April 5, 2012 Page
Potty Mouth: cursing has become more socially acceptable By Tory Tiano Staff Writer
While many media sources censor words like #%!@ and %*#$, the dayto-day life of the Benjamin community does not have a profanity filter. Students and teachers agree that the current generation has changed the meaning of cursing, as it is something that is now commonly seen in casual conversation. “Cursing is something that is now used differently than previous generations. When my parents were growing up, cursing came with a severe punishment and wasn’t heard as often as it is now,” senior Austin Pepper said. Many students see this change as being an issue, but others willingly accept it. “I don’t think it’s a problem at the school. I hear people cursing but I don’t hear it as much as I feel like I would at other schools,” junior Alex Schepps said. Another student disagrees with Schepps and feels that cursing is very prevalent at Benjamin. “I see cursing a lot at Benjamin. Almost everyone I know does it,” senior Andrew Katzenberg said. Students explain that swearing occurs in many different situations, whether it is a casual conversation or when a student is angry. “People have started to use cursing in their casual conversation I think because it helps them explain their story,” senior Jamie Corey said. Senior Jenn Nestler notes that she finds herself cursing when she is in an infuriating situation. “I curse when I get fired up and really angry. I don’t see the point of cursing when it doesn’t slip and is used every other word,” she said. Students who are against it have even begun to substitute alternate words for curse words when they feel the need to swear. “There’s really an alternative to cursing. I like to come up with creative ways like saying son of a banana and holy pineapple,” se-
nior Ben Slavin said. Corey also shares Slavin’s method of finding other ways to say curse words. “I guess my older brothers cursed so much that I have become immune to it and think that it’s just a guy thing or something. I go for the more alternative words such as shiz and frickin’,” she said. Student Council president senior Daniel Ditaranto believes the change in language has occurred because of the addition of foul language into media. “I think our dealing with cursing is a cultural interaction, that what may have been frowned upon in the past is slowly becoming more accepted and accustomed. This is apparent in television, movies, and everyday interactions,” he said. Corey supported his statement by suggesting that hearing cursing in media encourages others to use it more. “I think that since music and TV has become more lenient to curse words that people are hearing it more and it’s kind of just accepted in society,” she said. Another reason why some students avoid cursing is that they have strong religious beliefs. “I curse sometimes but I get offended when people use the lord’s name in vain or use the “D” word after,” junior Sammi Schlecter said. Slavin avoids swearing because of the way he was raised and the discomfort it gives him while at Benjamin. “It makes me uncomfortable when cursing enters the warm nest of the Benjamin community. I just wasn’t raised that way and I don’t feel the need to curse,” he said. Mathematics teacher Mr. Christopher Casement states his personal philosophy on cursing in the classroom as being dependent on the word being used and if it was used accidentally. “If I hear something slip, I’m normally ok with it but if I hear a really bad word and it starts to happen frequently, I would bring it to their
Point-Counterpoint By Emily Dunkel Staff Writer
attention,” he said. “I don’t curse because I think it’s a gray area and it depends on the word being used. Some people are offended by a word that others aren’t,” he added. Another teacher that has experienced cursing in the classroom but doesn’t find it to be an issue at Benjamin is TV Studio and Broadcasting teacher Mr. Ken Archer. “I don’t think cursing is a problem at Benjamin. I don’t find students cursing a lot, and if I do, I would tell them to stop because I think allowing it in the class encourages it outside of the class, but
for the most part the students seem to be good about it,” he said. While students and teachers share different opinions about the existence of cursing at Benjamin, most agree that it isn’t a temporary fad and is here to stay. “I believe cursing is something that will always kind of exist as people push the line of what is accepted in society and new words or interactions will change with time. Benjamin is a school that will stand the test of time and kids will always be coming to school with new hip things to say that might be cursing,” Ditaranto said.
KELLY MORAN/ Staff Illustrator
Students and teachers have noticed a growing trend towards casual cursing.
Multiple Choice versus Free Response
A test can produce anxiety in any student. The second after a teacher mentions the word “test,” a student will undoubtedly raise his hand, ready to ask “What is the test’s format?” The teacher’s response will most always contain the words “multiple choice.” Although some may believe that multiple choice questions are just a “guessing game,” many different reasons demonstrate why they have always been a standard component of testing. Both multiple choice questions and free response test students on the information they have learned. The difference is that multiple choice do not allow students to simply regurgitate what they memorized the night before as one-sided free response do. Although they can require simple recall, when created correctly, multiple choice require students to think beyond the material, proving they have a deep understanding of the concept. This type of learning can be best demonstrated by a number of multiple choice questions asked on the AP US Government Exam. In class, we learned how people’s ideologies are formed, and what traits they possess that make them hold certain beliefs. Rather than answering a free response question that might have asked how ideologies are formed, we received multiple choice questions which had us apply the information to a new situation. The question described an individual and then asked what position he might take on an issue. We were forced to
evaluate this individual, and then apply the information we knew to his situation, providing for a much more valuable learning experience. Multiple choice questions are great in that they have the ability to jolt a student’s memory. Say a student was up studying all night and on a free response question, he could not remember the word he was looking for, even though he knew what it meant. That doesn’t seem fair. With a multiple choice question, the student would have recognized the word and been able to truly demonstrate his knowledge of the subject. Yet another favorable aspect of multiple choice is that teachers are able to grade multiple choice questions much faster than free response. This is beneficial for students because they are able to get their tests back in a timely fashion while the material is fresh in their mind. The longer students wait for a graded assignment, the more likely they are to forget the material and the less they care. By getting the test back sooner, students will be more likely to go over what they got wrong and then understand why. While free response has its merits, multiple choice builds skills that can be used later in life by going beyond the concrete material and requiring students to apply their knowledge to in alternate circumstances. As the most effective and valuable assessment, multiple choice questions enhance information learned in the classroom and helps students exhibit their knowledge of a topic’s principles.
By Casey Pearce Staff Writer
Teachers can give two types of tests: multiple choice and free response. While some people think that multiple choice exams are the better way of testing, they are no more than a guessing game. Students narrow the answers down to a few and then choose one, whereas students who take open-ended tests take them based on their comprehension and understanding of the material. To clarify my point, free response is a true examination of whether or not a student knows the information. Students answer the question to the best of their ability from the knowledge that has sunk into their heads. When test takers have an open-ended question or an essay, they study all of the information, not just the facts that may be on the test. They can show the depth of their knowledge and how what they have learned can be applied. It is a more accurate way to tell whether the student understands the true concepts behind the lesson. In math class, free response allows students to plan out an answer and write down everything that needs to be written for full credit. The teacher may see that the student knows the process and how to use it. Thus if a student makes a silly mistake like multiplying wrong, the student can be issued partial credit. In multiple choice tests, students cannot get partial credit. Free response helps the students see what they actually need to study for future exams. I have had cases where I may
not have known an answer, but guess and get it right on multiple choice. This doesn’t benefit the student. Sometimes I see that I get it correct and think to myself, “Okay, I guessed right! Lucky me!”but my answer with a free response question is “Oh, now I understand.”When the teacher gives feedback on a free response, the corrections lets me know what I need to further study for the final exam or for future tests. Another benefit to open-ended exams is that students more fully retain the information. When test takers write essays, they can take relatable information and back it up showing the depth of knowledge retained. The student is more likely to learn the information when relating it to something personal or memorable. An essay, or free response question allows the learners to see the mistake, probably get a lot of points taken off, and then never forget that mistake again. They are able to look at the corrections that the teacher has given them and process the information in a way that will help them on future tests. If information students write down is accurate and supported by data, then they will get some credit, not just a zero. Test takers must support the answer, give detailed examples, and elaborate. The case must be made clear. Students retain information for future use with open ended tests because they studied harder and applied their knowledge to the concept rather than making an educated guess and still not comprehending what has been taught in class.