Thursday, February 15, 2007

Flow-charts - links

Flow-chart links
Here are some useful links connecting sites about flow-charts - for teachers and students.
A brief description of a flow-chart
Symbols used in flow-charts
This is a download (free) for creating your own flow-chart
Microsoft flow-chart information
This site explains why flow-charts are used, and gives examples of different types.
Here are some links to a concordance website. This site shows you how a word is used by writers and speakers. The concorance site is at the following link:
Enter your word next in the empty box to the right of Keyword(s) - equal to, and then click
Get Concordance
The word you have chosen will appear in the middle of the page in blue. Look at the different ways this word is used in different contexts and with slightly different meanings.
Ask your teacher, if you are not sure how to use this site.

Robert L. Fielding

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sample Essay for Level 2 Writing

Traffic is a big problem in Dubai. What can be done to solve this problem?

Traffic has become part of our daily life; we experience its effects every day going to work and coming home again. However, in Dubai, it has become a major problem: it wastes people’s time, disrupts the flow of the city, and pollutes it as well.

There are three main solutions to this problem: to begin imposing tolls on major highways in the city, to encourage car sharing at rush hour, or to provide cheap, public transport systems to remove some of the load on main arterial highways at certain times of day.

The first solution suggested is to install toll booths on major roads so that commuters have to pay to use that particular road at a particular time. These same roads could be toll-free at other, non-peak hours through the middle of the day, for instance.

If this was done, people traveling to work would be encouraged to seek other means of getting to and from their place of work. It could also have the unfortunate effect though of making other, toll-free roads busier, just removing the problem to a slightly different location in the city.

London has instigated a system whereby motorists are forced to pay heavy fines for entering certain parts of the inner city at certain times of the day. This has significantly reduced traffic congestion in those areas, though it is understandably unpopular with drivers who live or work in these areas.

The second solution mentioned above is to encourage car-sharing in the city. People usually travel alone in their cars, and this inevitably leads to heavy congestion at peak times. If people living and working in similar areas could be encouraged to share cars, traffic jams would surely become a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, there is little evidence that such a scheme works as so few people actually share their transport to and from work.

The third and final solution mentioned above is to provide cheap transit systems along popular routes and to busy inner city locales. Dubai is now constructing a Metro system that will operate from Dubai Airport to Jebel Ali, with stations serving the major business districts and shopping centres.

This should alleviate some of the problems experienced daily by commuters in Dubai, though it remains to be seen whether everybody will use it, and whether it is big enough to cope with such numbers.

In conclusion, although there are most probably many solutions to the problems caused by traffic in Dubai, very few have actually been tried. The suggested solutions above: the imposition of toll roads, the provision of more public transport, and the encouraging of car sharing could be tried in Dubai. If they were, we might find travelling and working in the city much more enjoyable and much less time consuming.
Robert L. Fielding

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Example of an essay giving an opinion

Humans are not born bad or evil but they become bad because of their environment. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

(Some) people are good and some are not so good; some do bad things to other people and behave badly generally, while other people behave well and treat people well.

Some people believe that we are bad because of our environment – the things that come to influence us throughout our lives, and some people believe we are the way we are because of our birth – that it is our genes that determine whether or not we will be bad people.

There are three main reasons why I believe that our environment and our experiences are the main factors in determining what kind of people we are.

The first reason is that inherently bad people can sometimes be born into good families, and good people can come from people who do not behave well. People can be good or bad irrespective of their family background.

For example, ordinary decent families can and do have members of the family that behave badly: are violent, untrustworthy or nasty. Similarly, well-behaved individuals can have dishonest parents and siblings, and yet still be honest, virtuous and have a kind, generous disposition.

The second reason why I believe that experience of life is the greatest and most influential factor in determining a person’s behaviour is that the environment consists mainly of people, and it is in reacting to people and how people react to you that ultimately influences what kind of person you become.

Meeting with nothing but kindness and generosity in one’s fellow man will most probably make you into a kind and generous person yourself. The reverse is also true; people living in neighbourhoods where levels of criminal activity are high, will most probably indulge in such activities – being evil is a learned behaviour.

My final reason for thinking that environmental influences rather than inherited traits contribute most to the ethical and moral dimension of a person’s character is that bad people can become nicer, more considerate people, if they continually come into contact with people who set a good example to everyone.

History is full of people who behaved well and were models of proper behaviour; acting with wisdom, generosity and honesty, and who engendered these qualities in everyone they met.

In conclusion, there are three main reasons for believing that evil, badness, nastiness and dishonesty stem, not from one’s birth, but from that person’s life in the world: good parents can have badly behaved children; societal environment is all around us, and finally that people can and often do change.

If we understood the way these influences worked upon each and every one of us, we might come nearer to building better, more just forms of society, in which happiness was more important than wealth.
Robert L. Fielding

NB. This is a model essay for my students in Level 2 Writing and does not necessarily reflect my own opinion on the topic. RLF.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

What’s in a name?

Our surname – family name, is the first name we get. Before we are born, our parents choose a name for a boy or a girl, but the babe in its mother’s womb is called first by the family name until that first name is chosen.

Our surname is the name that comes first in school registers, telephone directories and other lists of people. It is the name that most identifies us with the world at large, after which comes our chosen name, Christian name, which differentiates us from others with the same surname – mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, the rest of our extended family and other people that share the same surname.

Our first name gives us our very own personal identity, but our surname locates us in the world. You can tell from a surname where a person comes from. A Macpherson will have some Scottish connections, a Curry, Irish ones. Someone called Anderson or Christianson will originally hail from the north- Scandinavia, a Patel or a Mistry will come from the sub-continent, a Wong from China.

So if you were to think of changing your surname by deed poll – legally and formally, so that from this day on you will be known as another name, what are the considerations you would take into account before you chose that new name – that new you?

Let us assume that you don’t want to change too much else – you want to remain a Chinaman, and Englishwoman or a Turk, an Aussie or a Kiwi. And you don’t want to endanger your professional reputation – if you are a professor of theology, you don’t want to sound like a pop star. If you are an English Language Teacher you want to sound like a native speaker of English rather than a speaker of Thai or French.

Once your name is changed, you want to remain the same person, respected by your peers, still befriended by those you think of as your friends. You want to be addressed as Mr. Mrs. if you are married, Ms. if you prefer not to say. You may be a doctor of philosophy or medicine, so your surname should sound suitable – after all, you have the opportunity to choose it, sending you back to a pre-foetal time when you had no surname name.

This sounds like some kind of joke – like the adage that says that if your parents didn’t have any children, the chances are that you won’t have any! Choosing a surname is something that is not given to us – we are born into a family and that is that. In taking the momentous decision to be known and called by a different surname – a different family name, one is surmounting one’s birth day, or going back to a dawn when you did not exist and consequently had no family.

Is there a land of unborn spirits, those yet to be born, where ephemeral children sit and wait for procreation and their own creation to begin? If there is, how does selection take place – how does the spirit of this child go to that family, to that foetal embryo?

Changing your surname is the earthly equivalent of going back to that dawn and choosing; changing your surname in mid-life is momentous, and the gravity of making such a choice – of picking a new, different, appropriate, suitable surname should be born in mind when the choice is in the process of being made.

Once the new appellation is formed, a new word to follow Mr, Mrs. Ms Dr or just your first name, the world will start to call you by that name. If you write a book, that name will appear on the cover, if you travel, that name will be printed in your passport, if you achieve distinction in any field, become PhD, win a Nobel Prize, that new name will go with that accolade.

And unto this last, your name, the name you chose to tell the world who you are, this name will appear above you in stone for all time to come. When another 40 centuries look down, your name will remain like so many others that have survived to say to future generations, “This is me. This is who I was.”
Robert L. Fielding