Independent writing:Most advertisements make products much better than they really are.

I strongly agree to the statement that most advertisements makes the products presented much better than they really are, and points below supports my idea.

An essential reason concerns the nature of advertising – advertisers, in most cases, would only make products seem better than they really are, not the other way around. Since the ultimate aim of advertising is to persuade people into buying something, and people would natually be attracted by something that is desirable rather than repellent, advertisements are certainly made to display a more attractive image of products. Therefore, customers would first be graviated towards the virtual product that is somewhat dishonestly pictured by advertisers, then desire to own it, and eventually purchase it. In this way, the desire of consumers is satisfied, the purpose of production achieved, and the advertising process completed.

But the norm that a “good” product is advertised as a “better” one is often challenged or even reversed – that is, unscrupulous businessmen make use of advertising to sell inferior products, which raises a moral question. For example, my mother was once attracted by a commercial of a encyclopedia which was claimed to be the one and only complete version of several ancient Chinese documents. She rushed to the shop and bought this “limited version” at a eye-popping price, and regarded it as one of the most precious things in our house. However, a few months later she found the same version was sold in bulk at another shop at an unbelievably low price, which annoyed her for quite a long time. We can learn from the experience that we should not always trust the advertisements that are apparently exaggerating products, and keep alert in the swarm of television commercials.

However, the notion that “advertisement always make us disappointed” sometimes results from consumers’ unrealistic expectation of products. Advertising easily makes people to imagine “perfect” products which are not realistic at all, but consumers would rather keep this unreasonable hope. Then they would be inevitably disappointed by the actual products which cannot be so perfect, and attribute the cause to advertising. But it is actually the unrealistic expectation that eclipses any product, because a perfect image is absolutely subjective and could not even be realized. For example, I once signed up for a group tour to Lantao Island in HongKong, being attracted by the beautiful landscape pictures posted in the advertisements. But later on in the journey I was disappointed because actual scenery was never as attractive as what I had expected to see. Therefore, an unrealistic expectation is to be avoided in making any buying decision.

In conclusion, advertisements do make products seem much better than they really are, as a result of commercial propaganda and our unrealistic hope imposed on products. A better solution would be that both consumers and sellers keep a more realistic point of view, and avoid unreasonable selling or buying behavior.


Independent writing: Does technology make children less creative than in the past?

Are our kids becoming lazier and less creative, less imaginable than before as a consequence of highly advanced technology? My answer is no, and just the opposite, technology has apparently assisted our kids to become more creative.

First and foremost, technology has provided children with easy access to scientific and liberal art resources which is their best source of inspiration. For example, children could now easily gain access to academic databases through iPad screen, read classical works on Kindle, or watch historic documents on Internet. These great works are essentially helpful to arousing their curiosity and prepares them with key knowledge necessary for any creation. However, these wonderful equipments and facilities are never as handy in the past, when kids could only reach limited resources in public libraries or schools. In this sense, technology has provided the possibility for children to be more creative.

Second, technology has equipped children with professional apparatus which could finally realize their imagination. This takes form particularly as computer softwares and applications, such as Photoshop for creative graphic design, Overture for easily composing a piece of music, 3DMax for building up a virtual world, etc.. All the software were never as handy as they are at present, and this would absolutely provides our children an effective tool for realizing their creativity.

Third, technology itself is a market place where creative ideas are economically encouraged. Steve Jobs earned millions of dollars a year for his unparallel creation, and Mark Zuckberg gained his reputation for the genius social network. Therefore, technology has provided children the internal motive to develop their creativity.

However, it is undeniable that technology might make children become lazier and be comfortable with what is already available because everything are so convenient nowadays and there seems to be no way to improve them. Children lost in pc games or blindly pursuing every single piece of tech apparatus is a relevant example. Thus, it is always necessary to keep children’s mind active in the marvelous world of technology.

In a nutshell, I still regard children as becoming increasingly creative in technology development, although it might bring minor side effect. As along as we keep a balanced mood on children enjoying the fruit of technology, they are sure to contribute more to innovation than in the past.


Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The teachers should be paid according to how well the students perform.

Teachers should in part be responsible of the students’ school performance, yet I disagree to the statement that the teachers should be paid according to the students’ performance on several grounds.

The statement itself underlies a serious mistake – the very purpose of teaching and schooling, and education on a bigger scale, is better performance of all students. Common sense informs me that education, and teachers’ responsibility in particular, should be intended to building up students’ confidence in exploring and discovering unknown respects as well as specific skills required to accomplish that. Such standard is often broad and abstract in contrast to the narrowness and rigidity of the criterion – students’ performance. If teachers’ salary is determined by the students’ performance, this hint would destroy the long-term function of schooling and education since the system is short-sightedly targeted at improving students’ performance.

Another thing to be worried about the statement is that, if actually carried out, both teachers and students would be cast into the irrational pursuit for performance thus results in serious problems. For example, a teacher evaluated in this way is immediately forced to make the decision: to push her class toward the best performance or at least better than the worst-performing class, and show preference to students who perform well. Such measures might be incentives for a better grade, but the teacher and the students would lose their original motivation in schooling as performance becomes the one and only purpose. Also, consequent competition among students would place heavy pressure on every student, and the ones who do not perform well would be neglected by the teacher and fall into upset. Considering all the disastrous effect such measure could incur, it is obvious that teachers should not be paid on the basis of students’ performance.

A more realistic and rational criterion to value teachers’ work (and therefore decide their salary) should include factors such as comprehensive developments of students, teachers’ own capacity to cultivate and educate, and parents’ feedback. Yet my disagreement does not suggest that students’ performance should be abandoned but rather included along with other indispensable factors in evaluating teachers’ work, since school report is still among most parents’ top concerns and students have to use it as anchor when applying for further studies. Also, it is reasonable that teachers who can enhance students’ performance should be paid better, as the measure would moderately motivate teachers to work hard.

In a nutshell, I object to the idea that the teachers should be paid on the basis of the students’ performance, but should instead be evaluated on a medley of comprehensive quatatives which agrees with the purpose of education and schooling as well as encourages their effort toward more satisfying learning experience.


Integrated Writing:The lecturer states that, although the commonly accepted three theories of birds’ navigation sounds convincing, it suffers from several flaws on various grounds, as is presented below.

The first problem with the navigation theory presented in the text is the lack of substantial evidence. As is stated in the lecture, many birds could still navigate at night; therefore they could not navigate by using the sun as compass, since there is no sunlight at night for their reference. And stars do not help either, as there is only one bird species that is known to navigate by using stars. Therefore the sun and the star could not be birds’ compasses.

The second flaw concerns birds’ ability to recognize topographical cues. They can remember a certain journey, but only after their previous travels via the same route. The phenomenon that birds that get lost could easily find their way home serves as a crucial example. On the contrary, the theory presented in the test is questionable.

Furthermore, although birds can sense the earth’s magnetic field, the text ignores a crucial fact that birds could only distinguish north and south. What they could not perform is to find an indefinite destination hidden in complex landscape, which even troubles modern geographical technology, by their simple censoring system. Therefore, birds’ ability to sense magnetic field could not be the explanation for their navigation ability.