Reflective Essay

My One-of-a-Kind ENGLCOM Experience

At first, I thought that ENGLCOM was uninteresting and that I will just have to bear with it for the whole term and just hope for a passing grade. I honestly even thought that it was a sure fail because my writing and reading skills are poor. ENGLCOM sounded really unexciting because it focuses on the academic side of reading and writing. I imagined myself being tortured every day in ENGLCOM class for writing lengthy and boring essays. Writing all these negative things about the course, I now believe that first impressions are often wrong.

I learned that you do not just write; there are patterns and a process that have to be followed. This knowledge helped me a lot in writing all the essays in class. Reading my entry essay, I have seen that I have somehow improved my writing skills. I can now come up with strong arguments to support my claim; unlike before that my arguments were all pointless. I also developed the skill on how to have an effective transition from one point to another. I guess practice is all it takes. All the essays written in class helped me overcome my weaknesses.

Moreover, all the difficulties I experienced while writing my extended definition and argumentative essays also served as lessons to me. Some of these difficulties were writing a good title, citing sources, and choosing a good topic to begin with. It is a good thing that this was done step by step in class. The process of writing starts from the selection of topic, then the brainstorming, outlining, writing the draft, peer and self evaluation and lastly, finalizing the essay. This is probably the strength of ENGLCOM: the students learn step by step. The professors did not just give us a topic and tell us to write pronto. Every experience in class is a learning experience for all of us to grow in writing.

With regards to the activities in class, I was wrong when I thought that every day is a torture. I admit that I have enjoyed most of the class activities especially the film viewing and debate. I know that we have done this in class to enhance our skills. However, like most students, class discussions often bore me. I just accepted the fact that lectures are part of all courses and appreciate all the learning I get from them. I know that lectures have to be serious but I think that they will be better if done in an enjoyable manner. Sometimes a little fun is all it takes to catch the attention of the students and therefore be able to deliver to them the lessons effectively.

Overall, my ENGLCOM experience is a memorable one. It is the foundation of my writing skills. I definitely learned new thing which I know will be very helpful to me in the future. It also gave me a whole new perspective about writing, especially academic writing. I usually want to repeat a good experience over and over again, but ENGLCOM is a different thing. I know I already improved my writing skills and that has prepared me to enter other English classes with confidence.

Exit Essay

K-12 Program: Quality Education to Success

Most people believe that education is the key to success. However, wouldn’t it be better to say that quality education is the key to success? In the Philippines, there is 97.5% literacy rate, which means that 69.8M out of its 71.5M population above 10 years old can read and write. Nevertheless, it seems that the problems connected to literacy, such as high unemployment rate, increasing number of crimes and poverty still remain unsolved. This calls for a need in improving the country’s quality of education through the K-12 program. The K-12 program is the flagship education program of the Aquino Administration. The aim of this educational reform is to cure the deteriorating quality of Philippine education system through additional high school years, which may be a detrimental to all the stakeholders of the education system itself.

“K to 12” stands for kindergarten plus 12 years of elementary and secondary education. This educational system for basic and secondary education is widely adopted around the world . Through the K-12, students will be able to get sufficient instructional time to do subject- related tasks which makes them more prepared and well- trained on that subject area. On the other hand, if we remain on the old system, Filipino students would continually get low achievement scores. For instance, international test results revealed that we often come at the tail end in the exams compared to other countries (Cruz, 2010). Although studying takes a longer time, it ensures that once a student graduates, he will be competitive enough to enter and contribute greatly to the labor force of the country.

K-12 is considered as a drastic reform to the education system of the Philippines. As a proof, students are taught using their mother tongue from grade one to grade three unlike before that English and Filipino are the main media of instruction. The logic behind this is that students learn best in their first language. Another notable provision of the K-12 program is the two additional Senior High School years of specialized upper secondary education. Students may choose a specialization based on aptitude, interests, and school capacity. The choice of career track will define the content of the subjects a student will take in Grades 11 and 12. Students will be given wide variety of career tracks in the academic, technical-vocational-livelihood, and sports and arts fields (Lagura, 2012). This will affect the human development of the Filipino children towards the progress of the nation.

Taking the negative side of the program, the government, colleges and universities, and the parents are the first to be affected. The government has to provide sufficient instructional materials, more teachers, and more school facilities for the proper implementation of the program. The government, however, seem unprepared because it does not have the money to pay for two more years of free education, since it does not even have the money to fully support the ten years of education before. The Department of Education must first solve the lack of classrooms, furniture and equipment, qualified teachers, and error-free textbooks. As for various colleges and universities, the K-12 program means that they will not have any freshman applicants for the two consecutive years. Such event is a great financial disaster especially to Higher Education Institutes (Alvarez, 2012). For the parents, they have to shell out more money (for transportation and food) for the education of their children. Two more years of sending your children to school is a serious matter especially those in the marginal sectors.

In the end, since the K-12 program has already been implemented, the people will just have to wait and see how the government will handle all its downsides. However, people should also help the government to achive the program’s goals. The government and the public have to exert mutual efforts for the improvent of the educational system in the country. It might take years before the people will really feel the benefit of the program so they just have to hold on to its promise of a brighter future of today’s youth and the country itself.

 

Alvarez, Y. (2012). K-12 Curriculum in the Philippines. The Teacher’s Corner.De Justo, H., Retrieved August 22, 2014 on http://forums.theteacherscorner.net/showthread.php?11125-K-12-Curriculum-in-the-Philippines

Cruz, I. (2010). Pros & Cons in the K+12 Basic Education Debate. Multilingual Phiippines. Retrived August 22, 2014 on http://mlephil.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/pros-cons-of-the-k12-debate/

Digal, E., Lagura, G., (2012). : An anlaysis of the Policy: K-12 Educational Program. University of Southeastern Philippines. Retrieved August 22, 2014 on http://forums.theteacherscorner.net/showthread.php?11125-K-12-Curriculum-in-the-Philippines

Problem-Solution Essay

Fight against Tax Evasion in the Philippines

Tax gives life to all government programs and operations. National funds mainly come from taxes collected from individuals and corporation in the labour force. The income tax rate in the Philippines is relatively higher than other ASEAN countries (Eichico, 2014). However, the high income tax rate in the Philippines does not necessarily mean that the collection rate is also high. Tax evasion cases in the Philippines are very common. The bureau of internal revenues filing of tax evasion cases against several well known individuals and corporations such as Manny Pacquiao, Cedric Lee and Dr. Leo Olarte of the Philippine Medical Association has caught public attention through television, radio and other media. Tax evasion is one of the most usual types of economic law breaking and has been happening since the beginning of the taxation system (Alm, 2013). Tax evasion is caused by people’s lack of knowledge of the taxation system, ineffective collecting measure, and unsatisfied public desire for transparency of government expenditures (Mughal, 2012). To lessen tax evasion, if not to completely eradicate, BIR should develop a more systematic way of collecting tax together with a stricter implementation, but most importantly, develop within people a sense of responsibility in paying taxes through transparency in government funds.

The best solution to a problem is to stop it even before it arises. With regards to taxes evasion, it can be prevented through a more organized collection of taxes. There should be a centralized system which contains basic tax-related information of all tax payers. With the advent of technology, it is not impossible to create a computer system which will track the gross income and properties of every individual and corporation, where they spend their money, and the corresponding taxes they have to pay. This can easily detect any cheating on tax paying. Greece, for example, has issued tax cards to all of its citizens to track all of their taxable transactions (Hill, 2011). Although the development of such might take years, it surely can be a very effective weapon against tax evaders. If the citizens know that the government is fully aware of how much their tax obligations are, the chances that they will evade their taxes will be lessened.

Another solution is to be stricter in the implementation of our laws against tax evasion. The
Republic Act 7642, the act increasing the penalties for tax evasion, should be implemented properly and with iron fist to lessen tax evasion. The fines stated in R.A. 7642 are strong enough to prevent people from not paying their taxes if people see the tax evaders are really punished under the law. However, the people do not take the law seriously because the government seems to have weak enforcement of its laws. The BIR, as an illustration, uses the “shame campaign” where it uses the media to humiliate big personalities accused of tax evasion. The problem with this is that they let people see that they file and file cases of tax evasion but only few really paid for such economic crime. If the public can see how tough the government is in enforcing its laws against tax evasion, the chances that they will evade their taxes can also be reduced.

The problem of tax evasion can also be solved through educating the people, which should have been done a long time ago. If people know why they are paying taxes, why this amount, where the money goes and the like, it can encourage them to pay. How? Lessons on tax must be given more emphasis in social studies class to instil in people the importance of fulfilling their obligation of paying taxes. People have to learn this value starting from youth to really make a change in the system. The government also has to be transparent with their budget statements. People deserve to know where their taxes are going. If the government has nothing to hide, which has to be the case, it is very easy to create a public website to expose how much the government funds are and where they are spent. People will not give a second thought paying their taxes if they are convinced that it will go in good hands and will be used to serve the common good of the people themselves.

However, Filipinos are naturally stubborn and it is somehow difficult to make them cooperate. Nevertheless, if the importance of paying taxes is instilled among people, the kind hearts of Filipinos will be responsible and willing enough to fulfil the obligation to pay their taxes. Another problem that the taxation system of the Philippines still have to resolve is the loopholes in the law which allows large corporations to evade there taxes legally. This can be resolved by amending the law, which only the legislators of the country have power to do so.

Tax evasion may seem to be an irresolvable problem running in the Philippines and all the other countries for a very long time. Fighting tax evasion is not just about improving policies, but also changing the culture of the people. Although it is already or existing problem, the saying “Prevention is better than cure’’ still applies. Future offenses can be prevented through educating the people, developing a systematic way of collecting taxes and implementing them with an iron fist.

 

 

References:

Alm, J. (2013). Illegal and intentional actions taken by individuals or firms to reduce their tax payments: Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University

 

Eichico, A. (2014). News Article Retrieved from ABS-CBN News: Philippines has highest income tax rate in ASEAN. Retrieved August 16, 2014 on http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/08/13/14/pinoy-workers-pay-highest-income-tax-asean

 

Hill, K. (2011). Greece to Track Citizens’ Purchases to Solve Tax Evasion Problem: Forbes Magazine Online. Retrieved August 20, 2014 on http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2011/10/06/greece-to-track-citizens-purchases-to-solve-tax-evasion-problem/

 

Mughal, M. (2012, April). Reasons of Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion: Reflections from Pakistan: Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 217-222, Apr 2012 (ISSN: 2220-6140)

Argumentative Essay

Authoritative Style: Best Parenting Ever

Parenting styles refer to the emotional state of parents in rearing their children. Some might confuse parenting styles with parenting practices, which, in contrast, refer to the specific actions of parents in interacting with their children. Parenting styles focus more on whether a parent has high sense of responsibility and high intensity of affection towards a child or not. With these qualities being considered, Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist who focused studying on parenting, developed three categories of parenting styles depending on the accountability and warmth of parents, namely Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive. Permissive parents give more freedom to their children and show great affection but low accountability. On the other hand, authoritative and authoritarian parents exhibit very high accountability because they are more demanding, therefore involving their selves more in every activity of their children. However, authoritative and authoritarian parents are very different in terms of the display of affection towards a child; authoritative parents are more expressive of their love for their children (Robinson, 1995). Authoritative parenting is demanding in some ways but it creates a good parent-child relationship which greatly affects a child holistic development.

To raise a child, it is best to use a child-centered approach wherein much consideration is given to the own interests of a child. The child-centered approach is offered by the authoritative parenting style, which is neither too controlling nor tolerating. An authoritative parent will never say “Do this! Do that! No buts!” Instead, you will most likely hear an authoritative parent saying, “Okay, do you get my rules? Do you have any problem about it?” A right to ask and probably a right to negotiate are given to the child. Moreover, there are no restrictions as to what activities the child involves himself into. The authoritative parent, as an adult, will give his insights and advices to the child with regards to choice of activities but still gives more importance to the child’s preference as long as it will not cause harm to anybody. What every authoritative parent is expecting with this kind of setup is that the child would excel in his chosen field, which is most likely going to happen because it is what the child really wanted after all. But the parent does not just demand this from the child; an authoritative parent guides the child all the way to make it happen.

Aside from the type of approach in raising a child, the parenting style also determines the kind of relationship there is between the parent and child (Smetana, 1995). An authoritarian parent inculcates fear to a child leading to an ineffective or no communication at all. An authoritative parent, on the other hand, is more lenient compared to an authoritarian, creating a well-established communication between parent and child. However, some might argue that permissive parenting creates the best parent-child relationship among the three styles. A friend-like environment that is preferred by most adolescents is created between them and their permissive parents due to the freedom and high tolerance given to them. Although there is a friendly atmosphere between permissive parents and their children, the fact that permissive parenting puts a child’s social behavior at stake should not be neglected. According to a recent study in Brigham Young University, parents have a great influence on whether an adolescent, between ages 12 to 19, will become binge drinkers. It was concluded that permissive parents almost tripled the risk of their teen-age children to participate in heavy drinking (Verzello, 2010). In addition, teens with authoritative parents have the lowest risk of becoming a binge drinker.

Resulting from a good parent-child relationship, an authoritative parent raises a child with high self-esteem, well-developed emotion regulation, refined social skills, satisfactory academic performance, and most importantly, a happy and lively disposition in life. What an authoritative parent does to bring up such a child is to recognize the child’s abilities and then helps hone them to attain their highest capabilities. Nevertheless, some might say that authoritarian parents are better because their children get an A++ in every exam. Math whiz, walking encyclopedia, debate champ, chess master — name it and authoritative parents have children like it. The behavior of kids are reflections of the parenting styles, but should academic performance be the only basis of the success in parenting? Of course, the answer is no. This claim is strongly proven in the study headed by Susie Lamborn regarding the patterns of confidence and adjustment of adolescents brought up using different parenting styles. The social, physiological and psychological aspects are of equal importance as the academic performance of a child. The results of this study provide evidence that authoritarian parents raise academically-honored children, but who are emotionally weak, psychologically unstable, and physically uncompetitive. This is something that authoritative parents do not want to happen to their kids, although high academic performance is still an aim. An authoritative parent does not expect the child to excel in something the child does without a heart.

“Train up a child in a way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This proverb tells people that the things you teach a child will be carried on until the child grows up. It implies that a great task is put upon a parent’s shoulder for raising a child. This task must therefore be done in the finest way possible. But what really is the best way to bring up a child? Some parents are permissive so they just opt to be cool moms and dads while risking the discipline of their children. There are also the authoritarians who are too controlling, neglecting to give their children time to enjoy their youth. And of course, there are also the authoritative parents who use a technique that is somehow intermediate of the two. The saying “Everything in excess is bad” is proven in the style of parenting. Too much affection can spoil a child while too much authority can terrorize. A child only needs enough of those things, nothing more.

 

 

References:

Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88.

Lamborn, S. D., Mounts, N. S., Steinberg, L. and Dornbusch, S. M. (1991), Patterns of Competence and Adjustment among Adolescents from Authoritative, Authoritarian, Indulgent, and Neglectful Families. Child Development, 62: 1049–1065. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1991.tb01588.x

Robinson, C., Mandleco, B., Olsen, S.F., & Hart, C. (1995) Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive Parenting Practices: of a New Measure. Psychological Reports: Volume 77, Issue, pp. 819-830.

 

Smetana, J. G. (1995), Parenting Styles and Conceptions of Parental Authority during Adolescence. Child Development, 66: 299–316. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1995.tb00872.x

 

Verzello, A. (2010), Teens and alcohol study: Parenting style can prevent binge drinking. Brigham Young University News Release.

Extended Definition Essay

Dreams

                        A dream is a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep. There are different beliefs as to what causes people to dream while sleeping. Some say that dreams are projections of hidden desires. Others believe that dreams are foretelling what will happen in the future, while there are those who claim that dreams are merely flashing of random images of an unconscious mind. Up to now, many people are still trying to explain dreams. But how can we really define dreams?

Since the beginning of history, men have been trying to figure out what dreams are really are. First, there existed and still somehow existing, traditional beliefs or what are referred to as superstitious beliefs about the origin, occurrence and meaning of dreams. Then, the advent of technology came, which gave a more scientific basis on the studies of dreams. Superstitious beliefs and scientific explanations of dreams give us diverse perceptions on a very intriguing phenomenon called dream.

The theories about dreams were formed not long after the start of the earliest civilizations of men. The beliefs of the Sumerians, the early civilization of Mesopotamia (Iraq), claimed that when a person dreams, his soul leaves his body and travels to a different dimension (Seligman, K., 1948). The Chinese civilization also has this idea about dreams. Alternatively, the Greek and Roman empires believed that dreams are messages from deities or deceased people trying to give them hints on impending dangers or other significant events. The Greeks also share the same belief with the Egyptians pertaining to good and bad dreams. Good dreams are said to be sent by gods while bad dreams were sent by devils. But according to the Indian text “Upanishads”, whether a dream is good or bad, it only reflects a person’s inner desires.

Religion has also a big influence on the interpretation of dreams. In Judaism, dreams are considered part of the experience of the world that can be interpreted and from which lessons can be garnered. But for Christians, dream reveals the voice of God. This can be proved by the stories of divine interventions in dreams of different people in the Old Testament. This belief of the Christians somehow coincides with the Islam belief. Muslims see dreams as the only way to receive revelations from Allah after their last prophet, Mohammed, died.

However, people nowadays choose to believe theories with scientific explanations. In relation with this, there were people who studied oneirology, the study of dreams. Of the firsts include Sigmund Freud who wrote extensively about dream theories and explanations in the early 1900s. Freud explained that dreams are manifestations of our deepest desires and anxieties in his book “The Interpretations of Dreams (1899).” There were people who opposed this idea of Freud. One of them is Carl Jung who believed that dreams are just re-inactions of the glimpses of the past by an unconscious mind. Another theory on dreams is formulated by Fritz Perls. Perls proposes that dreams are projection of parts of one’s self that have been ignored, rejected or suppressed.

Using a more scientific way, dreams occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) of sleep. This stage of the sleep shows the closest similarities of brain activities when awake. During most dreams, the person dreaming is not aware that they are dreaming, no matter how absurd or eccentric the dream is. The reason for this is the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain responsible for logic and planning, exhibits decreased activity during dreams. During a typical lifespan, a person spends a total of about six years dreaming with an average of two hours every sleep. Although, there are lots of facts gathered regarding dreams, people still cannot explain the origin of dreams. Even the purpose of dreams to the mind and body is still unknown.

There are many theories on the origin, meanings and effects of dreams. Whatever it is that a person believes, whether superstitious or scientific, it is his own choice and preference. In the end, it is a fact that nobody has found out what dreams really meant yet, or if they even really mean something in specific. As long as a person’s belief does not cause any harm to him and others, there is nothing wrong with it. People have different dreams so it is not questionable that they will also have different interpretations.

Media Log #3

Labels against Women

            Pantene released this ad last December. It is a part of their #WhipIt campaign which aims to empower women. This ad is entitled “Labels against women” and shows how the society sees women from men differently even though they are doing the same thing.

The video easily caught my attention because of three things. First is because I am a woman and the video displays something that I can relate to. Second, because the video exhibits strong words to differentiate men and women who are doing the exact same thing. The words used to describe men are boss, persuasive, dedicated, neat and smooth. These words were given counterparts for women in the words bossy, pushy, selfish, vain and show-off, respectively. Third is that the words mentioned above were creatively incorporated in the video. It feels like all those words are naturally in the proper spots so as not to distract the viewers from the scenes presented.

After watching the video, I realized that there is much discrimination to women in our society nowadays. Most people are sexist and foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. As a woman, that reality is degrading but challenging at the same time. It is degrading because it is depressing to know that we live in the modern days yet most people still believe that women are less capacitated than men. I believe that women have the capability to accomplish what men can do. Women are powerful so the challenge of this issue is taken head-on. Like what Pantene advise, women should not let labels hold them back.

However, some people, especially men, may react to this differently because our society dictates a stereotypical description of men and women. They might agree with the labels of women shown in the video. The main point of this ad is just to open up the issue of sexism and let people make their own opinions about it. What is important is that Pantene was able to make a stand regarding this issue. It can be implied from the ad that Pantene believes that labels are just labels created by people and should not limit the competence of women especially in the working environment. Pantene even tell women to be strong and shine at the end of the ad.

The whole video reflects the point of view of women who are prejudiced as inferior beings to men. Even if a man and woman are doing similar things in the very same manner, the woman will still be considered as weaker or less effective. This is because of the belief that is passed on from generation to generation that men are naturally superior to women.

The #WhipIt campaign of Pantene seeks to erase this double-standard in women. The whole message of this campaign and the video itself is to establish within women the self-esteem not to be affected by the sexism of most people. It suggests that in order to change the society’s view of women, the initiative must start from the inner self of every woman. As Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If women want an equal treatment from men, then they have to believe that they really are equally capable and competitive as men are.

 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOjNcZvwjxI

Media Log #2

Lemony Snicket’s message to his readers

A summary written at the back cover of a book gives details about the story. Moreover, it aims to sell the book to the readers through giving them a glimpse of the story and then leaving them with a puzzled mind as to how the story will end. The letter above is written as the synopsis of the book “The Bad Beginning.” Unlike most book teasers, the one written above sounds as if it was advising readers not to read the book. But of course, its main purpose is still to kill the readers with curiosity on what the book is all about.

“The Bad Beginning” is the first of the thirteen books in Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Snicket had a job well done on writing the book teaser. Through writing a letter to the readers, he was able to summarize the plot of his book in a unique way. It is very different from others who probably use an excerpt from the novel, a line said by the protagonist or just merely the summary of it as a book teaser. Aside from that, he also used reverse-psychology, which works for most people. Snicket challenged the readers whether they can handle reading something as tragic as this novel when he wrote “there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy.” And the reader’s response? Challenge accepted. There is no doubt on this because the series was such a big hit.

In addition to the creative techniques of the author, the use of adjectives to describe the settings and characters of the story is commendable. This is true for the whole story. Snicket created a vivid picture of every scene using the appropriate words. Reading the book lets one imagine a movie playing in his mind. The flow of the story is logical. Content-wise, the author was able to deliver a simple yet sensible story.

Others may argue that the whole story is so unrealistic because the events that happened to the Baudelaire orphans are too tragic. Yes, it is somehow exaggerated but it is the way that Snicket wanted to discuss the issue of violence against children. Violence against children has always been a very controversial and serious issue. Child labor, child trafficking, and physical and emotional torture are some of its forms which have been well reflected in this book. It is just that they were narrated in a lighter way; just enough to make people realize this issue but be able to enjoy reading it at the same time. After all, it is intended to be read by younger generations for them to be aware of their rights as children.

Furthermore, the characters who helped the Baudelaire orphans through their battles in life, were symbolisms of hope, hope that there are people fighting against child abuse and other forms of violence against fellowmen. But personally speaking, I think that Lemony Snicket just simply wanted people, especially the youth, to realize that life is not a fairytale.

 

Source:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78411.The_Bad_Beginning