In many countries, traditional dress and costumes are considered ef ective ways of maintaining links with the past. How ef ective can traditional costumes be, in this sense? What other ways exist to help citizens connect with a country’s past?
Band 9 model essay
Most people would agree that preserving connections with our past is an admirable objective, especially as the world evolves so rapidly. I feel that traditional costumes are one part of doing this, but they are by no means the most important, as we shall see.
Admittedly, historic dress plays a key role in social events such as religious rituals or military parades, and these events are helpful in transmitting social memes such as public duty and self-sacrifice. Traditional costumes also remind us of the origins of cultural traditions and mythologies, for instance the historic Swiss national dress which evokes their medieval independence.
However, it must be said that costumes are an accessory in these situations, and do not appear to constitute the central message. It is the ceremonies themselves which convey the cultural norms that help to maintain the fabric of society. In this sense, the costumes are of secondary importance. Furthermore, it seems that there are in fact much more powerful ways in which culture is conserved and handed down between the generations. Most countries have a rich heritage of legends and folklore about the birth and development of their nation, some of which are mythological and some being grounded in truth (as we see in the English stories about Robin Hood or George and the Dragon, for example.) These stories are a cultural inheritance which embodies important symbols and concepts far more effectively than dress. Similarly, we must remember the significance of art and music in passing on our traditions, in forms ranging from fine art to handicrafts, and from opera to traditional shanties and dirges. The presence of visual or linguistic messages in these media make them more effective than costumes, which convey no language.
Overall, we must recognise and welcome the use of traditional dress in helping to maintain our cultures. However, the forms of story, art and music would appear to be the driving forces in this invaluable process.
Many doctors are concerned about the high use of computer games by children and young people. What mental and physical problems may arise from excessive use of these games? How could these problems be reduced?
Children appear to enjoy playing video games, and while there are undoubted benefits, various negative effects stem from this too. Let us consider the main issues, and then outline possible remedies.
Perhaps the major physical problem is the sedentary lifestyle which these games encourage, meaning that youngsters may incline to obesity or inadequate development. Added to this is the strain on eyesight resulting from excessive use of screens and consoles, meaning that children may suffer symptoms of poor vision. There are also concerns about impairment of reflexes due to the repetitive nature of the hand muscles when playing these games, and about the poor diet of convenience food which often accompanies this lifestyle.
The most alarming psychological impact of such activities is possibly the risk of addiction, meaning that children become obsessed with the games and are unable to socialise with family or peers. This undermines their interpersonal skills and makes them underperform both academically and socially.
Turning to possible solutions, perhaps the immediate step would be to promote a more active lifestyle through exercise regimes or sports programmes which would help to detoxify the lifestyles of children affected. This could be done through sponsorship of sports, or participation in competitive events such as races or matches, hopefully ameliorating the physical effects of excessive games use. Potential remedies for the danger of mental addiction may be, firstly, an initiative to raise awareness of the risks of the situation, for example through health warnings on games packaging or through high-profile spokespersons spreading such a message. For example, if sports champions or figureheads speak out about these dangers, the message may well get through to children.
To sum up, the risks posed by excessive gaming are connected to an unhealthy lifestyle and the possibility of dependency on the activity. Possible answers might involve stronger education about the dangers and the health benefits of more active pursuits.
The mobile phone is used both for work and personal phone calls at all times of the day, every day of the week. Do you think this has more positive or negative effects both for individuals and society?
• Introduction: agree that mobile phones are used all the time for business and social calls. The positive effects outweigh the negative effects.
• Paragraph 2: negative effects. (1) inconsiderate use disturbs others – examples: train journeys, concerts
• Paragraph 3: positive effects. (1) business – improved efficiency in production, transportation and sales, because of rapid transactions – boosts the whole economy – society benefits. (2) personal calls – keep in touch with family and friends anytime, for important things or just for a chat – individuals benefit.
• Conclusion: there are negative aspects, but there are more positive ones.
It is true that mobile phones are now used all the time for business and social purposes. While there are some negative impacts on both individuals and society as a whole, I would argue that these are outweighed by the positive effects.
There is one major negative aspect of the way in which mobile phones are often used. In order to live in harmony with one another in society, people must show consideration for others, especially in public places. Personally, for example, I do not consider that using a mobile phone to make small talk in a loud voice is socially acceptable. While some people may have a laid-backattitudeto such discourteous behaviour, I have frequently argued with fellow passengers on buses or trains who chat endlessly at the top of their voices on their phones, oblivious to all around them. Fortunately, codes of conduct are strictly enforced in cinemas, theatres and concert halls, where mobile phones must be switched off.
However, most people would say that their mobile phone enables them to do so many things which improve their lifestyle. Entrepreneurs argue that it is easier to conduct their business outside the office if customers or employees can contact them instantly, for example to place an order or to arrive at a quick decision. With the rapid transactions made possible by mobile phones, the improved efficiency of production, transportation and sales boosts the whole economy. Fewer firms go out of business and everyone is able to earn a living. Individuals also benefit, taking into accountthe ease with which they can contact friends and family, whether for important matters or just for a chat.
In conclusion, I believe that mobile phones have had huge positive impacts on society, despite their inconsiderate use by a minority.
High school students are usually not good at managing money. What are the reasons? What are the solutions?
• Introduction: agree with the statement. Two main reasons, but solutions are possible.
• Paragraph 2: reason (1) adolescents rebel and ignore parental advice (2) the media encourages consumption by this age group
• Paragraph 3: parents should teach children from an early age to manage money; governments must control advertising aimed at this age group.
• Conclusion: these two major factors can be controlled by parents and the government.
It is true that high school students are not renowned for their skills in managing their own finances. Two factors stand out as being responsible for this failing, but there are steps which can be taken to remedy the problem.
High school students are often incapable of managing money for two main reasons. The first is family background. During their formative years, children of high school age are often rebellious, asserting their independence as they prepare to enter adult life. They may say that parents are being overprotective when giving advice about money matters. Secondly, adolescents are very impressionable. They are easily swayed by advertisements, and the media skilfully employs market research to persuade teenage consumers to buy particular goods impulsively. So, regardless of the cost, high school students sometimes borrow on credit to spend on ‘must have’ items, such as designer label clothes or the latest i-Pod.
There are measures which parents and the authoritiesshould take to deal with this issue. From an early age, parents ought to bring up their children to make the most of their pocket money. Parents must encourage patterns of behaviourin which youngsters learn to use money wisely and not to squander their savingsin order to keep up with their peers in school. Government, as well as parental involvement, also has a role to play. Controls must be placed on how the media operates, particularly in the booming field of online advertising.Celebrity endorsement should be banned, as young people of high school age are vulnerable to the association of certain products with glamour and success.
In conclusion, persuading high school students to manage their money wisely is not an easy task for the reasons explained, but parents and government can implement some common-sense solutions.
The best way to reduce youth crime is to educate their parents with parental skills. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
• Introduction: parents play an important role in bringing up their children to be good citizens. Educating parents on raising children is not the best way to reduce youth crime.
• Paragraph 2: education in parental skills would reduce youth crime. Not practical to extend this education to every family – need to target problem families. If parents have a social conscience, they will not allow anti-social behaviour by their children.
• Paragraph 3: strict law enforcement is the best way to reduce youth crime: prison sentences, probation, community service: example of the UK.
• Conclusion: teaching parental skills is a good way to reduce youth crime, but strict law enforcement is the best way.
It is true that parents should play a significant role in reducing youth crime by bringing up their children to be law-abidingcitizens. However, I disagree that educating parents on how to raise their children is the most effective way to reduce juvenile crime.
Counselling in parental skills would reduce youth crime. Family background is an important influence in shaping a child’s personality, and parental involvement is essential in teaching children the right moral values. While advice on parenting skills should be given to parents, it is not practical to extend this to every family. Local authorities which provide social services must provide some form of counselling to single parent households, dysfunctional families or to parentsin homes where there is domestic violence. Parenting advice should be incorporated into a package of assistance to such families in all countries where a welfare state exists. If parents are educated to have a social conscience, then they will be more aware of the dangers of allowing their adolescent children to turn to crime or drugs.
Strict law enforement is, however, the most effective means to reduce youth crime. Judges and magistrates must be tough on crime and should apply the letter of the law when juvenile offenders come before the courts. The punishments imposed on youths who break the law must act as a deterrent against re-offending. Youths should serveprison sentences when they commit serious offences, and there are other effective non-custodial sentences which could be imposed. In the UK, for example, youngsters are sometimes put on probation or given a chance of reintegrating back into society through performing some community service.
In conclusion, though teaching parental skills would help to reduce youth crime, a policy of harsh sentencing is the most effective measure.
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