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AS-level [‘ei’es levl]
Secondary modern school
Education versus training
Task 8. Read the following text.
The IDEA of SUMMERHILL
This is a story of a modern school – Summerhill. Summerhill began as an experimental school. It is no longer such: it is now a demonstration school, for it demonstrates that freedom works.
When my first wife and I began the school, we had one main idea: to make the school fit the child – instead of making the child fit the school.
Obviously, a school that makes active children sit at desks studying mostly useless subjects is a bad school. It is a good school only for those who believe in such a school, for those uncreative citizens who want docile, uncreative children who will fit into a civilization whose standard of success is money.
I had taught in ordinary schools for many years. I knew the other way well. I knew it was all wrong, It was wrong because it was based on an adult conception of what a child should be and of how a child should learn.
Well, we set out to make a school in which we should allow children freedom to be themselves. In order to do this, we had to renounce all discipline, all direction, all suggestion, all moral training, all religious instruction. We have been called brave, but it did not require courage. All it required was what we had – a complete belief in the child as a good, not an evil, being.
My view is that a child is innately wise and realistic If left to himself without adult suggestion of any kind, he will develop as far as he is capable of developing. Logically, Summerhill is a place in which people who have the innate ability and wish to be scholars will be scholars; while those who are only fit to sweep the streets will sweep the streets. But we have not produced a street cleaner so far. Nor do I write this snobbishly, for I would rather see a school produce a happy street cleaner than a neurotic scholar. What is Summerhill like?
…Well, for one thing, lessons are optional. Children can go to them or stay away from them –for years if they want to. There is a timetable – but only for the teachers
The children have classes usually according to their age, but sometimes according to their interests. We have no new methods of teaching, because we do not consider that teaching in itself matters very much. Whether a school has or has not a special method for teaching long division is of no significance, for long division is of no importance except to those who want to learn it. And the child who wants to learn long division learn it no matter how it is taught.
Summerhill is possibly the happiest school in the world. We have no truants and seldom a case of homesickness. We very rarely have fights – quarrels, of course, but seldom have I seen a stand-up fight like the ones we used to have as boys. I seldom hear a child cry, because children when free have much less hate lo express than children who are downtrodden. Hate |breeds hate, and love breeds love. Love means approving of children, and that is essential in any school. You can’t be on the side of children if you punish them and storm at them. Summerhill is a school in which the child knows that he is approved of.
The function of the child is lo live his own life – not the life that his anxious parents think he should live, nor a life according to the purpose of the educator who thinks he knows what is best. All this interference and guidance on the part of adults only produces a generation of robots.
In Summerhill everyone has equal rights. No one is allowed to walk on my grand piano, and I am not allowed to borrow a boy's cycle without his permission. At a General School Meeting, the vote of a child of six counts for as much as my vote does.
But, says the knowing one, in practice of course the voices of the grownups count. Doesn't the child of six wait to see how you vote before he raises his hand? I wish he sometimes would, for too many of my proposals are beaten. Free children are not easily influenced; the absence of fear accounts for this phenomenon. Indeed, the absence of fear is the finest thing that can happen to a child.
0 = not important at all
5 – vital
Task 9. Read the following text.
The QUALITIES of a TEACHER (by H.C. Dent)
Here I want to try to give you an answer to the question: What personal qualities are desirable in a teacher? Probably no two people would draw up exactly similar lists, but I think the following would be generally accepted.
First, the teacher's personality should be pleasantly lovely and attractive. This does not rule out people who are physically plain, or even ugly, because may have great personal charm. But it does rule out such types as the overexcited, melancholy, frigid, sarcastic, cynical, frustrated and over-bearing: I would say too, that it excludes all of dull or purely negative personality. I still stick to what I said in my earlier book: that school children probably suffer more from bores than from brutes.
Secondly, it is not merely desirable but essential for a teacher to have a genuine capacity for sympathy – in the literal meaning of that word, a capacity to tune in the minds and feelings of other people, especially, since most teachers are school teachers, to the minds and feelings of children. Closely related with this capacity to be tolerant – not, indeed of what is wrong, but of the frailty and immaturity of human nature which induces people, and again especially children to make mistakes.
Thirdly, I hold it essential for a teacher to be both intellectually and morally honest. This doesn't mean being a plaster dainty. It means that he will be aware of his intellectual strengths and limitations and will have thought about and decided upon the moral principals by which his life shall be guided. There is no contradiction in my words going on to say that a teacher should be a bit of an actor that is part of the technique of teaching, which demands that every now and then a teacher should be able to put on an act – to enliven a lesson, correct a fault, or a award praise. Children, especially young children, live in a word that is rather larger than life.
A teacher must remain mentally alert. He will not get into the profession if of low intelligence, but it is all too easy even for people of above-average intelligence to stagnate intellectually – and that means to deteriorate intellectually. A teacher must be quick to adapt himself to any situation, however improbable (they happen!) and able to improvise, if necessary at less that a moment's notice (Here I should stress that I use 'he' and 'his' throughout the book simply as a matter of convention and convenience). On the other hand, a teacher must be capable of infinite patience. This, I may say, is largely a matter of self-discipline and self-training; we are none of us born like that. He must be pretty resilient; teaching makes great demands on nervous energy. And he should be able to take in his stride the innumerable petty irritations any adult dealing with children has to endure.
Finally, I think a teacher should have the kind of mind which always wants to go on learning. Teaching is a job at which one will never be perfect; there is always something more to learn about it. There are three principal objects to study: the subject, or subjects which the teacher is teaching; the methods by which they can best be taught to the particular pupils in the classes he is teaching; and – by far the most important – the children, young people, or adults to whom they are to be taught. The two cardinal principals of British education today are that education is education of the whole person, and that it is best acquired through full and active co-operation between two persons, the teacher and the learner.
Read the text and decide the role of a teacher in up-bringing .
How do you see your role as a teacher? Are you an instructor? A guide perhaps? Is your role to facilitate your students' learning or is it to control what they learn, releasing pearls of wisdom to them one by one from your personal store? Or do you regard yourself as a manager, organising your students' time and activities? You might also see your main task as controlling the behaviour of a group of unruly people and ensuring that they do not step too far out of line. The reality for many teachers will probably be that they adopt most of these roles at some stage, either within a single lesson or within the course of the teaching year. Different situations demand different solutions and problems arise when an inappropriate solution is applied to a particular problem. For example, carefully controlled input released too slowly to a motivated and creative class will eventually lead to boredom and frustration, while over-reliance on pair and group work with a class unused to this type of activity will often lead to mayhem. Problems are often created by the expectations of the learners themselves. Students who are used to an authoritarian style of teaching in their previous learning will often find it hard to adapt to a more relaxed and open style and may even rebel against it. Common reactions are "These lessons cost a lot of money and I want to listen to the teacher not to other students because they make mistakes", "I want more grammar" (a common complaint from learners who may not in fact need more grammar but who have not been adequately persuaded about the merits of communicative activities, which may seem random and disorganized to them) and "You are the expert. You tell me what I need to learn". The latter comment can often be heard when teachers attempt to take on a more facilitative role and begin by introducing the notion of a negotiated syllabus. Learners who are used to a more communicative or task-based approach may react negatively to a teacher who adopts a more authoritarian and controlled approach. The usual complaint in this situation is that the lessons are "boring». It is clearly impossible to please all of the people all of the time and teachers who attempt to do this will probably end up with a nervous breakdown. The first step is to recognize the fact that learners have different expectations and, crucially, different learning styles. While expectations may not vary as much within a monolingual class of the same age group as they will with a multilingual class from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds, the question of different learning styles can arise with any class. In order to meet these varying needs, teachers need, above all, to be sensitive to learners and flexible in their approach. This flexibility will, in turn, have implications for the role of the teacher within a given class. Sensitivity to learners will avoid errors of judgment such as imposing a completely different teaching style on a group in the first class without any prior discussion or attempt to evaluate the needs and wishes of the learners. The teacher's role within a given class should perhaps evolve gradually, responding to both the collective and individual needs of the class, and the teacher may find herself or himself adopting different roles at different times of an individual lesson or group of lessons. If there is openness about the way the course is taught and regular discussion and feedback, there is no reason whatsoever why the teacher's rote should not be perfectly in harmony with the needs of the class, leading to motivated learners and a stress-free teacher!
Task 12. Read the following text.
^ on STUDENT BRIBES
By Charles Digges
During a university entry exam in Russian history, a young woman drew a question on the oral exam that had her totally flummoxed. Anticipating her imminent failure, the other 10 students in the exam room silently reveled in her ignorance as they watched their own chances improve.
But the student had come prepared with a secret weapon: a figure-hugging mini-dress with a zipper down the front from collar to hem line. Slowly she began to unzip her dress, and the examiner's stern gaze softened with interest. The zipper went lower. The examiner adjusted his collar for some air. Then the zipper got stuck. None of the student's desperate efforts could set it free. 'This is as low as I can go,' she said in desperation. 'Well then, said the examiner, resuming his dour demeanor, 'this is as high as I can go – a troika.' This grade won't get you into any university in Russia.
This incident supposedly happened 30 years ago. Is it true? Russian university administrators say no. They offer this story as an overblown myth, and imply that all talks of corruption in their admission processes are similarly overblown. But students interviewed at St. Petersburg State University (SPbGU), one of the country's most prestigious schools, say that if the story is not exactly fact, it certainly captures the spirit of the situation.
A series of interviews with students, professors and several high-ranking officials revealed that university admission system is fraught with corruption. According to some sources even possibly qualified students can be doomed to failure when authorities refuse to pass them because their families either don't have the right connections or cannot pay bribes. This system seems to be entrenched in a university education.
However, administration officials flatly deny that a bribe problem exists and insist that the testing process is fair. They say it's impossible to pass this or that student who paid a bribe because the exams are graded by number, not name. Nevertheless some professors at SPbGU admit that a vague system of bribes does exist. Why not? The competition is very stiff, especially for the medical, law and international relations departments where as many as 10 students are competing for one spot. 'It's a slippery question, of course. But I'm sure corruption exists. It exists just like it always has, does and will, said SPbGU professor Mira Kashcheeva.
The practice of bribe exchange is so widespread that even the Education Ministry cannot turn a blind eye to the problem. 'We receive anonymous letters all the time about this university or that teacher taking bribes, said a spokesman for the ministry. 'But since they are anonymous, the cases never make it to court because of lack of evidence.' To solve the problem of bribe taking the project of the National School-leaving Examination is being developed. They suppose the results of this exam will be more objective and students from remote parts of the country will have equal — with students living in big cities — chances to get into this or that university. Students won't have to take any entry-exams as their results of school-leaving exam will be taken into consideration. The bribe problem will disappear.
Actually the current system of getting into a Russian university is not terribly different from the 200-year-old tutor system used under the tsars. This began with finding a tutor for a hopeful student, a tutor who was well connected within the university system. The tutor did follow a rigorous program of study to prepare the student, but his real function was in arranging the bribes –
who needed them and how much they had to be.
Today, the system has diversified a bit, students say. Students still hire tutors to get up to speed for exams, but for many, the bribe work is done by a popechitel' who acts as a guardian of the student's interests within the administration. This guardian is typically a family connection or someone willing to take the risk of dispensing bribes. Prior to the entrance exams, the guardian names a price for the student's chosen department.
The size of the bribe varies according to the popularity of the department. Students studying at SPbGU say that entry bribes to get into prestigious departments range from $10,000 for the medical, law and international relations departments to $7,000 for journalism and philology.
For all the evidence of bribes, favors and corruption at university, there are those students and teachers who simply ignore – or work around – the system. They believe that rumors of bribes are blown well out of proportion and scare away qualified students I think the most important thing for students is to believe in themselves/ said Nina Shcherbak, a professor of the philological department at SPbGU. 'I've seen people take the exams once, twice or five times and finally get in. It's a question of how badly you want it.
Task 13. Read the information about different types of school in Britain. Put them in the right order: from the lowest to the highest level.
The year beginning in October in universities and establishments of further education or higher education, and September in schools (see school year), and ending in late June or early July. The year, which is usually divided into three terms, ends with important examinations, such as GCSE and A-level in schools or a first degree in a university.
The name of certain schools and colleges, in particular some private secondary schools and a number of public schools in Scotland (eg, ^ )
Advanced level. A higher level examination, usually taken at the age of 17 or 18, two years after the GCSE examination. It is the standard for entrance to university and other higher education, and to many forms of professional training.
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