Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Published: The economist, http://www.economist.com/node/220134
 Level of difficulty:**
TO THE STUDENT: The pupose of these questions is to show you that reading the economist is not an impossible dream if you go about it in the right way. The questions will encourage you to focus on the main points while skimming the details. When you reach the end, you will have a very good general idea of what the text is about and therefore able to discuss it. There will, however, remain some details that you will have overlooked. You will have understood the gist of certain sentences despite not being able to analyze them and break them down. Do not worry about them and let them be. Provided you are able to do this, texts which are slightly over your head will present no problems.
THE MORAL OF ALL THIS: Don’t analyze to death if you wish to be able to read.

1.      In the first paragraph, find a single word meaning “that which can’t be foretold”.
2.      Write any two of the duties girl and boy units performed.
3.      In paragraph three, find a word meaning “fighter”.
4.      In paragraph four find a word meaning “he who takes part in”.
5.      What do “these figures underlined in paragraph five refer to?
6.      What conclusion can we draw from the facts listed in paragraph five?
7.      A. There is a major difference between past trends in recruiting children and present ones. It is: ___________________________________________________________
B. There are three readily understandable reasons for this. They are: ____________________________________________________________________
        8. In paragraph nine, find a word meaning” believing readily, naïve”.

        9. State any three reasons for children’s fearlessness in battle.
        10. What makes child soldiers economical for rebels?
        11. In paragraph twelve, find a word meaning “to rise sharply”.
        12.What does” others” underlined in the same paragraph refer to?
        13. State any three examples of physical hardship child soldiers suffer.
        14. State any three examples of practices that may have an emotional impact on children.
        15. Mr. Ottinu states that” groups that recruit children have a big problem on their hands     
              when  Peace comes even when it doesn’t”. What exactly does he mean?
        16. How does the writer reach the conclusion that “conflicts involving children are  
             particularly hard to end”?
       17. What example can you give of child soldiers who do not need to be rescued?
       18. What are the two standard arguments for recruitment before eighteen?

19. What inconsistency do the Australians point out in the above standpoint?
20. Are Denmark, South Africa, Sierra Leon, Canada, The Netherlands and Burundi raising
      their recruitment age because they agree with Australia?
21. In paragraph twenty five, find a single word meaning” dangerous”.
22 In paragraphs twenty seven and twenty eight, examples are given of rebel groups recruiting
     children. The conclusion is reached that stopping this practice is hard. Why is this so?
23. In paragraph thirty, find a single word meaning “to tear away or to take away by force”.
24. What conclusion can we reach from the examples sated in paragraph thirty one?
25. What led The Sudan people’s liberation Army and The Tamil Tigers to promise not to use
      child soldiers?
There are child soldiers in many countries all over the world whose lives have been blighted by unscrupulous warmongers. You can write about the effects of war on these children using the text and your own ideas. Alternatively you can write about how you think the problem can be solved. Remember to discuss your views with your teacher and your friends first.
BEFORE YOU READ: Write the title of the text on the board, and elicit a discussion about the probable content of the text. The issue is a very topical one so there should be plenty of comment.
THEN, distribute the text and explain that they should read question one, start reading the text, find the answer and underline it before reading the next question and so on until the end. Explain that the questions are there to help them find and focus on the main points while skimming the details and that this procedure will help them read a text which would, under normal circumstances, be too hard for them. Make sure that they understand that too much analysis does not aid comprehension; quite the reverse; it prevents it. I found this text in the Economist, in 1999 and have been using it since then so it has had umpteen trial runs. I always present the students (intermediate in my case) with the text around the middle of the first term; around the first half of December at the very latest. This text and the accompanying worksheet have never failed to go well. So enjoy …….
1.      Unpredictable
2.      They carried stolen goods, ammunition, water and food. They were taught to punish and even kill other children who disobeyed and sought to escape. Stop while checking this and ask them if they can express the logic behind this treatment the children received. They should come up with something like” they wanted to crush their spirits and turn them into killers” Do this throughout the text as often as you can.
3.      Combatants
4.      Participants
5.      8000(have been abducted…..), 15000(are said to ……), 300.000(children in over….)
6.      Children have played an active part in wars since at least Spartan times.
7.      Children were once recruited only when the supply of adult soldiers ran short, the youngest are now often recruited first /  There are more children around , proportionally, in most of the relevant places; Children are often easier to attract than adults; children can be forced more easily than adults.
8.      Credulous
9.      Children can be given alcohol, marijuana, or gunpowder to sniff; they can be told that a magic incantation or membership to a secret society will protect them. They can be given mirrors or a woolen toy to steer enemy bullets away. OR: they have no sons and daughters.
10.  They need less food than adult soldiers, take up less space and can do without a wage.
11.  Rocketed
12.  Children
13.  Some are punished or killed…, day to day injuries from carrying loads, damage to ears and eyes from gunfire, drug addiction, malnutrition, and sexually transmitted diseases.
14.  Children see atrocities, they are made to commit atrocities, abducted children are used to attack their own villages, the youngest boy in the ranks of the attackers is ordered to execute the village chief.
15.  They find a generation of children carrying guns, who know only the gun culture, who hang around on streets everywhere with guns.
16.  Many rebel leaders, officers and co-coordinators turn out to have taken part in war first as children.
17.  Children who are recruited openly and legally into international armies (where care is taken..)
18.  If they left it later, young people would turn to other employment/ Society benefits if lads without job prospects are taken off the streets and into useful employment.
19.  Governments that do not allow young people to vote, buy alcohol, drive, marry without their parents consent or accept certain kinds of civilian employment send them into mortal danger instead.
20.  No ( many countries want to reduce their armed forces anyway)
21.  Hazardous
22.  They are unlikely to be affected by international do- gooders or voters.
23.  Wrenched; they might come up with abducted if so explain. Abducted is a synonym for kidnapped but it is not easy to eliminate the word if you don’t know the meaning.
24.  Children in such “guerilla” groups often learn as much about crime as warfare and perpetuate it.
25.  Recognition and aid will be harder to win if the group has used child soldiers.

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