20 Dec 2011

Sample Essay: The Role of Health IT in Accountable Care Organizations and Patient-Centered Medical Homes

Health IT plays a very important role in the Accountable Care Organizations and the Patient-Centered Medical Homes. In most cases, little attention is given to the delivery-system that is required to improve the coordination and quality of the health care and lower the spending rates. Accountable Care Organization and the Patient-Centered Medical Home are two models that are mainly discussed for delivery system reform. They also offer opportunity to enlarge the efficiency of the care coordination. Care coordination helps to improve the appropriateness, efficiency, timeline and the quality of clinical decisions and care, in that way, the quality and efficiency of the health care is improved. The main goals involved in care coordination include: the transfer of medical information such as medication lists, medical history and test results properly from one participant to another in patient care. These can only be efficient when the health information technology is involved and very well utilized.

According to some physicians, PCMH is the model of care that gives the patient’s needs the first priority. Gerlach (2010) says that it provides the most efficient and effective care to the patients by including the use of health information technology, behavioral health services, health maintenance, patient education, and providing preventive services through health promotion. Medical homes are responsible for providing the patient’s health care needs or it takes the responsibility of arranging care with other professionals who are well qualified (Shortell & Gillies 2010). Provider members of ACOs work collectively across the specialties in order to develop delivery of care programs that focus on coordinating care and outcomes. The ACOs encourage most hospitals and physicians to incorporate care by holding them responsible for both cost and quality.

PCMH and ACO models play a role in improving the quality of health care and reduce the costs. For instance, one of their major objectives is to deliver high value products and good quality services. These can be achieved by coordinating care, consolidating multiple level of care to the patients, being accountable for the quality of care, efficient delivery and having a brawny primary care foundation. Health information technology therefore, helps to ensure that all these are well achieved.

PCMC’s and ACO’s try to provide a solution to control the costs of Medicare by ensuring that the country avoids spending or paying for wasteful procedures, and authorizing nurses and doctors to offer more efficient and high quality care. Some of the rules that are used in the models include; providing equal care among populations, providing care in the right setting, supporting the well being of all individuals, providing timely, convenient, responsive services, efficient services, and should easily access to appropriate care and information when required. Other principles include identifying measurable outcomes and availability of information that helps in providing and planning for the patients effectively. In order to make the two models, PCMH and ACOs successful, it is very necessary to use the HIT (Health Information Technology). HIT should integrate across the health care system from one care site to the other (Gerlach 2010). The modern information technology commonly used includes computers, servers, and database management systems. Technology is capable of supporting the rural access to health care which is very critical when it comes to caring for all the patients.

The implementation of the ACOs and PCMH has various challenges that mainly concern the direct control of the primary care practice. First, the model, PCMH, doesn’t provide direct incentives to the other providers collaboratively with the primary care providers in order to optimize health outcomes even though it calls for practices of primary care to take the task for coordinating and providing care across the health care continuum (Shortell & Gillies 2010). Another challenge is that most primary care practices have no financial arrangements that enable them to share the savings.

The information technology helps in the implementation, processing and even the storage of some important data on health care. Meaningful use of IT is actually intended to enable the significant improvements in the health of the population via a transformed health care delivery system. Currently, in the year 2011, NCQA instituted more stringent certification standards. NCQA has also built on various standards with increased accent on patient-centeredness that actually includes a stronger focus on the integration of behavioral health. In addition, it helps in the management of chronic disease and therefore improving the quality of patients with the use of patient surveys. All the activities in improving the patient’s conditions are more efficient with the use of IT. It is therefore important to note that IT also plays a major role in the two model’s well performance.

The two models of the delivery-system reform tend to redirect the delivery system towards the improved quality and the reduced cost mainly with the use of health IT. ACOs need a stable primary care core in order to succeed and provide the effective delivery-system infrastructure beyond the primary care practice to enable the realization of the PCMH model. The combination of both the models and the use of HIT are all essential for the implementation and success. Due to the information above, it is clear that health information is very much involved in the current rules related to the ACOs and the PCMH. It is therefore necessary for you to incorporate it in the planning in order to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare information and facilities.

References

Gerlach L. (2010). Meaningful Use, PCMH, ACO: One Escalator, Three Destinations. Retrieved on  November 15, 2011 from http://www.nwrpca.org/health-center-news/150-meaningful-use-pcmh-acone-escalator-three-destintations.html

Shortell SM, Gillies R, Wu F (2010). United States Innovations in Healthcare Delivery. Public Health Reviews

11 Dec 2011

Sample Essay: The Influence of Smoking on Hiring Decisions

Employers always find themselves in a dilemma when conducting recruitment drives. This dilemma becomes further complicated when ethical standards and values such as smoking and nonsmoking are imported into the recruitment exercise. As others remain undecided about the prospects of restricting the recruitment exercise to nonsmokers, the gains to be accrued from such a consideration are becoming increasingly apparent. It is becoming clearer that preferring nonsmokers to smokers in employment is more advantageous than being ambivalent towards the idea.

In the first place, Dalsey and Park (2009) quote the Center for American Progress, which was released in 2006 to explain that employers who do not hire smokers will have dramatically lower health care and health insurance costs. This is because; smoking increases the risks of respiratory infections yet the organization may have to settle the medical bills of the clients. This will heighten the organization’s expenditure.  The same development allays even the claims of rebuttals who maintain that adopting an indiscriminate recruitment approach ensures multiplicity of talents and skills.

Conversely, Dewees and Daniels refer to Tomkowicz and Lessack report of 2006 to argue that it is apparent that employers who do not hire smokers are motivated by their ability to reduce the resentment of smokers by non-smokers arising from the perception that smokers take breaks that are more frequent at work and increase the health care burden on non-smokers. The gravity behind this above claim is verified by the fact that smoking divides the personnel into two camps: while the nonsmokers will feel that, they are being polluted and being exposed to the dangers of passing smoking, the smoker will always see the assertion that he walks away when smoking as a needless bother. This eventually brews discord in an organization and eventually interferes with organizational performance. The smoke that lingers around the smoker will also widen this chasm further, as nonsmokers and the smoker will differ on the idea that the smoker remains outside for some minutes after smoking.

At the same time, while referring to the Arizona Republic and Sulzberger 2011 report, McShulskis (2011) waxes polemical that it must be remembered by employers that they can provide a safer and healthier workplace for all employees by ensuring the workplace will be smoke-free. Although opponents of this idea are likely to cite discrimination and the contravention of the rights of the smoker, yet, it remains an indisputable fact that by keeping smokers away from recruitment exercise, the entire workplace is guaranteed of fresh air and is totally freed from the dangers that accost passive smoking.

Greenberg (2009) remains poignant that as is elaborated by Center for American Progress (2006), Sulzberger (2011), and the Proactive Employer (2011), it has been discovered that employers who do not hire smokers will benefit from higher productivity among workers. In the first place, the time spent by smoking employees as they excuse themselves out of the working area for a smoking session will have been totally extirpated.  Similarly, the ability of smoking to drive a wedge between smoking and nonsmoking employees will have entirely been annulled. On the other hand, there is no benefit that can be accrued, by incorporating smokers into the recruitment exercise. While the positive attributes that are extant among smokers can be found among nonsmokers, the positive attributes that are spotted among nonsmokers cannot be found in smokers.

Conclusion

Any reason that would be advanced to gainsay the standpoint above cannot stand, given that all the propositions are feasible. Likewise, citing the locking out of smokers during recruitment drives as being tantamount to discrimination is in itself a fallacy since smoking is not a disability. Smokers can make resolutions to emancipate themselves from addictions, since smoking is a habit that can be both learned and unlearned.

Bibliography

Dalsey, Elizabeth & Park, H. Sun. “Implication of Organizational Health Policy on  Organizational Attraction,” Health Communication. 24 No. 1 (2009): 71-81.

Dewees, N. Donald and Daniels, J. Ronald. The Cost of Protecting Occupational Health, Journal  of Human Resources, 21 No. 3 (2010): 381-396.

Greenberg, Mark. Center for American Progress (CAP). Congressional Digest, 88 No. 7 (2009):   200-208.

McShulskis, Elaine. Workplace bans help employees quit. HRMagazine, 41 No. 8 (2011): 20.

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09 Nov 2011

Sample Essay: Genetic Disease: Elephantiasis

Elephantiasis is noted to have been researched to come from particular condition caused by parasitic worms. Often following the infection comes the thickening of the skin and the tissues found usually in the legs and private genitals. The inflammation of the body parts are considered to be caused by extensive infection that continues to affect the areas that have already been under attack by the parasitic worms. The parasitic worms usually come from being bitten by an infected mosquito. Most often than not, the parasites include round worms and nematodes. These worms often inhabit the lymphatic vessels that makes it impossible for the inability of the said body part to function well which makes it impossible to drain the extremities that have been affected by the infection. There are two particular types of elephantiasis:

(a) Lymphatic filariasis [which is characterized by the infection of the lymphatic area] and

(b) nonfilariar elephantiasis [which is noted to be common among members of the African society due to their regular contact with the volcano ash. As of now, the main target of this ailment is the African society and the Southeast Asian residents. These particular facts impose on the idea that both the genetic sources of the ailment and the incurring course of effect that the red soil has on African individuals who are in direct contact of the said substance.

Symptoms

Most often than not, elephantiasis affects the lower extremities of the body, other infections occur in the upper extremities but this is less likely to happen. It usually depends on what particular worm entered the body. The symptoms often start with skin rashes and abdominal pain due to the occurrence of worms deeply dwelling within the tissues. Usually, enlargement of the genital areas specifically mark the onset of elephantiasis. The occurrence of fever and chills and the mere feeling of being unwell due to the inner inflammation of the parts of the body that are infected. (Price, 1974)

Causes

The inflammation is adapted to have been explained by the occurrence of the infection and the actual fight that the immune system is putting up against the infection. However, due to the deep effect of the worm’s impact on the areas affected, the inflammation may affect other areas of the body therefore spreading the impact of the medical situation. The weakness of the immune system further creates a chance for the infection to move further. The death of the issues further makes it hard to work especially on the part of the function of of the lymphatic node. The blockage caused by the infection causes the release of the infectious substance to be released out of the system. With this occurrence, obstruction of the flow of blood supply also happens making the affected area slowly die of function.

On the other end, when it comes to the occurrence of the African elephantiasis, it is assumed that such matter is caused by the red soil coming from the volcano  which the African society usually gets in contact with as they walk barefoot along the said type of soil. The particles of the soil gets lodged in the lymphatic tissues therefor irritating the entire system. With this streptococcal infection could also be sourced out from.

Another cause of elephantiasis is the genetic disorder which is more known as the hereditary lymphedema. The symptoms of this particular ailment comes the same as that of the regular elephantiasis. The underdevelopment of the lymph vessels often create the blockage opening the doors to the occurrence of inflammation within the said vessels.

Prevention

As of now, only the course of identifying the development of research on elephantiasis is considered to be the source of an ideal form of prevention. Increasing knowledge about this ailment hence equipping the people with the idea on when to be checked for early diagnosis is exposed as the most effective source of prevention. Other than this, no vaccinations have been developed yet which means that it is only the occurrence of careful consideration upon one’s health that could protect one from incurring the ailment.

Ones the ailment has already been developed, it is strongly advised that constant cleaning and of the area infected be imposed so as to prevent the distribution of the infection to other parts of the body. Like other ailments, it is also considered that early diagnosis of the disease could be the course taken into consideration hence lessening the health dilemma that   shall affect the individual already suffering from the ailment. Preventing the infection from spreading is the primary course of defense that doctors suggest so as not to further deepen the effect of the said ailment on the individual.

Treatments and Therapies

During the onset of the ailment, it is best that early diagnosis be served. At the first stage of the infection, antibiotics could be prescribed by the doctors. The most common form of antibiotic suggested by doctors is doxycycline. This further kills the bactria that lives within the worms which means that the treatment affects the operational function of the foreign substances from the roots of the problem. This then slows down the growth of the worms likely weakening the capability of the worms to reproduce. Another possible prescription could include albendazole which is a combination of diethylcarbamazine and ivermectin. This medication is directed towards killing the spreading young worms that are expected to be released by the old worms which are likely the ones spreading in the affected area. These medications however cannot kill the full grown worms hence making it hard for completely stopping the disease from spreading.

In more serious cases, standard therapies could include chemo therapy which are designed to attack the adult worms hence serving as a symptomatic treatment that could repair the damage that the infection has already caused in the decay of the different parts of the body. Revitalizing the immune system through killing the foreign elements in the system could further increase the capability of the body to fight the effects of the impending infection from the worms. Along with the therapy comes the implication of applying medication that supports the process.

During the current years of further researching on the development of therapies that could provide more effective support for the need of the suffering patients to recover from the matter, it has been realized that a particular consideration on massage therapy could alleviate certain developmental progression of the infection. Strengthening the muscles of the infected area apparently also improves the process of protection that the lymphatic vessels establish against the impending effects of the worms in the system (Desta, et al, 2003).

Conclusive Implications of Research

The manner by which elephantiasis develops is specifically dependent on how one considers good hygiene. Prevention as always is better than cure and the same thing applies with the case of elephantiasis. Avoiding genetically passing on the medical case starts from the need of parents to be specifically concerned about how they deal with their hygiene. No matter what sort of elephantiasis is being avoided, it is important to consider proper hygiene and if in case the ailment’s symptoms have already been identified, early diagnosis and treatment could help in reducing the course of dilemma that the ailment puts the sufferer in.

References:

Desta K, Ashine M, Davey G (2003). “Prevalence of podoconiosis (endemic non-filarial elephantiasis) in Wolaitta, Southern Ethiopia”.Trop Doct 2: 217–220.

Price EW (1974). “The relationship between endemic elephantiasis of the lower legs and the local soils and climate. A study in Wollamo District, Southern Ethiopia“.Trop Geogr Med 32:26–230.

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09 Oct 2011

Sample Essay: The Handkerchief: A "Napkin" of Many Meaning

The handkerchief plays an important role in Shakespeare’s play “Othello”. It is Othello’s first gift to Desdemona and hence it is much cherished by Desdemona as a token of his love (3.3.1). Iago with the intention of making Othello doubt his wife’s chastity plans to steal the handkerchief from Desdemona through his wife.  Iago is aware of the sentimental value of the handkerchief and its symbolic value to Othello who considers it to be a symbol of Desdemona’s fidelity.  He therefore uses it to manipulate Othello’s mind so much so that when Othello sees the handkerchief in Cassio’s possession he is totally convinced that Desdemona had been unfaithful to him. This shattering of his trust in Desdemona leads ultimately to the tragic deaths of Othello and Desdemona. The handkerchief holds the plot of the play together. Every character that comes to hold the handkerchief at some point is affected by its power. From this angle, the handkerchief may be seen as an instrument of fate – one that has the evil power to cause destruction to lovers.  Iago used it to carry out his diabolic plans but ultimately there is poetic justice in it when it finally becomes tangible proof of Iago’s guilt.  The handkerchief has a multifaceted role in the play “Othello”; it is a token of love, an indicator of character, a test of relationships, the key factor to the ending of the play and a symbol of major ideas in the play.

The handkerchief is white in color and has red strawberries hand stitched on them and Othello describes to Desdemona that they thread had been dyed with blood from “maidens’ hearts” (3.4.10). This shows that in the eyes of Othello, the handkerchief is symbolic of the white wedding sheet that is stained with a virgin’s blood.  As Othello’s gift to Desdemona, the handkerchief becomes a mark of her chastity and when Desdemona loses the handkerchief, Othello feels that she has lost her chastity.  The handkerchief also has historical meaning to Othello. He confides to Desdemona that the handkerchief was given by an Egyptian “charmer” to his mother in order to keep his father “faithful” and under her spell (3.4.9).  This endows the handkerchief with magical qualities and greater significance. By linking the handkerchief to the chastity of Desdemona, Othello interprets the loss of the handkerchief as conclusive proof of Desdemona’s adultery.

Iago plants strong suspicious in Othello’s mind about Desdemona and it is in this frame of mind that Othello goes for having dinner with Desdemona. Desdemona senses his tension and asks what is wrong. Othello responds that he has a headache at which Desdemona takes out her handkerchief to wrap around his head. Othello is irritated and remarks: “Your napkin is too little: / Let it alone. Come, I’ll go in with you” (3.3.287-288), and rushes out of the room, followed by Desdemona, during which period, the handkerchief drops down. Emilia, noticing the handkerchief falling, picks it up as she knows it is very precious to Desdemona. She knows its Othello’s first gift to Desdemona and that she always kept it with her “To kiss and talk to” (3.3.296). She also confesses: “My wayward husband hath a hundred times / Woo’d me to steal it” (3.3.292-293). Iago appears and she spontaneously tells him that she has found Desdemona’s handkerchief. Iago snatches it from her ignoring her protests and moves away with the handkerchief.

Talking aloud to himself, Iago says that he plans to drop the handkerchief in Cassio’s vicinity so that he would pick it up. When the handkerchief is in Cassio’s possession it would be easy for him to convince Othello that Desdemona has an affair with Cassio. Iago is sure the small napkin is weighty enough to be a proof of Desdemona’s adultery because “Trifles light as air / Are to the jealous confirmations strong / As proofs of holy writ” (3.3.322-324). He later goes to Othello and reminds him of the handkerchief, adding that he saw Cassio wipe his beard with that very handkerchief. By this time, Othello has been blinded by jealousy due to Iago’s constant comments against Desdemona so much so he believes Iago’s blatant lies. Here the handkerchief exposes the weakness of mind of Othello who is easily swayed by jealousy and also brings to fore his basic insecurities.

Desdemona searches for the handkerchief and asks Emilia “Where should I lose that handkerchief, Emilia?” (3.4.23). Emilia now lies to her that she does not know where it is though she knows that Iago has it.  Desdemona feels guilty about losing the handkerchief, but in her mind she thinks that Othello would not be base enough to judge her character based on the loss of the handkerchief. She is happy to think that “my noble Moor / Is true of mind and made of no such baseness / As jealous creatures are,” because otherwise the loss of the handkerchief might be “enough / To put him to ill thinking” (3.2.26-29). This shows Desdemona’s trust in Othello.

However, Othello is already into ill thinking and he checks out Desdemona directly asking her for the handkerchief. When Desdemona reveals that she has lost it, Othello is furious He says that it was given to his mother by an Egyptian charmer with prophetic powers.  The handkerchief had magical powers and that “if she lost it / Or made gift of it, my father’s eye / Should hold her loathed” (3.4.60-62). Othello also says “‘Tis true: there’s magic in the web of it” (3.4.69).  He further reveals that the silk was taken from silk worms and “it was dyed in mummy which the skilful / Conserved of maidens’ hearts” (3.4.74-75). Desdemona becomes alarmed and says that she wishes she had never seen it: “Then would to God that I had never seen’t!” (3.4.77). This makes Othello very mad and he soon shouts at Desdemona asking her if she had lost the handkerchief or misplaced it. In fear, Desdemona lies and says “It is not lost; but what an if it were?” (3.4.83). This convinces Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio and this conviction makes him enter into a tempestuous exchange of words with Desdemona before he storms out of the room. Desdemona is shocked to see his behavior and wonders if there must be some magical powers in the handkerchief: “Sure, there’s some wonder in this handkerchief: / I am most unhappy in the loss of it” (3.4.101-102).

Cassio who had picked up the handkerchief planted by Iago gives it to his prostitute girlfriend Bianca to copy it. She is filled with jealousy to see that handkerchief and loathes the sight of it. Cassio explains that he found the handkerchief in his chambers and that there is no need for Bianca to be jealous over it. Later Iago continues his evil work of poisoning Othello’s mind over the lost handkerchief of Desdemona: “So they do nothing, ’tis a venial slip; / But if I give my wife a handkerchief –“(4.1.9-10). He directs Othello’s thought process in a subtle manner. Iago pretends to be unaware of the significance of the handkerchief and remarks that Desdemona is free to give it to any man. Othello asks: “She is protectress of her honour too: / May she give that?” (4.1.14-15), to which Iago says that her honor cannot be seen but only through her handkerchief.  Iago brings the focus of Othello on the handkerchief repeatedly so that he would link it with Desdemona’s chastity, until finally the totally deluded Othello says: “Lie with her! lie on her! We say lie on her, when they belie her. Lie with her! that’s fulsome. — Handkerchief — confessions — handkerchief!” (4.1.35-38). Othello happens to see Bianca give back the handkerchief to Cassio with jealousy tinged words such as: “There; give it your hobby-horse: wheresoever you had it, I’ll take out no work on’t” (4.1.154-155).  Iago uses the situation to poison Othello further – “Yours by this hand: and to see how he prizes the foolish woman your wife! she gave it him, and he hath given it his whore” (4.1.175-177). Othello kills Cassio.

Othello wants to kill Desdemona and before killing her he accuses her of having an affair with Cassio: “That handkerchief which I so loved and gave thee / Thou gavest to Cassio” (5.2.48-49). Desdemona denies this accusation, but Othello is in no mind to listen and kills her. Emilia realizes that Iago is behind everything and accuses him of lying. Othello talks to himself and reveals that he had seen in Cassio’s hands “a handkerchief, an antique token / My father gave my mother” (5.2.210-217). Emilia blurts out: “O thou dull [stupid] Moor! that handkerchief thou speak’st of / I found by fortune [chance] and did give my husband” (5.2.225-226). She adds, “For often, with a solemn earnestness, / More than indeed belong’d to such a trifle, / He begg’d of me to steal it” (5.2.227-229). Emilia calls the handkerchief “a trifle” thereby suggesting that it’s of small significance and nothing worth killing over. Iago kills his wife for telling the truth.  Othello later confronts Cassio directly about the handkerchief to which Cassio replies that he found it in his room and that it was planted there by Iago. Othello realizes that he has made a grave mistake of interpreting the presence of the handkerchief in Cassio’s hands as a sign of adultery and he kills himself.

Thus one finds that the handkerchief is used by Iago to corrupt the mind of Othello and tarnish the character of Desdemona. It reveals the deceptions of the characters in the play – Iago seems honest and isn’t. Othello does not seem jealous but is.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William (1886). Othello. J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia

30 Aug 2011

Sample Essay: Women and Feminism in America Since 1877

The present study attempts to trace the struggle of women in American society post 1877.It aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the different feminist movements vis a vis the political developments.

In the nineteenth century, the ideological ascendancy of science and medicine joined the spread of industrialization to promote the ‘sexual division of labor’ based on the assumption that ‘biology is destiny’. Women’s fixed role as caregivers was ideologically determined by their biological capacity to bear children. Associated with that biological capacity was a host of psychological attributes — passivity, dependence, moodiness — which further reinforced a growing emphasis on the gendered separation of the domestic and the public spheres. The qualities requisite to economic or political success were linked to biologically based notions of masculinity and femininity, according to which men’s bodies and minds are naturally suited to positions of power and women’s are naturally suited to positions of subordination. While the resistance to this view of sexual difference varies historically and culturally, it is against this backdrop that modern and contemporary feminism must be understood.

Not surprisingly, feminism often consolidates into a political movement as a result of women’s participation in other radical, reformist, or revolutionary activities.

Equality Through Difference

During the Victorian era, there was a model of womanhood founded on ideals of domesticity. This model, True Womanhood, rarely held true for real women, but it nevertheless effected women’s lives. Women, particularly white middle-class women, often lived at least partially conforming to True Womanhood. They generally stayed in the home to devote themselves to their family, allowing their husbands to fulfill the male role of breadwinner. They remained sexually pure and devotedly religious. An important part of living this ideal was not interfering with men’s public affairs, remaining untainted from public life.

Throughout the 1850’s, women continued to meet in conventions and less formal gatherings to discuss their economic, educational, political, legal, and familial rights. The women, who were mostly white and middle class, participated in a broad spectrum of protest movements, fighting against alcohol and slavery, and for the rights of immigrants and the poor. All of these movements gave women the opportunity to develop and sharpen organizational and ideological skills. However, women were often discouraged or even barred from holding positions of power equal to those of their male counterparts. Thus, women began to focus more and more on their own status in America.

Works Cited

1. Boris, Eileen “Black and White Women Bring the Power of Motherhood to Politics,” in Mary Beth Norton and Ruth M. Alexander Major Problems in American Women’s History. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1996.

2. Cott, Nancy Bonds of Womanhood: “Women’s Sphere” in New England 1780-1835. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977.

Women and the American Civil War

When the American Civil War broke out in 1861, women turned their attention, and their considerable energy, to the conflict. In both the North and the South, women gathered in aid societies, circulated petitions, and, at home, took over the masculine duties of running the household. (i) While these activities kept the women at home busy, many women wanted to support their causes closer to the battlefield.

Rather than face low-paying, grueling factory work or even prostitution, poorer women followed their husbands, brothers or fathers to camp. Slave women also found protection in camps. These women, in particular, were vulnerable to the horrors of war, often forced to protect themselves and their children from Confederate raiders who might rape, kill, or capture them. Escaping to a Union camp was often their most promising option. (ii)

Many of the poor and middle-class women who joined the troops worked as nurses, or even as soldiers. Throughout the war, about 10,000 women served as nurses on either the Confederate or the Union side. (iii) Smaller numbers of zealous women enlisted with the troops, disguised as men. Cautious estimates place approximately 250 Confederate and 400 Union female soldiers on the battlefields. (iv)

For both the nurses and the female soldiers, their jobs required forgoing the modesty and innocence attributed to white women at the time of the Civil War. No illusions of feminine weakness could be sustained in the face of the day-to-day hardships of war. There existed, however, yet another option for patriotic women who wanted to work for their cause — spying. This option could allow a woman to not only maintain her femininity, but also greatly capitalize on it.

The American Civil War dramatically altered the roles women played in American society, if only temporarily. Gender roles became malleable as even white, middle-class women stepped out, or were forced out, of their traditional private sphere. At home, they took over the duties of running the household previously performed by their husbands. On the battlefront, they bandaged wounds or fought side by side with men. Somewhere in between, one particular woman enchanted men with her femininity, bewitchingly betrayed them, and consoled herself that “All was fair in love and war.” (v)

Endnotes

i. Sara M. Evans Born for Liberty. (New York: Free Press Paperbacks, 1997) p.117.
ii. ibid., p.113.
iii. Linda Grant DePauw Battle Cries and Lullabies, Women in War from Prehistory to the Present. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998) p.156.
iv. ibid., p.151..
v. ibid., p.216.

Three main feminist movements: 1870s-1919

From the 1870s until World War I, many feminists became more conservative in their views and goals. They were divided into three major groups of reformers:

1. The Suffragists

After 1870, suffragists focused on winning for women the right to vote. Their arguments were slightly different than those of suffragists before the Civil War. Early reformers had argued that women, as human-beings, had a natural right to vote. From the 1870s on, however, suffragists took their cues from the Cult of True Womanhood and argued that women were different and, in some cases, better than men. Women, for example, were more noble, more spiritual, and truer of heart then men. Granting women the right to vote, they argued, would help purify political corruption in the United States.

2. The Social Feminists

Social feminists agreed with the suffragists that women should get the vote, but dedicated themselves to social reforms other than suffrage. Prominent social feminists were often leaders of the settlement movement, such as Jane Addams and Florence Kelley. Florence Kelley (1859-1932) was a prominent feminist and social reformer. Part of that generation of women who first gained access to higher education, Kelley graduated from Cornell University in 1882. However, like many women graduates of her time, she had difficulty finding work that was worth her talents. She went to Europe, studied law and government in Zurich, and translated major works of Marx and Engels into English. In 1891, she joined Jane Addams at Hull House. From 1898 until 1932, Kelley served as the head of the National Consumers’ League (NCL), a lobbying group for the rights of working women and children.

In addition to the NCL, there were a host of other reform organizations headed by women: the Woman’s Trade Union League, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the National Council of Colored Women. These groups saw the state as a potentially beneficial agent of social welfare.

The new generation of social feminists were more conservative, but also more pragmatic. In 1890, these new feminists reunited the squabbling AWSA and NWSA and formed the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). NAWSA was led from 1900 to 1904 and again from 1915 to 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947). Catt was born in Ripon, in the great state of Wisconsin, went to school in Iowa, and worked for women’s suffrage, eventually becoming a close colleague of Susan B. Anthony. Catt believed it was a woman’s natural right to participate in politics, and also wanted women to have the vote in order to reform society. Catt reasoned that if women had political power, they could not only improve life for themselves and for their children, but have influence over more global issues such as world peace. Catt founded the League of Women Voters in 1920.

3. The Radical Feminists

Radical feminists offered a much stronger critique of American society, economics, and politics. The most prominent radical feminist was Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935), a sociologist, author, lecturer, and self-proclaimed socialist. In 1898, Gilman achieved international fame with her book, Women and Economics: The Economic Factor between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution, a condemnation of the Cult of True Womanhood. Her chief arguments in the book were quite radical for America at the turn of the century. She argued that:

Common humanity shared by men and women was far more important than sexual differences

Social environment, not biology, determined the roles of men and women in society

In an industrial society, women would be released from the home, enabled to make a broad human contribution rather than a narrow feminine contribution to society

Alice Paul, who organized the Woman’s Party in the 1910s and introduced the first Equal Rights Amendment in 1916, represented the other facet of radical feminism. The campaign for the ERA during the 1910s was so radical that most social feminists rejected it out of fear that the proposed constitutional amendment would endanger protective legislation for women. As a result, the campaign for the ERA remained a minority movement within feminism.

The Nineteenth Amendment

In addition to the ERA, another point of division among various feminist groups was World War I. Jane Addams and other social feminists were vocal pacifists who opposed Wilson’s decision to enter the war. Hard-core suffragists, led by Carrie Chapman Catt, endorsed Wilson’s decision, with the understanding that Wilson would support women’s suffrage at war’s end. After the war came to a close, Wilson pointed to women’s loyalty in the war effort and urged Congress to pass the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

One thing was obvious to everyone: In the course of the century the United States had undergone a profound transformation. From an agrarian nation of independent settlers it had changed into a largely urban and industrial society with millions of new poor immigrants and vast social problems. The subjection and disenfranchisement of women only added to these problems, because it made their solution more difficult. Other nations which experienced similar pressures finally took corrective action. New Zealand gave women the vote in 1893, Finland in 1906. The First World War produced social upheavals in Europe and secured the vote for women in the Netherlands and the Soviet Union (1917) and, to a limited extent, in Great Britain (1918). Germany followed suit in 1919. Under the circumstances, the lack of women’s suffrage in the United States became an embarrassment. Therefore, in 1920, the country finally adopted the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution granting the right to vote to women. A struggle of over seventy years had finally been won.

Feminism in the 1920s

Still, as feminists well knew, this victory was hardly enough, since sexual discrimination continued in many other subtle and not so subtle ways. Unequal pay for equal work, exclusion from influential positions, and innumerable specific legal restrictions denied women equal opportunities in American life. The economic exploitation of women was far from over. The feminist movement supported welfare legislation for maternity and infant care, birth control, stricter labor laws, and government regulation of business. This led to a vicious “red smear” attack by the established powers which denounced feminists as “bolshevik dupes” and “communist conspirators” and accused them of “undermining the family”. Primitive and transparent as they were, these smear tactics proved nevertheless to be very successful. Many “respectable” middle-class women were frightened away from the movement and dissuaded from defending their interests.

In the 1920s, the women’s rights movement practically died down. This was due, in part, to the achievement of the goal of suffrage, but also because of a general retreat from activism in post-WWI America. Feminists of the time made three discoveries:

Women did not vote as a bloc; there was no such thing as the “women’s” vote

The struggle for suffrage no longer united disparate elements of the feminist movement

Younger women were less interested in reform and more interested in rebelling against social conventions

To put it simply, the daughters of the early feminists were more interested in smoking, drinking, going without corsets, bobbing their hair, reading daring literature, and dancing the Charleston. They were enjoying new economic and sexual freedoms in the prosperous years that immediately followed World War I. The technological and economic boom that fueled a higher standard of living for many Americans is a crucially important reason for that.

10 Aug 2011

Sample Essay: Development of Jay Gatsby Character Including His Maturity level and Its Relationship With Society

Deconstructing The Reality Behind The Illusion

In his novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald depicts how Gatsby’s desire for acceptance and prestige reflects not only his misconception of self-worth, but also how the society he lives in imposes a false ideal on aspiring minds such as his. Gatsby believes that gaining a luxurious lifestyle will help him to win over the affections of his beloved Daisy. He learns that Daisy is in love with another man, and he attempts to create a new identity that reflects society’s ideals. The novel illustrates that Gatsby’s desire for requited love only blinds him to the real implications of the world around him. He views being wealthy as vital for feeling a sense of fulfillment in a society that enshrines the pursuit of riches; however, he later becomes aware of the false nature of society’s values. Gatsby views wealth as a means of moving beyond the past, but he ultimately realizes that maturity is the only means of finding a new direction in his life.

The novel illustrates that in order for Gatsby to elevate his status, he must create a false identity in order to give the impression that he is wealthy and prestigious. The society he lives is in is based on gaining self-worth through the endless pursuit of wealth and reputation. Gatsby creates a role for himself as he becomes an actor who maintains the appearance of being in perfect conformity to society’s ideal. The false nature of his role as a wealthy man reflects how society is based on a false ideal. Gatsby views society as being full of promise as he believes that he can finally achieve what he desires and thereby become the object of Daisy’s affections. He views Daisy’s life as safeguarding the guarantee of real happiness, but his pursuit of wealth only enslaves him to society. The ideal of this society deprives people of their independence and true self-worth. Gatsby believes that chasing Daisy is based on his own objectives, but his goal of becoming wealthy is actually society’s objective. Gatsby’s view of Daisy reflects society’s view of the American Dream: “[T]here was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life.? [Gatsby had] an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness” (Fitzgerald 1). After becoming wealthy, he is viewed as a celebrity in society due to his lofty reputation and lifestyle; however, the novel illustrates that Gatsby is deprived of self-worth, which is actually based on maturity rather than wealth.

Gatsby creates a persona for himself as he views his true identity as failling to provide a means to overcome the past. He has always desired to have luxury and wealth as he views his old status as being a source of misery. He believes that his new identity allows him to discard his old life and move away from the past. His old life is based on a lack of fulfillment as his existence revolved around a low social and economic status. He views his childhood and parents as an embarassment as his old life never satisfied him: “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people – his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all” (Fitzgerald 98). Gatsby’s false identity reflects how society creates a false appearance that conceals its true identity. It reflects how society is based on appearance rather than reality as it actually fails to provide the kind of fulfillment that Gatsby is searching for.

Gatsby’s false identity is based on how he exists solely for maintaining society’s false identity. His personal illusions are inseparable from the illusions that society imposes on itself for the sake of creating a false image of self-worth. The following passage illustrates that Gatsby becomes the slave of society’s ideal, which is the American Dream. His enslavement to the American Dream conforms to his narrow view of self-worth as a teenager, and hence he fails to develop a mature understanding of true self worth: “He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end” (Fitzgerald 98). Gatsby’s illusions involve validating society’s illusions through his abandonment of his actual identity and self-worth.

Gatsby’s failed relationships with his friends and family imply that he has never been satisfied with himself. His dissatisfaction with his old life reflects how he lacks the maturity to appreciate who he truly is. Society’s failure to satisfy his desire for acceptance is based on how he fails to accept himself for who he truly is: “When the Jazz History of the World was over, girls where putting their heads on men’s shoulders, swooning backward playfully into men’s arms, but no one swooned backward on Gatsby, and no French bob touched Gatsby’s shoulder, and no singing quartets were formed with Gatsby’s head for one link” (Fitzgerald 50). Gatsby’s friends fail to make him happy as he is never really happy with himself. Gatsby slowly comes to terms with how his life of luxury is merely superificial as it fails to provide the sense of completion he yearns for.

Gatsby later develops a sense of maturity that allows him to identify what he truly desires: a means of actually moving forward with his life. His maturity is based on finding a way to progress in his life that is based on knowing who he truly is rather than his false identity. Gatsby achieves self-discovery by realizing that happiness can only be achieved through maturity and self-awareness. His interaction with Nick illustrates that Gatsby’s life of luxury is merely a reflection of the illusions he embraced as a teenager: “You can’t repeat the past? Can’t repeat the past?”  he cried incredulously.” Why of course you can!”  (Fitzgerald 110). Gatsby’s desire for true happiness is undermined by the illusion that wealth can truly make him happy. Thus, he realizes that the past keeps interfering with his desire to achieve a happy future. Gatsby realizes that he needs to fully overcome his illusions in order to finally be able to move on with his life.

Gatsby desires to achieve maturity by learning from the past, which reflects how his false identity only blinds him to his true-self worth. He feels alienated from his dream of happiness as he has deluded himself all along. His self-discovery is based on finding a means to move forward without clinging to the false ideal of society, which remains obscure and without any real value: “His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp It. He did not know it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity behind the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night” (Fitzgerald 110). Fitzgerald illustrates that Gatsby is a reflection of a society that fails to recognize its own lack of self-worth. Gatsby becomes a victim of society as he realizes that his false identity implies that he is a servant of society that embraces a false ideal.

The novel illustrates that Gatsby desires to achieve a life of luxury for the sake of moving beyond the past and also to be with Daisy. He creates a persona for himself in order to appear as someone he is truly not. He believes that wealth and reputation can elevate him beyond the misery and unhappiness that he associates with his past. He believes that his identity as a wealthy and prestigious man can bring him maturity, but he realizes that society only deprives him of it. He realizes that his life is merely a reflection of the shallow ideals he embraced as a teenager. His persona only blinds him to the fact that true self-worth is based on maturity, which is a vehicle for effectively overcoming one’s past. The novel demonstrates that the American Dream is based on constantly renewing one’s pursuit of a lofty ideal, which always seems beyond reach. Gatsby realizes that maturity can only be achieved by moving beyond the illusions of the past, and that overcoming the past implies accepting how he has failed to benefit from a society that appears to fulfilling but is not.

09 Jun 2011

Sample essay: Opportunities and Challenges Likely to Be Encountered By Beauty Cosmetics in Its Expansion to Europe as a Foreign Market

Introduction

Expansion and venture into new market is an important component and issue that has been for business growth. Often such strategy can be achieved through various procedures such as entrance into new geographical markets and customers or expanding the current market so as to reach more of the already existing market. However, before any company expands its operation into a new market whether local or foreign, it is important that it conducts a market research so as to determine whether the proposed market would offer its products and service the most competitive advantage and best opportunities (Stevens 31).

It is on the above ground that Beauty Cosmetics being a company specialized in manufacturing and supply of beauty products opts to explore the opportunities and challenges that it is likely to face as expands to the foreign market in Europe. Although Europe seems to be a potential market for the Beauty Cosmetic products and services because of its vast market opportunities, cultural, heritage, and language similarities there are certain threats such as political and religious ideologies most probably will pose challenge in this new and foreign market expansion venture.

Screening the Europe Market for Beauty Cosmetics

Since Beauty Cosmetics desires to Europe as a foreign market, it will explore macroeconomic factors such as the stability of its currency, its level of domestic consumptions, and the exchange rates. Europe poses to be a stable market because of stable currency and strong exchange rates owing to the fact that Euro has remained stable against the dollar. This has therefore made it possible for her to possess a high domestic product that will boost sale of Beauty Cosmetic products and services (Lee 348).

The other issues that will be evaluated by Beauty Cosmetics as far as screening of Europe market is concerned would include mode of communication and the possible threats. Communication is an important component that would help Beauty Cosmetics not only to position itself, but also to find appropriate sales representatives for the right market segment ((Lee 340)). For instance, Beauty Cosmetic has to understand that besides English being used as the native language in Europe, their languages fall in four groups; Romance, Germanic, Baltic, and Slavic languages. Such procedure would help the company high and recruit its employees with communication in mind so as to segment, target, and position its products and services without communication barriers. On the other hand, possible challenges especially those that had been faced by a similar company would help Beauty Cosmetic to be prepared with appropriate strategies for addressing the challenges during its expansion into Europe (Lee 341).

Opportunities that Beauty Cosmetics is to Attain in European Market

The market opportunities that are offered in Europe are grounded on the economic, political, and socio-cultural status of Europe. Economically and politically, Europe is free trade zones and therefore would allow Beauty Cosmetic Company to easily access the markets that are vast and spread all over Europe. The free trade region principle is attributed to political good both within Europe and its neighboring countries (Doole and Lowe 104).

In addition, most countries in Europe are members of the wider European Economic Community (EEC) and the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). These bodies have the mandate of ensuring that they there is effective regulation of the international trade (Tyson and Schell 190). Beauty Cosmetic Company would benefit from the economic integration that has been created by EEC. Similarly, the bodies have not only enabled Europe to develop strong and stable currency and market base, but have also enhance large, eager pool of labor, and well developed infrastructure which would be an asset in distribution of Beauty Cosmetic Company’s products and services  (Tyson and Schell 109-1).

The other opportunity existing in Europe for Beauty Cosmetic Company is based on size, rate of growth, and the intensity of the market. Europe has a large market size because both men and women are potential consumers of beauty cosmetic products and service (Longenecker and Gale 56). In addition, the intensity of the Europe market has minimal competition because of the presence of few similar companies. Consequently, there would be limited market congestion with high potential of growth thereby making the competition healthy (Stevens 47). With such market characteristic, there is much conviction that the size, intensity, and rate of growth of Europe market offers appropriate indicators that are required for Beauty Cosmetic Company expansion into the market.

Other financial and economic issues are market factors which include the GNP, GNP per capita and GDP as at 2010 was € 16, 228.23 billion.  The state with the least and highest GNP capita in 2009 were 61% and 271% respectively. When the gross national product (GNP) is below the demands of the country, this provides an opportunity for the company to consider investing in either country in Europe. Often such conditions would possibly lead to high demand for beauty cosmetics are than the production level (Doole and Lowe 110-1). Often countries strive to satisfy the demand of the consumers and would therefore ensure that its GDP meets the consumers demand. However, Europe has so far not majored in beauty cosmetics because it is only spending 1% of its GD P in the budget thereby making it possible for the Beauty Cosmetic Company to take advantage of such state (Lee 349). This is out of the proposed € 862 billion that was supposed to be spent between 2007 and 2013.

The Europe socio-cultural factors are other aspects that will promote sales from Beauty Cosmetic Company especially on the basis that all her socio-cultural institutions and beliefs are not against the use of cosmetics. In addition, most people from Europe are aged between 15 and 35 years thereby making a larger portion of the population to be appropriate clientele for beauty cosmetic products and services. This is because the youths are known to be on the look for new products and fashions in the market; an issues that Beauty Cosmetic Company can take advantage of as it expands to Europe as a foreign market (Hisrich 68).

Challenges the Beauty Cosmetic is Likely to Encounter as it Expands into European Market

Despite the fact that there are various opportunities for Beauty Cosmetic Company in Europe, there are a number of challenges and obstacles that it will probably face during its expansion to the foreign market (Tyson and Schell 192). The first barrier is political environment in Europe which will be as a result of difference in systems of government, political instability, ideologies, and national economic priorities. Certain governments distrust foreign investors in an attempt to maintain domestic control by enacting legal barriers that would stop foreign companies from operating in such markets (Tyson and Schell 192). Under such condition, companies such as Beauty Cosmetics can only take advantage of the regions free trade zones which allow free trade and expansion of companies into new markets (Lee 349).

Legal environment is another factor that can pose serious challenge to Beauty Cosmetic as it expands in European market. These regulations would include the tariffs, quotas, documentation, and import regulation. Other regulations include various investment tax, income tax and employment laws (Doole and Lowe 118). The company will therefore have to depend on the treaties native country shall have made with Europe so as to successfully venture into the new market. For example, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a profound treaty that will allow the Beauty Cosmetic Company to be part of the international transaction of member nations and therefore eliminate the barriers associated to trading in Europe (Stevens 67).

The other issues that Beauty Cosmetic will have to contend with are linked to Europe’s economy. For instance, the level of income and expenditure patterns on beauty cosmetics is relatively low among the population in various countries in Europe as most people would prefer to spend much in health care insurance policies as opposed to cosmetics (Longenecker and Gale 62). Consequently, as Beauty Cosmetic Company takes advantage of the wide spread and high income rate among the youths, it must consider and find ways of convincing people to invest in beauty cosmetic products and services.

Beauty Cosmetic Company might also be forced to regulate its prices for health competition at the expense of maximizing profit. That is, being a new entrant into Europe, it might be forced to reduce its prices as initial introduction that is favorable with the current market price even if the products were of higher quality that those from existing companies (Stevens 67). To address the price challenge, Beauty Cosmetic Company might be forced to lease with other companies dealing in beauty cosmetics and the government to regulate its prices. However, such move might either take longer than necessary or turn to be too expensive in the long run. This is because different countries have different means and procedures of regulating prices which might not consider quality of the products and services (Hisrich 68).

Socio-cultural might also pose challenge to Beauty Cosmetic Company. For instance, some people might simply ignore the products irrespective of their quality because they are manufactured by a new or foreign company. The literacy level, general education, language, and religious affiliations of the company’s clientele would determine their take and subsequent purchase of the Beauty Cosmetic Company’s products and services especially after adverts. Similarly, the ethical consideration of beauty cosmetics in Europe has been rated as low as 20% thereby posing threat on the purchasing ability of the clients (Lee 350).

At the same time Beauty Cosmetic can choose to be mobile by introducing the beauty products that are required in the market at the moment and later on changing the strategy based on market demand. Although most of the population in Europe is literate, still majority are better speakers of their native language which will directly influence how Beauty Cosmetic Company is to be received. In fact, most people prefer and understand adverts made in native language than English. Similarly, the most countries in Europe are Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal faithful. These religious beliefs have trained their followers to shun the use of cosmetics (Tyson and Schell 193). Consequently, Beauty Cosmetic Company’s successful expansion will largely depend on its ability to advertise in native language and promote the use of descent work, success, clothing, food, and language. It must also respect the social values and religious beliefs, and cultural norms (Tyson and Schell 193).

World Political and Economic Effects on New Market Expansion Plans

Political uncertain can adversely affect the growth and expansion of a company to a foreign market. Its risk often results from political instability and unrest. These aspects can lead to lose of equipment and overall lose to the company and therefore poses challenge of not only lose of profitability, but also closure of the company. These effects influence the fiscal, monetary, trade, industrial, and labor development. Moreover, governments may find it hard to settle some diplomatic or military executions that might be a risk to foreign investors (Doole and Lowe 121-2).

Certain global economic factors such as recession often cause rise in the cost of production (Stevens 95). This is an issue the Beauty Cosmetic Company must explore so as to determine whether cost of raw material and the overall production of its products and services would commensurate prices of the finished products. In addition, recession has sometimes caused fluctuation in the dollar standing against Europe thereby causing changes or instability in the transaction rate (Stevens 95).

In conclusion, Beauty Cosmetic Company’s expansion to Europe as a foreign market is often aimed at taking its products and services within the reach of consumers. In doing so, the company would be able to maximize profit by taking advantage of the opportunities existing in the foreign market. However, various challenges are bound to occur which if not properly addressed by appropriate new market venture strategies might result into lose and closure of the company. Therefore for Beauty Cosmetic Company expand to Europe as a foreign market successfully, it must meet new markets regulations, demands, legal requirements, environmental requirement, and consider the changing market parameters.

Works Cited

Doole, Isobel and Lowe, Robin. International Marketing Strategy: Analysis, Development and Implementation. London: South Western Cengage, 2008.

Hisrich, Robert. International Entrepreneurship: Starting, Developing and Managing a Global Venture. Los Angeles: Sage, 2009.

Lee, Seongil. Computer-Human Interpretation. Berlin: Springer, cop, 2008.

Longenecker, Justin and Gale, Thomas. Small Business Management: an Entrepreurial Emphasis. Mason: Thomson/South-western, 2006.

Stevens, Robert. Market Opportunity Analysis: Text and Cases. New York: Best Business Books, 2006.

Tyson, Eric and Schell, Jim. Business Opportunity Analysis: Small Business for Dummies. Hoboken: Wiley Pub, 2008.

Sample essay: Spiderwoman Theatre

In the year 1975, Muriel Miguel, a Rappahannock/Kuna woman and a native of Brooklyn, New York, organized a radical workshop which has now evolved as one of the oldest and ongoing theatre group in all of the United States and Canada- the Spiderwoman Theatre. In retrospect, the pioneering workshop gathered Native and non-Native women in the country which also included Miguel’s sisters Gloria Miguel and Lisa Mayo in New York City’s Washington Square Methodist Church. Today, Spiderwoman Theatre continues its reputation as a successful Native feminist theatre group, spawning 35 years in strong existence. On that note, this research paper attempts to analyze on what brought Spiderwoman Theatre to the pinnacle of stage success. In the same way, it also highlights the theatre’s aboriginal and feminism origins.

In order to gain insight on how Spiderwoman Theatre has evolved and transformed into what is now seen as an unprecedented, widely acclaimed success, it is essential to include an overview of the theatre itself and its founders. The Spiderwoman Theatre Company was founded by a group that worked mostly with performers coming from a Native American background. The sisters Muriel Miguel, Gloria Miguel and Lisa Mayo grew up in Brooklyn, New, York, just like their mother and grandmother. Their father, on the other hand, was a Kuna Indian originating from the San Blas Islands off the Panama coast. Muriel tells that their father found it hard to make a living in the unfamiliar culture of Brooklyn. In effect, he turned to earning money by performing snake oil shows where the family dances for money. The sisters during their young ages felt uncomfortable with this kind of living which is why they shifted their attention to formal education (Amerinda Editors). In school, they were attracted by the inviting force of the theatre. Here, they spent their energies and talents by turning their performances into an art form rather than a spectacle for senseless amusement.

Having discussed part of the aboriginal roots of this theatre company, it is also significant how it basically emerged from its feminist roots. To regard it as coming from its own kind of feminism cause is explicably a matter of explaining how women became largely involved in the Spiderwoman Theatre. First and foremost, the most obvious one can be pointed out to the name of the theatre group itself.  The name of the company is coined from a goddess in the Hopi mythology. Spiderwoman, the Hopi goddess, taught men and women how to weave after ‘weaving’ them to life.  Initially, the theatre started as a workshop which experimented through the weaving of stories, images, music, feelings, bodies and spaces. The women actors practiced and structured the basics of their dreams and stories.

After that, they improvised in order to polish their works and act it out. At the start of the workshop, the group taught their audience about the hand games of the Native Americans. While creating her own story, one woman plays the Spiderwoman while doing the act of finger-weaving. To continue the story, another performer then wove her story into the first performer. The group continued in weaving, storytelling, dancing and acting out their structured stories in a spontaneous fashion while the improvising musicians played with bowls, rocks, gongs, flutes, a saw and other handmade instruments to accompany the “weaving act.”

In the “Women in Violence” performance, women were portrayed to have emerged from strong causes. Each of the performers in this particular act presented herself as a clown which comes from a peculiar, goddess-given trait of her own. For instance, a strong circus woman named Gloria, placed a flashlight which is hidden in between her skirt’s metallic skirts for her to be able to search for herself beyond the reflected image beneath. Lisa, an “exploiting iconic blonde beauty,” used a tight black dress painted with white lines that outlined her fundamentally female parts and long blonde curls which were held together with a huge sparkling bow. According to Muriel, the aim of this workshop answers the necessity to work with the feelings of anger and isolation, feeling about the Indian situation and movement in the current period and the women’s own violence as women and as Indians. In many ways, the “Women in Violence,” as a paradoxical depiction of women undergoing the strains of feminist aspects and cultural issues, has been instrumental in achieving the goals of the Spiderwoman Theatre’s founders and confirmed the group’s long-standing existence in the theatrical sphere.

According to Wilmeth, Spiderwoman Theatre emerged as one of the so-called feminist movement. In order to connect this theatre company to its feminism roots, it is also crucial to determine how feminist movements surface and how these movements moved to achieve their aims. Feminist theatre, as an alternative theatre movement, began in the early part of the 1970s decade. It proliferated alongside the radical political movements that time which created manifestos gathered around urban centers all throughout the country. These local and innumerable groups comprising of women performer in theatres spoke directly to the public regarding gender equality, women’s subordinate position in the dominant culture and the potential and practical solutions to those issues (255).

The theatre production is an interwoven dialogues, actions/movements and music that connect to various narrative strands which often add “slapstick comedy.” The first Spiderwoman production, “Women in Violence,” premiered in 1976 in New York with huge success, which consequently brought the group to Europe. In the year 1979, the motion picture “The Spiderwoman Theatre Group from New York” was produced during the “Lysistrata Numbah” tour of the company. During the premier of their “Lysistrata Numbah” performance in 1977, the Spiderwoman Theatre produced a satire of female gender stereotypes through a spectacle of likeable and less likeable characters. In its typical production genre, Spiderwoman Theatre serves to scrutinize the contemporary society, the history, resistance and survival of the Native Americans and most fundamentally the feminist ideals and issues portrayed in many of the theatre’s performances (React Feminism Editors).  Rebecca Schneider, assistant professor of theater and performance theatre, said that the manner of story weaving that is intrinsic to the Spiderwoman Theatre gives more than just mere delight to the audience experience of its stage plays (Cornell University Editors). These story weavings are accorded with some tiny flaws which allow each one of us to reconsider our human experiences, our roots and our view of feminism.

In any organization, one of the most defining parameters that measure success is in terms of how well does one particular organization perform in achieving its goals and mission statements. Spiderwoman Theatre states that their mission is to “present exceptional theatre performance and to offer theater training and education rooted in an urban Indigenous performance practice. We entertain and challenge our audiences and create an environment where the Indigenous, women’s and arts communities can come together to examine and discuss their cultural, social and political concerns” (Spiderwoman Theatre.org Editors).

From the very beginning, the theatre has centered on diversity as their foundation. The Miguel sisters spearheaded such collective diversity of women who come from varying races, ages, worldview and sexual orientation. This joint effort to create a team, a theatre company, is rooted from the feminist movement in the 1970s decade. Similarly, it also sprang out from cynicism with the way women were treated during the radical political movement of that time. They began to question cultural stereotypes, gender roles, economic and sexual oppression. They raised significant concerns involving issues of racism, sexism, ‘classism’ and violence in women’s lives.

The Spiderwoman Theatre was a breakthrough in terms of its storytelling and story weaving which became the basis for creating their moving theatrical pieces. With Muriel as the critical “outside eye” of the theatre company, the performers wrote, performed and portrayed personal and traditional stories. Their performances were wholly layered with text, movement, music, sound and visual images. By weaving humor with popular culture and personal accounts, coupled by their shocking styles of presentation, the theatre was able to excite the hearts and enliven the spirits of women, along with men, in their audiences not only in New York but also in the United States, Canada and in many places around the globe.

On how the Spiderwoman Theatre has imbibed aboriginal contexts and roots can be traced back particularly in the beginning of the 1980s. During that decade, many of New York’s Indigenous communities which are based nationally and internationally hailed the women of the Spiderwoman Theatre as a “powerful voice” which gives avenue for the rest of the world to hear their concerns. Because of this, the theatre company emerged as a foremost power for artists, cultural artisans and for Indigenous women. Moreover, the works of the Spiderwoman Company relatively connect the traditional art forms of cultural dance, storytelling, music and practices of the contemporary theatre of the Western world. Originating in Brooklyn, the works of this theatre group is sourced from their personal histories and experiences in being “city Indians.”  By becoming the precursor of the Indigenous theatre movement in America and Canada, the original members of the Spiderwoman Theatre have become mentors to the Indigenous writers, performers, and educators. Apart from presenting their personal works, the group is collaborating and integrating the work of these artists into the theatre company. The women of Spiderwoman Theatre are relentlessly putting their best foot forward to continue their dream of creating an artistic domain wherein indigenous forms of the culture and the arts are autonomous to become the important element of the entire environment of the arts (Spiderwoman Theatre.org Editors).

The aboriginal lineage of Spiderwoman Theatre is linked to their own sense of identity which plays sensibly in a manner of irony, illustrated by double visions and contradictions. In many of their stage plays, they humorously emphasize their lack of familiarity with the Native languages in paradox to their childhood identification and fascination with a typical white girl in the Western world. It initially gives the impression of being somewhat detached to a certain degree from their aboriginal origins, as a way to portray how the new culture has influenced the people with Native roots. Eventually though, their authentic identities are slowly unraveled in wayward manner.  Along with the inevitable humor and funny scenes injected in the theatrical pieces, the concept of Native identity is never set aside. Such practice is crucial to convey the essential message staged in every presentation. Without such stable element , the theatrical piece itself is barren and lifeless despite the humor it integrates (Diner). Thus, as Rebecca Schneider puts it: “Much of Spiderwoman’s work is related to the issue of Indianess, adroitely played in the painful space between the need to claim an authentic, native identity and their awareness of the appropriation and the historical commodification of the signs of that authenticity ” (Schneider, 161).

Of course, the concrete proof of success is also determined by citations and awards given to this theatre company. Over the years, they have been recognized and honored with various awards and distinctions. In the year 1997, as part of the Native American Women Playwrights Archive at Miami University located in Oxford, Ohio, as the founding contributors, they were given honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts for their personal works and great contributions in the theatre field. During the year 2005, the Spiderwoman Theatre received another honor as they were included a vital part of the exhibit, New Tribe, New York, in New York City’s National Museum of the American Indian by the Smithsonian Institution. Last year, the Spiderwoman Theatre was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art (Spiderwoman Theatre.org Editors, 2011).

At this point, let us look at one of the Spiderwoman Theatre piece and its portrayal and impact to either or both contexts of feminism and aboriginal roots, particularly that of a Native Indian. In Winnetou’s Snake Oil Show from Wigwam City, there is a sort of destabilization in terms of stereotype centered at the multiple differences created by the Spiderwoman Theatre itself. Spiderwoman challenges the fixity of the term “princess” when they portray such role aside from declaring a commitment to challenge the so-called ‘multipurpose’ view of feminism. Spiderwoman’s princesses portray a danger of purposely re-fitted identities (Haugo). Hence, parodies are created which intensifies the disruption of the images.

Some known authors have critically examined elemental value of the Spiderwoman Theatre, the kind of theatre which hosts feminine audience for the most parts. In his Processual Encounters of the Transformative Type, Jill Carter called the Spiderwoman Theatre a “newly mobilized feminist collective.” He also adds that the clowns created by this theatre company that aims to carry its artists an audience in the course of the stories are the “archetypes of contemporary feminine humanity. Such archetypes serve to eventually become the medium of discovery and revelation at the end of the day. By way of their involvement and assistance, both performer and the spectator are drawn in an unconventional way of revealing and confronting themselves in public through their own histories and accounts. The aggressive environments which enact violence towards women and where women play and act with their own violence are transformed into a healing avenue wherein the fundamental human responsibility, accountability, value, possibility and dignity may be recognized, reclaimed and most of all, celebrated (Carter, 264).

Apart from its reference to feminism, Carter suggests that the theatrical pieces, written and produced by the Spiderwoman Theatre, consist an additional and supplementary store to what he termed as Indigenous Knowledge. They have victoriously documented the survival and resistance of the Natives. The theatre also celebrated the “artful existence” despite of the seemingly unwelcoming society and the deceitful urban social structure of America during the last part of the twentieth century. With specificity, the mola or the multi-layered quilt used by the Spiderwoman Theatre as a signature backdrop since 1976, serves a cultural and aboriginal purpose. This particular material signifies the Miguel sister’s connection to their Kuna ancestry. Aside from that, it is also a “material representation” of the processes of drama and performance which is viewed to have originated from the artistic mola-making craft of the Kuna (271).

Furthermore, molas are the Kuna nation’s traditional textiles which come from the independent territories of Kuna Yala, or known today as the country of Panama. These molas, as large part of the Spiderwoman Theatre contain the founder’s aboriginal Kuna roots from Kuna perception, cosmology and identity.  The crucial role that the mola plays in Kuna heritage is best described in Monique Mojica’s own words that goes “It is this thickness, this multi-dimensional knowing applied from the principles of Kuna women’s art that I believe is the centre pole of my writing and following the lead of Spiderwoman Theater, it has become the heart of my theatrical form. And I want that thickness in my work.” Mojica, as an actor and playwright of the Spiderwoman Theatre, is committed to the “strengthening the continental links among the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.” (Knowles). The works embodied in the Spiderwoman Theatre is a bridge built by the contemporary artists in an attempt to share the process while they are still searching for means to tightly ground themselves in artistic forms and structures, crafted in an aboriginal way.

k.Spiderwoman Theatre has endured as their works surface from the foundations of their cultural heritage. The subjects explored by this theatre group are certainly not exclusive to the Native communities including violence towards women, domestic abuse as well as the assimilation and loss of culture.  The theatrical pieces incorporate the themes of oral tradition and native myth, in other words- a storytelling tradition- which has the realms of the contemporary life that are used to analyze the issues (Abbot, 167). Again, by using the personal histories and life experiences as the basis of their story weaving and storytelling, Spiderwoman Theatre mirrors the “tapestry of humanity and weaves a web of connections among people. Just like the Hopi goddess, Spiderwoman is ever present to give guidance and counsel by way of their work.

Works Cited

Carter, Jill. Processual Encounters of the Transformative Type from the book Troubling tricksters: Revisioning critical conversations by Linda M. Morra, Deanna Reder .Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010.

Schneider, Rebecca. The Explicit Body in Performance. New York : Routledge, 1997.

Wilmeth, Don B. The Cambridge guide to American theatre. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Web sources

Diner, Robyn. “Not-So-Exotic-Indians: Irony, Identity and Memory in Spiderwoman’s Spectacles. Thirdspace.ca. March 2002. <http://www.thirdspace.ca/journal/article/viewArticle/diner/57> 08 May 2011.

Abbot, Larry. “Spiderwoman Theatre and the Tapestry of Story.The Canadian Journal of Native Studies. 1996. <http://www2.brandonu.ca/library/cjns/16.1/abbott.pdf> 08 May 2011.

Amerinda Editors. “Professional Bio: Spiderwoman Theatre.” Amerinda.org. 2004.

<http://amerinda.org/naar/spiderwoman/spiderwoman.htm> 08 May 2011.

Cornell University Editors. “Cornell will host symposium on Native American representation.” Cornell.edu. 28 March 2002. <http://www.news.cornell.edu/Chronicle/02/3.28.02/indiansindians.html> 08 May 2011.

Haugo, Ann. “Colonial Audiences and Native Women’s Theatre: Viewing Spiderwoman Theatre’s Winnetou’s Snake Oil Show from Wigwam City.” Journals.ku.edu. 1999.

<https://journals.ku.edu/index.php/jdtc/article/download/3327/3256> 08 May 2011.

Knowles, Ric. “Monique Mojica”. The Literary Encyclopedia. 05 March 2008

<http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=12028> 09 May 2011.

Mojica, Monique. “Spiderwoman Theatre.Eastcoastnative.com 2008. <http://eastcoastnative.com/page04.html> 09 May 2011.

React Feminism Editors. “Spiderwoman Theater (USA, founded 1975).”

<http://www.reactfeminism.org/artists/spiderwomantheatre_en.html> 09 May 2011.

Spiderwoman Theatre Editors. 2011. “Mission.” Spiderwomantheater.org. 2011.

<http://www.spiderwomantheater.org/SpiderwomanAboutUs.htm> 09 May 2011.

Sample essay: Educational Psychology

1A. Cognitive and Social Development of children (ages 5 to 11)

Various scholars have tried to explain both the cognitive and social development that occurs during the human development. For instance, Erickson theory of social and cognitive development explains various stages of life that are experienced in the entire process of development. According to Weiten (2010) Erickson’s theory cites that conflict occurs at every developmental milestone of children thereby resulting into a favourable outcome. As such, one must therefore learn and resolve both the strengths and weaknesses that accompany every stage in the process of evolving self which is characterized by trust Vs mistrust (Weiten, 2010). Kaplan (2005) terms the child’s ability to cope with such stress and adversity as resilience.

Various virtues such as hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, caring, and wisdom particularly important in helping children to go through the various changes the occur in their social and cognitive self. Similarly, the success in the process of development will depend on the individual’s ability to resolve both his and her strengths and weaknesses (Haig & Rod, 2010). He stresses that the failure to solve this problems, i.e. the problem of mistrust, during the early stages of life may lead to its re-appearance in the later stages in life. The other social developmental milestones at the age of 5-11 that were identified by Erickson include self-motivation or intrinsic drive, identity versus confusion, generality versus absorption and integrity versus despair (Weiten, 2010).

Pre-occupational (2-7yrs) and concrete operational (7-12yrs) as cited by Piaget’s theory of cognitive development offers concrete developmental milestone in the life of children aged between 4 and 11 years (Weiten, 2010). This includes progress in symbolic thought and struggle with the principle of conservation as a result of flaws in preoperational thinking. The later is characterized by centration, irreversibility, and egocentrism (Weiten, 2010).  As a matter of fact, children within the age of 5 to 7 find it hard to undo something and also to comprehend that other views that are different from theirs do exist. For instance, these children would attach human qualities to other non-living things such as being curious of when an inanimate object such as an ocean would stop to rest (Weiten, 2010).

For instance, when a child watches the same volume of water that is being poured into two containers of different width, he/she would express his/her belief that the water in the two containers are not of the same volume (Weiten, 2010; Haig & Rod, 2010). This is because such child concentrates only on one aspect, the width. Such children merely act on the physical objects and can not perform various mental operations. Children at this stage are also prone to asking many questions about what happens around them based on their primitive reasoning and also concentrate on a few selected characteristics.

The next stage of concrete operational (7-11 yrs) is characterized by acquisition of internal transformations, manipulations, and reorganization of mental structures (Weiten, 2010). That is, the child begins to solve most of the mental problems experienced at the initial stage. The children also learn how to use their logics to explain the happenings around them appropriately. At this stage, the child can now concentrate on a number of characteristics, can distinguish different objects, and can also name the objects based on different aspects. Although children between the ages of 7 and 11 years have attained some level of mental operation, still they can only perform those mental activities that involve images of tangible objects and actual events. That is, the children at level of cognitive development can only solve problems that are related to the actual objects or events and not otherwise.

Two major critical components of cognitive developmental milestones are attained by children between the age of 7 and 11 years. This includes mastery of reversibility and decentration (Wieten, 2010; Haig & Rod, 2010). Decentration is the ability of the child to embrace more than one feature of an aspect or problem at ago thereby offering the child the ability to appreciate the varied means of looking at things (Kaplan, 2005). On the other hand, reversibility as cited by Piagent’s theory of cognitive development allows the children aged between 7 to 11 years to mentally undo an action.

The social development of children aged 5 to 11 years can be explained using Vygotsky theory of social development. It explores that the changes in socialization and social behaviour patterns of children as they develop in terms of their consciousness and cognition an aspect that is known as constructivism (Wieten, 2010; Haig & Rod, 2010). Most children learn as they socialize and interact with one another through plays. Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice that is on both the social level which comes first and then the individual level which comes later. The child’s first social development first occurs between the individuals (inter-psychological) and then learning through group experience. Consequently, the children at the age of 7 to 11 years tend to enjoy playing with one another from (group plays) where they internalize various social aspects (Haig & Rod, 2010). Most of children at the age of 5 to 11 years imitate what people do especially those that they consider to be their models. Similarly, they acquire satisfaction of certain innate biological needs as emphasized by Freud’s theory. Wieten, (2010) cited that in Erickson’s theory, he emphasizes the desire and quest to meet social needs one of the changes that occur in children aged between 7-11 years. This includes the need to acquire new friends and treat opposite sex differently.

From Vygotsky’s view children at the age of 7 to 11 acquire the ability to do or perform certain tasks on their own. He refers to this as zone of proximal development (ZPD) which he describes as the ability of the student to perform a task independently as compared to his ability under the guidance of others. Children at the age of 7 to 11 years also attain resilient or stress resistant status, and defy expectations. That is, the children acquire ability to adapt to any environment even one that is composed of stressors (Kaplan, 2005).

The Relevance of the Theories

At the age of 5 years, the child is expected to join kindergarten school. The child therefore begins to learn from the wider school community and thus the parent-child bond is weakened. As such, the child begins to internalise various aspects of life that begins to influence his/her understanding of the surrounding world. At the age of 6 most children, in kindergarten, have adjusted to fit into the school community where they develop new friendship networks with the fellow children as well as relation with the teachers. The child also begins to have a better understanding of how the world around her works and somehow begins to be independent.

B.  Adolescent and Adult Developmental Characteristics:

Erick Erickson theory posits that all the stages that precede the adolescent stage, human development majorly depend upon what is done to an individual. However, it is evident that when an individual reaches adolescent stage he/she begins to be independent. This is because adolescent is a stage at which an individual is neither a child nor an adult. At this stage in life the adolescent’s major concern is to find their own identity in life. The individual therefore have to struggle with both the social interactions and the moral issues. Similarly, the adolescents also face the challenge to separate themselves from the larger society. Various developmental milestones characterize this stage.

Role Confusion: Erickson’s theory of development cites that at this stage the individuals seem to withdraw from their responsibilities and any failure to solve this problem may lead to role confusion (Kotre, 1984). This is the stage at which one develops his/her individual philosophy in life. As such, adolescents tend to embrace the ideals that are conflict free rather than the reality. Despite the fact that this age group have no much experience, they constantly find it easy to replace the ideal with experience. Adolescent’s brain seeks immediate reward more often than the younger children seek and has not developed the ability of self control demonstrated by maturity as in the case of the adults (Temple University, 2011).

Most adolescents readily engage in risky behaviours. This is probably because their brains are wired biologically to engage in such behaviours. Those who are still at teenage stage are more sensitive to rewards and highly influenced by such things as opposed to children and adults. Some of the risky behaviours that the teens involve themselves into include binge drinking, smoking and careless driving. The Adolescents on the other hand are addicted to various behaviours because of the activity that takes place at the mesolimbic dopamine in their system (Temple University, 2011).

Adult hood stage: Erickson separates this stage to young, middle, and late adulthood (Haig & Rod, 2010). During the young adulthood the individual experiences either intimacy Vs solidarity. Any failure in this may lead to isolation. In addition the basic strength of the adults is founded in the level of affiliation and love. As such, the adults constantly seek one or more companions and love which may later lead them to marriage (Weiten, 2010). Erickson’s theory explains that any adult who fails to establish meaningful relationship often resort into isolation as a way of defence. However, those who succeed in their relationship look at themselves as being superior to others (Haig & Rod, 2010).

The middle adulthood: this is period occurs between the age of 35 to 65 years and may extend to above the 65 years in some individuals. This is a stage where the outcome of the ego development is expressed as either Generativity Vs self absorption or stagnation in case of failure (Weiten, 2010). These changes were postulated by Erick Erickson. Most individual at middle adulthood obtain and utilize their strength in serving the society in various productive areas. They also receive the necessary care and they want to be in charge of their families. On the other hand, the individuals have role of ensuring that culture is transferred to the family (Weiten, 2010). At a later stage, middle adults can be faced with the middle age crisis resulting from the need to redefine their roles especially as their children leave their homes to establish their families.

At late Adulthood: an individual either experiences integrity or despair based on his/her failures or achievements. This is the time when an individual looks back to see the way he/she has lived his/her life. This measure is basically meant to help the person to determine whether he/she has been able to achieve the anticipated goals o life or not. Such people find fulfilment and integrity whenever they realize that they have been able to achieve certain state. However, feelings of failure and despair develop one is not able to ascertain any fulfilment or success in life (Weiten, 2010).

2 a. Comparison and Contrast between the Behaviourists and Constructivists Stand on Child Thinking and Learning

Behaviourism and cognitive theorists are similar based on the fact that they are all focusing on explaining human behaviour (Roeckelein, 2006). The difference however is that whereas behaviourism explains human learning in terms of the overt processes, constructivists use the covert mental processes to account for the learning process. A child therefore acquires a new behaviour by linking the information in the environment to the cues that she/he already has in the mind according to cognitive theory of learning. The behavioural theorists however argue that children learn plainly through the modification of their environment by the people around them.

Learning takes place through association of environmental stimuli and certain behaviour according to behaviourists.  Roeckelein (2006) cited that a child who is punished for certain behaviour therefore begins to associate the behaviour with an aversive stimulus (punishment) and stops the behaviour according to behaviourists. The cognitive school of thought however argues that this thinking and learning takes place in the covert process in a child’s mind. The child has to relate the cues of the punishment and link it to the response that invited it. The learning process is only successful when the child is successful in connecting the behaviour with the punishment through a cognitive process (Roeckelein, 2006).

Behavioural theorists believe that learning involves alterations in the environment within which observed or desired behaviour is occurring. Therefore a child’s learning process is influenced by the consequences that a particular response brings. Positive reinforcement of a particular behaviour in a child enhances learning of the behaviour. While negative reinforcement discourages certain behaviour. According to behaviourists therefore, learning takes place through positive and negative reinforcement. However, the cognitive theorists maintain that a child is actively involved in the learning process is not passively a victim of environmental manipulation. For a child to learn a particular behaviour or response, the child must link the information that was formerly learned with the current information.

Cognitive theorists stress that a child has a mental ability to organize the learned information in the mind and reproduce it (Roeckelein, 2006). This is the function of the memory. From the already learned concepts, a child learns new concepts by relating them to initial information. A teacher could therefore use the already familiar concept of addition to help students find answers to another related simple problem. Behaviourists however, emphasize that positive reinforcement could be used to shape the way the child learns the material through shaping technique. A teacher could for example give a student a candy for the new learned exercise.

2B. Major Behavioural and Cognitive Theorists and their Major ideas

The most conspicuous figures in behaviourism include John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov, B.F Skinner, and Edward Thorndike among others. Pavlov is a significant figure in behaviourism because of his famous classical conditioning experiment. In this approach, Pavlov posited that learning is a reflexive process in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to produce a response that was evoked by another stimulus. Pavlov’s experiment gave him the title as the founder of behavioural psychology (Roeckelein, 2006).

John B. Watson was the first psychologists to come up with the name ‘behaviourism’ (Roeckelein, 2006). Watson whose psychology developed from Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiments posited that behaviour is observable and has a relationship with other observable events in the environment of an organism. Watson’s theory of behaviourism was thus focused on the effects of environmental stimuli on behaviour.

B.F Skinner is remembered for his famous ‘Skinner Box’ experiment that contributed in the development of operant conditioning as a behavioural theory. In operant conditioning, behaviour is considered caused by the consequences that it invites (Roeckelein, 2006). Aversive stimulus reduces behaviour while a pleasant stimulus promotes a response according to Skinner.

Edward Thorndike was another behaviourist who is remembered for his ‘law of effect’ illustration of operation conditioning. Roeckelein (2006) cited that he argued like Skinner that behaviour is dictated by the consequences that it evokes. A behaviour that is reinforced is thus likely to reoccur while a behaviour that is punished disappears.

Cognitive theory is associated with constructivists such as Albert Bandura and Jean Piaget. Cognitive theorists are concerned with the development of a person’s thought process. Albert Bandura is significant for his popular social cognitive theory of human behaviour. His theory that is commonly known as the social learning theory, maintains that behaviour is learnt through observation of the events in one’s social environment (Roeckelein, 2006).

Jean Piaget is popular for his theory of cognitive theory.  His theory has been widely used in explaining the stages in the development of children. This theory has been greatly influential in educational and learning approaches. He maintained that children’s thinking is not entirely smooth but rather is phased with points when the child acquires new skills and capabilities.

2C: Applications/Implications of Behavioural and Cognitive Theorist for Instruction of Young Children

Both behavioural and cognitive theories have been applied in the instruction of young children.  Piaget’s cognitive development theory has been largely applied in education of young children. Roeckelein (2006) cited that when children manifest the thinking that Piaget called concrete operational, they develop a concept of numbers. This has been used in the elementary education by elementary teachers to teach young children basic calculations. Teaching of elementary grade children is thus greatly informed by the Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.

Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory of learning has been used by teachers to train young children new behaviours. The child learns certain behaviour by observing what other people are doing. In a class a child will learn, by observing other children that it is time to sit and follow the instructor’s directive. Either the child learns how to write by watching the teacher write a letter on the reading board. When an instructor punishes a child for misconduct, the other children will avoid the same behaviour as since they witnessed the instructor punish it. Social learning has thus been applied in instruction of young children (Roeckelein, 2006).

Behaviourism has been applied mostly through conditioning of the behaviours of children. This is done mostly through the use of punishments, negative and positive reinforcements. Instructors negatively reinforce a behaviour that is not desired by subjecting the child to an aversive stimulus like being denied a candy for misconduct while others are given (Roeckelein, 2006). A child who progresses well in elementary calculations is reinforced /motivated with a candy. When children learn to associate certain learning responses with reinforcement they will repeat them. This promotes learning of new concepts. When children associate certain behaviour with punishment from the instructor, they will tend to avoid it. Therefore behaviourism and Thorndike’s law of effect are greatly applied in the instruction of young children.

3. A. Description of a Student with Motivation Issues in my Class

In this question I will give a case study of an 8 year old child; Mary who was born to black immigrant parents staying near the city of California. Mary was in her second grade in Kinsley School. She was a big bodied girl who at her age weighed 25 kilograms. From the first observation, one could easily realise that there was something unusual with the pupil.

Contrary to other pupils in her class and her peers, Mary was always in isolation and even avoided going for games. She suffered from withdrawal problems because of being stigmatised by other pupils who constantly teased her because of her weight. I learnt that contrary to her then poor performance, Mary was a very bright pupil during her kindergarten and her grade one levels. It is thus this body image that affected her performance and battered her self-image.

For one week I tried to establish observe her daily behaviour and to establish a closer relationship with her. I used this relationship to understand what Mary’s problem really was. Mary had many negative perspectives about her size. All the stories she narrated to me pointed out how at such a younger stage, Mary had known several stories of the ladies with similar body sizes who never achieved in life. According to her belief such ladies were always not well groomed and not accepted in the society.

Mary’s condition was made worse by the stereotypes about the fat ladies in her school. The problem had a great negative effect on her self esteem and determination to achieve in life. She thus needs motivation to build her self-esteem and change her perspective and attitude towards life.  This will restore her self-confidence enable her to overcome the teasing of the peers and the maltreatment from the parents. Restoration of her self-esteem and confidence will improve even her performance.

3B. Analysis of Mary based on Self Determination and Self-Efficacy Theory

Self Determination theory is based on the principle that an individual has the right, autonomy and internal locus of control over his/her own life (Brown, 2007). Mary thus needs to be motivated and encouraged to take control of her life and avoid being vulnerable to her environment. The fact that many girls with her body size have always failed should not make her seal her fate as a failure. Self determination is achieved only through support from the institutions in one’s environment (Brown, 2007). This implies that Mary has become vulnerable and isolates herself because of she lacks psychosocial support. The key people in her environment such as teachers, peers and parents should provide Mary with a supportive context for self determination. She also needs to take control over her own attitudes, regulate herself and overcome the teasing and the stereotypes. She can increase her choice, define her own self-image and enhance her self direction.

Self Efficacy Theory stresses the capability of an individual to organize and execute the actions relevant for management of prospective situations (Urdan & Pajares, 2006).  It is an individual’s belief in his ability to succeed in a certain situation. This theory is supported by Bandura’s Social cognitive theory of development where people interpretation of their experiences, there own believes and cognition enable them to evaluate themselves and adjust their behaviours accordingly. Self efficacy thus provides the basis for individual motivation and personal accomplishments in the long term (Urdan & Pajares, 2006).

Mary can therefore overcome her situation of being teased and stigmatised by boosting her image and esteem. She can succeed in life just like the other girls with medium sized bodies succeed. She should therefore overcome the challenges of being isolated and feel free to interact with other children knowing that she functional as they are. With this approach, Mary can even challenge the parents’ attitude and work hard, improve her academic performance and succeed in life. The stereotypes of failure can thus be broken when Mary pursues her goals efficaciously. Her body size is thus not a hindrance since there are others with the same sizes that are achievers because they believed in themselves.

3C. Strategies that can be Employed to help Mary using Self Determination and Self-Efficacy Theories

Self-efficacy theory strategies

Self-efficacy theory could apply the verbal persuasion strategy in dealing with Mary’s motivational needs. In this strategy, Mary can be motivated using positive verbal feedbacks especially from her teachers, peers and parents. This involves encouraging Mary that she can accomplish her goals in life. Convincing Mary that she can achieve her academic dreams and accept her body size not as a barrier to success but as ‘normal’ is good self-efficacy strategy (Urdan & Pajares, 2006).

The modelling strategy can also be used under the self-efficacy theory. In this approach, Mary can be exposed to other people who had big body sizes and still achieved their dreams in life. Exposure especially to her age mates with big bodies that are free to interact with their peers, studious and registering better grades can particularly challenge Mary to work hard and also excel in the work that she does. Exposure to peer models can particularly help Mary to increase her esteem, motivation and self-efficacy (Urdan & Pajares, 2006).

Self-determination theory strategies

The autonomy strategy can be used to boost Mary’s self image and determination in life. This means that the people around her such as the peers, teachers and even the parents should be able to build her self image and esteem (Brown, 2007).This is possible especially when her locus of control is built. The teachers and peers should encourage Mary that even with her condition; she can still perform well as other children. Either, the autonomy strategy involves encouraging Mary not to allow the peers stereotype and tease her. When Mary learns that her destiny is absolutely in her hands and not dependent on social evaluation, she will learn to be aggressive and succeed despite her size and the social labels she is already struggling with.

Intrinsic motivation strategy is based on the belief that if a person has an internal sense of personal drive the external barriers become insignificant (Brown, 2007). If Mary can change her attitude towards her body size and attitudes towards her social environment she will be able improve even her currently declined academic performance. Intrinsic motivation will push Mary to continue interacting and associating with her peers even if she does not get much extrinsic motivation from the parents, teachers and even her parents.

4. A. Nature and Importance of Developmentally Appropriate Practice for Preschool and Elementary School Child

Developmentally appropriate learning is a system that focuses on the child as a developing human being and lifelong active participant in the learning process. The child constructs meaning and knowledge through her interaction with others and the materials and items in the learning environment (Mayesky, 2009). The environment should thus be structured in such a way that both the learners and the teacher learns from one another. In this setting, the classroom should be created in such a way that the interests of the children are taken into account.

In this approach the teacher is also expected to create a learning environment where the learners can easily develop their skills, pursue their interest and practice to be independent (Nutbrown, 2011). In this system of learning, children are allowed to choose the various activities in which they would want to engage themselves. The learners should also be allowed to determine the duration for which such activities should last. The space in the learning process should also be large enough to allow for free movement of children between 5-11 years (Nutbrown, 2011).

The parents can apply the developmentally appropriate practice in enhancing optimal development of their children (Mayesky, 2009).  The parents can select child play activities that are developmentally appropriate to the growth and development of their children. Child play and learning activities should include creative exercises such as art activities. The parents should thus allow children to use arts to illustrate what is going on in their minds, express themselves in relation to their environment and interact with each other (Mayesky, 2009).

Further, the parents can be encouraged by a teacher to adopt the ‘show and tell’ approach of learning to help their children. This can serve to help children to develop communication, listening and problem solving skills. Through this parents can be able to learn what the children feel, think and capability of the children in solving their own problems. Such forums may be appropriate in enabling children to develop new ideas and concepts about life and their interactive environment.

4. B. Two Instructional Activities that is developmentally appropriate to Language-Age 8-11.

Scaffolding activities: Scaffolding for children aged between 8 and 11years involves a teacher/instructor providing contextual supports to children to find meaning. The teacher thus supports the learning process of a child through various activities such as simplified language, teacher modelling, visuals, and graphics and hands-on-learning (Nutbrown, 2011).

The teacher’s role is to facilitate learning through simplifying the language. The teacher can achieve this by shortening selections, mostly using present tense and avoiding the use of idioms. In a language class, a teacher can implement scaffolding by asking children for completion answers and not generation ones (Nutbrown, 2011). For example using a method where children are given a list of answers to choose from. Use of visual aids is particularly common in scaffolding especially for language learning. Children can also use a think aloud strategy where for example the children are encouraged by the instructor to read sentences aloud.

Front Loaded Support: This is used during the introduction of new information with front loaded support. Here the teacher offers the support to the student until he is able to perform the task independently. This process begins with the teacher performing the activity in question while the student watches, in the second step, the teacher still performs the task but with the help of the learner. In the third step the teacher now leaves the student to perform the task with his assistance (Nutbrown, 2011). In the last step of support the learner now performs the task while the teacher watches. This helps the learner to relate the new information to the older one and learn progressively. The teacher also provides security to the children. Here the teacher seeks the improvement of the understanding of the children (Nutbrown, 2011).

5. High/Scope Educational Approach for Children Aged between 3 and 8 years

There are various approaches in educating young children between this age group. One of these approaches is commonly referred to as the High/Scope as the most appropriate approach for children aged between 3 to 8 years. This approach views children as active learners and contributors to their own learning process (Munsch & Levine, 2010).  They learn best from activities they plan, execute and reflect upon. The role of the adult in this approach is therefore to plan learning activities on the basis of children’s interests, facilitate learning through encouragement and engage in adult-child interaction strategies that are positive (Munsch & Levine, 2010).

This approach is referred to as an active learning approach since it enables children to learn from personal interaction with ideas, more direct experience with physical objects, and by applying logical thinking to the learning activities and experiences (Munsch & Levine, 2010).  Adults and children are therefore partners in the learning process. In this approach, either the adults or the child can initiate the learning process.

Elements of the High/Scope Curricula

A set of teaching practices for the interaction between the adult and the children. Such practices may include adult child interaction where teachers and children are all active partners in the interaction and can also be referred to as intentional teaching (Jackman, 2012).  The learning process thus involves striking a balance between the adult instructor and the child learner (Brophy, 2010). The adult-children interaction seeks to encourage learning in specific content and to help the children resolve any kind of conflict.

Classroom arrangement, material and equipments; in this approach there is careful arrangement of both the available space and the various learning materials. The approach thus promotes active learning. This may be done through dividing the centre into several areas which are of interest to the children. Such areas may include specific areas for house, book, small toy, house, art, water and sand.

Daily routine: in this approach the children are made able to anticipate what happens next and thus have a sense of control. This is achieved through a consistent daily routine plan. Some of the key elements of this routine include time for groups, greetings, outside time and time for the review of the plans of the day.

Curriculum content: in this approach the curriculum is built for the activities initiated by both the teacher and the children. The curricula main areas of focus include the various approaches used in the learning process, the social, emotional and physical development, arts and sciences, literacy health issues and the children well-being. From these areas, 58 key indicators of development are derived from within these key areas (Merch, 2011).

Assessment: in this approach the various instruments are developed for accessing both the progress of the children and the quality of the program. The children progress is evaluated based on the Child Observation Record (COR). Another tool, program Quality Assessment is used to evaluate the quality of the program in various areas (Jackman, 2012). These include the management of the program, the qualification and the development of the staff, the involvement of the parents and the services provided for by the family, planning and assessment of the curriculum, the daily routine and the learning environment (Brophy, 2010).

The strengths of the approach: This approach therefore has defined teaching practices that enables the creation of relevant programs. In the approach, there are also tools for assessment of the learning process. It is therefore easy to measure how well the teachers involved teach and the extent to which the children learn. The approach also, through the encouragement of group times in its daily routine, allows the learners to benefit from the diverse individual experiences from one another (Brophy, 2010).

The group time here provides a good opportunity for the teacher to introduce new learning materials, concepts and activities. The approach also meets the high standard for the progress of the child and program quality. The assessment approaches that are used here cover all the aspects of areas of child development and reflect the widely accepted practices in the field. The approach can therefore be employed in a various states and among the professionals (Brophy, 2010).

There are other principles used in the Reggio Emilia approach to children learning that are also applicable to this approach. These are outlined as follows;

Community support and parental involvement: In Reggio Emilia’s Approach, it is a tradition that the larger community supports the families with young children. The children’s welfare is viewed as state’s collective responsibility. Both the infant and the pre-primary program in this approach are financially supported by the community. In Italy it is witnessed that some citizens have even registered as members in various school committees. This gives the citizen an opportunity to participate in the formulation of various educational policies (Himmelman, 1999).

This gives parents an opportunity to discuss various child development concerns and to plan curriculum. In the approach, the parents are also involved in the evaluation of the learning process. Noting that in the High/Scope approach both the learner and the adult are viewed as equal partners in the learning process, the approach therefore takes into account the contribution from the members of the larger community.

The second principle that applies to both the approaches is Concept of viewing the teacher as a learner. Both the approaches are based on the understanding that the teachers should continuously seek to enhance their understanding of the learners. The teachers in both cases play the role of an observer and seek to understand each child’s uniqueness. The teacher basically provides a favourable environment for the learning process (Kilpatrick, Barrett & Jones, 2003).

Both the two approaches also embrace the role of the environment in the education process. In the Reggio Emilia’s approach, the way in which the learning environment is organised is of much interest and is significant in enhancing the learning process.  Reggio Emilia’s approach, as with the high/scope approach maintain that the child’s learning environment facilitates the learning process of the preschoolers (Kilpatrick et al, 2003). In the approach the learning environment is referred to as the “third teacher”. The spaces therefore we planned. In all the approaches the environment is arranged in such a way that it engages anybody viewing it. The environment in both the approaches has well designated spaces for the activities which are done in groups (Brophy, 2010).

The environment in both cases is also designed in such a way that it leaves enough space for the interaction of the learners. The environment in the high/scope approach also involves proper display of the equipments and materials that facilitate the learning process. As a learner interacts with the environment, learning process becomes more practical and real to the child (Brophy, 2010).

6. Ways in which my Masters Degree Program has influenced my present Position

This Masters Degree program has been relevant and useful in many ways. The course has elevated me to a position where I now qualify as an educational psychologist having completed my training in education psychology. After completing coursework and practical training in this course, I have sharpened my skills and capabilities. This will increase my chances of securing a better employment position with the education and social development sector. I am empowered to seek employment with various research institutions including universities. I have built my ability to research in areas like learning and education, cognitive and social processes of human development psycho-educational studies.

The course has also equipped me with skills necessary to participate in various undertakings aimed towards the improvement of the education sector. Such undertakings may include the development of the curricula and the formulation and revision of existing education policies to take into account the needs of various age groups and needs by the learners; the disabled children. My understanding of the role of educational psychologists in curriculum development and management has significantly been shaped by this course.

In the learning process and training in this course, I have been well equipped with knowledge necessary in the designing of a proper learning classroom for any given age group especially the children. My understanding of the classroom management has also improved as the course has enlightened me on the various components of a learning environment. Besides, through this course I have leant the role of designing the learning environment to suite the learning needs and the stage of development of the learners.

The course has also enhanced my capacity to solve the various problems that are a hindrance to the learning process. These are such problems as low learning motivation by individuals. Designing of developmentally appropriate learning programs has been enhanced in me through the training. As such I am able to help in education program development and for learners in different stages of development. With the understanding that every individual different and every group is unique, I stand a better chance of assisting in problem solving based on proper understanding of the context of the presenting problem and challenge.

The skills and knowledge on both the learning process and cognition that I have acquired through this course put me at a better chance of integrating relevant information concerning the learning and cognition process. This can greatly enhance my ability in training parents, teachers and other key persons working with children to be effective in their approaches. I can now evaluate various assumptions in the formal education. Such assumption includes the proposition that students are always able to retain both the skills and knowledge they obtain from school. They are only passive receivers of new information in the learning process and not necessarily participative in learning environment.

The course exposed me to theories of development including the cognitive theories, behaviourism, and the social theories. The knowledge of such theories has thus enabled me to understand the difference in the behaviours exhibited by different personalities. Educational Psychology has enhanced my knowledge and skills in the leadership. This is because my understanding of the individual behaviour and behaviour modification has been enhanced.

This course has enhanced my ability to interpret research findings. The course has also equipped me for better facilitation of the teaching and learning processes. I can thus practice best teaching practices in both a class set up and at the community college level. I can also take up an advanced job related study in masters. This is because the course work has also left me better place to pursue my ambitions of further studies in human learning.

References

Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. 2nd Ed.  Alexandria: Association.

Brophy, J. E. (2010). Motivating students to learn. New York: Routledge.

Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (2000). The social life of information. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press..

Brown, L. V. (2007). Psychology of motivation. New York: Nova Science Publ.

Burns, M. (2000).  About teaching Mathematics: A K-8 Resource. 2nd Ed.  Sausalito: Math Solutions Publications.

Damon, W., Lerner, R. M., & Eisenberg, N. (2006). Handbook of child psychology: social, emotional and personality development: New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Goodyear, P., De Laat, M., & Lally, V. (2006). Using Pattern Languages to Mediate Theory-Praxis Conversations in Designs for Networked Learning. ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology, 14 (3), 211-223.

Haig, K., & Rod, P. (2010). Introduction to psychology. California: Wadsworth Publishers Company.

Jackman, H. L. (2012). Early education curriculum: a child’s connection to the world. Belmonte: Wadsworth.

Kaplan, H. B. (2005). Understanding the concept of resilience. Handbook of Resilience in Children, 1(3), 39-47.

Mayesky, M. (2009). Creative activities for young children. Clifton Park: Demar.

Munsch, J. & Levine, L. E. (2010). Child development: an active learning approach. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.

Nutbrown, C. (2011). Key concepts in early childhood education and care. London: SAGE.

Peterson, R. (1992). Life in a crowded place: making a learning community. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishers.

Roeckelein, J. E. (2006). Elsevier’s dictionary of psychological theories. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Saucier, G., & Goldberg, L. R. (2001). ‘Lexical studies of indigenous personality factors: Premises, products, and prospects’. Journal of Personality, 69, 847-880.

Schrage, M. (1990). Shared minds: The new technologies of collaboration. New York: Random House.

Temple University. (2011). Presence of peers heightens teens’ sensitivity to rewards of a risk. ScienceDaily.

Urdan, T. C. & Pajares, F. (2006). Self-efficacy and adolescents. Greenwich: Information Age Publishing.

Vernon, A. (2009). Teaching and counselling gifted and talented adolescents. Information Age Pub Inc.

Weiss, L. G., Saklofske, D. H., Prifitera, A., & Holdnack, J. A. (2006). Advanced Clinical Interpretation: Advanced Clinical Interpretation. Academic Pres

Whiteman, W. D. & Christiansen, A. (2008). Processes of Sibling Influence in Adolescence:  Individual and Family Correlates. National Council on Family Relations: 57, 24-34.

Weiten, W. (2010). Psychology: themes & variations. 8th Ed. Belmont, California: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Sample essay: Should steroid use be legalized in sports

Introduction

Instances of steroid use by sportsmen were first observed during the 1954 World weightlifting Championships. The Soviet team had first taken part in the 1952 Olympics at Helsinki and their performance was not noticed but they put up a remarkable performance in 1954 when the Soviet team dominated in most of the weightlifting categories. It turned out that the Soviet team was taking testosterone injections to enhance their performance. There have also been unsubstantiated reports that testosterone was used by the German team during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. However, in the case of the Soviet team the issue was confirmed because discarded syringes were found in the dressing rooms of team members. At the same time, it is also known that anabolic substances were used to enhance performances even during the first Olympics that were held in Greece. Athletes would ingest certain foods and herbs and it is known that they were advised to only meat for several months before sports events.

It is known that meat, which contains high content of Creatine and Vitamin B considerably enhances and improves athletes’ performance. Use of testosterone is documented as far back as 775 BC. Olympic athletes were encouraged to consume even sheep testicle that was known to be a source of testosterone. During ancient periods athletes did not participate in events to win medals or for the reason that they loved the games, but took part because they received exceptionally big financial rewards for every event that was won. This paper will examine issues relating to the chemical make up, principles of muscle building and preparation of steroids and why they are controlled substances. The adverse physical and mental risks along with drug testing and normal medical uses for anabolic steroids and growth hormones will also be examined. It is also important in this context to discuss the research efforts concerning use and abuse of steroids and the legal consequences of the same.

Main Body

In the current sports environment, professional athletes are known to have well paid contracts and because steroids have the potential to improve performances and to heal injuries, it is not surprising that research activities have been enhanced to develop better and acceptable alternatives for testosterone. The Germans had started taking steroids during the 1960s in order to improve their performance in sports. Dr. Manfred Hoeppner had recommended in his 1968 report to the East German government that athletes should be administered steroids. Consequently, in the following few decades, German athletes dominated most world sporting events across the world and took away the maximum number of medals and awards. Other documented records in this regard reveal that Thomas Hicks had ingested brandy with strychnine and cocaine when he won the marathon in the 1904 Olympics. A few decades later American athletes were found to be using nitroglycerine in order to expand their heart valves. Later, athletes started using Benzidrine, which is an amphetamine (Daniels, 2003).

However, no compound was found to be as effective and powerful as anabolic steroids, which were invented by Dr. Ziegler. Any athlete looking for extra advantages could make use of anabolic steroids in order to perform better. By ingesting anabolic steroids athletes, football players, weight lifters and body builders could train harder and for longer periods with much better results. Steroids have the ability to enhance protein synthesis and allow new muscles to develop much faster as compared to other conventional methods. The enhanced muscle power and strength of sports participants allowed them to perform better and get higher financial rewards. Under such circumstances, the race for steroids intensified and athletes across the world wanted to know of the sources from where to get such substances. Several nations entered the race to develop these substances and to develop procedures for using them. In 1968, the World Health Organization made official complaints about the excessive production of steroids and their use. Pharmaceutical firms had started offering kickbacks to doctors for prescribing anabolic steroids. The practice was largely adopted in countries such as Jamaica and Kenya whose athletes started performing exceptionally in Olympic Games.

During the same period, professional games in the US had gained popularity and athletes were able to support themselves on the basis of their performance in sports. The International Olympics Council issued a ban on anabolic substances and provisions were made for penalizing athletes for breaking the ban. In 1972, Rick de Mont, an American swimmer was caught using ephedrine, which was an approved medicine for treating asthma. Arnold Schwarzenegger was able to win the Mr. Olympic title by allegedly taking steroids. The use of steroids in Olympic Games continued for some decades and the International Olympic Committee was virtually ineffective in imposing its ban on steroids. Athletes had also found novel ways to avoid detection and were caught only when disclosure was made about them by team mates or others. Anabolic steroids had become a common feature by the 1990s and sporting professionals as well as school level sports participants had started taking steroids in large numbers (American College of Sport Medicine, 2002).

The chemical makeup and preparation of steroids can be better understood from the fact that they are lipophilic composites of low molecular weigh that are obtained from cholesterol. Steroids are produced primarily through a process whereby endocrine glands such as adrenals, ovary and testis are synthesized and then made to enter the blood stream. They impact the central nervous system and the peripheral tissues while coordinating behavioral and physiological response for the required biological objective. In spite of the comparatively simple nature of steroids, they have the potential to occur in different biological and active conditions. Such characteristics can occur because of a large number of secreted compounds through the process of synthesizing steroid tissues. Moreover, circulating tissues have the potential to get increasingly metabolized indirectly on organs such as the liver and its tissues whereby steroids get converted into active forms before they become effective in terms of their biological response (Yesalis, 2000).

It is known that testosterone is a male hormone and plays a major role in building muscles. Therefore, athletes take extra doses of testosterone, which has to be injected in the body. But it has a number of adverse side effects such as lowered levels of high density lipoprotein that is beneficial for the heart and lowers the harm accruing from low density lipoproteins. But it stimulates prostate tumors and creates clotting and liver complications. Anabolic steroids can also make users more aggressive, while cosmetic changes can occur in terms of acne, enhanced hair growth on body and baldness. Because anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that are also present in male hormones, more and more attempts are being made to produce testosterone in ways that are legally acceptable. The present status of steroids is that they need to be prescribed medically but because of activities such as smuggling and illegal distribution and synthesis in laboratories, they are mostly available quite easily and hence abused.

Testosterone can also be obtained by using pro-hormones that are converted by the body into testosterone. The first such substance was 4-androstenedione that was developed by German scientists for German athletes participating in the Olympics. But the use of anabolic steroids has become a hot topic in being actively discussed by the media and government at different levels. The media believes that steroids are an increasing problem and that its abuse is becoming quite common amongst school children also. The Journal of the American Medical Association researched in 1998 about the patterns of steroid use amongst male adolescents and it was found that 68.8 percent schools reported the use of steroids amongst their students. On an individual basis it was found that amongst the 12th grade students, almost half of them were exposed to the use of anabolic drugs. The outcome of the research was that 6.7 percent of 12th grade males in schools were using anabolic steroids. About 68 percent of the users were found to be sixteen or lesser years of age (Powers, 2005).

As per a 2005 survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of anabolic steroids amongst students had increased by more than 100 percent from 1992 to 2004. About 6 percent of the 15, 000 students that were examined consented to having tried steroids. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has held that the situation is now better and only about 4 percent of high school students tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2008. Comprehensive drug testing policies have not been actively forced upon players of baseball. The most famous stories of baseball players using steroids are of Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. The two players were suspected of using anabolic drugs during the time when the BALCO scandal was uncovered. Bonds held that he was motivated to use steroids by his trainer, who told him it was a nutrition supplement comprising of a pain relieving ointment and flax seed oil that would give him relief from the arthritis he was suffering from. Greg told the jury that he made use of a pair of untraceable steroids known as the clear and the cream, both being provided by his trainer during the tournaments held in 2003. Steroid policies became effective in football in 1987 but to have a clear picture of steroids in this sport it is first required to understand the pattern of high school practices in this regard. It appears that educational efforts in this regard have not proved to be very effective.  It is surprising that in a 2009 survey almost ten percent NFL players had consented to using banned anabolic steroids during football games. Sixteen percent of the forward players consented to the use of steroids. A player such as Shawne Merriman, who was the most powerful player in the 2005 NFL Rookie had tested positive for using steroids and was thus banned for four years (Kochakian, 2009).

Barry Bonds is believed to be one of the most powerful baseball players that played in major league baseball. He recorded the highest ever career home runs and was voted as a member of the 14 All Star games. He won the MVP award seven times and won the Gold Glove Awards eight times. He was convicted of supplying anabolic steroids to athletes although he declared himself innocent. He suffered a great deal subsequently in being indicted for perjury and obstructing justice charges. He is now free but no team is willing to engage him in view of his past record of using anabolic steroids (Council on Scientific Affairs, 1988).

Another example of steroid users is Jose Canseco who was renowned for intense power and hold in the game. He was able to get 462 home runs during the sixteen years that he played. Jose was modest enough to accede that his achievements were not because of his field performance but because he took steroids. He was the first sportsman to come out in this regard and speak the truth about the power behind his extraordinary performance. He chronicled his use of steroids in his book titled Juiced Wild Times that included the complete story about the problems he faced and what made him to get into the habit. He opened up about the problems associated with major league baseball and over the years his allegations and assertions have largely proved to be correct in terms of describing the use of steroids amongst specific players.

However, steroids are mostly used in individual performances such as weight lifting, cycling and athletics. Football has not been largely associated with steroid use or other performance enhancing drugs. The game is known to suffer more from the relationship it has with recreational drugs. A typical example in this regard is of Diego Maradona who was excessively hooked on to cocaine that ultimately forced him to retire from active playing. However, there has been considerable hype about football as a game because action is not taken against players that are involved in scandals relating to the ingestion of steroids (Pat, 2004).

Anabolic steroids are used mainly because of their ability to retain protein and to promote growth of tissues, but mostly they are abused. The benefits include the enhancement of both stamina and strength, along with the recognition and wealth that are brought with better performances. However, the risks are more and can vary from psychological transformation to infertility to cancer. Additionally, there is added risk of losing confidence in terms of the concept of fairness that goes with successful competition in sports. Such risks obviously imply that the use of steroids should not be legalized in sports and rightly, many countries and international sports organizations have banned their use. At the same time, there are determined steroid suppliers that have somehow managed to ensure that steroids are always available. They continue to remain ahead in the race despite strict testing programs and restrictions on the distribution of anabolic steroids. Such circumstances have led to a debate whether it is alright to ban steroids. But all exposures relating to the use of steroids have not led to protests by the media and sports associations. For example, the case of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is presently governor of California, aptly demonstrates that the practice is not considered to be very undesirable. The use of steroids has been widely documented in wrestling, which is evident from the popularity it gets from the ratings on television programs.

The legal position relating to the use of steroids varies in different nations. Some countries have provided for strict controls and prescriptions on steroids while in some countries they are legally permitted. Anabolic steroids in the US are presently categorized as falling under Schedule III under provisions of the Controlled Substances Act. The law provides for possession of anabolic steroids to be a punishable offense, which can be up to a year’s imprisonment. Illegal possession or distribution of steroids with the intention to sell or distribute is punishable up to ten years in prison. Canada too has strict laws in this regard and anabolic steroids and related substances comprise of controlled drugs that fall under the Fourth Schedule, implying that it is not legal to distribute or sell such substances unless proper prescription is accompanied with the request to purchase the same. But in Canada, the possession of steroids is not a punishable offense under provisions of the first, second and third schedules. Those found guilty of the offense of selling and buying anabolic steroids in Canada can be imprisoned for eighteen months. Countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Australia and Portugal also have strict laws to prevent the use of anabolic steroids. The United Kingdom has a policy whereby anabolic drugs are categorized as falling under Schedule C of the Controlled Drugs. Conversely, such substances are not illegal to possess, distribute and use in some nations such as Thailand and Mexico.

Conclusion

In view of the circumstances relating to the use of steroids and their adverse consequences on sports persons and society at large, it is felt that the use of steroids in sports should not be legalized. They should be used only in the context of treatment when prescribed by medical professionals. Using steroids enables a person to become big and strong quickly but they eventually kill. The basic reason for the use of steroids in sports is to feel good about one’s achievements and to gain financially. Using steroids is nothing less than cheating because they create an imbalance amongst opponents in sports whereby one participant gets an edge over others in terms of getting unjustified advantage. Using steroids is bad in every respect because it is unethical as well as harmful for the body in addition to creating unfair competition. Eventually, the use of steroids leaves the player or sports person with a sense of guilt as had happened with Barry Bonds and Jose Conseco. They were total wrecks in later life and could not have a sense of achievement because of their habits that they advertently got involved in. It is thus correct to say that if steroids are allowed and legalized, the very spirit of sports will be destroyed. They can be used beneficially only for medical purposes and for no other purpose.

Works Cited

American College of Sport Medicine. Position stand on the use of anabolic – androgenic steroids

in sports. Medical Science Sports Exerc, 2002.

Council on Scientific Affairs. Drug abuse in athletes, Anabolic steroids and growth hormone.

JAMA, 1988.

Daniels, R. C. The Anabolic Steroid Handbook. Richard C Daniels, 2003.

Kochakian, D. Anabolic Steroids in Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics, 2009.

Pat L. Anabolic Steroids: And Other Performance-enhancing Drugs, CRC Press, 2004.

Powers, M. Performance-Enhancing Drugs, SLACK Incorporated, 2005.

Yesalis, C. E. Anabolic Steroids in Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics Publishers, 2000.

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