Thursday, August 29, 2013

CONSCIOUSNESS REDUX: THE BRAIN OF BUDDHA


“An encounter with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the scientific study of meditation”
By: Christof Koch
Alternatively, copy paste the following to access a free copy:
http://www.nature.com/scientificamericanmind/journal/v24/n3/full/scientificamericanmind0713-28.html
Level of Difficulty:****

BEFORE YOU READ
·         Have you ever meditated or thought about meditating?
·         What are the advantages of meditating?
·         Do you believe that meditation has long term effects? Can it be used for treatment purposes?
QUESTIONS
1.       Read the first two paragraphs of the text. The major difference between the eastern and the western mode of thinking is that the former does not involve ……………………………………………..
2.       The ultimate aim of the eastern mode of thinking is to attain …………………………………………
3.       What is the ultimate aim of those practicing meditation?
4.       What does “such techniques” in the phrase “to familiarize our future doctors, soldiers, engineers, scientists, accountants and politicians with such techniques” refer to?
5.       Our addiction to external stimuli is fueled by our inherent characteristics; in other words ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
6.       External stimuli have the advantage of eliminating the need to ……………………………………….
7.       What amazing discovery did the writer make concerning the monks: they appeared to have achieved everything we’ve always desired despite …………………………………………………………..
8.       Read the story of the Buddhist monk Quang Duc to the end. What conclusion can we draw from this example?
·         Complete mind control is possible
·         Mind control enables calm deliberate heroic acts
·         Sitting in the meditative lotus position enables mind control
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
9.       Read the experiment conducted by Fadel Zeidan, Robert C. Coghill and their colleagues to the end. What amazing effect did shamatha have on the subjects?
10.   How exactly did shamatha reduce pain for the subjects?
11.   Brain activity in specific parts of the brain proved that two important aspects of pain, …………………….. and ………………………. were reduced as a result of meditation.
12.   What does “their” refer to in the phrase “their footprints in the brain”?
13.   The purpose of Richard J. Davidson’s study was to try and see if …………………………….
14.   Could the instruments of science pick up signs of the activities that steer the mind or not? How do you know?
15.   What long term effect does a habit of meditation have on the brain?
16.   Read the conclusion to the text and think back to the quotation at the beginning. Who has the knowledge and the wisdom?
WRITING TASK
Do some more research, make notes and write an essay discussing the advantages of meditation.
THE BRAIN OF BUDDHA KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This is another brilliant text with a definite wow factor out of Scientific American Mind; a magazine I can’t or want to get away from for advanced level reading material. Discussing the content of the text should be interesting considering the new generation is so firmly hooked on external stimuli.
1.       A third person
2.       Enlightenment
3.       Achieve control over the mind
4.       To enable the developing or (this is a typo in the actual text; it should be of)the mature mind to become quiet and to focus its considerable powers on a single object, event or train of thought; OR Daily contemplative exercises
5.       The mental clutter, the chatter that makes up our daily lives
6.       Think
7.       Their life of poverty and being deprived of most of the things we believe are necessary to live fully realized life
8.       The first
9.       It reduced the unpleasantness of the pain by a whopping 57% and its intensity by 40%
10.   By promoting a sense of detachment and reducing the subjectively experienced saliency of the heated metal plate.
11.   The intensity, the unpleasantness
12.   These skills to steer the mind
13.   Our instruments are always sufficiently sensitive to pick up the footprints of the skills that steer the mind
14.   Yes; there was an increase in high frequency EEG electrical activity in the so called gamma band.
15.   It changed the exterior aspect of the mind.
16.   The scientists and the monks both have different aspects of the knowledge but only the monks have the wisdom.




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RESPONSE ESSAY:SHOULD WE JUDGE PEOPLE OF PAST ERAS FOR MORAL FAILINGS?

Text to base a reaction or response essay on: "Should We Judge People of Past Eras for Moral Failings?"
Published: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23772194 August 20, 2013
Reminder: response or reaction essays are based on texts concerning controversial topics and are composed of four paragraphs the first of which is the introduction, the second of which is the summary paragraph, the third of which is the reaction paragraph and the last of which is the conclusion.

RESPONSE ESSAY:HOW DO PEOPLE FORGIVE CRIME LIKE MURDER?

Text to base a reaction or response essay on: "How Do People Forgive Crime Like Murder?
By: Naveena Kottoor
Published: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23716713 August 19, 2013
Reminder: reaction or response essays are based on contoversial texts that excite strong reaction and are composed of four paragraphs the first of which is the introduction, the second of which is the summary paragraph, the third of which is the reaction paragraph and the last of which is the conclusion

RESPONSE ESSAY: RUSSIA'S ARCTIC MISSION TO PROTECT WILDLIFE

Text to base a reaction or response essay on: Russia's Arctic: Mission to Protect Wildlife
By: Daniel Sandford
Published: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23794232 August 26, 2013
Reminder: reaction or response essays are based on controversial texts that excite a strong reaction and are composed of four paragraphs the first of which is the introduction, the second of which is the summary paragraph, the third of which is the reaction paragraph and the last of which is the conclusion.

RESPONSE ESSAY CONCERNING A NEW VENTURE IN ZURICH

Text to base a reaction or response essay on a new venture in Zurich. Click below to find out what it is.
By Imogen Faulks
Published: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23839358 ; August 26, 2013
Reminder: reaction or response essays are based on controversial topics and include four paragraphs the first of which is the introduction, the second of which is the summary paragraph, the third of which is the reaction paragraph and the last of which is the conclusion.

RESPONSE ESSAY: KENYAN TRIO IN WIFE-SHARING DEAL

Text to base a reaction or response essay on: "Kenyan trio in 'wife-sharing' deal;
Published: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-23840824: ; August 26, 2013
Reminder: reaction or response essays are four paragraph essays including an introduction, a summary paragraph, a reaction paragraph and a conclusion. They are usually based on controversial topics that excite strong reaction.

Monday, August 26, 2013

ON EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP


By: Bruce Alberts
Published: Science Magazine; Editorial; May 13, 2013; http://www.sciencemag.org/content/340/6133/660.full
Level of Difficulty:**
Thanks are due to my dear friend and colleague Hamide Koz for sending in this wonderful text. If you too discover an interesting text, send me the link and I promiss to work on it.
BEFORE YOU READ
First: take the test: copy past to access
http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=3205 
·         What qualities should good leaders have?
·         Do people who don’t have the necessary leadership qualities find themselves in such positions?
·         What is the effect on the company of inadequate leadership?
·         What is the effect on lower management and other members of staff

NOW CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING

7 Body Language Habits for Effective Leaders

Top qualities of an effective leader



QUESTIONS
1.       Contrary to what is believed, the success of a nation is closely linked to…………………………………
2.       In paragraph two, the writer basically says that long term goals should not be sacrificed to……
3.       If critical decision making in companies and institutions is not placed in the most capable hands, the ultimate result will be ………………………………………………………………….because of the domino effect caused by the undeserving leader.
4.       According to Mabogunje, in Nigeria getting to the top positions depends on:
·         Having friends in high places
·         Kinship
·         Having authority or power
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
5.       Leaders lacking in the necessary leadership skills and qualities focus on………………………………….
6.       Why is hard work, creativity and innovation penalized by inadequate leaders?
7.       What does “the situation” at the beginning of the next paragraph refer to?
8.       What does “This” refer to in the sentence “This requires honest humility”
9.       What purposes does the last paragraph serve? Be explicit.
THE FIRST WRITING TASK
Use notes you made while reading to write a brief summary of the text.
THE SECOND WRITING TASK
Write a paragraph in which you discuss your own opinions of the text
ON EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This relatively short text focuses on an issue many would identify with; therefore, I am sure there will be plenty of discussion. It is always good to find texts which are relatively straightforward for preintermediate and intermediate students to read near the beginning of the course and this is one of them. I would urge you to cover both reading tasks as they serve different purposes.
1.       How the leaders of its major institutions, governmental and non govenmental, are selected, how they in turn choose their deputies and under what incentives they must operate.
2.       Short term goals
3.       A chain of mediocrity that degrades the entire institution
4.       The second
5.       Weeding out those whose presence reminds them of their own inadequacies
6.       Because it is a way of showing off the weakness of the management.
7.       The fact that in no time, the institution is manned by individuals who are willing to kow tow to the whims and caprices of the so called managers.
8.       Hiring people who at least in some respects appear to be more talented than you are.

9.       This paragraph is the conclusion but it also gives the article unity by tying back to the beginning of the text. In both the beginning and this last paragraph, the writer’s opinion is clearly stated. This type of cyclical planning is highly desirable.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

THIEVES SHOULD NOT BE JAILED, SAYS LAW EXPERTS


By: The Press Association
Level of Difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU READ
·         What is the purpose of punishment?
·         How can those who commit minor offences be regained to society?
·         Do you think imprisonment is an effective way to do this?
·         Read the title. Now state initial reaction.
QUESTIONS
1.       Andrew Ashworth believes that imprisonment as a punishment should be reserved for……
2.       The reason for the above opinion is the fact that ……………………………………………………………….
3.       The alternative to imprisonment for pure property offences would be …………………………….
4.       The red line according to Asworth is  ………………………………………………………………………………….
5.       Why would fines and community service be better options for pure property offences?
6.       The two major advantages of applying Ashworth’s policy would be ………………………………….
7.       How would the victim of the crime benefit if Ashworth’s proposal were put into practice? Through …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
8.       What additional advantage do community sentences have? Look at the whole text to answer this question!
9.       Asworth claims it is vital to consider his proposal because …………………………………………………
THE FIRST WRITING TASK
Write a brief summary of the text based on the notes you made while reading. Remember a good summary needs to be short and concise. You will find an example posted under “Sample Essays”
THE SECOND WRITING TASK
Write a paragraph discussing to what extent you agree with the views expressed in the article. You will find an example posted under “Sample Essays”
THIEVES SHOULD NOT BE JAILED, SAYS LAW EXPERT KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This text has the advantage of being simple and having a wow factor as it is off the beaten track. The main thesis is a very controversial and novel one, which will hopefully lead students to wish to talk. I firmly believe any teaching material should be intersting and informative as well and this text certainly fits the bill. One word of warning: the questions mostly concern implications and therefore the text requires careful reading.
1.       The most serious crimes including those of a violent, threatening or sexual nature
2.       For pure property offences, imprisonment is disproportionate; OR, prison is the UK’s most serious punishment
3.     Compensation or reparation for the victim and where the offence is sufficiently serious, imposing a community sentence
4.       Violence, threats or sexual assult
5.       They would be more effective and proportional and benefit the victim more
6.       Significantly reducing prison populations and saving millions of pounds each year
7.       Compensation and reparation
8.       They produce a much lower rate of reoffending

9.       Public finances are streched

SUMMARY PRACTICE AND PARAGRAPH WRITING: THIEVES SHOULD NOT BE JAILED

Summary
Reading text: “Thieves should not be jailed, says law expert” ; Level * reading tasks
Professor Ashworth states that those criminals who are not actually violent and don’t target individuals should be required to compensate the victims and do community service so that they can be regained to society and because it is fairer. Imprisonment as the most serious punishment should be reserved for the most serious offences. Asworth’s policy would reduce prison populations, be more economical and reduce the number of reoffendors.
80 words
Provided by: The Oracle
Paragraph
Reading text: “Thieves should not be jailed, says law expert”
For centuries, punishment has been seen as society’s revenge on the criminal; as retribution to teach him a lesson and prevent him from reoffending. This method of dealing with offendors has been found to be impractical and counterproductive. It is impractical because it causes prison populations to swell and is expensive. It has, therefore, been suggested that those who commit pure property offences should not be incarcerated but made to compensate the victim and do community service. Only criminals who actually target individuals should be sent to prison.  This is a very practical and sensible option from the point of view of the state, the perpetrator and the victim. The former would be able to cut expenses and benefit from the community service, the second would not become a more violent offendor as he would not be imprisoned along with murderers and sadists and be less likely to reoffend, the latter would benefit from the compensation. The community service does need to be very carefully managed though and careful checks of how well the system works. Society no longer sees punishment as an act deserving of revenge but an ill that should be remedied in a way that benefits both society and the victim. This being the case, community service should be given careful consideration.

Provided by: The Oracle

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

DESCENT OF THE DOLDRUMS


“Boredom has been linked with undesirable mental and physical conditions. But what exactly is this puzzling condition?”
By: James Danckert
Published: Scientific American Mind; July – August 2013 issue;http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=chronic-boredom-may-be-sign-poor-health
Alternatively, access a free copy by copy pasting the following: http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/scientificamericanmind0713-54
Level of Difficulty:****
BEFORE YOU READ
·         What is your state of mind like when you are bored out of your mind?
·         How do you imagine boredom influences the individual?
·         What are the causes of boredom? Some people are almost never bored, others are always complaining about it.
·         Can one learn to cope with boredom? How?
QUESTIONS
1.       Read the first three paragraphs of the text. From these paragraphs it can be concluded that:
·         The capacity for boredom and intelligence are positively correlated.
·         The capacity for boredom seems not to be linked to intelligence
·         The capacity for boredom is a universal phenomenon
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
2.       What health implication makes understanding the nature of boredom important?
3.       The greater the……………………………..the greater the possibility of…………………………….
4.       Read the paragraph beginning “Today”. What conclusion can we draw from it?
5.       Goldberg and the author conducted research partly for the purpose of understanding how…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
6.       Both the writer’s and Theobold’s research indicate that………………………………………………….
7.       Read the information concerning the 2011 study carefully. The capacity for boredom and depression seems to be greater in…………………………………………………………………………………….
8.       Read Malkowsky’s research to the end and decide whether the following statements are true or false.
·         Couch patatoes do not suffer much distress
·         The couch patao makes an effort to alter his circumstances
·         Agitated boredom may be accompanied by physical signs of restlessness
·         Both categories of people mentioned in the experiment are externally motivated.
·         Neither category relies much on internal stimuli
9.       What does “this” refer to in the phrase “this might be the case”?
10.   What was the most important longterm problem the writer’s brother faced after his accident?
11.   In the research the writer conducted with TPI patients, the previously established link between depression, boredom and the need for external stmuli was confirmed / disproved
12.   The observation that TPI patients are more reckless in their lives may indicate that……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
13.   What is the purpose of the cognitive bias test?
14.   What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This hints at an intriquing possibility”?
15.   Read the information concerning the role of the orbitofrontal cortex. How is the information provided pertinent for TBI patients?
16.   When Lady Dedlock said she was “bored to death”, she was unwittingly hinting at an important fact. It is:
17.   The experiment conducted by Colleen Merrifield  proved that…………………………………………….
18.   Read the last paragraph of the text and select the best answer:
·         The writer suffers from agiteted boredom
·         Boredom is the most important component of depression
·         We might learn to control boredom one day
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
DESCENT OF THE DOLDRUMS KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This text concerns one of the most widely shared problems individuals suffer from: boredom and as such, is facinating. As it is a serious scientific text, it leads itself to some wonderful questions as well. The discussion of the material should progress paralel to the questions and students should be encouraged to share their views and experiences.
1.       2 and 3
2.       The fact that excessive amounts of it can harm our health
3.       Leisure time / boredom
4.       There is a growing body of research showing the negative effects of boredom
5.       Boredom for one person may only losely resemble another’s ennui
6.       Boredom and depression involve distinct mechanisms
7.       Externally stimulated people
8.       T, F,T,F, T
9.       Lack of immersion in the world outside our head could lead us to evaluate our experiences as meaningless
10.   Finding something that was stimulating
11.   Confirmed
12.   Their threshold for stisfaction has been raised
13.   To see how well people can recognize the similarities and differences between objects and whether they prefer novel versus familiar objects
14.   People who are more prone to agitated boredom also tended to have a harder time recognizing an object’s newness; life becomes dull when we can’t distinguish what is fresh and therefore interesting from what is old and familiar
15.   They may experience a recurring mismatch between their expectations for an event and its actual pay off. The use of for in this sentence is grammatically incorrect incidentally.
16.   People who reported more ennui are more likely to die younger and to experience cardiac arrest
17.   Boredom is not good for your health
18.   None of the above



Sunday, August 11, 2013

NEW ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN HUMANIZING LANGUAGE TEACHING MAGAZINE


View my new article on the Humanizing Language Teaching website:
http://hltmag.co.uk/aug13/sart09.htm


ILLUSORY SCENES FADE INTO AND OUT OF VIEW


“Fading illusions play hide-and-seek with your perception”
By: Susana Martinez- Conde and Stephen L. Macnik
Published: The Scientific American; July 31, 2013; www.scientificamerican.com Alternatively, just google the title and writers’ names.
Level of Difficulty:**
Note to the Student: This is rather a special reading task; its purpose is to entertain you, get you interested in science and distract you from your daily concerns. The level of difficulty is not important. With this in mind, you need to access the text on the internet and use that soft copy as well as the hard copy to do the questions. You need to access every picture the experiments are based on and try them yourself for things to be meaningful .That is what I did and I had such a lot of fun.Enjoy the activity and write in if you have some interesting results. 
BEFORE YOU READ
·         Look at the picture at the beginning and see if you can spot the leopard. Keep looking to see what happens. Are you ready for more? If the answer is yes, start reading.
QUESTIONS
1.       What does “an experiment” in the phrase “this was an experiment I must try” refer to?
2.       The reflections the subjects in Caputa’s experiment saw were …………………………………….
3.       How did the subjects feel during this experiment?
4.       What change did the writer make in the conditions the second time he tried the mirror experiment?
5.       What conclusion can we draw from the writer’s account of his second attempt at the experiment?
6.       The process during which illusions appear and fade is called ……………………………………..
7.       The reason for the phenomenon described thus far in the article is ……………………….and normal perception can be restored with ……………………………………………………………………….
8.       How does the writer explain the emergence of strange images during the mirror experiment?
9.       The purpose of the experiment conducted at Urbana  Champaign was to see if it was possible to experience …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
10.   The sun in Monet’s Impression Sunrise looks the way it does due to the fact that………………….
11.   Read Safran and Landis’observation concerning Monet’s painting and explain the reason.
12.   Why is it difficult to count the yellow spots in the pattern created by vision scientist Kitaoka?
13.   What does “they” refer to in the phrase “they vanish immediately”?
14.   Read the information concerning Ryota Kanai’s illusion. The explanation for this illusion is similar to that provided for the mirror experiment. True / False / Other: please explain
15.   What does “this effect” in the phrase “Picasso was well aware of this effect” refer to?
WRITING TASK
Summarize the phenomenon explained in the text as briefly as possible. Be careful: the summary should include generalizations not specifics!
ILLUSIORY SCENES FADE INTO AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
I had such fun reading and preparing questions for this text, trying out each experiment and sharing my excitement with family members, I can’t but feel anyone into science will find it simply irresistible. If the text is to be done in class, access to the internet is an absolute must as the students need to try out each experiment to appreciate what is going on. Enjoy; I did.
1.       Starring at your own face in the mirror at the stroke of midnight, calling the Devil’s name to see if the Prince of Darkness will look back at you.
2.       Illusions
3.       They reported feelings of otherness; some felt strong emotions
4.       He turned off the bathroom lights and turned on his cell phone flashlight
5.       His efforts were rewarded quickly
6.       Troxler fading
7.       Neural adaptation; blinks, gaze shifts and microsaccades
8.       In the absence of visual information, our brain will fill in the gaps according to our experiences, expectations, best guesses and even hard wired neural mechanisms involved in shape and face perception.
9.       Visual fading in entire scenes
10.   Monet used pigments of matching luminescence or brightness but different chromatic content or hues to represent the sun and sky ; the following sentence will do too
11.   Equiluminant objects are somewhat difficult to see, which makes them susceptible to Troxler fading
12.   You can see only one spot at a time. The others disappear when you are not looking at them directly.
13.   The little insects or the three ladybugs
14.   Other: it is partly true. There is also our nervous system’s intrinsic tendency to seek structure and order even when sensory input is fundamentally disorganized.

15.   The fact that when viewed directly, the portraits are grotesque but when seen peripherally, the young woman looks exquisite

Friday, August 9, 2013

THE 4 MILLION DOLLAR TEACHER


By: Amanda Ripley
Published: The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Essay; August 3, 2013; www.wsj.com Alternatively, google the title and writer’s name
Level of Difficulty: ** However, even if this task is a little too easy, it should still be covered for the writing activities which are very topical and not too easy. There are examples of both writing tasks under "Sample Essays"
BEFORE YOU READ
·         Was your school the only educational establishment you attended?
·         Why did you feel you needed to attend these shadow educational establishments?
·         Do you think these establishments contribute to success? Explain.
·         Do you think they have disadvantages? Explain.
·         How can such establishments be rendered unnecessary?

NOW CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING VIDEO 

Comparative Research on Shadow Education

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE2TRokYq68


  
QUESTIONS
1.       Kim Ki-hoon’s incredible salary is determined by ………………………………………………………………..
2.       What does “that” refer to in the phrase “I like that”?
3.       In what respects is the actual teaching Kim does different from a regular teacher’s?
4.       The fact that South Korea has improved its education system to such an extent proves that hagwons
·         Make positive contributions to education
·         Help Korean students surpass their US counterparts
·         Increase success rates
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
5.       The transformation of the Korean education system can be described as:
·         Miraculous
·         Outstanding
·         Unremarkable
·         Exemplary
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
6.       What is the purpose of shadow education systems
7.       The fact that there are more private tutors than school teachers in Korea proves that the shadow education system  …………………………………………………………………………………………………..
8.       What conclusion can we draw from the paragraph discussing the pros and cons of shadow education systems?
9.       What conclusion can we draw from the information detailing how Mr. Kim operates?
·         He is a typical hardworking teacher
·         He wishes to help students succeed
·         He is a typical businessman
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other : please specify
  1. Read the information concerning Megastudy. This information seems to indicate that:
  • Korean parents value a good education
  • They also spend a lot on video games
  • Foreign corporations see the market as lucrative
  • Megastudy is the only hagwon listed in the stock exchange
  • All of the above
  • None of the above
  • Other: please specify
  1. What does “The idea” refer to in the phrase “The idea is seductive”?
  2. Hagwons try and find teachers by ………………………………………………………………………………….
  3. What makes the good teachers hard to retain and manage?
  4. Why do some teachers in South Korea get more students than others?
  5. The fact that teacher salaries are determined by performance, which in turn is measured by a performance evaluation, leads one to conclude that……………………………………………………………….
  6. How do hagwons seek to attract students?
  7. The relationship between the hagwons and parents is best described as follows:
  8. What is the consequence for teachers of the threat of dismissal for poor performance?
  9. What conclusion can we draw about school teachers in Korea from the information provided by students?
  10. What kind of unfairness can be observed in the shadow education system in general?
  11. What unsuccessful ways of dealing with the shadow education system has South Korea tried?
  12. It is implied that parents opt for hagwons because……………………………………………………………….
  13. Trust in the standard education system could be increased if
  • School teachers got better pay
  • If communication channels with parents were kept open
  • If some of the policies of hagwons were adopted
  1. The overall conclusion that can be drawn from the text is that………………………………………………
WRITING TASK: THE FIRST ALTERNATIVE
Use notes you make while reading the text to write a problem solution essay on the following topic: “How can the activities of the shadow education system be curtailed?” The solutions suggested in the text are as follows:
  • Performance reviews
  • The pay for performance system
  • Regular contact with parents (email, texting, telephone calls and face to face meetings)
  • Regular in house training
  • Dismissing poor performers
  • Instilling trust in the system
  • Other: please specify
You will find an example of the writing task under “Sample Essays”
WRITING TASK: THE SECOND ALTERNATIVE
Use notes you make while reading the text and your own experience to write an essay discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the shadow education system. The points made in the text are as follows:
The advantages:
  • Promoting striving and innovation in students and teachers alike
  • Increasing success rates
  • Helping students adapt to a changing world
  • Helping the country become an academic superpower
The disadvantages:
  • Creating a bidding war for education; delivering the best services to the richest families
  • They take a psychological toll on students
  • A relentless grind: students go to school twice
You will find an example of the writing task under “Sample Essays”
THE 4 MILLION DOLLAR TEACHER KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
This highly topical text concerns the shadow education system which involves supplementary lessons and extra practice after school in return for a fee. It seems that the system is pretty widespread all around the world so it is very topical even though the text concerns South Korea. A lot of students in my part of the world know the system well and should be able to both discuss it and write about it with ease.

  1. The demand for his skills
  2. The harder I work, the more I make
  3. He only spends three hours giving lectures and spends most of his week responding to students online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks
  4. All of the above
  5. 1, 2 and 4
  6. To offer after hours classes in every subject for a fee
  7. Achieved market penetration and sophistication
  8. Viewed up close, this shadow system is both exciting and troubling
  9. 3; there is nothing in the paragraph indicating that he in any way altruistic and no teacher works the way he does.
  10. 1 and 3; it is US students that buy the video games and we don’t know that Megastudy is the only hagwon on the stock exchange
  11. Teaching well is hard so why not make it lucrative.
  12. Scouring the internet, reading parents’ reviews and watching teachers’ lectures
  13. Their egos
  14. Because in hagwons, students sign up for specific teachers ( so the most respected teachers get the most students)
  15. The Korean private  market is about as close to pure meritocracy as it can be and just as ruthless
  16. By posting their graduates test scores and university acceptance figures online and outside their entrances on giant posters
  17. The hagwon embeds itself in parents’ lives
  18. Real incentives
  19. They are not as well prepared, less devoted to teaching and less respectful of students opinions
  20. The most affluent kids can afford one to one tutoring with the most popular instructors, while others attend inferior hagwons with huge class sizes and less reliable instruction
  21. Curfews, regulations, bans
  22. They don’t trust the system
  23. 3
  24. Demands require that schools change too or the free market may do it for them