Discussion: do you support free speech in a school environment?

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FOR:

On June 26, 2018 Shaina Chen, an Asian American student from California wrote for the New York Post an article about her own personal experience with free speech in her school. She talked about realizing how important the debates for learning about real life are. And she was totally right, because providing free speech to students should be an obligation of every single school in the world, in order to prepare the teenagers for the world outside the classes.

But, why is free speech that important? In the first place, as Shaina explains in her article ,free speech makes students realize that there are millions of different opinions for only one topic. And the existence of diversity of opinions takes us to our second point.

If a student thinks that what he believes is what everyone should believe, he won’t be able to accept an opinion that confronts his. Because of that, he won’t respect other people’s opinions and probably he will have problems for it. Providing free speech will solve this issue and students will learn to respect every person’s opinion even when they think that it isn’t correct.

Finally, free speech also helps students to develop a stronger opinion. If students are not allowed to say what they believe and the school provides an opinion that they should follow without questions, we will be educating machines and not humans. That’s why debating and arguing can help students to change their mind for a better opinion or create a stronger one.

In conclusion, free speech is a right that must be allowed in the schools because it helps students to grow as respectful people.

Lucía B.

Nowadays, society is getting more tolerant than 50 years before, and 50 years ago society was more tolerant than 100 years before. This tolerance comes from diversity and acceptance. It promotes respect between each other, no matter their gender, their race, or even their opinion, that’s the reason why this type of acceptance should be taught in schools.

                In the first place, racial diversity is one of the main things that students should accept whenever going to any place, as well as in their own school. That way, they’ll learn how to be ethically correct accepting equality between people.

                On the other side, opinion diversity, which includes freedom of speech, as Shaina Chen said, prepares students for their future, because that way they  learn that not always their opinion will be the best one, if it will be the popular opinion, or just if it is correct or not. Also, they’ll know how to defend themselves when having this sort of problems.

                In summary, these values should be shown in schools to children from the beginning of their lives, to prepare them for the future society and teach them morally, accepting and respecting each other.

Belén M-Q.

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AGAINST:

Shaina Chen doesn’t understand the students. Nowadays, at schools and universities freedom of speech is very important but this freedom should have some speech codes to prevent conflicts. Because protecting students is very important for them and their education.

Firstly, protecting students is very significant because education is obviously something good for them and also for their development as a person. And in the universities and schools freedom of speech is a very general term, and may include hate speech or offensive language. That’s something intolerable for students and their education.

Also, protecting students is important because education promotes human rights, and sometimes with certain opinions and kind of speech, people put them at risk, because it can be considered as an attack. And all people are equal and have the same rights, and that’s indispensable.

On the other hand, schools and universities have to protect students about some speech because that can prepare them for their future. Because with this protection students would also learn about what is considered as good or bad in their speech. And that would probably help them to think and speak.

In conclusion, schools and universities have to protect students because that is something fundamental in their academic life and their future. Don’t you think the same?

Pablo E.

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Boycott at the 2016 Academy Awards Ceremony

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Nominated actors in a leading role at the Oscars (2016)

Diversity is great, in fact, it’s probably been necessary for human existence both intellectually and ethnically. And yet, as always there is a “but” because forced diversity tends to be the opposite of great: terrible. This leads to believe that Will Smith’s recent comments about the 2016 Oscar’s ceremony were misinformed at best and dangerously ignorant at worst. So, why where they so bad?

                First of all, diversity should not be a factor when considering nominees for an award show. As well as his boycott, Smith stated that this year’s nominated actors were “fantastic”. So why can’t it be just left at that. Instead of giving awards based on unchangeable factors given to someone at birth, give the prize to the most “fantastic” actors.

                At the same time, it’s easy to understand Will Smith’s reasoning: lack of diversity being a symptom of discrimination. But seeing as though there was diversity in previous years, and ethnic minorities are as their name suggests a minority in numbers, it’s much more probable that this correlation doesn’t apply in this case.

                In summary, simply stating disapproval over a lack of diversity is a very foolish thing to state, to further this phrase it is necessary to understand the context and consequences of the situation.

Alex R.

How the youth can be more involved in politics

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One of the aspects to keep in mind when talking about youth participation in politics is the amount of knowledge young people have about the subject and who this information has been presented by, whether it be a family member, teacher, peers or others, as stated by the reference document.

One solution presented by the UK government to attempt to ensure the minimum amount of knowledge each young citizen should know was a change in the curriculum creating “Citizenship Education”. Although this measure seems to have proven effective in youth participation statistics, it is somewhat indirect as it doesn’t require the student to actively seek out engagement in politics.

Having said that, I propose that students themselves be the ones who interest themselves in politics by reading the press and news articles online. What will this hope to achieve? Similar to citizenship education, the goal of reading the news is getting young people involved in current affairs and motivated about these issues from a personal standpoint. Since  they are discovering the news instead of it being told to them, it stands to reason that they will actually become more personally engaged than otherwise.

Of course, this doesn’t come without its complications, generally speaking the massive disconnect existing between major media corporations and the youth. There don’t appear to be any clear solutions to this issue, but the rise in social media websites such as Youtube have given form to new media, which is more appealing to young people, seen primarily in the fact that social media is dominated by their demographic.

For example, a recent piece of EU political news that got a lot of exposure among youth was the passing of article 13. The reasons for this are varied, but it was primarily due to the nature of its content, which appeared to really have an impact on younger citizens; because of this it was rapidly shared on social media where the regulation drew coverage and interaction like no other law before it.

Furthermore, this shows the potential of new media and youth participation in politics. If new laws and information were more easily accessible through these alternative websites in a more familiar format, it would foment a cultural shift among youth whereby they would start reading the news, and therefore become more involved in politics.

Alex R.

Should the legal age be modified?

voting age.jpgDo you remember being 18? Nowadays teens are excited to turn that age to have full liberty. Legally they can’t drink until they are 18, but we all know that’s not the case for many people. So what would happen if the legal age was higher?

Teenagers are still in their learning age, this means they have more years of study and learning, and alcohol definitely damages their brains at such a critical stage in their lives. It is scientifically proved that drinking affects their mental capacities, causing multiple effects.

In addition to this, alcoholic beverages affect their health. For example a couple of months ago there was a teenager at a party who was so drunk that passed out after falling into a coma. If someone had noticed she could be alive right now, but everyone was as drunk as her. There have been a lot of cases like this as well as road accidents and more.

In conclusion, the legal age for drinking should be higher, so teenagers would think twice about their health and future. Or do you want your kids to end like the girl at the party?

Sara M.

The key to happiness

happiness.jpgMany people waste their whole life in finding the key to happiness, but sometimes they don’t realize the answer is right in front of their eyes. In our modern society we think that if we aren’t rich, happiness is not attainable. But that isn’t true, since sometimes wealthy people aren’t happy  and poor people are.

First of all, in order to be happy you must have your basic needs such as health, security and education covered, since these are some of the most important aspects in our life. Family is also very important, as it can create wonderful people or horrible people depending on their circumstances. To love and to be loved back is one of the best feelings one can have in life.

Don’t be afraid to try new experiences such as sky diving or bungee jumping, since we usually tend to regret what we haven’t done instead of what we actually did.  Having friends and expanding your social life is also critical because you get to know new people who may help you on your way through and across life.

To summarize, what does it truly take to be happy? To find everything you need from within and not from without.

Rodrigo D. A.

Still waiting for Godot?

godot.jpgTitle: Waiting for Godot

Author: Samuel Beckett

Publisher: Black Cat

First publication date: 1953

Genre: tragicomedy; theatre of the absurd

About the author:

Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) was a novelist and playwright. During the 1930s and 1940s he wrote his first novels and short stories. Also, in the 1950s he wrote a trilogy of novels as well as famous plays like Waiting for Godot. In 1969 he was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature. His later works included poetry, short story collections and novels.

Plot summary:

The story begins with two tramps waiting next to a tree for the arrival of someone named Godot, who never arrives, but gives a full-time for having a variety of discussions, while they wait. Also, these two beggars -Vladimir and Estragon-, encounter three other characters, that contribute to the conversation.

Personal opinion:

This book is a bit strange, because they talk with very short and summarized sentences. Although these sentences were a little bit difficult to understand, they were so funny! In fact, in some parts of the book my mom found me laughing, this book is so absurd!

Creative text: changing the ending

[Vladimir and Estragon are in the field, in the middle of nowhere. They are discussing as usual and waiting for Godot]

VLADIMIR: He’s not coming.

ESTRAGON: I know.

VLADIMIR: So?

ESTRAGON: I don’t know.

[They look at each other, expecting something. Nothing happens.]

ESTRAGON: Why don’t we look for him?

VLADIMIR: Who? Godot?

ESTRAGON: Yes.

VLADIMIR: Let’s go.

ESTRAGON: But…where?

VLADIMIR: To hell.

[They leave. Curtains close.]

THE END

Martina F.