EBS (7066) – Secondary – Resources

The following might be useful resources for Elements of Business, a subject studied under the Normal Technical stream in Singapore.

Basic Marketing – Podcasts (with scripts)

Viral marketing. https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/professionals-podcasts/viral-marketing. British Council.

eBay. (2006). https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/podcasts-professionals/ebay. British Council.

Customer Relations (3.1 – Communicating with the customer) – Videos (with scripts) 

Lemon-sized luxury boxes. (26 Oct 2016). Episode 17. http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/english-at-work/17-how-to-place-an-order. English at Work, BBC.

The email. (2 Nov 2016). Episode 18. http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/english-at-work/18-writing-an-email. English at Work, BBC.


CK – Nazi Germany S’pore Elective History

The following gives additional Contextual Knowledge (CK) for students of Social Studies/History (2273). It concerns the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party in pre-1935 Germany (one of the 4 possible Source Based Case Study topics).

F. L. Carsten wrote in his book 《The German Workers and the Nazis》:

– Prior to 1933, more blue-collar (manual) workers supported non-Nazi working class parties

– However, the German Left (communists/socialists) were disunited, which made them weak opponents to the Nazis

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2012)

The author is John Boyne. It was reprinted by Penguin in 2012. It has been used by several Singaporean schools for their Lower Secondary English Literature classes.

There are links below to – one interview, one summary, and one (rather philosophical) review.

Evidence Note – Poverty

Fadumo Diriye. Poor People Aren’t Poor Because They’re Lazy. 25 Jan 2015. Huffington Post Canada.

  • [Canada]
  • Canada, despite developed country status, had 3.5 million people living in poverty — 637,000 were children
  • 40% of the poor were disabled/handicapped, and were more likely to be unemployed
  • About 770,000 poor people relied on monthly food banks
  • The article indicated a rising trend of poverty within Canada (in the short term)

Malaysians still struggle on poverty line. Stephanie Scawen. 7 Feb 2014. Al Jazeera.

  • [Malaysia]
  • More than 60% of the country lived on less than SGD (Singapore Dollar) $1600 per month. Poverty was worse in rural areas, where the figure was 85% instead
  • The United Nations proposed that SGD $1000-1200 per month was generally considered as an acceptable income level for survival

Most Republicans think poverty caused by laziness, new poll finds. 30 Jan 2014. Morgan Whitaker. MSNBC.

  • [United States – US]
  • 51% American Republican (party members) tended to attribute poverty to laziness while Democrat (party members) attributed poverty to external circumstances beyond one’s control
  • Republicans believed that wealth came from hard work. More Democrats thought that this came from unfair advantages. For instance, 63% of Democrats suggested that the US economic system favoured the wealthy
  • Across the board (including Independents), 65% believed economic inequality intensified over the last decade (possible trend)
  • The poll was done by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY (news organisation); it surveyed 1,504 adults

The Learning Brain – Chapter 8

Torkel Klingberg*. (2013). The Learning Brain: Memory and Brain Development in Children. New York. Oxford University Press. [Translation: Neil Betteridge].

Extremely stressful events (e.g. life and death moments) have resulted in precise and deeply imprinted memories.

  • Does this mean that surprise or sudden tests have their place in education?

In the case of working (short term) memory, excess stress beyond a certain ideal point causes unsuccessful recall – such as during a blanking out in an examination. (Research on US skydiver deaths (1990s) returned one reason as ‘no pull’. The inference or guess was that the skydiver experienced a ‘mental block’ such that he failed to use the reserve parachute.)

On a related note, long term incessant (‘chronic’) stress was found to cause poor working memory. On persistent childhood stress (the author focused on poverty; there are others stress factors like school performance, and friends/family according to Erica Frydenberg at the University of Melbourne – 2008; in Chapter 2 cancer treatment is described as negatively affecting working memory), the restoration process is unclear. [Shorter term exposure to constant stress however allowed for rehabilitation. This was concluded from two studies: one on mice, the other on students].

*Author details from Psychology Today (no date) and company Cogmed (no date). [On p. 121 of the book, he states that he acted concurrently as a consultant for Cogmed].

Education – Door out of poverty? Hmmm…

Yes, it plausible with technical and pre-university education. According to the organisation, Canadian Feed the Children <Breaking the cycle of poverty with education>, (last updated 2016):

  • A single year of primary school increases wages earned later by 5 to 15 per cent for boys and even more for girls.
  • For each additional year of secondary school, an individual’s wages increase by 15 to 25 per cent.
  • No country has ever achieved continuous and rapid economic growth without first having at least 40% of its adults able to read and write. [Research has to be done to corroborate this.]

Education enables farmers to utilise new farming techniques and technologies. World Bank research found that farmers with at least of four years of primary education were able to improve productivity by an average of nearly 9%. This improves family finances and food security as hungry children/workers have poor concentration and lower efficiency respectively. (The latter might lead to unemployment.) They are also less prone to illnesses originating from undernourishment. This way, excess healthcare costs are avoided. Hence, technical pre-tertiary is a major avenue to escape from poverty.

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Ironically, education may be the exact reason why many students remain poor. Due to the immense and overwhelming debt of financing their tertiary education, students remain hopelessly stuck in the poverty cycle. An article from Consumer Reports, entitled: Student Debt – Lives on Hold (28 Jun 2016), 42 million Americans have incurred $1.3 trillion in student debt. This came about with decreased government funding, hiked up tuition fees, and the encouragement of private sector education loans. Some like Saul Newton had to enlist as a soldier (and fight in Afghanistan) to pay his school bills. Furnished with idea that college would help them live better material lives, a significant number ended up in a debt nightmare instead. Thus, the argument that education breaks people out of poverty is utterly wrong in this circumstance.

Another interesting article: We’re so well educated – but we’re useless. (25 Feb 2013). https://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/feb/25/well-educated-but-useless. The Guardian.

Migration – Yes or No: A few thoughts

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) site <Learning to Live Together>, a migrant is defined as:

“any person who lives temporarily or permanently in a country where he or she was not born, and has acquired some significant social ties to this country.”

Six types are listed:

  • Temporary labour migrants (also known as guest workers or overseas contract workers)
  • Highly skilled and business migrants
  • Irregular migrants (or undocumented / illegal migrants)
  • Forced migration
  • Family members
  • Return migrants

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States should actively invite skilled or wealthy migrants. These persons with their experience, expertise and contacts would be able to aid the development of their domiciled country or sustain its prosperity.  In the global war for talent, Singapore’s Ministry of Health planned to encourage more overseas-trained Singaporean medical doctors to return home. Top Singaporean scientists working overseas have also been encouraged to come back, with the lure of full funding support for research work and help in setting up laboratories at universities here. This was also trumpeted by Indian business leaders like Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries in 2017. He stated: “It is high time that our brightest and best brains work for the benefits of India and Indians… Some of our brightest people are working outside the country and by whatever faith if they are brought back to this country, and they work for our country, they work for (the) 1.3 billion and they work to improve their lives and put together a new developmental model.” Indeed, skilled reverse migration in this instance should be encouraged especially when such persons have long term stakes in their countries as opposed those who would leave in due time.