PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 May, 2012, 12:00am


Three cheers for small-class teaching

I support the proposal for small-class teaching in some schools.

First, small-class teaching helps individual students. As a secondary student, I find it hard to concentrate when there are 40 students in a class. It is also difficult for teachers to pay attention to all the students during a lesson. In smaller classes, teachers can help individual students more.

Second, small-class teaching helps to improve the relationship between teachers and students. This means less stress for both parties and more harmony in the classroom.

Critics argue small-class teaching will increase the teachers' workload. They also question whether it is really necessary.

I disagree. Schools must do everything to help students and reducing class sizes is part of that.

Christy Law Tsz-chin, Carmel Secondary School

E-books are not the solution

Students need affordable textbooks. Lately, however, publishers have decided to increase the price of textbooks.

They sell textbooks and supplementary teaching materials separately. Originally it was thought this would lower prices. The opposite has happened. Parents are disappointed and unhappy. So are schools, which now have to pay more for teachers' material.

As not all schools and every parent can afford the higher prices, the government needs to spend more on subsidies such as school textbook assistance.

That money could have been spent on other areas, such as the development of sports.

Publishers have corporate social responsibility, so they should think about the customers. Because of inflation, people already have to pay a lot for essentials. Now adding textbooks to those expenses has made things worse.

It has been suggested that e-books can help solve the problem. But e-books are also expensive and many low-income households cannot afford them.

Besides, using e-books over a long time may damage students' eyesight.

I think the solution is for schools to reuse teaching materials and textbooks. That way they can save money and be eco-friendly at the same time.

Meanwhile, parents should co-operate with schools to convince the government and publishers to pay more attention to the issue.

The government could set a price ceiling on textbooks to ensure they are not too costly.

Carol Lam King-nga, Leung Shek Chee College

Smarts matter more than looks

Being clever is more important than being attractive. Let me explain.

Nowadays, people are obsessed with being more attractive. Some people seek to enhance their appearance, spending a lot on beauty products or having plastic surgery.

Many of these people think that to be beautiful or handsome is more important than to be clever. That's not the case at all.

One reason is that being clever allows you to get a better job. Being a doctor, lawyer or scientist requires you to be intelligent. Intelligence is key to a rewarding career.

Being clever also helps you overcome obstacles more easily. You need wisdom to cope with difficulties and grab every chance when it comes.

Most importantly, wisdom lasts longer than beauty. It is not worth putting too much emphasis on something that does not last long.

Everyone will age with time. But you can continue to gain wisdom as you grow older.

Some people may argue that a pretty face enables you to make a good impression on others more easily. That is true. But the success of many celebrities has nothing to do with their appearance.

Take movie star Stephen Chow Sing-Chi. He has gained acclaim for his acting skills, not his good looks.

Cynthia Chong, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School

Secondhand is good

In Hong Kong, secondhand goods are not as popular as in the West, where garage sales are common.

Such sales, where you can buy and sell old things, helps to reduce waste. Many Hong Kong people, however, think that buying old stuff means you are poor.

That's wrong. We can reduce waste by buying secondhand goods.

Cathy Wong Sin-tung, STFA Tam Pak Yu College