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UWC-USA

2/25/2016

IN THIS ISSUE

A D e m o c ra t t r i e s to c o nv i n c e fe l l ow D e m o c ra t s to vo te fo r M a rc o Ru b i o / / A Re p u b l i c a n m a ke s t h e c a s e fo r B e r n i e Sanders

VICTOR DELGADO TORRES ‘16 I s i t t i m e fo r e m o t i o n to m a ke a c o m e b a c k i n p o l i t i c s ? / / A re h u m a n s n a t u ra l ly s h o r t s i gh te d ? / / S o m e t h o u gh t s o n c e l l p h o n e s and school

I f yo u l i ke p u n s , t u r n to p a g e 2 to s e e wh a t L u b n a h a s i n s to re fo r yo u . . .


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AVITAL BALWIT ‘17


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JOSH MAY ‘17 This election cycle we seem to have discovered a desire to “make America great again.” This is a fine goal, but Donald Trump is woefully inadequate if we actually want to achieve it. Indeed, the same is true for all of the potential Republican nominees. What we truly require is a rad ical revolutionary willing to stand up in the face of oppression in the same way our founding fathers did all of those years ago. What we need, surprisingly enough, is Bernie Sanders. Consider this: the core of our conservative principles is the very idea of the American Dream, the idea that you can work hard from any background and still be successful in the United States. Even Senator Marco Rubio, one of the primary contenders for the establishment GOP, has said that "we have never been a nation of haves and have-nots. We are a nation of haves and soon-to-haves, of people who have made it and people who will make it. And that's who we need to remain." Unfortunately, rather than remaining a bastion of opportunity, the United States has increasingly robbed its citizens of those opportunities. While the wealthiest one percent have seen their wealth grow in leaps and bounds, the average middle class Americans have


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difficult for those in positions of privilege to truly capture the experience of the unfavoured.

LUBNA SHERIEFF ‘16 Emotion is necessary in modern politics, if only to show that politicians have courage and convictions. The monotone voices in parliament, evening news and print exhausts me. I am tired of politicians discussing issues so vital to humanity, issues serious and deserving of emotion, as though they are discussing dinner. I am tired of the redundant patterns of speech they employ repetitive party lines, gaffs and insults. I am tired of knowing that they are often reading off a teleprompter or pre-written lines.

Frustration, anger, dismay - emotion - arises from suffering, which many politicians have experienced little of. It is unreasonable to expect every Abbott, Clinton and Rasmussen to abandon their grey, fitted suits and white collars and live in squalor. But it is possible to accept, and then demand, the role of emotion in our discourse. Politicians need to find their empathy again. They must destroy their constructed, cookie-cutter shells, and removed manner. They must quit prattling rehearsed lines with neither courage nor conviction. They must say what they truly think, feel, and want to share in public opinion in the few years their opinions have value. It is possible to furious yet collected. Distressed yet coherent. Hopeful yet practical.

I want passion. I want strength in voices. I want shouting. I want vicious, forceful words spilling out of mouths racing to keep momentum with anger. I want intonation. I want the passion to return to politics. I want what politics to be what it was, not what it has become. How are politicians able to discuss war, homelessness, the refugee crisis, poverty, mental illness and diseases like they are commenting on the weather? Perhaps it is because we, as a society, dede grade emotion in its purest form and see anyone who displays it as a weak. We see anger as our cue to raise eyebrows and turn away, tears as a point to glance pityingly and turn away, and anything in between that doesn’t fall under the everyday monotone as excessive. But it is also much more serious than that. Politicians fail to express emotion because they have exhausted the most crucial emotion: empathy. Political discourse has been reduced to a rigid structure, where it is

PHILIP JAEGGI-WONG ‘17 I wouldn’t say that we’re blind. In fact, it may very well be that we see all too well. We’re spatial prisoners—relying too much on our sight and setting too much store by it. We forget the reality beyond that which we can see. My family has more than once considered moving to Switzerland, which , by the way, would be more than agreeable to me. I have so many amazing memories of that place, and in any case I can’t imagine being stressed there, or being sleep-deprived, or unhappy in any sense. It’s a perfect land, filled with idyllic images of the surreal and quaint—Heidi and the horn, Le-


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the Matterhorn, Lederhosen and Lake Geneva, Mailanderli and the Basel Spalenberg—and it seems to me that living there would be perfect as well. And yet we know viscerally that it won’t be, at least not quite. There’ll be thoroughly enjoyable things about it, undoubtedly, but not to the extent that I might imagine them. So why not? All of us have in our minds, I think, a vivid image of that opening movie scene, where the camera pans down on this perfect little neighborhood, the sun shining over the housetops and through the trees—the leaves are bright green, and there’s just the right amount of shade—the lawn’s neatly mown, and the kids are outside laughing, jumping around, somehow despite everything not getting grass stains on their pants. And to a viewer it seems entirely and unattainably pleasing. But in reality, it’s not so very much different from what we see everyday. So why doesn’t it quite look the same? Bringing up in my mind for a moment the image of the actual screen during such a movie, it’s firstly striking that the projection is a rectangle, with straight edges and square corners. We don’t see what’s on one side or the other. There’s no peripheral vision in these scenes. We don’t see the guy down the street stressing over his next paycheck, or the kid who’s worried for his AP Chem exam, or the mother who has errands to run all day. All we see is what’s happening right in front of us. And that’s just it. See, if I’d live in Switzerland I’d never see it the way I see that image in my head. I wouldn’t be looking. I’d be busy—on my way to some event, waiting in line for

something, struggling to stay awake, eating, sleeping, worrying over some deadline or paper or something. That’s what we do. We work looking forward, thinking there’ll be a time to rest, to look back and gather up all this perfected work and cash it in. But there won’t be that time. It’s never going to happen, and things are never going to change. The only way is to live for now, to look at what’s right in front of us and enjoy that for what it’s worth.

DAIWEI ZHANG ‘17 We’ve all done it. You’re sitting in class, unun imaginably bored, and suddenly you feel the familiar weight in the pocket. You feel that familiar urge to reach in your and check……………… yep, you guessed it, your cell phone. Quickly, while the teacher isn’t looking, you take that moment to pull out your phone to get yet another quick fix of the ubiquitous drug of entertainment. For more than a decade schools have opposed policies allowing or encouraging students to have cell phones in school. The general opinion for most school boards, including our own, has been that on a day-to-day basis they are disruptive to the educational environment. However, with increasing educational capabilities tucked inside the common smartphone the opinion of phone usage at school has changed dramatically. Perhaps it is time to recede into the ways of old and once again limit the use of cell phones. “Disruptions to the educational environment” takes on a whole new meaning at a boarding...


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... school such as UWC, where most interactions are intended to be an educational experience. While smartphones have many practical uses- especially on an ethnically diverse campus- like finding the translations of words or keeping up with school activities, they also inhibit the potential for effec tive face-face interaction among peers. I cannot count how many times I have been asked to repeat myself because my conversation was directed at the top of someone’s head instead of their face which was, instead of looking at my extravagant face, staring down at his/her crotch. Instead of face to face interaction an increasing number of students are deciding that it is in their best interests to browse the superfluous stream of data that is still readily available at a later time. Unfortunately, the problem of cell phones during conversation extends even further that just the individual. The mere presence of a phone on the table or in the peripherals of another individual changes both what they talk about and the level of conversation they have says a researcher at the Pew Research center. As a result of the presence of one cell phone, members of a conversation feel that the attention of the other member(s) of the conversation is divided, resulting in reluctance to delve into any subject into greater detail. Additionally, by incorporating a cell phone into any real life interac tion, you automatically create an environment where others around you feel it is okay to use their own digital devices, further detracting from proper conversation. Let’s be honest. Cell phones have great potential as learning and socializing tools; however, the use of cell phones on campus has detracted from social environment at UWC by leaching away essential conversational skill. This is our moment to acknowledge not only the unintended consequences of the technologies to which we are vulnerable, but also recognize that we can make a change. We have time to make corrections to our deep seated habits and remember that

face to face interaction can be just as, if not more beneficial than life through a cell phone screen. I’m not asking you to give up your life. I’m asking that you pay attention to what’s in front of you instead of what’s resting on your crotch.

...others Sanders plan actually would leave the federal budget running a surplus, such that the U.S. could actually begin shrinking the deficit instead of growing it. These appeal to the principal pillars of the Republican ideology, fiscal responsibility, the promotion of economic growth, and the preservation of the American Dream. The fact is that our country changed without us, and if we really want to make America Great Again then it is time to start feeling the Bern.


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... essays and blogs claiming that the progressive and extremely liberal ideas of the IB are dangerous for the American youth. While it’s true that most of the educators that created the IB were socialists, this doesn’t mean that the IB’s aim is to create a bunch of socialist student– It’s not like a lot of us support Bernie Sanders or something like that, right ? The history of the IB is long and complicated. It all started when the League of Nations founded the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) in Switzerland in 1924. The school was founded with the purpose of enabling the mobility of families in the diplomatic sector, multinational business and intergovernmental agencies. Since then, the UNESCO has made several modifications to the educational project, but it wasn’t until the 1960’s that some teachers at Ecolint started to advocate for a curriculum reform. Finally, in March of 1965, over forty educationalist from across Europe gathered in Geneva and created what we know and love today: International Baccalaureate. The problem (depending on your perspective), is that this curriculum was created fifty one-years ago and has never been modified. Since its conception, the IB has had CAS, EE, and TOK. All the changes have been minor and the IB has always advocated “multicultural understanding and the promotion of different cultures”. This revolutionary program was based on the ideals of Kurt Hahn, who had a lot of contact with UNESCO and the UN. Although it may seem like a wonderful idea, the people that created it also had U.S Universities in mind. The people that sponsored the development, and who were most interested in the IB, were parents concerned about the future of their children. They made it the IB’s focus to prepare students for Ivy league schools in the U.S. During the 1960’s there was a pedagogical revolution. The traditional methods ofs now

education were being questioned, and people realized that an education system based on memorizing encyclopedic knowledge was very stupid. Instead, the most knowledgeable people in the field came up with a new theory that became the foundation of the IB. What was considered the most important research at that time was conducted by Vygotsky and Piaget, who created the pedagogical framework for the IB using their theories of cognitive development and constructivism. According to them, knowledge is created in the pupil’s mind rather than transferred from teacher to student. Among other things, they were saying that the rote learning procedures used in the twentieth century lacked depth, which made it hard for students to connect what they were learning in the classroom to the things they would later encounter in the real world.. Most of usalready know what this feels like, and you have probably struggled to stay awake in boring classes at one point or another while wondering if what you were learning was useful. Well, I have bad news for you: most pedagogues now agree that that education system is a failure and that we all wasted a small part of our childhoods learning stuff that we had to re-learn anyways once we got into high school. The educationalist that realized that the education system was a failure implemented the new method of teaching, or at least they tried to. The people at Ecolint used the name of the theory but not the theory itself. The The IB documents that explain what the IB education is are everything but science. The IB documents are plagued with the term “development of skills” without really explaining what it means or how to do it. The ideas of the constructivism theorywere revolutionary during their time, but we should wonder why there still hasn’t been any reform in the science behind the IB. This can also apply to individual subjects in which the curriculum doesn’t seem to change much despite clear indications that it should. It’s alarming that the constructivism theory has been proven to be an inefficient way of


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... teaching, and that it is still being referenced. In truth, nobody has really supported the theory again , since its publication in the 1960.Once the IB started using it, scientists realized it was inefficient. The problem with the theory is that it advocates for a learning sustained by the student’s passions and interest in the subject. It leads students to acquire knowledge in a very disorganized way, and also makes things confusing for many students whose misunderstandings are never corrected or properly addressed. Moreover, the IB didn’t even copy the theory correctly. The constructivism method of teaching can be beneficial for some students and in some subjects – but it’s not always the case. The IB is criticized by some people because it doesn’t follow the theory’s main ideas. In a true constructivist education a teacher should give freedom to the student to learn by himself or herself. Therefore, the role of the teacher would be thatof a supportive mentor who makes sure you are learning what you want and gives you guidance on the subject. We all know that this is not how the IB works. Instead, it has a static syllabus and gives little freedom to the teacher regarding the question of what to teach and how to assess what has been learned. This can cause problems in places like UWC, where the mission of the school and curriculum differ a lot. Why is then that the IB claims to be using the constructivist method ? Well, mostly because it sounds nicer to say that you have a “newer” method of teaching. This disorganized way of learnlearn ing, mixed with an assessment system that is very linear, is the perfect formula for chaos. In today’s education systems , the question is no longer: What’s the best system of education? Instead, people ask themselves which one is the most rigorous. The most rigorous is not always the best one, but it’s the one that universities pay most attention to. This may be good if you want to go to a “top school”, but, it’s very bad if you want the best education. The IB is still seen as

one of the “best” educational systems, but there are other options that give more freedom to the student and encourage potential at a greater scale. The IB may be a good option if you have a lot of money and can afford any of the thousands of tutors online that specialize in recognizing the patterns that the IB uses in their exams. In other words, the IB has become the new SAT. With the IB, every student has a different level of opportunities. If you have paid for an expensive IB education pre-high school, you will do better. If you can buy the dozen of course companions that focus on how to get the best marks, you will do well, but if you are a creative person that likes to learn by yourself the IB just mightl be your ultimate nightmare.


Literati Issue 5 (2015-2016)