Розмовні теми частина 1 - Т. М. Гужва 2003

Education (my school)

Read, translate and render in brief.

Text 14-1

British Education Made Simple

Over the next few issues, Nick Mclver will explain some of the major institutions of British society. The first of this series of articles

deals with education in Britain. The British education system is confusing to natives — to the outsider it looks almost impossible to understand! Read this and complete the exercise at the end, and hopefully all will become clearer...

What are the main types of schools in England and Wales?

There are many different types of schools in Britain. There are, however, only three main systems:

The comprehensive system. More than 90% of children who go to state schools in England and Wales go to schools in the comprehensive system — a system introduced in the 1960s. Children go to a primary (or first) school at the age of five. Depending on the policy of the Local Education Authority, they may go directly to the upper school — usually called the comprehensive school — at the age of 11. Alternatively, they may go to a middle school for three or four years before going to the upper school. The comprehensive system is nonselective. This means that all children go from one school to another without taking any exams, and without being selected according to their abilities.

The selective system. In some areas of Britain, you can still find a different, and older, system of education (introduced in 1944). This is a selective system — children are selected for certain schools according to their ability. All children go to a primary school until the age of 11. They then take an examination called the 11-plus. Those who are successful go to a grammar school, where they receive a more academic education. Those who fail the exam go to a secondary Modem school, where they receive an education which is less academic, and more intended to train them for a job when they leave at the age of 16.

The private (independent) system. About 7% of children go to private schools. There are three levels of private school — primary schools (age four to eight) and preparatory (prep) schools (eight to 13). At the age of 13, children take an examination. If they pass, they go on to public school, where they usually remain until they are 18. Many prep and most public schools are boarding schools — the children live at the school during the school terms. Be careful — although these schools are called «public,» they are, in fact, private, and it can be very expensive to send your child to such a school.

Within the three systems, there are several varieties of schools. For instance, you can find:

— schools for boys only;

— schools for girls only;

— mixed schools — for boys and girls:

— voluntary schools — often with a religious background — such as Roman Catholic schools.

You can see that the British education system is rather confusing. This chart will help you: follow the arrows to see the possibilities which are open to a British child up to the age of 16.

Examinations. The public examinations taken by British schoolchildren are GCSEs (the General Certificate of Secondary Education). Pupils usually take their GCSEs at the age of 16. Some children take three or four; others take as many as ten or eleven.


Pupils who have passed their GCSEs may remain at school for another two years and take their «A» (Advanced) level exams. All grammar and most comprehensive schools have a sixth form, where pupils study for their «A» levels. Any student who wants to go to university needs to pass at least two or three «A» levels.

(from magazine «England»)

See how well you have understood the British education system. Here are two young British people with different educational experiences. Fill in the missing words to complete the story of their lives at school. Use the information on the preceding pages to help you.

My name’s Maggie Turnbull, and I’m seventeen. I first went to _____ (I) school when I was _____ (2) years old.

I left there at the age of nine, and went on to a _____ (3) school, and then to a comprehensive. I took ten _____ (4) and now I'm in the _____ (5) form studying maths, chemistry and physics for my _____ (6) exams.

I’m Philip Powell. I’m seventeen, and I work in a factory. After _____ (7) school I failed my _____ (8) exam and went to a ____ (9) school. I passed four _____ (10) and left school when I was _____ (11).

according to their abilities — по их способностям • за їх здібностями

to intend to do smtb. — намереваться сделать ч.-л. • мати намір зробити що-небудь

level — уровень • рівень

mixed school — смешанная школа (для мальчиков и девочек) • змішана школа (для хлопчиків і дівчинок)

Text 14-2

Education in the USA

Americans believe that every citizen has both the right and the obligation to become educated. The citizens of a democracy need to be educated so that they can take part in affairs of government, both local and national. They must also learn vocational skills.

In order to develop an educated population, all states have compulsory school attendance laws. These laws vary somewhat from one state to another, but generally they require that formal schooling begin by age 6 and continue until at least age 16. However, most Americans attend school at least until high school graduation, when they are 17 or 18 years old. About 75% of all American adults and about 85% of younger American adults are high school graduates.

The size of the nation’s basic educational enterprise is astonishing. From kindergarten through high school, about 46 million students are enrolled in school. To educate this vast number of students, Americans employ about 2.7 million teachers, by far the largest professional group in the country.

Public and Private Schools

About 88% of American children receive their elementary and high school education in the nation’s public schools. These schools have the following important characteristics in common:

a) They are supported by taxes and, therefore, do not charge tuition.

b) In general, they are neighbourhood schools, open to all students who live within the district.

c) They are co-educational, which means that boys and girls attend the same schools and have nearly all of their classes together. By providing girls with equal educational opportunity, American public schools have helped to create today’s self-sufficient American woman.

d) Public schools are required to follow some state guidelines regarding, for example, curriculum and teacher qualifications. But, in most matters, schools are locally controlled. Each school district is run by an elected Board of Education and the school administrators that Board hires. This system creates strong ties between the district’s schools and its community.

e) Public schools are non-sectarian (secular), which means that they are free from the influence of any religion. As a result, children of many different religions feel comfortable attending the public schools, and the public school system has been able to help a diverse population build a common culture.

Private schools can be divided into two categories: parochial (supported by a particular religious group) and secular (non-religious). Private schools charge tuition and are not under direct public control, although many states set educational standards for them. In order to attend a private school, a student must apply and be accepted. Parochial schools make up the largest group of private schools, and most of these are operated by the Roman Catholic Church. Private secular schools are mainly high schools and colleges.

Course Content and Teaching Methods

In educating students for adult work and adult life, American schools try, above all, to be practical. American education has been greatly influenced by the writings of a famous 20th-century philosopher named John Dewey. Dewey believed that the only worthwhile knowledge was knowledge that could be used. He convinced educators that it was pointless to make students memorize useless facts that they would quickly forget. Rather, schools should teach thinking processes and skills that affect how people live and work.

Dewey also influenced teaching techniques. Education must be meaningful, and children learn best by doing — these are the basic ideas of progressive education. Thus, science is taught largely through student experimentation; the study of music involves making music; democratic principles are put into practice in the student council; group projects encourage creativity, individual initiative, leadership, and teamwork.

What do American schools see as their educational responsibility to students? The scope is very broad indeed. Today’s schools teach skills and information once left for the parents to teach at home. For example, it is common for the public school curriculum to include a campaign against smoking and drug abuse, a course in driver's education, cooking and sewing classes, consumer education, and sex education. Most American Grammar schools have also added computer skills to their curriculum. As human knowledge has expanded and life has become increasingly complex, the schools have had to go far beyond the original three R’s («reading, writing, and arithmetic») that they were created to teach.

American high schools have a dual commitment: (a) to offer a general college preparatory programme for those who are interested in higher education; and (b) to provide opportunities for vocational training for students who plan to enter the work force immediately after high school graduation. For the college-bound, high schools offer advanced classes in maths, sciences, social sciences, English, and foreign languages. They also have Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which enable good students to earn college credit white still in high school. But in the same building, other students take vocational courses such as shorthand and mechanical drawing, and some participate in work/study programs which enable them to get high school credit for on-the-job training in various occupations.

Today, more than ever before, American schools are committed to helping foreign-born students adjust to life in an American classroom. The Bilingual Education is offered in about 70 languages including Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and several American Indian languages. Of course, this type of instruction is available only where a number of students speak the same foreign language. In addition, immigrant students have benefited from the 1974 Supreme Court ruling requiring public schools to provide special programmes for students who speak little or no English. Today, English as a second language instruction is common in American elementary and high schools.

Early Childhood Education

By the age of five, about 87% of American children are attending school, most of them in pre-academic classes called kindergarten. However, many American youngsters are introduced to their first school setting even before the age of five, through nursery school or day care attendance. In fact, about 29% of three-year-olds and 49% of four-year-olds are enrolled in one or the other.

The typical nursery school is equipped with toys, building blocks, book puzzles, art supplies, and an outdoor playground. These preschool programmes usually charge tuition, although some are subsidized, and some offer scholarships. Day care programmes are similar facilities that off all-day care for the children of working parents.

Elementary School and High School

In most areas, free public education begins with kindergarten classes for five-year-olds. These are usually half-day classes two or three hours long, although some communities run all-day kindergarten programmes. The primary purpose of kindergarten is socialization but the young students also gain in formation and skills. For example, they learn to identify colours, count to ten, print their names, work with art supplies, listen to stories, and enjoy books. After kindergarten American children begin their academic studies. Their schooling is divided into 12 academic levels called grades. One school year (from late August or early September to mid-June) is required to complete each grade. Academic work — learning to read, write, and do arithmetic — begins when children enter 1st grade, at about age of six.

The first academic institution that a student attends is called «elementary school»or «grammar school». In some school systems, elementary school includes kindergarten through 8th grade, and the next years (taught in a different school building) are called «high school» in other school systems, there is a third division called «junior high school" (or «middle school") which usually includes grades 6 through 8, but in some communities it includes grades 4 or 5 through 8 and in others — grades 7 through 9.

The typical school day is about seven hours long and ends at 3 p.m. Classes are in session Monday through Friday. Traditional vacation periods include a two-week winter vacation (including the Christmas and New Year’s holidays), a one-week spring vacation (often coinciding with Easter), and a two-month summer vacation. In addition, there are several one-day holidays giving students a day off to celebrate.

Children going to public elementary schools usually attend school in their neighbourhood. In big cities, many children live close enough to walk to and from school and come home for lunch. However most elementary schools provide a place where students can eat if it’s in convenient for them to go home at lunchtime. American high schools are larger than elementary schools and serve a larger community. As a result, most high school students take public transportation or a school bus to and from school and eat lunch in the school cafeteria.

Grammar schools teach language arts (reading, writing, spelling, and penmanship), social studies (stressing history and geography), mathematics (up to and sometimes including algebra), science, physical education, and health. In addition, elementary school programs often include music, art, and home economics.

High school subjects are more specialized. English classes emphasize writing, grammar, and literature. Social studies are split into separate courses such as American history, European history, and psychology. Year-long courses in algebra and geometry are followed by more advanced math work in trigonometry and pre-calculus. There are also specialized science courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. Many high school students study a foreign language, usually Spanish, French, or German. Courses in music, art, home economics, and consumer education are also available, along with various vocational courses. As in elementary school, health and physical education classes are generally required.

During the elementary school years, students are grouped into classes, and each group stays together for the entire school day and the entire school year. Generally, the class has the same teacher for most subjects, although art, music, and physical education are usually taught by teachers who specialize in these areas. Also, in the upper elementary grades, students in some school systems have different teachers (but the same classmates) for their major academic subjects.

In high school, students move from one classroom to another and study each subject with a different teacher and a different group of classmates. Many high schools have what is commonly called a tracking system, which groups students according to academic ability and motivation. Thus, more capable and hard-working students take more difficult courses. Depending on the subject, classes may be offered at two, three, or even four different ability levels.

High school students have a very busy day. Many take five or six academic subjects as well as physical education. During other periods, students may be doing homework in a study hall, researching in the school library, or participating in activities such as the school orchestra, student government, school newspaper, or math club. Many extracurricular activities also meet after the school day ends. Students involved in time-consuming activities such as athletics, dramatics, or music may be at school from very early in the morning until dinner

time. They help students find friends with similar interests, develop their talents, gain greater self-confidence, and sometimes even discover their career goals.

Problems and Solutions

When an immigrant family moves to the USA, one of the first questions that parents ask is, «Will my children get a good education here?» The answer depends on two major factors: where the children attend school and how hard they are willing to work.

In some schools where the community is stable, the funding is good, and the school environment is orderly, a hardworking student can get an excellent education. But in other schools — especially those in poor neighbourhoods in the nation’s large cities — it is very difficult to become educated. The flight of middle-class families to the suburbs left big city public schools with mostly lower-income students. Many are deprived children from impoverished homes with only one parent. Many come to school ill-prepared and poorly motivated to leant. A large number need help in learning English. Many change residences and schools often, and a changing classroom population is difficult to teach. In some poor neighbourhoods, students do not attend school regularly because they are frightened by violent gangs. In some classrooms, teachers have difficulty keeping the students’ attention because disrespectful, uncooperative students disturb the class. Because the quality of education varies so much from one school district to another, parents who are planning to move to a new neighbourhood often inquire about the schools — and even visit them — before deciding which community to move to.

Researchers are always studying the schools and evaluating the kind of education being provided. Experts ask: «Are today’s students learning as much as their older siblings or their parents did? Are they learning as much as students in other countries?» In the 1980s, many studies revealed weaknesses in the American educational system. For example, of the 158 members of the United Nations, the USA ranked 49th in its level of literacy. It has been claimed that as many as 25 million American adults cannot read the front page of a newspaper. Another study focused on students’ knowledge of history and literature. The results were published in a book entitled «What do Our 17-Year-Olds Know?,» and the answer was «not much». For example, 75% of American high school seniors did not know when Abraham Lincoln was President, and 80% could not identify Dickens, Dostoyevsky, and Ibsen as famous authors. In a 1988 study comparing students’ knowledge of geography, American young adults came in last of nine countries. In fact, 18% of the American students couldn’t even find the USA on a world map! Still other studies indicate that today’s students are weak in mathematical problem-solving and writing skills.

What’s wrong with American education? To find the answer and to fix the problem, one must look at all of the elements: the students themselves, their parents, their teachers, the school curriculum, the textbooks, and the community. Many students simply do not study enough. (Two-thirds of high school seniors do an hour or less of homework per night.) American teenagers are often distracted by parttime jobs, sports and other school activities, TV, and socializing. Some do not keep up with their schoolwork because of emotional problems, use of illegal drugs, or simply lack of motivation. Clearly, if Americans are to become better educated, students must spend more time studying, and parents must insist that they do so.

In the 1980s, criticism of American education stimulated a reform movement. As a result, 45 of the 50 states raised high-school graduation requirements. One government study recommended a longer school year. (Now, the average American student attends school about 180 days a year, compared to 210 for a Japanese student.) Efforts have also been underway to increase parental involvement in schools and to improve teaching. College programmes that educate teachers are trying to encourage more academically talented students to choose teaching as a career. Schools of education are also improving their curriculum so that American teachers of the future will be better prepared. School administrators are working on curriculum revisions. Publishers are being urged to create textbooks that are more challenging, interesting, and objective. Finally, concerned citizens are urging communities and the federal government to provide more tax dollars for education.

What can one say about basic education in the USA today? It has many strengths, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. Since the school reform movement began, test scores have risen somewhat, and Americans are optimistic that reform and improvement will continue. Americans deeply believe in education as the best vehicle for individual and social advancement. Improving the basic school system is one of the nation’s top priorities. But meanwhile, it is a consolation to remember that, for most young Americans, formal education does not end with high school graduation.

(from Ethel Tiersay, Martin Tiersay «The USA Customs and Institutions»)

skill — умение, мастерство • вміння, майстерність

kindergarten — детский сад • дитячий сад

to memorize — запоминать • зaпам'ятовувати

requirement — требование • вимога

to encourage — одобрять, поощрять, поддерживать • схвалювати, заохочувати, підтримувати

revision — пересмотр • перегляд

vehicle — средство • засіб

Text 14-3

Differences in the Organization of Education in Britain and America

Difference in the organization of education in Britain and America lead to different terms. One crucial word, school, is used in overlapping but different ways. A place of education for young children is a school in both varieties. But a public school in Britain is in fact a «private» school; it is a fee-paying school not controlled by the local education authority. The free local authority school in America is a public school. The American grade school has a BE near-equivalent of elementary school. But whereas an American can say: «Stanford is a pretty good school,» the word school in BE is never used to refer to a university or other college of higher education. An American high school student graduates; a British secondary school pupil (never student) leaves school. To graduate is possible only from a university, polytechnic or college of education in British usage; graduating entails taking a degree. British universities have 3 terms; American universities have 2 semesters (or in some recent cases, 4 quarters). A British university student takes 3 years, in the typical case, to get his degree; these are known as the first, second and final years. The American university student typically takes 4 years, known as freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. While he is studying, the American majors in a particular subject, but also takes electives; the British student usually takes a main and subsidiary subjects. Die British term honours degree signifies that the student specializes in one main subject, perhaps with one subsidiary. The American student earns credits for successfully completing a number of self-contained courses of study, the credits eventually reaching the total needed for him to receive a degree. There is no counterpart to the credit system in British high education at present.

The British student who has already taken a first degree (usually a BA. or B.Sc. except in Scottish universities) is a post-graduate; the teach are known as the faculty; in Britain they are the staff, possibly dignified as the academic staff.

BE has no equivalent to AE co-ed for a girl student, nor is there any BE equivalent of the American sorority or fraternity, i.e. nationwide university clubs or associations with restricted membership.

(from «British and American English » by P. Strevens)

term — четверть, семестр • чверть, семестр

grade school — начальная школа • початкова школа

BE = British English

to take a degree — получать ученую степень • одержувати науковий ступінь

freshman — первокурсник • першокурсник

sophomore — второкурсник • студент другого курсу

junior — студент третьего курса • студент третього курсу

senior year — выпускной курс • випускний курс

to major in a subject — изучать основные предметы • вивчати основні предмети

elective (Am.) / subsidiary subject (Вr.) — факультатив • факультатив

faculty — состав преподавателей • склад викладачів

AE = American English

co-ed — однокурсница • однокурсниця

Text 14-4

Free School

School Rules — OK? You mustn’t smoke or wear make-up. You must do your homework on time. You mustn’t fight in the playground. Even if you like school, it seems that someone is always telling you what to do.

That is why a lot of children don’t like school. And now a few teachers believe that is why some kids don’t leant. People learn better and faster when they have more choice in what they learn, and when and how they learn it.

At White Lion Street Free School, people believe that school should teach what children need and want to leant. School should help a child to think for himself or herself. After all, when you leave school, you have to make important decisions — by yourself.

There is no punishment for missing school. But many kids spend more time here than other children spend in ordinary schools. This school is open me evenings and some weekends. The kids complain, if holidays last longer than two weeks.

There are no compulsory lessons. Each child has one adult who follows his progress through school. Together they decide what he needs to learn next, and the child does this in his own time. Sometimes kids work on their own, sometimes with an adult, sometimes in a group.

A lot happens outside school. They believe you can’t learn everything in one building. They visit local factories, markets, shops, fire and police stations. They talk to people about their jobs, visit exhibitions, go roller-skating and horse-riding, make trips to the country or the sea and go camping.

It’s not a very big school — only 50 kids, between the ages of 3 and 17 — or a rich school. There are very few Free Schools in England.

Afternoons are for a great variety of things. Adults «advertise» what they’re doing in their rooms on certain days. The kids choose which group to join. There are no special times when they must start a lesson. Each day there is a list of activities they can choose between.

(from magazine «Mozaika")

punishment — наказание • покарання

to complain — жаловаться • скаржитися

compulsory — обязательный • обов’язковий

variety — разнообразие • розмаїтість

Text 14-5


The story of the University begins, so far as I know, in 1209 when several hundred students and scholars arrived in the little town of Cambridge after having walked 60 miles from Oxford.

These students were all churchmen and had been studying in Oxford at that city’s well-known schools. It was a hard life at Oxford for there was constant trouble, even fighting, between the townsfolk and the students. Then one day a student accidentally killed a man of the town. The Mayor arrested three other students who were innocent, and by order of King John (who was quarrelling with the Church and knew that the death of three student clergymen would displease it) they were put to death by hanging. In protest, many students moved elsewhere, some coming to Cambridge; and so the new University began.

Of course there were no Colleges in those early days and student life was very different from what it is now. Students were of all ages and came from anywhere and everywhere. Those from the same part of the country tended to group themselves together and these groups, called «Nations,» often fought one another.

The students were armed; some even banded together to rob the people of the countryside. Gradually the idea of the College developed, and in 1284 Peterhouse, the oldest College in Cambridge, was founded.

Life in College was strict; students were forbidden to play games, to sing (except sacred music), to hunt or fish or even to dance. Books were very scarce and all the lessons were in the Latin language which students were supposed to speak even among themselves.

In 1440 King Henry VI founded King’s College, and other colleges followed. Erasmus, the great Dutch scholar, was at one of these, Queens’ College, from 1511 to 1513, and though he writes that the College beer was «weak and badly made» he also mentions a pleasant custom that unfortunately seems to have ceased.

«The English girls are extremely pretty,» Erasmus says, «soft, pleasant, gentle, and charming. When you go anywhere on a visit the girls all kiss you. They kiss you when you arrive. They kiss you when you go away and again when you return».

Many other great men studied at Cambridge, amongst them Bacon, Milton, Cromwell, Newton, Wordsworth, Byron and Tennyson.

Practical jokes seem always to have been common, and there is an amusing tale of one played on the poet Gray by the students of Peterhouse College where he lived. Gray was a rather nervous man with a fear of fire, and every night he used to hang a rope-ladder from his window for use in case a fire broke out. One night there was a great noise and shouts of «Fire! Fire!» Dressed only in his night-gown Gray opened his window, climbed onto his ladder and slid down as fast as he could — into a barrel of cold water put there by a joking student!

(from С. E. Eckersley)

so far as I know — насколько мне известно • наскільки мені відомо

churchmen церковнослужители • церковнослужителі

constant — постоянный • постійний

accidentally — случайно • випадково

strict — строгий • суворий

to be forbidden to play games — запрещать играть в игры • забороняти грати в ігри

custom — обычай • звичай

fear of fire — боязнь огня • страх вогню

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