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Tutor: So. Sharon and Xiao Li, in your presentation last week you were talking about the digital divide - the gap between those who can effectively use communication tools such as the Internet, and those who can't. And you compared the situation here in Northern Ireland with South-East China. Right, so I asked you to do some sell evaluation, watching the video of your presentation and thinking about the three main criteria you're assessed by - content, structure and technique. What do you think was the strongest feature of the presentation, when you watched it? Sharon?
Sharon: Well. I was surprised actually, because l felt quite nervous but when I watched the video, it didn't show as much as I expected.
Tutor: So which of the criteria would that come under?
Sharon: Er, confidence?
Tutor: That’s not actually one of the criteria as such Xiao Li?
Xiao Li: Technique? It's body language and eye contact, isn't it. Well, I didn't think I looked all that confident, but I think, that our technique was generally good like the way we designed and used the PowerPoint slides.
Tutor: Mmm. So you both feel happiest about that side of the presentation? OK, now on the negative side, what would you change if you could do it again?
Xiao Li: Well, at first I'd thought that the introduction was going to be the problem but actually I think that was OK. We defined our terms and identified key issues. It was more towards the end, the conclusion wasn't too bad but the problem was the questions, we hadn’t really expected there'd be any so we hadn't thought about them that much.
Tutor: Uhuh OK. Anything else?
Sharon: Well, like Xiao Li says, I thought the conclusion was OK, but when I watched us on the video I thought the section on solutions seemed rather weak.
Tutor: Mmm. Can you think why?
Sharon: Well, we explained what people are doing about the digital divide in China and Northern Ireland but I suppose we didn't really evaluate any of the projects or ideas, it was just a list. And that was what people were asking us about at the end mostly.
Interviewer: So how many bears can we find today and are any of them in danger of extinction?
Alison: Well I'll answer your first question first. There are eight species of bear in all; among them the American Black Bear and the Brown Bear - from which evolved the newest species of bear - the Polar Bear.
Interviewer: So how old is the Polar Bear?
Alison: Oh, he's a relative newcomer - just 20,000 years old.
Interviewer: And could you tell us a little about them? Which is the largest bear, for instance?
Alison: Well, the largest bear existing today is either the Polar Bear or the Brown Bear.
Interviewer: Right ... Don't we know?
Alison: Well, it depends which criteria you use. The Polar Bear is the heaviest; the male weighs up to 1,500 pounds but his narrow body actually makes him look smaller than the much more robust Brown Bear.
Interviewer: So the Brown Bear appears the biggest.
Interviewer: And the smallest?
Alison: Well, the Sun Bear is the smallest of the eight species. They only weigh between 60 and 145 pounds.
Interviewer: That makes him a comparative junior!
Alison: Yes. And then next we have the so-called Giant Panda ... but that's a small bear too, comparatively speaking.
Interviewer: And are all bears meat eaters?
Alison: No, not at all. In fact the Giant Panda is almost entirely herbivorous living on a diet of 30 types of bamboo.
Interviewer: Oh, yes of course. Pandas are famous for that.
Alison: And another interesting bear is the Sloth Bear which eats insects, particularly termites. He can turn his mouth into a tube and suck the insects out of their nests.
JANE It's going to be different from school, isn't it!
TIM Yeah, particularly the lectures. Have you got any special strategy for listening to lectures?
JANE Well I'm going to use a cassette recorder and record them all.
TIM What! Are you allowed to?
JANE Sure. Lots of people do it nowadays. It means you can listen to the lectures all over again later, and make really good notes.
TIM I couldn't do that. I like to take notes as I'm listening. I usually find I get all the important points. Reading is different of course. My approach is to skim the book first to see what's important and what isn't. It saves hours of time.
JANE But what if you miss something?
TIM You don't mean you're going to read every word, do you?
JANE Well, that's what I usually do.
TIM Well, that's up to you, but I think you're crazy!
JANE What's your first lecture on, anyway?
TIM Oh, it's a lecture on the French Revolution.
JANE The French Revolution! How boring!
TIM It's not boring at all! It was an amazing period of history. It changed everything in Europe. So what's your first lecture about?
JANE It's about animal behavior. It sounds really interesting.
TIM Look, I was on my way to the library. I'm going to get some of these books out and start reading for the first essay I've got to write.
JANE And what have you got to write about?
TIM Well, you'll never believe it, I think our professor must have a sense of humor. He's given us the title "Why study history?"
JANE That's a good one. When you find the answer, let me know!
TIM I'm going to enjoy writing it. Have you been given any writing assignments yet?
JANE Yes, I've got to write about animal language.
TIM Hmm! That sounds a challenge. I suppose you'll be off to the zoo to do field research.
Library Reception: and I almost forgot. The membership fee is $20, which is refundable if you no longer stay a member.
Student: There you are. Do I sign at the bottom here?
Library Reception: Yes, that’s right. You can borrow books now if you wish on though your membership card will not be ready until next week. If you borrow today, you can get your card when you return the first books. That’s if you want to take some now.
Student: I think I will. But I’ll have a look around first.
Library Reception: OK. Take your time
Professor: Right…Let’s go back to note taking and begin with the basis before the lecture has even started. What should you do when you walk into the room? Get a good seat at the front (1) if you can where are you can hear clearly and avoid distractions.
Professor: …Though obviously others would have had the same idea, so it’ll be best to come a bit early. So when the lecture’s on the way and you’re busy jotting things down. What should you try to ensure?
Student: That you’re getting all the main points?
Professor: And what if you don’t catch something? Something you know must be important.
Student: Uhm…I’ll leave a space (2) then I could check it later, perhaps by asking a question at the end and filling in it afterwards
Professor: that’s an excellent way to deal with it. Yes…And there’s something else I’d like to mention here, talking about going through notes afterwards. It’s absolutely vital what you write is legible for one particular reason: It saves time (3). You will waste many hours during the course if your revision is held up because you can’t read what you’ve written. Ok. What else can we do to make listening and note taking more efficient?
Student: well..I always listen out for signpost words(4)….uhm…
Professor: …Sorry…. What are they?
Student: They are the ones lectures use to say where they are going. A bit like the sign posts at the road junctions, I suppose. Things like “the first reason is”, “however”, “to sum up” and so on.
Professor: Yes. They can tell you when something important is coming and help you to organize your notes too.
For my website design project, I decided lo approach Supersave supermarkets, because I have an evening job at the supermarket, so I already have a slight insight into their organisational goals and workings.
The field research for my project was in two stages.
First, I had an interview with Mr Dunne, who is in charge of Supersave's customer care department. I discussed the project with him in order to identify the supermarket's requirements. Mr Dunne said customers are often unwilling to make a face-to-face complaint when they've experienced difficulties with a product, or a member of staff, or anything related to the supermarket. So he said a website which allowed members of the public to get in touch with the organisation and bring the problem to their attention in a privatemanner might be very useful, and we agreed that I’d work on this.
For the second stage of my research, I devised a questionnaire to put to Supersave customers. I needed to find out about the customers' experiences of problems, together with their attitudes towards making complaints, both directly and indirectly. I used a mixture of closed questions such as 'Have you ever experienced a problem at any Supersave store?' and open questions such as 'What would you find helpful about a customer complaint website?’
I decided to do interviews rather than rely on distribution of the questionnaire, as I felt this was likely to lead to a higher take-up rate. I visited four Supersave stores, two in the city centre and two in the outskirts and altogether I interviewed 101 respondents. Then finally, I analysed the results.
I found the results of the questionnaires to be very informative. I found that out of the total number of customers investigated, 64 percent had at some stage encountered a problem in a Supersave Store. Out of these people, the vast majority said that they hadn’t reported the problem to any member of staff they’d just kept it to themselves. The next thing I tried to find out was why they hadn't complained. Well, about 25 percent of the people I interviewed said the reason was that they couldn't be bothered, and a slightly smaller percentage said they didn't have enough time, but 55 percent said the reason was that they felt intimidated. I finally asked if they would be more likely to complain if they didn't have to do it face-to-face, and nearly everyone I asked said that they would - 95 percent, to be exact.
I then set about designing the website to meet these needs. Once l'd completed the website, I made another appointment with Mr Dunne, to find out what he thought of it.
Mr Dunne said he felt that the pages would benefit his organisation by giving customers a new way of expressing their complaints, and by making it easier to collect complaints, identify specific places where service and customer care were not as good as they should be, and act upon them accordingly. Supersave is already a highly customer-orientated organisation and he thought our website would be an excellent addition to their customer care effort.
This is all well and good but there still remains the general problem with websites, that there's a lack of access to on-line computers. Surprisingly, in my survey I found that 88 percent of those interviewed had access to the Internet, which I felt was quite high. But this access wasn't always direct for some people it was through their children and grandchildren and neighbours and so on, rather than being readily available in their own homes. This could prove to be a major drawback to the site, but it is still better to have it now to yet the edge over competitors, however slight, and ii the very near future it is expected that almost everyone will have direct access to the Internet.
Another thing to consider is that at the moment I can only base our conclusions on data gathered from a tiny fraction of the supermarket's customer base. In order to get a better idea of how the site is doing and to see how well l have met my objectives, the site will need to have been up and running for at least a few months. After this time, I’ll be possible to see whether or not people are actually using the site, and if it’s helping to make improvements to their customer service.
It would also be interesting to study the effect of the site on staff at the supermarket. Morale could be dented, as more complaints come in. Staff may feel they are being unfairly criticised and that there is no need for another way for customers to complain. But also, the site could boost morale by making staff come together to overcome the constructive criticism, and they may gain more job satisfaction by knowing that they are making a difference to the customer.
Jack: Katy, hi. Thanks for inviting me round.
Katy: Thanks for coming know you're up to your neck in finals revision, but I've got to make up my mind about next year's Geography field trip and I'd really like your advice. We've got to choose between an African trip and one in Europe. They've told us a bit about both trips in the lecture but I really can't make up my mind, and I know you did the African one last year.
Jack: That's right.
Katy: So, where exactly did you go? I mean. I know it was in Kenya, in East Africa ...
Jack: Yes, well, we were right up in the north-west of the country. It was beautiful. We stayed in a place called the Marich Pass Field Studies Centre.
Katy: Right. Dr Rowe said the accommodation was traditional African-style cottages. er. he had a special name for them ..
Jack: Bandas. Yes, they're fine. You have to share two or three people together. They're pretty basic but you have a mosquito net. They don't provide spray though so remember to take plenty with you - you'll need it. And there's no electricity in the Field Centre - you’ll have hurricane lamps instead They give a good light, it's no problem.
Katy: What about places to study? Dr Rowe said there was a library ...
Jack: Yes. but it’s quite small. There's a lecture room as well - but most of us worked out in the open air, there are plenty of places outside. And it's so beautiful - you're right in the middle of the forest clearing
Katy: I gather it's a relatively unmodernised area?
Jack: Definitely. They actually set up the centre there because it's on the boundaries of two distinct ecological zones the mountains, where the people are mainly agriculturalists, and the semi-arid plains lower down, where they're semi nomadic pastoralists.
Katy: So, how much chance did you get to meet the local people there? Did you get die chance to do interviews?
Jack: Yes though we had to use local interpreters. But that was OK. Then we did field observation, of course, looking at environmental and cultural conditions, and morphological mapping.
Katy: What's that?
Jack: Oh. Looking at the surface forms of the landscape, the slope elements and so on.
Katy: What about specific projects?
Jack: Yes. After the first two or three days, we spent most of our time on those. We could pretty well do what we wanted, although they all had to relate to issues concerned with development in some way. People did various things .. some were based on social and cultural topics, like the effect of education on the aspirations of young people, and some did more physical process-based studies, looking at things like soil erosion. My group actually looked at issues relating to water, things like sources such as rivers and wells, and quality and so on. It was a good project to work on, but, a bit frustrating - we felt we needed a lot more time really.
Katy: Right. Dr Rowe did say something about limiting project scope.
Jack: Yes, he told us that too at the beginning and I can see why now. What else ... well, we had some good trips out as part of the course. We went to a market town a place called Sigor - that was to study distribution and to look at agricultural production we went to the Wei Wei valley, that's an important agricultural region.
Katy: And what about animals? Did you have a chance to go to a national park?
Jack: Sure, we did a top on the last day, on the way back to the airport at Nairobi. But actually there was lots of wildlife at the Field Centre vervet monkeys and baboons and lizards ..
Katy: Mmm. It does sound good.
Jack: It was excellent, I‘d say. In terms of logistics it was very well run, but it was more than that I mean, it's not the sort of place I‘d ever have got to on my own, and it was a real eye-opener - it got me really interested in development issues and the way other people live. I did find it frustrating at the time that we couldn't get as far as we wanted on the project, but actually I'm going to follow it up in my dissertation, so it's given me some ideas and data for that as well.
Katy: So you'd say it was worth the extra money?
Good morning, folks, and welcome to the Information Round-up on your own local radio station. This is Larry Knowles talking to you this morning or Tuesday 25th May .. And the first term coming up is a reminder to you all out there about Canadian Clean Air Day - which is on June 6th.
In case you weren't around for the last one, this is a chance for Canadians everywhere to focus on the problems of air pollution and to actually try to do something to help reduce the problem.
How many Canadians do you think die annually because of air pollution? 2000? 3000? Well, the rate is a staggering 5000 and, it's likely to grow - unless we do something. And, it's this concern with your health that's the driving force behind the government campaign that is sponsoring Clean Air Day.
So what causes air pollution in the first place? Well, the transportation sector accounts for 27 percent of all greenhouse gases produced in Canada. It’s also the biggest source of that thick, polluted air tram traffic fumes that we call smog. And it's the tiny particles and ground-level ozone in smog that are the main causes of health problems, and even deaths, across the country. Of course, it's worse in the big cities ... but researchers have only recently realised that all you need are low levels of air pollution to seriously damage your health, so we're all at risk.
So. what can we do to fight air pollution? Well, it should be pretty obvious by now that the way we get to and from work every day can have a big impact on the air we breathe. So the easiest action you can take on Clean Air Day is to accept what we call the ‘CommuterChallenge' and get to work on foot or by cycling for a change. If you have to use your car, try 'car pooling' and share the drive, or better still, use public transit. If everyone tries this for just one day, you'll be amazed by the difference it can make to the air in our towns and cities.
But, there's more you can do to improve air quality. For example, you can plant trees. And if you don't have a garden, then you can do your bit in other ways. For instance, did you know that modern, improved wood stoves can reduce wood smoke by as much as 80-90 percent? So you can make a big difference if you upgrade the appliances you use in your home.
The government is also working hard on your behalf to clean up our air. Its priority is to reduce the emissions that cause smog and they have dear plans to get there. Last year, Canada and the United States agreed to reduce emissions on both sides of the border between the two countries and they plan to reach their targets in the next few years.
The government's also taking action to get cleaner fuels, it's already reduced the sulphur contained in gasoline, and it hopes to reach the reduction target for sulphur in diesel by next year. But the measures don't just focus on the motorist - the federal government's also working to reduce emissions from power plants and factories right across the provinces.
You can find out all about government action and all the plans for Clean Air Day events.
Woman: Hmm .. I'm interested in doing some work for the library - are you the person to speak to?
Librarian: Yes Right, well, erm, what sort of work are you interested in?
Woman: I've just come to live here in Australia I don't want a full-time job until my children have settled down, but t really need to get out of the house a bit, and l heard you need voluntary workers for various projects...
Woman: but I don't know if I have the right skills.
Librarian: Well, we do provide training
Librarian: We always include an orientation to the library, together with emergency procedures, that's fire regulations, emergency exits, first aid. So you can cope with accidents or sudden illness, things like that which are necessary for anyone who’s working with the public. Then we give specialist training for particular projects - like using our database system.
Woman: I do have quite good computer skills, in fact.
Librarian: Umm Great!
Woman: Is there any sort of dress requirement?
Librarian: Well, all staff have to wear a name badge so they can be identified if they go outside the ’staff only' areas. But apart from that there aren't many regulations - we ask you to sign in and sign outfor insurance purposes, but that's all. How about transport do you live locally?
Woman: Not too far away I'm at Porpoise Beach. My husband needs the car during the day but it's only about twenty minutes on the bus.
Librarian: In fact, we can reimburse part of your travel expenses in that case.
Woman: Oh Would that be the same if I came by car?
Librarian: No, because parking is such a problem here. One thing we are looking for though is someone who can drive a minibus.
Woman: No problem So. do the projects involve going outside the library?
Librarian: Some, yes. But not all. We’ve just finished one which involved working with photographs taken of the area 50 or 100 years ago it basically involved what we call encapsulation ..
Woman: Putting them in some sort of covers to keep them safe?
Librarian: Exactly, it’s time-consuming work, and we were very grateful to have help with it. Then, sometime next year we're hoping to begin working on an initiative involving the sorting and labelling of objects relating to local history. We'll be needing help with the cataloguing.
Woman: I'd definitely be interested. How about at present?
Librarian: Well, we have a small team who work to support those who are unable to read.
Woman: Working with the blind.
Librarian: Yes, or other groups who have reading difficulties. We provide volunteers with equipment so that they can take books home with them and read them aloud onto CDs. We're gradually building up a collection that can be lent to those who need them
Woman: Mmm. I can see it would be useful, but I'd really like to do some sort of work where I can get the chance to meet people. How about reading stories to children?
Librarian: Mmm. That's done by our regular staff. But we do have another project - it's a very long established scheme which involves helping those who are unable to have direct access to the library.
Woman: Oh. I noticed someone with a trolley of books when i was at the hospital last week. That sort of thing?
Librarian: That would have been one of ours, yes. It’s one of our most popular services - lots of people who wouldn't dream of going to the library normally, when they're at home, borrow a book when the trolley comes round the ward.
Woman: I can imagine. Yes, I'd definitely be interested in that. Right, so how do I enroll?
Librarian: Well, we do ask all volunteers to commit themselves to a regular period each week.
Woman: I could probably do five or six hours.
Librarian: Oh ... be careful not to take on too much - but we do need someone for a couple of afternoons from 2 to 4 ... so four hours altogether.
Woman: That sounds fine.
Librarian: Right, so here's the application form . .. it asks the usual questions, name and address and telephone number. You also need to fill in details of who we should get in touch with in case of any accident or problem like that, we do need to have that filled in, and there's a space for date of birth, but that’s only if you're over 75 so. we won't worry about that.
Woman: No. Oh. it asks for qualifications do I need to provide certificates?
Librarian: They're not necessary. We'll need the names of two referees not relatives or family members, obviously. What else . . signature of parent or guardian - that won't be necessary as i assume you're over 18?
Woman: Yes. What's this? it says 'civil conviction check'
Librarian: That's a document we have to provide by law for those working on projects involving children, so we’ won’t need it in your case. But you will need to sign this separate document that’s a copy of commitment, it's basically an agreement to work according to the library guidelines. So if you'd like to fill this all in - you can do it here, or take it home, whichever you prefer.
Woman: I'll take it home if that’s OK. Right, well thank you for your time ...
All over the world, there are passionate arguments going on about how educational systems can be improved And ol all the ideas for improving education, few are as simple or attractive as reducing the number of pupils per teacher. It seems like common sense but do these ideas have any theoretical basis? Today, I want to look at the situation in the USA and at some of the research that has been done here in America on the effects of reducing class sizes. In the last couple of decades or so, there has been considerable concern in the United States over educational standards here, following revelations that the country's secondary school students perform poorly relative to Asian and European students. In addition, statistics have shown that students in the nation's lower income schools in the urban areas have achievement levels far below those of middle-class and upper middle-class schools.
So would reducing class sizes solve these problems?
Well, we have to remember that it does have one obvious drawback, it’s expensive. It requires more teachers and possibly more classrooms, equipment, and so on. On the other hand, it smaller classes really do work, the eventual economic benefits could be huge. Better education would mean that workers did their jobs more efficiently, saving the country millions of dollars, it would also mean that people were better informed about their health, bringing savings m things like medical costs and days off sick.
So what reliable information do we have about the effects of reducing class sizes? There's plenty of anecdotal evidence about the effect on students' behaviour. But what reliable evidence do we have for this?
Let's have a look at three research projects that have been carried out in the USA in the last couple of decades or so. The first study I'm going to look at took place in the state of Tennessee in the late 1980s. It involved some 70 schools. In its first year about 6,400 students were involved, and by the end of the study, four years later, the total number involved had grown to 12,000. What happened was that students entering kindergarten were randomly assigned lo either small classes of 13 to 17 students or regular-size classes of 27 to 26. The students remained in whatever category they had been assigned to through the third grade, and then after that they joined a regular classroom.
After the study ended in 1989, researchers conducted dozens of analyses of the data. Researchers agree that there was significant benefit for students in attending smaller classes, and it also appears that the beneficial effect was stronger for minority students. However, there's no agreement on the implications of this we still don't know the answer to questions like how long students have to be in smaller classes to get a benefit and how big that benefit is, for example.
The second project was much larger and took place in California. Like the Tennessee study, it focused on students from kindergarten through to grade 3, but in this case, all schools throughout the state were involved. The experiment is still continuing, but results have been very inconclusive, with very little improvement noted. And the project has in fact also had several negative aspects.
It meant an increased demand for teachers in almost all California districts, so the better-paying districts got a lot of the best teachers - including a fair number that moved over from the poorer districts. And there were a lot of other problems with the project - for example, there weren't any effective procedures for evaluation. All in all, this project stands as a model of what not to do in a major research project.
A third initiative took place in the state of Wisconsin at around the same time as the California project began, and it's interesting to compare the two. The Wisconsin project was small class sizes were reduced in just 14 schools - but it was noteworthy because it targeted schools at which a significant proportion of the students were from poor families, compared with California's one-size- fits-all approach. Analysts have found that the results are very similar to the Tennessee project, with students making gains that are statistically significant and that are considerably larger than those calculated for the California initiative.
Now, I'd like to apply some of these ideas to....
Dr Blake: Come in. Ah yes. Stella is Phil there too? Good. Come on in. OK, so you’re here to discuss your research project. Have you decided what to focus on? You were thinking of something about the causes of mood changes, weren't you?
Stella: Yes, but the last time we saw you, you suggested we narrowed it down to either the effects of weather or urban environment, so we've decided to focus on the effects of weather
Dr Blake: Right. That's more manageable. So. your goal is ... Phil?
Phil: To prove the hypothesis no, to investigate the hypothesis that the weather has an effect on a person's mood.
Dr Blake: Mmm. Good And what's your thesis? Stella?
Stella: Well, our thesis is that in general, when the weather's good it has a positive effect on a person's mood and bad weather has a negative effect.
Dr Blake: Mmm Can you define your terms here - for example, what do you mean by ‘good' and 'bad'?
Phil: OK. Well, good would be sunny, warm weather and bad would be when it's cold and cloudy or raining
Dr Blake: And how would you define an effect on a person's mood? What would you be looking to find?
Phil: An effect on the way a person feels ..
Dr Blake: Mmm?
Stella: A change in the way they feel? Erm, like from feeling happy and optimistic, to sad and depressed
Dr Blake: Right. And what sort of weather variables will you be looking at?
Phil: Oh. sunshine, temperature, cloudiness, precipitation among others. It'll depend a bit what the weather’s like when we do the survey.
Dr Blake: Fine We'll talk about that in a minute. But first, what about background reading? I gave you some suggestions did you manage to read any of it ?
Stella: Yes - we read the Ross Vickers article the one comparing the groups of American Marines training in summer and winter. That's quite relevant to our study, t was interesting because the Marines who were training in the cold winter conditions tried to cheer themselves up by thinking of warm places, but it didn’t really work.
Phil: Yes, they were trying to force themselves to have a positive mental outlook but in fact it had the opposite effect, and they ended up in a very negative state of mind.
Stella: And we found some more research by someone who wasn't on the reading list you gave us - George Whitebourne. He compared people living in three countries with very different climatic conditions. Actually he looked at several things, not just the weather, but he found some people's reactions to bad weather were much worse than others and it was linked to how stressed they were generally - the weather on its own didn't have such a significant effect on mood.
Phil: And we looked at a paper by Haver.
Phil: Yeah. He broke weather up into about fifteen or sixteen categories and did qualitative and quantitative research, he found that humans respond to conditions in the weather with immediate responses, such as fear or amazement, but these responses can also be linked to associations from their earlier life, such as a particular happy or sad event.
Dr Blake: Did you have a look at Stanfield's work?
Stella: Yes. It was interesting because the type of questions he asked were similar to what we were planning to use in our survey.
Dr Blake: Yes?
Stella: He asked people how they were feeling on days with good and had weather. He found the biggest factor seemed to be the humidity moods were most negative on days with a lot of rainfall. Long periods without sunshine had some effect but nothing like as much.
Dr Blake: Mmm That could be quite a useful model for your project.
Phil: Yes. we thought so loo - although. We can't continue our survey for as long as he did - he d d his over a six- month period.
Dr Blake: Right, well, you've made quite a good start. So, where are you going from here?
Phil: Well, we’ve already made the questionnaire we're going to use for the survey - it’s quite short, just eight questions. We're aiming to survey twenty people, over a period of three months from October to December.
Stella: We can't specify the actual dates yet, because it depends on the weather - we want to do the survey on days with a range of different weather conditions. And we’ll just be working on campus, so our data will only be statistically sound for the student population here.
Dr Blake: That's OK. Have you Thought how you'll determine what will constitute each aspect of weather and how many you’re looking at?
Phil: We decided on four - the amount of sunshine, cloudiness, temperature and precipitation ... we thought we might use the Internet to get data on weather conditions on the days we do the survey but we haven't found the information we need, so we might have to measure it ourselves. We'll see.
Stella: Then we've got to analyse the results, and we’ll do that using a spreadsheet, giving numeric values to answers .... and then of course we have to present our findings to the class, and we want to make it quite an interactive session, we want to involve the class in some way in the presentation, maybe by trying to create different climatic conditions in the classroom, but we’re still thinking about it.
Dr Blake: I see. Well, that sounds as il you're on the right lines. Now, what I'd suggest that you think about...
Joanne: Hi you must be Rob Nice to meet you. So, I hear you're planning to visit Australia.
Rob: Yeah and I really wanted to talk to you because I was thinking of spending some time in Darwin and my sister told me you're from there.
Joanne: That’s right.
Rob: So tell me about it.
Joanne: Well .. where shall I start . . well, Darwin's in what they call the ’top end’ 'cause it’s right up at the northern end of Australia and it’s quite different from the rest of Australia in terms of cultural influences - in fact it’s nearer to Jakarta in Indonesia than it is lo Sydney, so you get a very strong Asian influence there. That means we get lots of tourists - people from other parts of Australia are attracted by this sort of international, cosmopolitan image. And as well as that, we've got the same laid back atmosphere you get all over Australia - probably more so if anything, because of the climate. But, what a lot of the tourists don't realise until they get there is that the city's also got a very young population .. the average age is just 29, and this makes the whole place very buzzy. Some people think that there might not be that much going on as far as an and music and dancing and so on are concerned, because it's so remote. I mean, we don't really get things like theatre and opera in the same way as-cities down in the south like Sydney, for example, because of the transport expenses. But in fact what happens is that we just do it ourselves lots of people play music, classical as well as pop, and there are things like artists groups and writers groups and dance classes - everyone does something, we don't just sit and watch other people.
Rob: You said it's very international?
Joanne: Yeah, they say there's over 70 different nationalities in Darwin. For instance, there's been a Chinese population there for over 100 years we've even got a Chinese temple. It was built way back in 1887, but erm, when a very bad storm a a cyclone in fact hit Darwin in the 1970s it was almost completely destroyed. The only parts of the temple that survived were part of the altars and the stone lions, but after the storm they reconstructed it using modern materials. . it’s still used as a religious centre today, but it's open to tourists too and it’s definitely worth going to see it. Oh and as far as getting around goes, you'll see places that advertise bicycles for hire, but I wouldn't recommend it. A lot of the year it's just so hot and humid. Some tourists think it'll be fine because there's not much in the way of hills, and the traffic's quite light compared with some places, but believe me, you're better off with, public transport it's fine, and not expensive. Or you can hire a car, but it's not really worth it.
Rob: What's the swimming like?
Joanne: Well, there are some good beaches, but the trouble is that there's this nasty creature called the box jellyfish and if it stings you, you're in bad trouble. So you have to be very careful most of the year especially in the winter months.. You can wear a lycra suit to cover your arms and legs, but I wouldn't like to risk it even so, personally. And there are the salt water crocodiles too. I mean, I don't want to put you off. there are protected swimming areas netted off where you'll be safe from jellyfish and crocs, or there are the public swimming pools, they're fine of course.
Rob: So which places would you specially recommend?
Joanne: Well, one of the most popular attractions is called 'Aquascene'. What happens is every day at high tide hundreds of fish come in from the sea - all different sorts, including some really, big deep-sea fish - and some of them will even take food from your hand. It's right in the middle of town, at the end of the Esplanade. It's not free - I think you have to pay about five dollars but it's definitely something you have to experience. Then of course Darwin has a great range of food, being such a cosmopolitan place. And if you don't have lots to spend, the best place to go is to Smith Street Mall where they have stalls selling stuff to eat, there's all sorts of different things including south-east Asian dishes, which I really like. You'd think there'd be plenty of fresh fish in Darwin as it’s on the coast, but in fact because of the climate it mostly gets frozen straight away, but you can get fresh fish in the restaurants on Culien Bay Marina - it's a nice place to go for a special meal and they have some good shops in that area too. What else, well, there's the botanic garden: it’s over a hundred years old and there's lots to see an orchid farm, rainforest, a collection of palm trees, erm. a wetlands area you can easily spend an afternoon there. That's at Fannie Bay. a couple of kilometres out to the north. Then, if you've got any energy left in the evening, the place to go is Mitchell Street that's where it all happens as far as clubs and music and things are concerned - you'll bump into lots of my friends there! Talking of friends, why don’t I give you some email addresses, I'm sure they …
Paula: Ralph, it’s Paula
Paula: You know i told you we could apply to the local council for money for our drama club .. I've got the application form here but we need to get it back to them by the end of the week. I could send it on to you you really ought to fill it in as president of the club but I don't know if it’ll get to you in time.
Ralph: Well, you're the secretary, so I expect it's OK if you fill it in.
Paula: Yeah, but I'd really like to check it together.
Ralph: Right. That's fine.
Paula: Like the first part asks for the main contact person can l put you there?
Paula: Right. So that's Ralph Pearson .. and then need your contact address, so that's 203 South Road, isn't it?
Ralph: No. 230
Paula: Sorry. I always get that wrong .. Then it's Drayton .. do you think they need a postcode?
Ralph: Better put it's DR6 SAB
Paula: Hmm mrnm. OK ... telephone number that’s 01453 586098 isn’t it?
Paula: Right Now, in the next part of the form I have to give information about our group ... so. name of group, that's easy, we're the Community Youth Theatre Group, but then I have to describe it. So, what sort of information do you think they want?
Ralph: Well, they need to know we're amateurs, not professional actors... and how many members we've got what's that at present, twenty?
Paula: Eighteen and should we put in the age range, that's 13 to 22?
Ralph: No, I don't think we need to. But we'd better put a bit about what we actually do ... something like 'members take part in drama activities’.
Paula: Activities and workshops?
Paula: Right That’s all for that section I think.
Paula: Now, the next bit is about the project itself what we're applying for funding for. So first of all They need to know how much money we want. The maximum's£500.
Ralph: l think we agreed we’d ask for £250. didn't we?
Paula: OK. There’s no point in asking for too much, we'll have less chance of getting it. Then, we need to say what the project ... erm, the activity is.
Ralph: Right so we could write something like 'to produce a short play for young children’.
Paula: Should we say it's interactive?
Ralph: Yes, good idea ...
Paula: Right . I've got that. Then we have to say what we actually need the money for...
Ralph: Isn’t that it?
Paula: No, we have to give a breakdown of details, I think.
Ralph: Well, there's the scenery
Paula: But we're making that.
Ralph: We need to buy the materials, though
Paula: OK Then there’s the costumes.
Ralph: Right. That’s going to be at least £50.
Paula: OK. And what else ... oh, I just found out we have to have insurance ... I don’t think it’ll cost much, but we need to get it organised.
Ralph: Yes ... I’d forgotten about that, and we could be breaking the law if we don’t have it. Good thing we’ve already got curtains in the hall, at least we don’t have to worry about that.
Paula: Mrhm. We'll need some money for publicity otherwise no one will know what we’re doing.
Ralph: And then a bit of money for unexpected things that come up - just put ’sundries' at the end of the list.
Paula: OK. fine Now the next thing they want lo know is if they give us the grant, how they'll be credited.
Ralph: What do they mean, credited?
Paula: I think they mean how we'll let the public know that they funded us .. they want people to know they've supported us, it looks good for them.
Ralph: Mmm. Well, we could say we'd announce it at the end of the play. We could make a speech or something.
Paula: Hmm, they might prefer to see something in writing we'll be giving the audience a programme, won't we - so we could put an acknowledgement in that?
Ralph: Yeah, that's a better idea.
Paula: OK And the last thing they want to know is if we've approached any other organisations for funding, and what the outcome was.
Ralph: Well, only National Youth Services and they said that at present funds were not available for arts projects
Paula: Right. I’ll put that and then I think that’s it. I'll get that in the post straight away I really hope we get the money.
Ralph: I think we've got a pretty good chance hope so anyway. Thanks for doing all this, Paula.
Paula: That’s OK See you soon .. Bye
When we took at theories of education and learning we see a constant shifting of views as established theories are questioned and refined or even replaced, and we can see this very clearly in the way that attitudes towards bilingualism have changed.
Let’s start with a definition of bilingualism, and for our purposes today, we can say it's the ability to communicate with the same degree of proficiency in at least two languages. Now, in practical terms this might seem like a good thing - something we'd all like to be able to do. However, early research done with children in the USA in fact suggested that being bilingual interfered in some way with learning and with the development of their mental processes, and so in those days bilingualism was regarded as something to be avoided, and parents were encouraged to bring their children up as monolingual - just speaking one language, But this research, which took place in the early part of the twentieth century is now regarded as unsound for various reasons, mainly because it didn't take into account other factors such as the children's social and economicbackgrounds
Now, in our last lecture we were looking at some of the research that's been done into the way children learn, into their cognitive development, and in fact we believe now that the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive development is actually a positive one, it turns out that cognitive skills such as problem solving, which don't seem at first glance to have anything to do with how many languages you speak, are better among bilingual children than monolingual ones.
And quite recently there's been some very interesting work done by Ellen Bialystok at York University' in Canada, she's been doing various studies on the effects of bilingualism and her findings provide some evidence that they might apply to adults as well, they’re not just restricted to children.
So how do you go about investigating something like this? Well, Dr Bialystok used groups of monolingual and bilingual subjects, aged from 30 right up to 88 for one experiment, she used a computer program which displayed either a red or a blue square on the screen. The coloured square could come up on either the left-hand or the right- hand side of the screen. If the square was blue, the subject had to press the left 'shift' key on the keyboard and if the square was red they had to press the right shift key. So they didn't have to react at all to the actual position of the square on the screen, just to the colour they saw. And she measured the subjects' reaction times by recording how long it took them to press the shift key. and how often they got it right.
What she was particularly interested in was whether it took the subject longer to react when a square lit up on one side of the screen - say the left, and the subject had to press the shift key on the right band side. She'd expected that it would take more processing time than if a square lit up on the left and the candidates had to press a left key.
This was because of a phenomenon known as the 'Simon effect', where, basically the brain gets a bit confused because of conflicting demands being made on it - in this case seeing something on the right, and having to react on the left and this causes a person's reaction times to slow down.
The results of the experiment showed that the bilingual subjects responded more quickly than the monolingual ones. That was true both when the squares were on the 'correct' side of the screen, so to speak, and - even more so - when they were not. So, bilingual people were better able to deal with the Simon effect than the monolingual ones.
So, what's the explanation for this? Well, the result of the experiment suggests that bilingual people are better at ignoring information which is irrelevant to the task in hand and just concentrating on what's important. One suggestion given by Dr Bialystok was that it might be because someone who speaks two languages can suppress the activity of parts of the brain when it isn't needed in particular, the part that processes whichever language isn’t being used at that particular time.
Well, she Then went on to investigate that with a second experiment, but again the bilingual group performed better, and what was particularly interesting, and this is I think why the experiments have received so much publicity, is that in all cases, the performance gap between monolingual and bilinguals actually increased with age - which suggests that bilingualism protects the mind against decline, so in some way the life-long experience of managing two languages may prevent some of the negative effects of aging. So that’s a very different story from the early research.
So what are the implications of this for education . .
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