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Monday, January 6, 2014

Opinion Essay: Don't Legalize Prostitution


Prostitution is often called the “world’s oldest profession”, a situation when one person pays another person for no-strings-attached sex (Ryan 2012). For as long as prostitution has been legal, there has also been the debate concerning whether or not prostitution should be legal.  Currently prostitution is legal in 50% of the countries in the world, while it is illegal in 30% percent of world countries and 11% have limited legality (ProCon.org 2011). Many people who believe that legalizing prostitution think that there would be less crime, improved health, and bring in more taxes. These people believe that legalized prostitution would result in fewer prostitutes in the street and in jail and that prostitution is essentially a victimless crime. Despite these apparently positive aspects of legalizing prostitution, prostitution should not be a legalized form of producing revenue.

Many people say that prostitution is a victimless crime and that it is an act that is takes place between two consenting adults.  The idea that prostitution is “victimless” results from the idea that no one is harmed by it because there are consenting adults involved. This is not always true. Prostitution creates a climate where humans become a commercial enterprise (ProCon.org 2012). Not all prostitutes are self-employed; rather they are at the mercy of a boss, or pimp, that uses exploitation, harassment and even rape to get the prostitute to comply with sexual demands. Despite the fact that prostitution is illegal in the United States, the trafficking of humans makes $9.5 billion yearly in the United States, and 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States (Covering House 2013).
           
There are some people who chose to engage in prostitution and in that case it is his or her free choice to be a prostitute. Some people feel that it is the best option they have for making money and would rather prostitute themselves than take a more traditional job (ProCon.org 2013). These proponents of prostitution believe that prostitution is solely a financial exchange in a free market and that legalizing prostitution gives sex workers the same human rights as any other type of worker. Human Rights Activists would argue that most women choose prostitution due to a lack of other economic options, which isn’t the same thing as free choice (ProCon.org 2013).  
Additionally, even if prostitution is legal or illegal it remains a very dangerous profession for people, especially women. Even in the best of circumstances a sex worker runs the risk of being raped on a daily basis, just by the physical nature of the work.  Prostitution is also dangerous because sex workers run the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Proponents of legalized prostitution argue that legalizing it will help to solve this part of the problem but in the case of HIV testing, it takes at least 12 weeks for the infection to show up so there is a window where a person could be infected and not know it and unintentionally spread the disease.

Prostitution turns one human into an object for the sexual use of another human being.  “One needs to completely rid oneself of the voracity for cash to see that prostitution, although legalized, can never be a legitimate business because it will always be associated with crime, corruption, class, mass sexual exploitation and human trafficking” (ProCon.org 2012).  Ninety-two percent of female prostitutes admit to wanting to leave the job but don’t know how to because of a lack of education, resources or ability (Opinion 2012). “Pimps” or “Johns” control sixty to 90 percent of female prostitutes (Opinion 2012).  Most women prostitutes are either desperate or forced into prostitution against their free will. The U.S. Constitution promises to “promote the general Welfare” of the citizens of the United States and legalizing prostitution cannot ensure the protection of the general Welfare of anyone.


Works Cited


Fague. Lindsay. “The case against legalizing prostitution.” 28 November 2012. Web. 16 October 2013.

ProCon.org. “100 Countries and Their Prostitution Policies.” 12 December 2011. Web. 16 October 2013.

ProCon.org. “Top 10 Pros and Cons: Should prostitution be legal?” 6 May 2009. Web. 16 October 2013.

Ryan, Christopher. “Is Prostitution Really the “Oldest Profession?”” 12 March 2008. Web. 16 October 2013.

The Covering House. “Sex Trafficking Statistics & Source Documentation.”  2013. Web. 16 October 2013.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Casual Arguement Essay: Childhood Obesity, Are Parents to Blame?


As times have changed so has the size of our children. Childhood obesity is a problem in our society that is difficult to ignore. One out of every five children in the U.S. is overweight or obese (Children’s Health 2013). The facts stand for themselves; childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years (CDC 2013). In 1980 the percentage of children aged 6-11 years old in the United States who were considered obese was only 7% compared to almost 18% in 2010 (CDC 2013). Adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 had a similar increase in size in the same period: 5% to 18% from 1980-2010 (CDC 2013). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2013) claim that in 2010 one-third of children and adolescents in the United States were considered overweight or obese. People are considered to be overweight if their body weight is in excess of standard medical norms. The excess weight can come from fat, muscle, bone, water or a combination of these factors. Obesity is strictly having too much fat. Burning too few calories for the amount of calories consumed in a certain time period causes the problems overweight and obesity. 

The problems associated with childhood obesity can have both immediate and long lasting effects on the health of a person. Being an overweight child increases that child’s risk for diseases such as heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure (CDC 2013). Also, obese children are likely to develop pre-diabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and social and psychological problems, including stress, sadness and low self-esteem (Children’s Health 2013). In the long term, childhood obesity raises the risk of adult obesity and as well as many types of cancer.

Although genetics do play a part in determining whether a child will become obese or not, it is the lifestyle of individuals that contributes more to the root causes of obesity than does genetics. The non-genetic types of behaviors that are risk factors for children include a mother who smokes, is obese or diabetic, lack of sleep, inappropriate portion sizes, unhealthy snacking, a lack of physical activity and a lack of healthy foods in the diet. Another non-genetic behavior contributing to childhood obesity is too much time spent in front of a screen. Allowing children to watch TV unsupervised leads to burning less calories and a decrease in calorie burning. Watching TV also makes people snack more because the delicious-looking commercials for fast food and junk food are designed to make people eat more.

It’s not just the passive watching of television that contributes to childhood obesity, it’s also the technology Americans buy and use every day. The World Health Organization claims that computer games are the biggest contributing factor to childhood obesity (Borland 2011). In 2009 there were 273 million units of game sales in the United States resulting in $10.5 billion dollars in revenue (ESRB 2013). Gaming in America is big business. 2010, the ESRB (2013) reported that while 25% of gamers in the United States were under the age of 18, 49% of gamers were between the ages of 18 and 49. In fact, 67% of households in the United States play video games regularly (ESRB 2013) and there are games in 80 percent of American homes with children (Greenberg 2004). It is interesting to note that the statistic for underage gamers (25%) is very close to the amount of obese children (20%). 

Obesity is a tragedy at any age. Being obese makes people feel inadequate and isolated. Children who are overweight and obese are more likely to be bullied than children who are not. Obesity can lead to thoughts of suicide, especially for girls. Food becomes a comfort for many people, and children turn to food for comfort, embracing the very thing that makes them fat.

Even though almost 20% of adolescents in United States are obese or overweight, this problem is not going to go away anytime soon. The problem is even bigger in adults: 35.7% of American adults are overweight (CDC 2013). There is no easy fix for this problem. Changing one’s body composition is a process that takes hard work and the determination to change habits that have been developed over a long period time. It is even more difficult for children to loose weight than it is for their parents because children actually do not have as much control over their own lifestyle and food choices as adults do. For example, children are at the mercy of what ever the parents decided to and are able to buy for groceries at home and what they are served to eat at school. Over 19.6 million poor students in the United States depend on free and reduced school breakfasts and lunch for survival and it has been proven that school lunches are often high in calories and void of nutritional value despite federal regulations (Brown 2013). Also, like food, children typically do not purchase games and game systems for themselves, it is adults that are buying the games for the children. In fact, the average age of a gamer is 34 years old and 39 is the average age of the most frequent game purchaser (ESRB 2013). Not only are parents buying the games for their children, they are also modeling a gaming lifestyle for their children.

Parents also use television and video games as virtual babysitters for their children (Greenberg 2004). Its been common for a long time for parents to stick their child in front of a television set with the latest Disney DVD. The number of vehicles sporting backseat DVD players is proof of that. It’s no longer just the television that is watching our children, it’s the small screen too, and it seems that everyone has a small screen in their pocket now. It is much easier to give a child a game them than it is to actually interact with the child. It is very common to see parents handing their iPhone to their child in a public place in order to entertain the child while the parent is, for example, talking to another adult (Greenberg 2004). The child is probably playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga, and this seems innocent enough, but the parent is actually contributing to the problem by doing this. Video games are designed to keep a person entertained and engaged for a very long time. When the parent tries to take the phone back the child often does not want to give the game up, they want to keep playing. Soon the child is begging for the iPhone all the time and often parents quickly give in.

Parents eating behaviors and lifestyle choices affect a child’s body weight more than any other factor. Parents have the ability to control a child’s eating behaviors but it takes the same focused attention and drive to make a child loose weight as it does to loose weight one’s self, perhaps even more because you are imposing new changes on another human being. Childhood obesity is easier to prevent than to treat (La Rocca 2009). It is one of the most important public health challenges of today. The statistics on obsess children continue to rise every year (La Rocca 2009). Parents must influence their children by nurturing them and being role models for healthy eating and active lifestyles. Children are the adults of the future and need to be nurtured into healthy adults.



Works Cited
Borland, Sophie. Playing computer games increases obesity risk in teens by making them hungry. 20 May 2011. Web. 30 October 2013. 

Brown, Kay. School Lunch: Modifications Needed to Some of the New Nutrition Standards. 27 June 2013. Web. 30 October 2013. 

Entertainment Software Rating Board. How Much Do You Know About Video Games? 2013. Web. 30 October 2013.

Food Research and Action Center. National School Lunch Program. 2010. Web. 30 October 2013.

Greenberg, Brad. Children Spend More Time Playing Video Games Than Watching TV, MSU Survey Shows. 2 April 2004. Web. 30 October 2013. 

La Rocca, Julia. Childhood Obesity: Is Parental Nurturing to Blame? The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2009. Web. 30 October 2013.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Technology in Education


 
Technology can increase student learning. Integrating technology into classroom instruction can enhance the presentation of the curriculum and promote a higher level of learning that is increases the rate that students can absorb the material.

Technology in the 20th Century

Technology has always been a part of learning. Technology includes inventions that increase human’s ability learn faster, adapt to the environment and to function in the world. At one point a pencil was a great technological invention. Now we are talking about Google glasses. There have been a lot of inventions over the years that have changed the way humans exist in the world. Technology has changed the way we travel and how we see and understand the wonders of the universe.

In the 20th century technology began to develop at a rapid pace. Much of this progress can be attributed to the use of the scientific method and other research techniques. Technologies such as radio, radar and sound recording lead the way for telephones, fax machines and eventually magnetic storage of data.  The US National Academy of Engineering (2012) voted and determined that the following 20 technological developments were the most important of the 20th century:

  1.        Electricity
  2.       Automobile Airplane
  3.       Water supply and distribution                                                                              www.freeimages.co.uk
  4.        Electronics
  5.        Radio and television
  6.        Mechanized agriculture
  7.        Computers
  8.       Telephone
  9.        Air conditioning and refrigeration
  10.       Highways
  11.       Spacecraft
  12.       Internet
  13.        Imaging
  14.       Household appliances
  15.       Health technologies
  16.       Petroleum and petrochemical technologies
  17.       Laser and fiber optics
  18.       Nuclear technologies 
  19.      Material science

Additionally the systematic method of mass production is important in that it contributed to the development of all of the items on the list (Meieran, 2012).

Technology in the 21st century

Technology in the 21st century has seen marked development in electronics. Developed countries welcomed the development of Broadband Internet access. Other important developments in technology in the 21st century are biotechnology, bioengineering, alternative fuels, LEDs and solar cells.


www.freeimages.co.uk
Enhancing Student Learning with Technology
Technology can be used to enhance student learning. The success of technology integration rests completely on the ability of the teacher to select the best application to use to teach the concept. The ability of the teacher to use the application and teach students to use the technology plays a large role in the success of technology integration. At this point, there is a large disparity in the technological ability of teachers. There has been much discussion of the concept of digital natives vs. digital immigrants (Prensky, 2001).  Whether you subscribe to this school of thought, or not, it is obvious that not all teachers are equally equipped to integrate technology into instruction.  Also, not all schools are equally equipped with the equipment for the students they teach. This combined with the fact that technology is progressing at an ever increasing rate makes it very challenging for teachers to stay abreast of the latest trends while still managing to teach what ever standards are required.

Despite these challenges, I still believe that technology is the way of the future. Modern students love their technology and any use of it always increases the engagement of students in a very observable manner. My favorite technology tools for the classroom are e-responders, iPads (or tablets, but preferably iPads), interactive whiteboards, and YouTube. I know that there are so many other important inventions but for me, this is where I would start when equipping my dream classroom.

Technology already enhances my instruction. The Smartboard is the center of my classroom and my students know it. They know that all concepts will be delivered in a visually, and usually multi-media, manner. I have a Masters in Educational Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University and I put it to very good use.  I treasure my Educational Media Design education and put it to use in my classroom every day. 

                                                               References

Meieran, E.S. (2012) 21st Century Innovations. Retrieved from http://www.engineeringchallenges.org /cms/7126/8275.aspx

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/prensky%20-%20digital%20natives,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jacob Have I Loved (1980): A Book Review


Jacob Have I Loved is a novel by Katherine Patterson (1980). The story is told from the point of age of Sara Louise Bradshaw who lives on a tiny, remote island in the Chesapeake Bay in the early days of World War II. Sara feels and fears that she is seen as inferior to her twin sister Caroline because is more beautiful, charming and talented and receives more attention than Sarah. Sarah’s escape is learning to fish for crabs and oysters with the men of the island.



Sarah Louise struggles with the issue of jealousy of her sister. These feelings result in Sarah feeling separated from her parents, her grandmother, other islanders, and most of all, Caroline. These feelings exist because Caroline is actually beautiful and talented and Sarah is tough and practical and not one someone makes a fuss over her. Some other values that Sarah struggles with include virtues and morals that Sarah Louise struggles with are honoring her mother, father and grandfather, dealing with her grandmother’s dementia.



Sarah knows that her feelings are morally wrong. The moral knowing is reflected as Sarah prays and reads the bible to try to overcome her feelings of jealousy, but in her youth she cannot seem to overcome these feelings. As a result of this jealousy, Sarah feels terrible about herself. The moral feeling is reflected as she often becomes very emotional towards her sister and parents while she struggles with this internal, moral conflict. Despite her feelings of jealousy towards her sister, Sarah Louise still feels responsible for her sister and the moral action is reflected as she gives money she earns fishing to her mother to help pay for her sister’s expensive vocal lessons on the mainland. Eventfully, as Sarah Louise matures, she realizes that she has to follow create and follow a dream of her own order to truly make her life her own.

Stories are a wonderful way to teach virtues (Lackona, 1992). When using this book in the classroom, the teacher could use student journals (Lackona, 1992) to have the students write out their moral reflection on the situations of the story. Written communication is an effective strategy for reaching students (Lackona, 1992).  A double-entry journal (ReadWriteThink.org, 2013) is useful for having the students record ideas and situation from the book in one column and their reactions in the parallel second column (see Figure 1). Students should be encouraged to make three types of connections with the book: Text-to-self connection, text-to-text connections and text-to-world connection. Teachers can also respond to students journal entries in the second column which can help students express themselves privately and communicate on difficult issues and a confidential manner.


                                                References

Lickona, T. (1991). Educating for character: How our schools can teach respect and responsibility. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

Patterson, K. (1980). Jacob have I loved. New York, NY: Scholastic.

IRA/NCTE. (2013).Double-entry journal. Retrieved at
http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/printouts/double-entry-journal-30660.html#teaching

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Personal Growth and Development: Life is Hard for Everyone



Personal growth and development is the process of improving your physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and/or financial state. The catalyst for personal growth and development in one’s life may be an important life event that is so out of the ordinary that it forces you to examine yourself more closely. Usually people who are looking to grow personally are not happy with the way things are going in their life, either professionally or personally. These negative feelings can affect self-image and self-confidence and eventually manifest themselves as trials and tribulations at work, home or both.

Personal growth can happen naturally, that is without effort, slowly and over along period of time. Focusing on our development, and making a concerted effort to change will bring on much more profound results in a shorter amount of time. It is first important to analyze one’s strengths and weaknesses, and the habits that affect our lives, both good and bad. It is just as important to have a specific goal in mind, or a optimal state of being, that one can work towards as self-improvement efforts are made.

The solution to any problem lies in the root of the problem rather than in the effect. Oftentimes people say “I want to be happy” but happiness is the end result of a series of events rather than an event in of itself. Happiness is an effect as are all emotions. 

All emotions are rooted in two primary emotions: love or fear. Fear is not something to be battled, but rather something to get past. Understanding what scares us and holds us back and understanding what we love are essential to personal growth. Facing our fears takes great courage, and similarly it takes great courage to love boldly. Many types of fears limit people from achieving their greatest selves. These fears can include the fear of failure, of success, of the unknown, of change, of inadequacy, of rejection, of commitment, and of intimacy. It is often the fear of failure that holds people back the most. This fear results in the inability to try.

In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” (Anthony Robbins). Everyone thinks that life should be easy and when it’s not people are quick to think that their difficulties are abnormal, something significantly different from the way life should be, that is, easy. The truth is that life is hard for most everyone. Hard is the default setting for life; humans are just too complicated for life to be easy. When life is hard many people choose a role of a victim. Victims are helpless, flailing through life like a boat without a sail or rudder, no one at the helm. Victims believe that nothing is ever their fault. Some people truly are victims but even true victims must pick up and move on at some point. We can choose to be victors rather than victims. Victors know that the when faced with a choice between two paths in life, that road less traveled is usually the right choice to make. But again, most people generally look for the shortest route, the easiest path, and most times that easy street is not the answer.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Creative Writing: Perceptions of a First Day of School


I hate the first day of school. I have had a lot of first days. You see, my parents are migrant workers. My dad starts off by working in north Florida and by the time the end of the migrant season is over, we’re in Maine. Then we go back to Honduras for a few months and then it’s back to Florida. When we are in Honduras we live like rich folk, we have the biggest house in our village where my grandma lives all year.  Some of my dad’s sisters still live at our house with her. We have three donkeys! When I am Honduras I don’t have to go to school. But when I am in the United States I have to go to school.
            I usually go to the same school each year in each of the States my dad works in, but each year I’m in a different grade, and a different class of kids so it’s always brand new to me. Oh yeah, and there’s always a different teacher. Sometimes the teachers are really friendly, or they try to be, but other times they look really bothered to have me in the class. It’s probably hard for them because I am never as smart as the other kids. I need extra help. My English is broken. The other kids get on to me about stuff and I get mad and then sometimes get into fights. When the office has to call my parents I have to tell my parents what’s going on because no one in the office speaks Spanish. I always try to make it sound like it’s the teachers fault, but my parents can tell when I’m lying.
            Yesterday I had a first day of school. I tried to be positive about it. I look forward to the free breakfast and lunch I knew I’d be getting. We’d been eating rice and beans for a couple weeks straight because my dad sends as much money as he can home to Honduras to my grandma, and he always pays his workers first and himself last. He’s the boss of a crew.
            When I got to school I tried to hunch my shoulders forward and hide under the hood of my sweatshirt so no one would see me. Someone shoved me as I walked through the front door.  I guess everyone is right; middle school is hard.
At least today was the first day of school for everyone. I’m starting the school year in a small town in north Florida. Everyone is mostly white, but I see a few other kids that I kinda know that are Hispanic like me, but no other Honduran kids, they all go to the Elementary School because they are younger than me. I see some black kids but they are all sitting together at one table in the cafeteria. I don’t know anyone.
            “Hey Paco!” says one big chubby white kid from across the room. He laughs loudly with his friends. My name is not Paco, in fact, I don’t know anyone named Paco.
            Luckily, my mom registered me for school yesterday and I had my schedule and my locker assigned to me. The secretary was really nice to us and showed me how to work the combination lock on my locker.  I found the locker easily and try the lock, and it works which sort of makes me feel better. I also see my homeroom, which is across from my locker. I slowly cross the hall and glance in, hoping to see my teacher. She is at her desk arranging papers in neat piles. She glances up and sees me at the door. I’m the first one in the room.  She is professionally dressed Black woman, about 35 years old. She sees me and smiles. She stands, crosses the room with her hand outstretched towards me. She says very loudly and slowly, “DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?”
            “Yes,” I say, “I speak English.” She relaxes a bit, realizing that although I have an accent, but I probably can speak English all right. “Welcome to 6th grade,” she says.
            She crosses back across the room again and looks at a list. “You must be Jose,” she says, looking up at me, smiling.
            I nod. Great, I think, there must not be any other Hispanic kids in the class. I must be the only Hispanic name on the list. How else would she know my name is Jose? Well, at least she keeps smiling at me.
            She tells me to sit anywhere; I choose to sit in the back row, in the seat the furthest away from her.  She looks at me like she wants to say something and then turns quickly and begins writing her name on the board.  She turns again to look at me, “What part of Mexico are you from?” she asks.
            I shrug and slump down into my seat. “I’m not from Mexico, I’m from Honduras.” I say. I don’t mean to sound pissed off but it comes out that way. People always think I’m Mexican.  I don’t think I look anything like a Mexican. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to ask her what part of Africa she’s from!
            She gives a nervous laugh and mumbles, “Sorry.” I shrug again. I’m used to it.
The other students start to filter in. You can tell they all know each other. Most of them are talking and laughing with each other. It’s a small town, they’ve probably known each other since Kindergarten. All the seats fill up, but no one sits next to me until they have to. When the room is filled my corner consists of me, a very fat white girl in glasses, a really skinny (but smart-looking) white boy with acne, a Chinese-looking kid and a big Black boy that looks like he’s stayed back a couple times.  They all look as miserable as me. 
            The teacher starts her class and now that I really think about it, she looks pretty nervous herself. She kinda rambles on about the class, makes a few bad jokes and no one laughs. She reads off the names on the list while all the pretty girls start laughing at her behind their hands, rolling their eyes. Every time she turns her back this one boy throws a little ball of paper at someone.  Maybe it’s her first day of school too. Realizing this makes me feel a little better.
            Finally, she is done with introductions and walks to the center of the room. She looks around the class like she’s waiting for something. The students begin to notice and then finally shut up. She says, “I’m going to have you count off, up to five.” She points to the first person in the first row and says, “One.” One by one we count off, until we all have a number from one to five. Then she says, “This is called numbered heads. Hold up the number of fingers that represents your number.” We all do this. Then she says, “Now go get into groups with the other people who have the same number as you.” We all looked at her, shocked. “Well, go, “ she says, “Mingle. And when you get into your groups I want you to introduce yourselves to each other and tell where you are from.” We all start to slowly get out of our seats to rearrange ourselves into groups. It looks like my group is going to consist of two pretty girls and myself. This might not be so bad, I think.
            As we settle into our Numbered Heads (Kagan, 1994) groups, the teacher says, “This type of learning exercise is part of Cooperative Learning (Kagan, 1994). This is the way I teach. It promotes positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individual and group accountability, interpersonal and small-group skills and group processing (Teed, McDaris & Roseth, 2012). It might be different from other classrooms that you have experienced. But I hope you like it.”
            I look at the two pretty girls in my group. They smile at me. I just might like this.

References
Kagan, S. (1994). Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. Retrieved May 14, 2012 from http://edtech.kennesaw.edu/intech/cooperativelearning.htm
Teed, R. McDaris, J. and Roseth, C. (2012). Cooperative Learning. Retrieved from http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/cooperative/index.html