought of cracking down about the language spoken in Quebec, saying that there are too many people speaking english and that soon the french langauge will be gone if this keeps up. I happen to think the opposite because of how learning a new language is becoming more and more cool, at least around here. Being able to switch between languages quickly is cool. I hear around school people switching from their normal language of french to speaking in english just to show off for their friends. Most of the time they are pretty good at speaking english as well.  In countries like Holland though, children learn to speak the languages of the countries that surround them. The fact that more people are speaking english in Quebec should make the government proud because it shows that the majority of people are trying to learn english to become more competitive in the job market. Also, the people in Ontario are also trying to learn french so that they too can become more competitive. Now if a person in Canada isn’t bilingual,especially in Ontario and Quebec,  they will have a hard time finding a job or being promoted because of the business done between Ontario and Montreal.

     Finally, learning is cool because if people don’t bother to learn then they won’t be able to argue their point of view on any subject from which coffee is the best to what should be done about the economy with a chance of  successfully proving their point. Some people may find learning  uncool, but that is probably because they are around people  who feel the same way or at least act like they do. People who are encouraged to learn will and often enjoy it. The only reasons that I can see at the moment why some find it uncool to learn is because they are either being forced to learn or they have a difficult time learning certain things. The only way to make learning cool for those people  is to let them decide what they would like to learn or find a way to teach them so that they find it easier to understand. For example, turn it into a game. Our teachers in high school in the french immersion program did this which helped a lot when trying to learn how the circulatory system works around the heart and with other subjects. Some people even post songs about DNA replication on the internet to help others around the world to better understand and remember this process (that is what the video down below is).

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Bullying and suicide

     Rick Mercer gave one of his famous rants on  the 25th of October about teen suicide. More specifically gay teen suicides. He called on other gays in the media spot light to step forward and be open about being gay. Is this the right approach? In my opinion, it’s a step in the right direction. Everyone needs to step up to the plate help troubled teens with their issues and I mean all teens, not just those who are gay even though they may have more troubles than other teens. School can be difficult as it is with out the added stress of bullies. Kids are growing and changing all the time and they need to know that they have people on their side who can help them through their troubles,what ever those troubles may be because they don’t know everything there is to know yet. Heck, even adults are still learning how to handle situations of their own, but at least they have past experiences to help them through unlike teens.

     However, it’s not just adults that need to help troubled teens (again whether they are straight or gay), teenagers need to help their fellow classmates or friends. If they know that one of  their friends or school mates is being bullied, whether the one being bullied wants them to or not, they should step forward and tell someone who can help. Sure it’s easier said than done, but it shouldn’t be. Maybe schools could put up a box for anonymous tips about people being bullied in their school. That way the people who report  bullying would remain anonymous and wouldn’t be afraid of being bullied themselves for stepping forward. The schools that would do this would probably catch more bullies than ever before because this fear would be taken away. It’s almost the same thing that is done when someone wants to donate blood. After the interviews, the nurse gives you two bar code stickers, one that says “use my blood” and one that says “don’t use my blood”. This is done so that if someone feels that they didn’t answer the interview questions honestly, they can back out with a confrontation with the nurse sitting across from them as all of the questions need to be answered honestly to ensure the quality of the blood being given. They’ll still donate their blood if they pass the other tests done before though. Once the blood is given, the people who take the blood will read the bar code the person chose with a bar code reader and they’ll know whether to throw out the blood or not*.  So far that system has worked very well, so why not apply the same sort of thing in schools for bullying.

     Kids have enough troubles today without the added pressure of bullying as mentioned earlier. They need some one, anyone that they can turn to for help and guidance. No teen, or adult, should be pushed to the point of committing suicide to escape the world that was so cold to them. Also, no teen should be told ” Suck it up, it’ll be better in the end” because how do they know that’s really what going to happen. There are  “bullies”, as in awful people who talk down to or use others, all over the world not just in schools. Instead of telling teens to suck it up, people should say, ” Stand up for your self. I’ll stand with you and we’ll get through this together”. Fortunately, there are people who would do that for others and  I thank those who do on behalf of the people they help. However, there needs to be more than just a few people, it needs to be everyone. Not just homosexuals, not just heterosexuals – everyone.  As Harvey Fierstein once said:

     Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

      People should be themselves and help those who need help being themselves who are afraid to be because of what others may think. “To thine own self be true” as William Shakespeare once wrote.                                 

 

 

First quote found on: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_life3.html#ixzz1dJUBHFHQ

*Link about donating blood in Canada :http://www.hema-quebec.qc.ca/donner/don-de-sang/a-quoi-s-attendre/avant-le-don.en.html      

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Youth Crime

The Canadian government has decided to create a new bill called  Safe Streets and Communities Act. This bill is said to be a ” comprehensive legislation that will target crime and terrorism and provide support and protection to victims of crime”¹.  This bill  re-introduces reforms that were turned own before the conservative party gained the majority. Some of the reforms would affect how youth crimes are dealt with and how severely a youth would be punished in a Canadian court of law.

 Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders (previously Bill C-4), which cracks down on young offenders. Among other things it would change the rules to allow the pre-trial detention of young people accused of property crimes that are punishable by a maximum of five years or more. It would order the court to consider seeking an adult sentence for young offenders aged 14 and older convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated sexual assault. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/weighty-tory-crime-bill-targets-drugs-refugees-parolees-and-terror/article2172621/)

This reform would hurt the public more than it would help protect it. 14 year-olds should not be tried as  adults because they simply are not adults. They still need the guidance that their parents and teachers give them.  Putting them in a prison is not going to help them develop the skills that they will need in order to fit into society either. It would be better if 14-year-old was sent to be rehabilitated instead because in my opinion if a 14-year-old is committing the crimes that are listed above, then they are doing it for a reason .  That reason should be sought out to help the child instead of putting them into a tough environment like a prison.

Along with new act however, comes a new need for prisons to detain the increase of prisoners that the Canadian government is predicting once this new bill passes. They estimate that it will cost $2.1-billion and “(t)he budget for the Correctional Service of Canada has already increased 86.7 per cent, from $1.597-billion annually since 2006 when the Conservatives took office”². The government should be finding ways to cut how much they are spending and shouldn’t be piling on more debt. After Texas changed it’s “tough on crime” stance, their crime rate went down. Instead of jailing young offenders, Texas put them back into their community rehabilitation programs and they put more money into those programs. The crime rates in Texas have gone down because of this. Now Texas is warning Canada that the approach that Canada is taking on crime is a bad idea and it “didn’t work”³ for them. I do not see why these measures need to be made in the first place when crime rates have been decling over the past twenty years²in Canada.

In closing, I think that the government of Canada should look more closely at the bill and decide whether they really need it. If they do decide that Canada would benefit from this bill, then they should inform Canadians about it. They need to tell Canadians how this new bill would affect them, why they need it, when will it be put in place or if it will be put in place and if it will affect all of Canada or only certain provinces and territories. These are only some of the questions that should be answered. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”                                                                       (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_government4.html)  

Site where information was found:

 

 

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Volunteering

Which is better? Volunteering or service learning?

     In my opinion, volunteering is a good way for students to get involved in their community. However, service learning is the better option to get student’s involved as it provides them with a way to get started. For example, for those who choose to volunteer on their own, they often need to find a place to volunteer on their own, where through service learning students have the aid of their teacher and fellow student to help them with that task. Furthermore, through service learning, the volunteering that the students do aids them in their field of study and helps them decide on whether they will enjoy the career path that they have chosen to undertake in most cases. I write “in some cases” because it is argued in an article called Mandated Community involvement: A Question of Equity, that low-income student have fewer resources and help from staff members than higher income students that have more resources. This may be true, however tit should not.  Some students may need more help than others in finding a place to volunteer and the goal of the teacher is to help each student accordingly.

Why is there a lack of student participation to volunteer?

      In my opinion, it’s not that students do not want to volunteer, it that they feel that they do not have the time to volunteer because they need to study for their classes or they work during the time that they are not studying. For others it just that they either do not hae a way to get where they want to volunteer on their own or they do not have the little push to get them started in volunteering. Such is the cases with me. I have thought about volunteering since the end of high school when college applications had to be sent in. The only reason I chose not to volunteer is that I figured that I would not be able to find a place to volunteer that I would enjoy and if I did, it needed to be a place that I could walk to if needed as I may not always have someone who could drive me to where I volunteer. Since the service learning project in our class though, I have volunteered at the veterinary clinic in my town and have found it to be a very good experience and I learned a lot about the career path that I wish to follow. In short, students just need that little push to get them started or they need to make some time for volunteer work between their studies and other work.

What is the best way to encourage people to get involved?

    A good way to get people involved with volunteer work is for the organisations to advertise what help they need in places where people often go such as simply putting up a poster in a grocery store or super market that will grab people’s attention and get them to read what the organisation needs. At the moment, many organisations have web site advertising what they do and what they need people for. However, people will not bother to look for these sites unless they want to research places to volunteer or if they already know about the site. A good way to get students involved is for organisers  to put up posters up on a bulletin boards in the busiest areas of schools and to have the organisers themselves hold a “meet and greet” during break times so that students can learn more about the organisations that need their help.    

     In closing, students need a little push to get started with volunteer work and they need the help of someone to point them in the right direction whether this help comes from a teacher through a service learning project or from a students parents when a student chooses to volunteer on their own. It`s not only students that need to volunteer to help organisation who need help. Everyone can help in some way, no matter how small the help they give is. In the end, all the help that people give equals one great accomplishment. As the late Dr.Seuss wrote in The Lorax in 1971 “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  

Sources for the  quote: http://www.quotegarden.com/helping.html and http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss#The_Lorax_.281971.29

Question for the readers:

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Tuition Prices

     Tuition costs in Quebec for both college and university are the lowest in Canada with an average university tuition of $2,731 per session according to Stats Canada (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110916/t110916b2-eng.htm) . However, the government wants to raise these tuition prices, starting in 2012, to repair schools that have fallen into disrepair and to help pay for the services that it provides its students. Is this really fair for the students or the families that have to cough up the cash to pay their or their child’s tuition? 

     In my opinion, I find that’s it’s not fair that they government wants to raise prices because it forces students to choose a career path depending on whether they can afford to be educated for it, and not necessarily on what the student has an interest in. In addition,  they may not choose the career path they truly want because they don’t want the stress of having debt once they finish school. Also, students will need to think about whether it is worth it for them to go to college or university by deciding whether their future job will enable them to pay off their debts quickly, and not whether they will actually enjoy their job.

     Secondly, I can understand how the government figures that raising the tuition prices in Quebec is fair because other provinces pay much more than we do. However, I think the government  forgets is the reason tuition prices in Quebec are lower, which is because are annual income is lower than other provinces. For example according to a poll taken in 2009 by Stats Canada, the median income of families of two or more people in Quebec after taxes is $57,300 where as Ontario’s is $66,200 (see the results on http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110615/t110615b2-eng.htm). So it makes sense to me that our tuition prices are lower so that families can afford to give their child a higher education. I also understand that the upkeep of schools is paid with part of the tuition that students pay, but how do they figure a sudden increase of  $325 per year in tuition fees? It doesn’t sound like much, but if a student needs to attend university for five years, they will have paid  $1625 more than past students. This increase, as mentioned earlier, adds pressure on students and their families.

     Stress is not a healthy emotion to have in life as it can cause medical complications if one suffers continued stress. Prolonged stress can become “a condition called distress” (Source of information for this paragraph from: http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/effects-of-stress-on-your-body). Symptoms of distress are:

  •  headaches
  •  upset stomach
  •  elevated blood pressure
  •  chest pain
  •  and problems sleeping

If students are under stress and suffer distress, it can hinder their studies and cause them to possibly fail their courses. This is an extreme case but it can happen. According to a survey conducted in 2009 “by Desjardins Financial Security, found that one-third of the 1,062 people surveyed [354] are experiencing anxiety, losing sleep, suffering from headaches, muscle aches and other physical tension” due to financial stress. If this is true, imagine how many people must be financially stressed now that the economy is not doing that well. Increasing tuitions will only add to the stress that some Canadians are already experiencing and is not something that students need while studying.

     In conclusion, tuition hikes may help universities and colleges to keep their schools running, however it will have many negative impacts on students and their families. Knowledge and education are both important, but only one has a price in our society. That is education. Knowledge can be found all around us everyday where as education is simply learning the knowledge that other have already obtained. 

 

 

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Career Choices

     There are a plethora of careers to choose from in Canada  from  jobs like farming to rocket scientists. When choosing a career path, one needs to decide what it is that they are interested in to narrow down their choices. Yet what influences our decision for our future career?  There are many things that influence our career choice. Some of the main reasons for our career choice depends on our parents, our interests and our financial concerns.

     To begin,  most  parents want their children to have the best life possible. Therefore, they tend to influence their child’s decision by suggesting what type of job they should have to help them in the future. However, not all parents act that way. Some parents allow their children to make their own choice for their career and choose not to influence them. According to a study done by Professor Jon Miller and others at Michigan State University along with research data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth, parents have a great influence on what career their child will choose in the future. The study focused on why students choose to purse a STEMM career, which is a career in either science, technology, engineering, medicine or mathematics. This study followed 6000 students from junior high to post-secondary school. The research showed that 41% of students that chose a STEMM career were influenced by their parents, where as there is only a 4% chance that a student would choose a stem career on their own.(study found on http://www.familyanatomy.com/2010/04/07/can-parents-influence-their-childs-career-choice/ )

     Secondly, children are normally choose a job that they will enjoy as it appeals to their interests. For example, a child that enjoy working with their hands would enjoy a job as a carpenter or a construction worker; where a child who enjoys the arts may want to be an actor or actress or maybe even a painter. In my opinion this is the most important aspect of choosing a career as this will decide whether they’ll be happy in their job and whether they will want to stick with it until retirement. If a child chooses a career they enjoy, they will want to work hard to satisfy their employer and their clients instead of just choosing a job that gives them a good income per year. However, income per year can also influence what career a child may choose. As Jonny Carson once said:

Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.

     Finally, money is involved when a child chooses a career. To clarify, a child’s career choice may be limited by tuition prices as not all families can afford to send their child to college or university. For example, the average tuition of an undergraduate university student  in Canada is $4,917 in the 2009\2010 school year. Quebec has the lowest tuition for undergrads averaging at $2,272. To further clarify, if a student were to pay the average tuition for five years, they would have a grand total of  $24,585 in tuition fees (the Quebec grand total would be  $11,360). Therefore, the parents or the child needs to be able to pay these fees if the child wants to pursue a university degree, or they at least need to be able to have a scholarship. If this cannot be achieved, the child will either need get a loan,  in which case the child needs to choose a career where they will be able to pay off their loan quickly, or they will have no choice but to choose a career that requires less time or a lower education to acquire. (Tuition averages found on http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/091020/dq091020b-eng.htm ).

    Inclosing, choosing a career is not a decision to be taken lightly and should take some time to choose. A child should not be forced to make a decision about what career they choose, nor should they choose a career to make someone else happy. A career can change a person’s life and determine how someone will live their life. 

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Immagration

      Last week an immigrant from the Bahamas came and spoke to our class about her experiences as an immigrant  to Canada. After wich our teacher asked us: are there lessons we can learn from our guest’s story?

     In my opinion we can learn a lesson from her story. We learned that immigration is not just having to get use to a different culture; emigrating out of your country on your own means that you have to leave your family behind which is emotionally difficult. Also, even if an immigrant is already qualified to work in their country they may not  be able to work in the country that they just emigrated to. Emigrating to another country can be even more difficult if you do not speak the language. Fortunately for our guest she knew how to speak english and is now learning to speak french. However, not all immigrants are so lucky. Finally, it can also be hard for immigrants to get a job once they get to their new country because of this language barrier.  

      This leads the discussion to the next question that was asked which was: how can we participate in our community to help immigrants and refugees integrate and to help them avoid poverty?

     In my opinion, I think that communities should meet and help the newly immigrated people so that they know that they are not alone and that they have friends in their new town that will help them if they need it. I think this would be a big help because, as mentioned earlier, some immigrants have just moved far away from their families and have no one to turn to for help and advice which would help them emotionally. Having friends in their new community will give them a better sense of belonging and help them to better integrate into their new community.  Also, having friends in your community as an immigrant would probably help the process of finding a job easier as the towns people would know what jobs are available or at least know here to look. In addition, for immigrants who have trouble with the language, having friends that understand you will help even more in their job search as they can help them create a resumé in the correct language along with the correct spelling.

     The previous answer is also related to the last question that our teacher asked us which was: should we get involved in helping immigrants to integrate or should we leave it up to the professionals?

    I believe that it needs to be a mix of both. The people in the community should help the immigrants to integrate into their community and their new country’s culture, but professionals are needed to be sure that they learn all the rules of their new language, that is if they do not know them already. Also, professionals know before hand exactly what difficulties an immigrant will have when moving to a new country where as not all people may understand the difficulties of an immigrant. However, the people of the community just by being there to support them, again as mentioned earlier, will help them feel more comfortable, making the process of integrating much easier.

     In closing, the people of Canada need to remember that  most of our families at some point in history were immigrants to Canada, as I believe most do. We need to help our new immigrants as it is what our families or even our selves wanted when immigrating here, and because  immigrating is not an easy thing to do. 

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