I was heading home after the first class this morning and got collared by Tracy at the gate. She wanted me to come back to school the period after for some sort of photoshoot. When I got back to school, June took me over to the classroom where Todd and I pretended to be interviewing some Senior 3s while some photographer snapped away. We weren’t certain what the deal was, but suspected that it might be a little trickery on the part of the school to make it seem that the foreign teachers were still involved in the assessment of the Senior 3s. The real test is yet to come.
Anyway, the pupil I was supposedly interviewing was Gladys who’s one of the girls in the IELTS class. I asked her various questions in the pretence that this was the real deal and learnt that the IELTS kids call me Uncle Angel. This is because my hair is blonde and curly (although mouse brown with a lot of grey, and insane might be more accurate; yes, I have insane hair).
I found a whole bunch (about 560) of (TOEFL –JH.) essay topics on line a few days ago and thought I might amuse myself by considering some of them. The first topic I looked at was
Explain what it means to be an honourable person
I concluded from what I was saying that it wasn’t a particularly interesting topic because it’s more interesting when someone’s code of honour encounters an event that forces a violation of that code; or to argue that rigid adherence to a code of honour is a character flaw because it renders a person incapable of responding to a situation with the necessary flexibility.
The other topic I’ve looked at was
“Human rights” is a term frequently used but seldom defined. What rights should belong to every human being? Discuss.
This is a ridiculously broad topic for an essay, but quite an interesting one when you start thinking about universal human rights, and the things that we regard as human rights, but are not universal and cannot be defined to cover all cases. For example, freedom of speech seems like a good idea, but must also include the expression of ideas which are often found unacceptable – anything from the overthrow of a government by armed struggle to racist abuse. The same can be said about crime and punishment. Those acts which are considered criminal differ from country to country, as do the punishments for them. The best we might say is that the justice system should be impartial and independent, and the process transparent.
All in all, the matter is a complicated one which the human brain fudges a bit so that we don’t all give ourselves headaches trying to resolve all the attendant ethical issues.