You are on page 1of 16

Requejo 1

St John Requejo
English II
Address the topic of monolingualism in the United

No Hablo Ingles

The United States of America is a country populated by people of many different races,

ethnicities, and cultures. This colorful blend of people present in our nation allows the sharing of

history and culture between many different people. This diffusion of knowledge, however, would

not be possible without communication between individuals. Although a majority of people in the

United States, approximately 230 million, speak english, monolingualism in the United States is

quickly becoming obsolete(US Census). There are eight other languages spoken by more than

1 million people in the nation, among these eight being Spanish, Chinese, and French, as well

as over twenty other that are spoken languages, though not as commonly used throughout the

country. Though many states have adopted English as the official language, the United States

itself does not have one, and as the number of people who speak a language other than English

at home reaching over 60.6 million its easy to see why(Language Use in the US).

Although there is an abundance of foreign language speakers, our education system

does not prepare students for the interaction with these other languages.Largely due to budget

restraints, more and more foreign language programs are getting cut from school

curriculum(Lewis Beale). According to Beale less than one third of elementary schools teach

foreign languages and less than half middle and high school students are enrolled in foreign

language classes. Countries in Europe, however, most students begin studying a foreign

language as young as the ages of 6 to 9(Kat Devlin). While the U.S does not require a foreign
language many countries in Europe, including France and Italy, require two with at least one of

them being english.

Many job positions offer a higher pay to those who are able to speak multiple languages.

The ability to speak a foreign language is becoming more and more of a desirable trait in job

applicants(Annalyn Kurtz). WIth companies like Amazon and Apple looking for people able to

speak languages like Portuguese, Korean, Spanish, or Chinese there are thousands or job

offerings looking for interpreters and translators. The government is looking for those able to

speak languages spoken in Africa or the Middle East and often pay as much as $200,000 to

those who are willing to take the risk of working in war zones(Annalyn Kurtz). There is clearly

value to being multilingual as it opens up far more job opportunities to those capable.

As our population continues to grow with more and more people immigrating from

foreign countries, it is not only becoming a useful skill in the job field, but a necessity in the real

world to be able to speak a language other than english. Parents who are multilingual should

begin educating their kids early as well as the educational system needing to take inspiration

from mandates present in Europe. If kids are allowed to learn these languages earlier in life it

would lead to a better understanding and awareness of other cultures as well as offer

opportunities for them in the future.

Works Cited

Devlin, Kat. Learning a Foreign Language a Must in Europe, Not so in America. Pew

Research Center RSS, 13 July 2015,


Standard, Pacific. U.S. Students Hurting in Foreign Languages. Pacific Standard, 17 May


What is it? Fluency in a foreign language. College Grads with Foreign Language Skills Will

Have Better Job Prospects. CNNMoney, Cable News Network,

Requejo 4
StJohn Requejo

Write a persuasive letter to someone who thinks they are bad at

math convincing them they are not bad at math.
I Can Math, And So Can You

Being good at math isnt something predetermined by genetics. Your brain has

the capacity to expand for new information when needed. This was discovered by

looking at the hippocampus of cab drivers in London. In order for them to become

official cab drivers, they are required to memorize 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks

in central London, showing that the hippocampus was significantly expanded through

the process of memorizing information. After the cab drivers retire, the hippocampus

shrinks to the original size. It works kind of like a balloon; when you fill it up, it expands

to compensate for the increase in air, and when the air is released the balloon returns to

its original flaccid state. Your brain is fully capable of retaining the information needed to

have a good understanding of math as a subject. The issue causing the hindrance in

your performance is really a psychological one(Boaler).

Growing up, it is almost certain you have heard about others inability to do math

and that has influenced your feelings towards the subject. You have become

accustomed to the idea that math is challenging beyond your abilities and there is

nothing you can do about it. The truth is, your attitude is contributing to the impediment

in your performance. Anxiety was found by U.S. Department of Education to cause

students to perform below their actual abilities. A root cause of this anxiety is parents

showing a weaker performance when helping their kids with their homework, which, in

turn, drew out the anxiety that is later felt by the children(Strauss).

Now that you know why you arent confident with math, you should know that

every time you make a mistake you are actually improving a little bit. Every time you

make a mistake, a synapse is fired in your brain, and when you are aware of the
mistake a second synapse is fired and your brain grows from this. One way to become

better is to change the mindset you have for success. People can have either a growth

mindset or a fixed mindset, where people with a growth mindset believe if they work

hard enough, they will improve and the people with a fixed mindset believe they are as

good as they can get and will never improve. Having a growth mindset alone can enable

you to at least try to improve at math; if you believe you can improve, you are less likely

to give up when something is too challenging. You will be more inclined to figure out a

way to solve the problem, and from that experience you will improve(Boaler).

The only obstacle in your path to being great at math is your mental effort to want

to overcome the obstacles at bay. If a child can regain her movement after having a part

of the brain that would render her paralyzed for life, anybody can solve that problem that

has been giving them trouble.

Works Cited

Boaler, Jo. The Myth of Being 'Bad' at Math. Medium, 25 Aug. 2015,

Stop Telling Kids YouRe Bad at Math. You Are Spreading Math Anxiety like a Virus.

Washington Post, The Washington Post,

Requejo 6
St John Requejo

Which eastern philosophy would be best for maintaining political

order? Where else do they show up in your life?

Confucian Not Confused, Man

Nobody takes the exact same path through life. Whether the differences are in the

decisions you make, or the circumstances you are born into, who you encounter and how they
influence you, or even what television shows you watch, everyone has a different approach to

how they shuffle their way through the long walk of life. The eastern philosophies of

Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism have been the foundations that many people throughout

history have based their lives off of. Though it is not in the same way as religion, these

philosophies are widely practiced all over the world, each philosophy having its own distinct

characteristics to distinguish them from the others. Examples of these philosophies can be

found in many aspects of life; each have their own benefits and drawbacks, and are all equally


Each of the philosophies have their own takes on discipline and order. Confucianism

describes the importance of proper behavior and doing the right thing. It is believed by those

who practice it that everyone should follow Li, or the practice of proper behavior. Confucianism

is heavily based off of respect for superiors and for those superiors to set a good moral example

in order for there to be order in society. Taoism focuses becoming one with The Dao, a universal

force that creates order. Laozi, the figure whose writing is the basis for Taoism, believed that in

order for people to find discipline they should understand how nothing in nature strives for trivial

things like fame or power. He believed instead of wanting things they should gain harmony

through the balance of yin and yang. In Taoism leaders should do away with laws and rule

through Wuwei, action through non-action. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Legalism

taught the importance of strict rules, extreme punishments, and clear rewards. Rulers were

taught to create detailed laws in order to elicit respect from the people. Legalists also believed

rulers should never demonstrate feelings of affection and should never trust anybody.

In order to establish and sustain political order there should be a sense of respect

between a leader and their followers. There needs to be mutual sense of respect between the

parties. In a Legalistic society, this dynamic would not be present. There would be no sense of

mutualism, and the respect for the leader would come from fear and eventually that respect

would turn into resentment. In Taoism the leader would not be assertive enough for the followers
to have a sense of respect for them and eventually the title of Ruler would mean nothing.

Confucianism endorses respect for elders and superiors, as well as the practice of doing what is

right. Confucius once said to do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto

you.. He is describing the two way path of respect that would be necessary for a society to

remain stable. Confucianism also stresses the point of loyalty to your superiors which would

also strengthen the society.

I have seen elements of these philosophies during my years in school. One perfect

example of Taoism can be found in the teaching style of Gil Garcia, my A/V teacher. In his class,

he will provide us with the information we need, for example how to operate a camera or what

kind of shots to get for B-Roll, and he will give us an assignment and free reign. As students we

are able to discover things on our own through a very hands on, almost experimental,

experience. This is very similar to the action through non-action way of thinking seen in

Taoism. I have seen Confucianism in my Spanish II teacher, Gilleon. He is a respected, but not

strict, man. He shows a great example of social and cultural awareness for students in the same

way elders are good more examples in the practice of Confucianism. Legalism is very rare in

teachers. The teachers I have had who show Legalistic tendencies always seem to be the

teachers with the least amount of respect. They are generally no ones favorite and are least

likely to influence students in a positive way.

The implementation of these philosophies in our daily lives have become subtle, but they

are still apparent. Not many practice one philosophy exclusively, as characteristics from each

one can be found in different aspects of different peoples lives. None of them are inherently

better than the other, and they each appeal to individuals in many different ways.
Work Cited

Tao Te Ching
Requejo 9
St John Requejo
Research the impact of physical and chemical changes on cooking in your
daily life.

A Hot Potato Isnt a Chemically Altered Potato

Cooking incorporates two of the most important fundamentals in chemistry;

physical and chemical changes. To us, it may seem as simple as pouring a cup of rice

into boiling water, or simply slicing an apple but there is far more to the process than

that. Coming to realize that there is a more complex process occurring is the first step to

understanding what is happening when something is cooked and why it is happening.

A chemical change is a change that results in the formation of a new substance,

a change in energy, and it is a change which is irreversible. An example of chemical

change that occurs while cooking is the process of boiling a potato. The potato is

abundant with carbohydrates; more specifically as a starch. Normally, a potato is solid

when it is raw and hard for the body to digest, but when the potato is cooked the cell

walls break and the starch grain in the cells swell and begin to dissipate. The result of

this is a softer, more easily digested potato. The process of the cell wall breaking cannot

be reversed. Another example of chemical change in the kitchen is in the process of

cooking an egg. As a reaction to the energy of the heat, the shape of the protein

molecules is altered and the egg white becomes solid and transitions from transparent

to white.(Cooking and Chemical)

A physical change is defined as a change that rearranges molecules but doesn't

affect their internal structures.(Antoine Frostburg) An example of a physical change

while cooking would be if the potato were used to make mashed potatoes. The act of

making mashed potatoes is a physical change since it is a change in shape. Even

though this change isnt necessarily reversible, since no substance is formed and there

is no change in energy, it is still a physical change. Another example of a physical

change in cooking would be dissolving sugar in water.(Antoine Frostburg) Even though

the molecules of the sugar are dispersing throughout the water, the molecules

themselves remain unchanged. SInce there is no change to the composition of the

molecule this change remains physical and not chemical. The same concept applies to

salt that is dissolved into water. In the same way the molecules of sugar dissipate, the

molecules of the salt spread. The molecules also remain structurally identical to how

they were before being dissolved. In both cases the dissolved substance can be

retrieved, through evaporation.

The occurrence of these changes in our lives remain unnoticed to many, but

these changes are essentially what cooking is. Without physical and chemical changes

we would be eating all of our favorite meals in their natural, raw state. These changes

are the reason we dont have to eat rock solid, earthy potatoes or eggs in their liquid

state. These changes occur all around us and though they occur on a very small scale

they have a very large impact on cooking as we know it.

Works Cited

Cooking and Chemical Changess.


What Is the Difference between Chemical and Physical Change? General Chemistry

Online: FAQ: Matter:

Requejo 12
StJohn Requejo
Should public schools teach books that incorporate faith or religion? Write a
persuasive letter to the school board or the Texas Education Agency explaining
your point of view.

Enlightenment in the Classroom

Public schools cover a wide variety of topics from the teaching of grammar in

English to lessons on how to manually adjust the level of gain in a certain shot in

Audio/Video Production.

There are limits to what the public educational system is allowed to teach. Many people

are advocates for the separation of church and state in public schools with issues like

whether or not a student is allowed to take a moment before kickoff at a varsity football

game to conduct prayer over the loudspeaker or whether or not a religious student

clubs deserve the same rights and privileges as another non-religious club reaching the

supreme court(Religion and Public Schools). Even the inclusion of the phrase under

God in the pledge of allegiance is being decided upon by the court. There should be a

separation of church and state, but only to an extent. Banning books that incorporate

faith or religion from the average classroom is something that would take away from a

students education.

To try to avoid religion in literature would be a very tedious task. Allusions to

religion are prevalent in books that are now considered classics, Lord of the Flies for

example. The amount of symbolism in that book would be enough to make any pro-
separation individual run for the hills. Some of the symbolism is expertly masked within

the story but other examples are fairly obvious, for example the parallels between

Simon and Jesus. People without a general knowledge of cornerstone religions wont be

able to make those kinds of connections. Teaching students books like these allows

them to dig deeper into words on the page and have a more in depth understanding of

the pieces they analyze. The connections they will make will be much stronger than if

they had nothing to connect things to.

Enforcing a religion on students of a public school would not be acceptable, but

so is graduating being ignorant on the topic of religion. In order to make connections

between literature and their influences, the students should be educated on major

religious points. Teaching the students about events recorded in holy books like the Old

and New Testaments, the Quran, or the Torah or Talmud would be enough to cover

enough ground to make sure the students have the resources and knowledge of the

subjects. Though these things should be taught, none of them should be taught as fact.

They should be considered as something to support the idea of allusions in literature,

similar to the way historical events are expanded upon when allusions are discussed in


Though propagandizing a certain religion in public school would be a problem,

the topics of religion and spirituality should still be explored. That being said there

definitely would need to be a very defined line between educating and preaching. The

separation of church and state shouldnt be a definitive rule, but as a very strong

suggestion to those educating others, and it shouldnt be a limitation the education of

Works Cited

By contrast, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote strongly that the

better approach was the coercion test. In Lee v. Weisman he wrote that unless

government coerces people to support or participate in religion against t. Religion and

Public Schools. Religion and Public Schools,