Compare and Contrast Education (Grades 11-12)

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Compare and Contrast Education

Be a Volunteer

With summer looming, many high school students are weighing their options of how to spend those long, hot days. While sitting next to a pool, heading to the beach, basking in air conditioned malls, or hanging out at friends’ houses commonly top the lists, there is another option. It is one that involves significant time and effort, but at the same time, teaches valuable skills, bolsters your resume, and provides fodder for your upcoming college applications and entrance essays: volunteering.

Every community needs volunteers and opportunities are often unexpectedly diverse. Check with your local library, school, and community center to see what might be out there just waiting for your time, skills, and compassion. You may not bring home a paycheck, but you will be helping yourself and the community in which you live.

Get a Job
When three long months of freedom stretch in front of you, it can be more than a little challenging to turn your back on sleeping in and relaxing in order to seek employment. However, there is little argument that using the summer to get a job is beneficial. In addition to earning money that can be used in a myriad of ways, it also teaches you how to follow rules, work with others, remain punctual, and take daily responsibility. You can refine your ideas about what kind of career you want to pursue after high school, as well as network with people in the field, establish a reputation, and have something to add to future resumes, college essays, and job applications. While getting a job may not sound like what you want to do today, you can bet it will help you achieve what you want in the future.
What advantage does working have that volunteering does not?
  1. Earning an income
  2. Getting experience
  3. Networking with others
  4. Building a resume
What is one of the main reasons a person would choose volunteering over working?
  1. To list on a resume
  2. To help the community
  3. To use in a college application
  4. To get experience in the field
What do both viewpoints have in common?
  1. Everyone should go to college.
  2. Helping people is essential.
  3. It is tempting to spend these months relaxing.
  4. Summer time rarely lasts long enough for students.
Volunteer opportunities are typically quite easy to find in most cities.
  1. True
  2. False
Summer jobs often help young people figure out what kind of                    they want to have some day.
Goodbye Pencil, Hello Keyboard

Look around a modern day classroom today and you will certainly note many changes from the classrooms of the past. Overhead projectors and chalkboards have been replaced; desks rarely feature a piece of paper, but rather sport a computer monitor. In addition, the days of taking notes, filling out tests, and writing reports with a pen or pencil in hand is utterly obsolete, exchanged for keyboards.

In more than 40 states throughout the country, cursive writing and penmanship are no longer considered an essential part of the curriculum, and none of the major standardized tests require any type of handwriting. Instead, keyboarding skills have taken precedence. The ability to form clear curves and loops on the paper is now outdated; the ability to avoid the painfully slow “hunting and pecking” and type at least 50 words per minute has taken precedence.

The age-old tradition of handwriting is not going quietly in some parts of the nation as at least four states have gone to their legislatures with bills mandating instruction in cursive writing in public schools. Advocates of keeping penmanship skills as part of a curriculum point to a plethora of evidence to support their stance. According to their studies, handwriting training helps young students develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and even improve overall memory retention. Additional studies have indicated that students who wrote by hand not only wrote faster than on a standard keyboard, but also wrote higher quality sentences.

Opponents to cursive in the classroom, however, point out that today’s generations of students have been keyboarding since before they attended kindergarten. This form of communication is part of how their brains operate, and many find the feel of a pen or pencil in their hands uncomfortable, unwieldy, and generally unpleasant. Keyboarding is quicker, freeing up precious time to work on other projects, and is, inarguably, the preferred communication method of the modern student.
What factor do these two viewpoints have in common?
  1. Cursive is no longer needed in today’s classroom.
  2. Penmanship is not as important as keyboarding.
  3. Handwriting is a skill that is not as popular as in the past.
  4. Writing by hand is much faster than using a computer keyboard.
Which statement about schools is the most accurate?
  1. They only require handwriting on standardized tests.
  2. They rely primarily on computers rather than on paper.
  3. They have reduced how much time they spend in cursive instruction.
  4. They have removed all handwriting lessons from their curriculum.
What do advocates of keyboarding list as one of their main reasons?
  1. Improving state test scores
  2. Writing higher quality sentences
  3. Encouraging higher memory retention
  4. Saving time for other school projects
Less than half of the states in the U.S have stopped teaching cursive as part of their curriculum.
  1. True
  2. False
Four states have gone to the state legislatures to ask them to                                                handwriting lessons in school.

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