圣路易时报 在美生活 我的梦想

来自哈佛的专业团队告诉你:如何提高孩子的英文写作水平?

Original 殷余民 (俄州亚太联盟) 

我儿子上八年级(相当于初中三年级),数学一直不错,但英文感觉不太强。现在疫情之下,孩子的学习非常依赖于父母的辅导,像数学和科学,对我们来说,做孩子的老师,似乎游刃有余。但是英文,对我们来说,本身就是第二语言,语法还懂一些,但是要教孩子写出生动有趣、文采斐然的文章,困难不小。

几天前跟一个纽约的老朋友聊到担心孩子的英文写作,他给我推荐了一个华二代Jane Chen女士和她的“爱写作中心”。Jane是他朋友的女儿,从小就特别优秀,2014年毕业于哈佛大学,此后从事金融投资行业多年,但是她内心挚爱一直都是写作。2020年初,她跟朋友一起,成立了这个写作中心,以一支哈佛打造的专业团队,来培养4-12年级的学生,提高他们的英文写作能力。

Jane的写作中心的英文名字是Eyre Writing Center,可以简称为EWC。Jane说名字里的“Eyre”是为了表达对“简爱”(Jane Eyre)这本书的敬意,发音为“ AIR”!她认为,强大的写作能力是成为强大的思想者的基础。清晰的写作和思考能力不仅是通识教育的必要条件,也是我们立足于美国社会所不可或缺的能力。这就是她放弃高薪的华尔街工作,成立这个教育中心的原因。

为了帮助我了解“爱写作中心”和她的学生,Jane介绍了几篇学生写的短文。我读了以后,觉得真心不错,马上把她的email转给我太太,准备给儿子报名参加Eyre Writing Center。

学生作品:

下面是我觉得不错的三篇针砭时事的英文短文,出自Jane的学生之手,跟大家分享。

Lack of Evidence on Police Reform Programs Proves to be Deadly

By: April Feng

Aug. 6, 2020

In July 2015, criminologist Robin Engel, despite lacking police experience, became  the sole official overseeing the police reform program in Cincinnati after a shooting. When looking towards research for guidance, she found herself with few resources to help her.

Near the University of Cincinnati, where Engel taught as a professor, Officer Ray Tensing, 25, shot and killed musician Samuel DuBose at a traffic stop. Engel had commonly been called to help police departments manage police violence, and this time was no different. However, Engel soon found herself as the leading official in the response to the crisis and establishment of reform programs.

Attempting to research for any information or studies regarding police behavior and reform, Engel turned up empty-handed. “I thought most certainly we would have an evidence base that I could follow,” Engel says. “I was incredibly disappointed at the lack of evidence that was available. I was really disappointed in my own field.”

According to Science News, Engel and colleagues discussed the effectiveness of de-escalation trainings and four other reform programs: “body-worn cameras, implicit bias training (meant to reduce decisions and actions that arise from unconscious stereotypes), early intervention systems that identify problematic officers before a crisis and civilian oversight of the police.” However, there was close to no evidence pointing any police reform program  towards resulting in an observable behavior change in police officers.

This lack of data comes from many factors, but the main factor lies in “the pressure for police departments to act fast when an instance of police violence captures national attention,” says Engel. For instance, the Minneapolis Police Department was immediately called to be dismantled in response to demands from activists after the death of George Floyd.

Police research also proves to be difficult due to the fact that “researchers who conduct the sorts of studies needed to evaluate reforms and police officials often have different priorities”, according to Science News. A police chief may not be willing to work with an academic scholar who will publish reports and may garner significant attention from the press, says Erin Kerrison, a legal scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

Money and funding for police research is also fairly limited. While the National Institute of Health provided $39 billion for research in 2019, the National Institute of Justice only provided approximately $214 million for the same cause.

Yet it is clear that a response is needed. Thus, Engel began to conduct her own study of an implicit bias training program, of which results will be out later this year. Regarding the challenge of maintaining an ethical relationship between researchers and police officials, Kerrison published Police Practice and Research in August 2019 to help with the matter.

It is clear that without research, police responses will default to non effective solutions that happen to be the quickest. Engel says, “That is a very dangerous position to be in.”

A Lesson from the Israeli School System?

By: Jonathan Xu

Aug. 10, 2020

In late May of this year, Israel’s daily new coronavirus cases began to drop from the hundreds to the fifties. Convinced that they had beaten the virus, the officials were quick to reopen schools on May 17. This crucial mistake led to a catastrophic outbreak.

Today, the United States is facing a similar situation when it comes to the critical decision of reopening the education system in-person. Currently, the situation of the U.S. is far worse than that of Israel when they decided to reopen. Even so, President Trump is placing immense pressure on school systems nation-wide by threatening to cut government funding to the school districts that do not comply with his demands to reopen schools completely.

Experts say that the basic lesson is “that even communities that have gotten the spread of the virus under control need to take strict precautions when reopening schools.” Although this is an important point to consider when eventually reopening schools, I believe that this incident brings about a more important point to consider. The point being that countries that are still struggling to fight the pandemic, like the U.S., should not be quick to make decisions regarding reopenings without careful consideration of the consequences.

Although it is important for students to receive a full and optimum educational experience, it just isn’t practical to reopen school in the midst of a Public Health Emergency such as this outbreak. The political leaders of Israel have regretted their decision to reopen schools in May strongly, as it caused a severe surge in coronavirus cases.

By following through with Trump’s early decision to fully reopen schools, we are putting the national public at unnecessary risk of the coronavirus. It is the best to sit tight and follow social distancing practices. To do what is best for the country right now is to prevent this disease from getting out of hand.

Although it’s not nearly as educational or lively as traditional school, online school is a healthy alternative to reopening schools at this time. It is the best decision we can make, until there is a cure and/or vaccine  for the virus.

Chicago Police Arrest More Than 100 People After Looting Batters Downtown

By: Alex Oh

Aug. 14, 2020

Throughout the past weeks, demonstrators have taken the streets of Chicago to protest the death of George Floyd. In some neighborhoods, the riots have led to a dramatic increase in gun violence. Now, with more people protesting than ever, the coronavirus is resurging in the city, “sickening hundreds of people a day.”

On Monday morning, hundreds of people stormed the Magnificent Mile, a famous shopping district in Chicago, to protest the police shootings. During the event, many broke windows, looted stores, and fought with the police, creating a chaotic scene that eventually forced city officials to raise bridges downtown and halt all public transit. By the end, two were shot and around 13 police officers were injured. With around 400 police officers at the scene, more than 100 people were arrested for “disorderly conduct, looting and battery.”

Despite calls for help during the chaos from some of the members of the Illinois House, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, stated that there was no need for military troops to enter the city.

Instead, the mayor expressed frustration and anger for the violence that took place in the city, immediately ordering limited access to downtown starting Monday evening.

“We are waking up in shock this morning,” Ms. Lightfoot said at a news conference. “What occurred downtown and in surrounding communities was abject criminal behavior, pure and simple.”

The riots have also left businesses that were already struggling from the coronavirus in even worse shape. Since the spread of the pandemic in spring, downtown Chicago has been like a ghost town without its large number of tourists. Now, many of the stores that these tourists used to visit have been vandalized, destroyed, and left in shambles. According to The New York Times, the events have left many Chicagoans “shaken.”

“These last few months have been tremendously difficult for a lot of people,” the Rev. Corey Brooks, a pastor on Chicago’s South Side, said. “People are hurting financially, emotionally and psychologically. There’s a lot of suffering going on. What happened last night sets us back even more.”更多学生文章,请查看:

https://www.ewcjournal.com/另外,Jane还给我们读者提供了她推荐的Reading List,在这里:

更多学生文章,请查看:
https://www.ewcjournal.com/

另外,Jane还给我们读者提供了她推荐的Reading List,在这里:
https://www.eyrewritingcenter.com/blog/categories/reading-lists

写作比赛:

除了这些短文,我在Eyre Writing Center的网站上还看到中心正在组织作文比赛,9月底截稿,有三个$250大奖等你拿,相信很多家长会感兴趣让孩子参加。请赶快到下面的网站去报名(点击文末”阅读原文“链接直接进入)。https://www.eyrewritingcenter.com/essaycontest

课程安排:

“爱写作中心”网站和已有的宣传材料都是英文的,为了帮助我们的读者了解她的中心,Jane特意为我们准备了中文版课程介绍如下。请根据孩子的年龄安排参加9月5日和8日的4节免费公开课,帮你和孩子进一步了解Eyre Writing Center,为提高孩子的写作水平和能力,跨出关键的第一步。

公益活动:

”爱写作中心“与美国亚太联盟有很多合作和相互支持。下面是去年Jane在亚太联盟做的讲座活动的总结(英文):

Below is a summary of the well received APAPA seminar presented by Jane in 2019.

—-

“Writing,” E.B. White once said, “is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”That is probably among the last things a high school student writing his college application needs to hear. Your typical junior is knee-high in books, juggling his extracurricular activities with community service requirements, knocking on the doors of teachers for recommendations, ripping through practice SAT tests … and you want me to view the college application as a spiritual exercise?

Instead, let us start with this ubiquitous fact: that acceptance into selective colleges is harder than ever before. Today, Harvard and Stanford rejected nearly 95% of all students who apply compared an acceptance rate of 13.5% for the incoming class of 1997. This of course, led to an educational “arms race”.

But somewhere in this arms race, the student becomes lost – and that is where this seminar comes in: to debunk the myths surrounding the application process to some of the most selective schools in the U.S. On April 27th, APAPA hosted an event with a panel of both parents and students who have gone through this very process, followed by a presentation deconstructing the personal statement. As each panelist shared his and her experiences, several clear themes emerge: that the application is not some robotic process where the student ticks off items on some arbitrary checklist to impress a stuffy committee; that colleges are looking for someone who cares about the community and can better the society in which we live; that “the fire” has to burn from within.

The last is an especially interesting concept for those from an Asian background. Too often, there is the image of a “Tiger Mom”-type figure who would scold when her child brings back a B or when he hits the wrong key during a piano recital. But as evidenced by the parents whose children went off to elite institutions such as Stanford, Columbia, Penn, and Dartmouth, the far better approach is to help the child find his or her passion and nurture it. In this way, parents set children up not just for the high schools years – but for life.

The presentation that followed was given by a Harvard graduate who spent years reviewing and editing the personal statement of the college application. There is no practical way for members of an admission committee to come close to truly knowing the child in a two-minute review of the application, but the essay is the only window into the child’s personality. One would be surprised at how much a piece of writing can say about someone. Diction and syntax play a specific tone; a writer composes it into a melody. It’s a fine line – Is your tone assertive? (That’s good.) Overly assertive? (That’s not good.)

It was a lot of information packed in three hours, but rich with advice from the experiences of those who have gone through them before. It was a phenomenal event that APAPA put together, and if it helped guide any one child in the audience to find his passion and view the college application process as an extension of a lifetime of learning, then we would have more than done our job.

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