Why do children go to school?

[Life ★★]

ki85ra47t

(P1) People in the USA have different ideas about what school is for. A poll found that 45 percent of people in the USA said the main goal was for students to take exams. Around a quarter of people said it was for kids to get a job. Just over 26 percent said the biggest reason for school was to teach citizenship.

(P2) A writer once said the purpose of school is, “to ask questions of the universe.” Students had different ideas about school. Elena Brankov, 15, said it was to teach creativity and share ideas. Lyndon Bailey, also 15, said school, “is just to make poor kids into robots who work and make rich people richer”.

WORDS: 116

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1609/160903-school-0.html

VOCABULARY: poll, quarter, citizenship, creativity, robots

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why do you think children go to school?
  3. Do you like to take tests? Why or why not?
  4. What is or was your favorite subject in school? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Where did the study take place?
  2. 25% of the US citizens said the main purpose of school is to get a job. (T or F)
  3. Who said going to school is, “to ask questions of the universe?
  4. Who said going to school is to share thoughts?
  5. How old is Lyndon Bailey?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • take exams (P1)
  • just over 26 percent (P1)
  • once said (P2)
  • make rich people richer (P2)

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Image source: http://downloadclipart.org/f/kids-running-in-school-clipart-449

11 Signs You Are A Person With High Aspirations

[Life ]

my-goals-and-aspirations-for-2015

Ambitions. Dreams. Plans. If these words drive and motivate you, then you definitely aspire to be successful. Being aspirational is one of the most positive qualities one can possess because it pushes you forward to become a better-equipped individual. Here are some signs that prove that you are an aspirational person.

  1. Whenever you daydream, you always imagine yourself as a famous personality who is being applauded by a large number of fans.
  2. You are so passionate about work that even your bosses and colleagues blindly trust you to finish anything that’s given to you.
  3. You get excited about learning new skills and handling new responsibilities and you hate mundane routine jobs.
  4. Your mind is always active, thinking about the next big jump in your career.
  5. You are not very patient and you like things to happen quickly, especially when it comes to your career growth.
  6. You always see the big picture. You know exactly where you want to be 5 years down the line.
  7. You always take out time to introspect about your strengths and weaknesses so that you can become better.
  8. You always aim to be one step ahead of others.
  9. Your dream goal is to be known as the best in your field.
  10. Though you might be loaded with responsibilities, you still look for a way to move ahead in your field.
  11. Your ultimate aim is to build a weighty resume with which you don’t have to go out and look for jobs. Rather, the jobs should come looking for you.

WORDS: 265

SOURCE: http://www.indiatimes.com/lifestyle/self/11-signs-you-are-a-person-with-high-aspirations-256186.html

VOCABULARY: aspirational, applauded, mundane, introspect, weighty

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you agree or disagree with the 11 signs? Why?
  3. Which of these signs do you possess? Explain why.
  4. In your opinion, do you think it’s important to have a weighty resume? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Your co-workers have full faith in you to complete your work assignments. Which sign is this one?
  2. Being ambitious means you like ordinary daily schedules. (T or F)
  3. What is the ultimate ambition of an aspirational person?
  4. Jobs will find you instead of you finding them. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Better-equipped individual (intro)
  • Large number of fans (#1)
  • blindly trust (#2)
  • Big picture (#6)
  • One step ahead of others (#8)

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Image source: by “unknown” https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/650/1*10V_DfQ66EhOOBq2kCzaDA.jpeg

Road Rage

[Life ★★★]

traffic-jams-lead-to-road-rage

(P1) Road rage is aggressive behavior by drivers on the road.  It has become so common that some psychologists say it is a mental disorder. Many things can cause road rage. Some driving experts think road rage occurs because people watch chase scenes on TV. Others watch Formula One races and want to copy their favorite driver. Road rage results in accidents, which can lead to serious injuries or the death of other road participants.

(P2) In today’s world, driving is a very stressful and risky activity. A driver must be alert at all times and not get distracted by other things, like phone calls or fellow drivers. When a motorist becomes angry they often do wrong things, which lead to aggressive behavior. Drivers tend to change lanes frequently or increase their speed to overtake another car because they are not patient enough. Others flash their lights all the time to show their impatience. Road rage also includes gestures or shouting towards other drivers, bad language or threatening others.

The most important causes of road rage are

  • bad behavior by other motorists
  • getting into traffic jams
  • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • being tired due to work or stress
  • problems with the family
  • having a bad day

(P3) Fortunately, many things can be done to avoid road rage. For one, you can try to calm down as far as possible and not become aggressive yourself towards other drivers. You can also try to get farther away from aggressive drivers. You might also think about taking your time in getting to the place you are going to. Listen to music and drive with enough rest. You might also try pulling over for a break and getting some fresh air before you continue on the road.

(P4) Scientists in Switzerland are working on software that may help combat road rage. They are testing a special camera that can be mounted on the dashboard of your car.  It recognizes your facial expressions and judges by the way you look if soft and calming music should be turned on.

WORDS: 343

SOURCE: http://www.english-online.at/society/road-rage/road-rage-aggressive-behaviour.htm

VOCABULARY: road rage, psychologists, mental disorder, lanes, overtake, flash, impatience, gestures, avoid, dashboard, judges

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why do you think drivers have road rage?
  3. Have you ever been involved in a road rage incident? If yes, explain.
  4. Is there a lot of traffic jams in your city?
  5. Have you ever seen a road rage incident? If yes, explain.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Lead to (P1)
  • Traffic jams (P2)
  • Calm down (P3)
  • Going to (P3)
  • Turned on (P4)

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Image source: by Nevermind2 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow_traffic_congestion.JPG

Cardboard boat

[Life ★]

13_800px-flickr_-_official_u-s-_navy_imagery_-_sailor_race_cardboard_boat_in_base_competition

(P1) Do you think you could build a boat completely from cardboard? Maybe you say, ”no”, but two men from England say, “of course you can!”

(P2) Over ten days, they turned 300 old boxes into a boat. They even made some life jackets and put a small outboard on the back. They made everything else from waste packaging, including the flag, which they made from bubble wrap.

(P3) They put the boat into the River Thames and all went to plan.

WORDS: 79

SOURCE: http://www.newsinlevels.com/products/cardboard-boat-level-2/

VOCABULARY: completely, cardboard, life jackets, outboard, waste packaging, bubble wrap

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why do you think these men built a cardboard boat?
  3. Can you build a cardboard boat? Why or why not?
  4. Do you think the boat will work for a long time? Why or why not
  5. Have you ever been on a boat? If yes, describe your experience. If no, would you like to go on a boat?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES: What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Over ten days (P2)
  • To plan (P3)

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Image Source: By Official Navy Page from United States of America MC2 ROADELL HICKMAN/U.S. Navy, Public domain

https://www.flickr.com/photos/56594044@N06/5373594914

 

Scandinavian Countries Do the Most for Women

[Life ★★★]

kick-off_trondheimfeb2012

(P1) According to recent studies, Scandinavian countries are doing more for women than any other country on Earth. In general, being a woman in northern Europe is better than elsewhere around the world.  In global rankings, Iceland leads the world in terms of gender equality. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark come in next.

(P2) The United States has improved its ranking, moving up from 31st place to the 19th spot, largely because President Obama has offered women more jobs in government offices. At the bottom of the list are Yemen and Pakistan, where it is least desirable to be a woman.

(P3) In Scandinavia, equality starts at an early age. Boys and girls have the same educational opportunities. There are even more women enrolled in universities than men.

(P4) In the workforce, men and women are equally respected and they get the same pay. Especially in Sweden, the government makes it easier for women to return to work after having a baby. A complex welfare system allows them to balance work and family life. All these measures have led to rising birth rates in Scandinavian countries.

(P5) Scandinavian countries have a long history in gender equality. They were the first to give women the right to vote. This has led to more women taking an active role in politics. Today Sweden, for example, has the highest ratio of females in parliament – 44%.

WORDS: 227

SOURCE: http://www.english-online.at/news-articles/living/scandinavian-countries-do-most-for-women.htm

VOCABULARY: rankings, gender equality, spot, desirable, enrolled, workforce, complex, welfare system, ratio, parliament

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why do you think the Scandinavian countries do the most for their women?
  3. Would you like to live in a Scandinavian country? Why or why not?
  4. Does your government have maternity leave programs? If yes, describe it.
  5. Does your country have a welfare system? If yes, describe it.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES: What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Even more (P3)
  • Family life (P4)
  • Right to vote (P5)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://www.ntnu.edu/womenindesignresearch

PEOPLE STILL BELIEVE GENDER STEREOTYPES

[LIFE ★]

PEOPLE STILL BELIEVE GENDER STEREOTYPES

drapers-w724

(P1) Old beliefs die hard—especially the habit of STEREOTYPING people based on GENDER. Even though a lot has changed for women over the years, a study just published in Psychology of Women Quarterly shows that many of our beliefs about gender have stayed the same.

(P2) The researchers compared survey results from 195 college students in 1983 to those from 191 people in 2014, and they looked very similar. Both men and women continue to associate men with masculine TRAITS like COMPETITIVENESS and technical professions like ENGINEERING, while many still think of women as kinder and more likely to enter CARING PROFESSIONS like NURSING. And even more people now than 30 years ago believe men are unlikely to take HOUSEHOLD and childcare responsibilities.

(P3) “The current study finds that people EXAGGERATE the extent to which men and women are different from one another,” the researchers said.

(P4) There was one positive FINDING, though: People are now more likely to expect women to be in control of their finances, and that reflects an actual increase in women’s earnings and education. And another recent study found that EXPECTATIONS for relationships have changed along with gender roles, with men caring more about brains and less about household skills.

(P5) It may take a while for our own beliefs to change, but at least we’re making progress.

WORDS: 224

SOURCE: http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/blogs/smitten/2016/03/gender-stereotypes-study

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think that men and women are very different, or not that different?
  3. Are gender stereotypes common in your country?
  4. Why would the caring professions have more women?
  5. Why don’t men help more with household work?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Caring profession

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DENMARK IS WORLD’S HAPPIEST COUNTRY

[LIFE ★★]

DENMARK IS WORLD’S HAPPIEST COUNTRY

Happy Danes

(P1) Denmark is the world’s happiest country, according to a report that urges nations to address INEQUALITY and protect the ENVIRONMENT.

(P2) The report, prepared by the SUSTAINABLE Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, showed Syria, Afghanistan, and eight sub-Saharan African countries as the 10 least happy places on earth to live.

(P3) The top 10 this year were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. Denmark was in third place last year, behind Switzerland and Iceland.

(P4) The bottom 10 were Madagascar, Tanzania, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria, and Burundi.

(P5) The United States came in at 13, the United Kingdom at 23, France at 32, and Italy at 50.

(P6) “There is a very strong message for my country, the United States, which is very rich and has gotten a lot richer over the last 50 years, but has gotten no happier,” said Professor Jeffrey Sachs, head of the SDSN and special advisor to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

(P7) When the differences between countries where people are happy and those where they are not can be measured and analyzed, “we can understand the reasons and do something about them,” said Sachs.

(P8) “The message for the United States is clear. For a society that just chases money, we are chasing the wrong things. Our SOCIAL FABRIC is DETERIORATING, social trust is deteriorating, faith in government is deteriorating,” he said.

(P9) The report, now in its fourth edition, ranks 157 countries by happiness levels using factors such as per capita GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP) and healthy years of LIFE EXPECTANCY.

(P10) It also rates freedom from CORRUPTION in government and business.

(P11) “When countries pursue economic development to the NEGLECT of social and environmental objectives, the results can be ADVERSE for human WELL-BEING, even dangerous for survival,” it said.

(P12) “Many countries in recent years have achieved economic growth at the cost of sharply rising inequality, social exclusion, and grave damage to the natural environment.”

(P13) The first report was issued in 2012 to support a U.N. meeting on happiness and well-being. Five countries – Bhutan, Ecuador, Scotland, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela – now have appointed Ministers of Happiness charged with PROMOTING happiness as a goal of public policy.

(P14) The 2016 survey showed that three countries in particular, Ireland, Iceland and Japan, were able to maintain their happiness levels despite difficulties, because of social support and SOLIDARITY.

(P15) Sachs pointed to Costa Rica, which came in 14th and ahead of many wealthier countries, as an example of a healthy, happy society although it is not an economic POWERHOUSE.

WORDS: 433

SOURCE: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2016/03/16/world/16reuters-world-happiness.html?_r=0

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. How happy is your country?
  3. In your opinion, what are the most important contributors to happiness?
  4. Is “chasing money” a strong PRIORITY for people in your country?
  5. Many people around the world think that the U.S. is the best place to live, but many people in the U.S. don’t think so. What do you think?

EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:

What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Social fabric
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Life expectancy
  • Well-being

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