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Do Examinations Do More Harm Than Good?

时间:2005-05-04 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:hwmy   字体: [ ]
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Lesson 7

                   Do Examinations Do More Harm Than Good?

                                        Text

                                On Eggs and Exams

    I've been acting1 like an egg striking a rock. What is this egg? It's the campaign against the old-fashioned way of teaching Intensive Reading . And what' s the rock?. It' s the old-fashioned way of setting exams. So long as the old type of I.R. examination remains2 in force, the campaign against the old method of teaching I.R. can't win. It's like an egg striking a rock.

    Many people agree: Yes, this old-fashioned I.R. (OFIR) is certainly intensive; it calls for most intensive work by the students. But it doesn't teach them how to read. The more intensively the students study, the fewer books they read.
    And OFIR doesn't teach them language well either. Learning a language means learning to use it. OFIR doesn't do that. It teaches mainly about the language.


    Well, if so many teachers and students agree that OFIR doesn't teach people how to read, why aren't they willing to give it up? Because of that rock - the rock of the old examination system. If that rock is not smashed, the egg is smashed. The campaign against OFIR can't be won.


    Many I. R. exams, until now, have actually includec reading material studied during the term. Does that examim how well the students have learnt to read? No. It examine how well they have learnt by heart the reading texts and the explanations the teacher has given them. A student might ge high marks on such .a test without having learnt to read much better than before she took the course. A true test would consist
of unseen passages. That would show how well a studew could read and how much she had learnt.


    Is that so important? Yes. A college student should know how to read and should learn to read much and fast. She should, on graduation, have read hundreds and hundreds of pages, dozens and dozens of books. .
    How else can our students inherit the knowledge that mankind has gained through the ages? For that is what China must do in order to modernize3.


    Of course, reading in itself is not enough. We must think - think about what we read and analyze4 its content, idea: and approach. "Cultivate the habit of analysis." That is the aim of education. But we must have something solid to analyze. We must have some knowledge of the world, of nature, of society, past and present, Chinese and foreign. So we must read much. Therefore we must learn to read fast.


    Naturally, we do need to know something about the language. We do need to know some grammar. But grammar is only a means to an end, not an end in itself. For grammar, after all, is theory. And "what is theory for and where does it come from ? It comes from practice and serves practice." The same applies to grammar. So we need to do some intensive reading for the sake of extensive reading, for the sake of reading whole articles, whole books. A little theory goes a long way. The final test is practice.


    True, reading is far from the only source of knowledge. Reading without observing life and taking part in life, without experimenting, will produce bookworms, not modernizers.
    This does not show that all kinds of I. R. are absolutely useless and should be scrappeds. Some I . R . should be kept but it should be kept within limit. It should not be "the super-power course", riding roughshod over the language curriculum
and taking over most of the timetable. And what I . R . we keep and teach should not be so long and so hard that the teacher is forced to use the duck-stuffing, lecturing method. And it should not just focus on "words, words, words ". It should focus on meaning, on ideas, on understanding, on communication - on forests as well as on
trees.


    But as long as students are forced to get good marks in order to get good jobs; and as long as teachers want their students to get good marks so that they themselves can gain fame as good teachers, then everything depends on examinations. It depends on what sort of exams w e teachers set and the educational
authorities demand. Until we reform our exams we can hardly reform our teaching methods.
    So let's launch a new campaign, to discuss and reform the exam system; and at the same time continue the campaign against OFIR, the super-power. We need to fight on two fronts at once. Otherwise we'll be eggs striking rocks.

 

II. Read
    Read the following passages. Underline the important viewpoints while reading.

                    l. Different Views about Examinations  

John:   Examinations do more harm than good!
Michae:   I agree. We spend so much time revising for examinations that we
   haven't enough time for new work!
Joan:   I don't agree. Without exams, no one would do any revision. We would soon
   forget everything.
Linda:   That's right. The only time I do any work is when there's going to be an
   exam! That's true of everyone, isn't it?
John:   No, I don't think so. Many people work steadily5 all the time, and they 
   remember what they learn. That's better than doing no work for weeks
   and then working all night before the examination. If there were
   no exams, more people would work like that, don't you agree?
Joan:   No, I don't think so. I think many people wouldn't do any work at all.
   I know I wouldn't.
Linda:   Of course not. Besides, without exams, how could an employer
   decide whether to give us jobs?
John:   The teachers could write reports about us. Examinations can be
   unreliable, don't you think so? Our teachers know as well, don't they?
Linda:   Yes, they do. That's why I would rather have an examination!

            

            2. The General Certificate of Education at O Level

    When people discuss education they insist that preparation for examiriations
is not the main purpose. They are right in theory, but in practice, we all realize how importarit examinations are. What do you know about the examinations taken at English secondary schools? Here are a few facts about some of them. .
    Pupils who remain at school until they are sixteen normally take what is called the Geneial Certificate of Education at Ordinary level. The examination is a subject examination. This means you can take a number of subjects. Some pupils take as many as ten. The more subjects the better chance a pupil has of getting a job on leaving school.

 

                 3. Homework Row Led to the Death of a Girl

    A nine-year old girl was beaten to death by her mother for failing to finish the day's homework in time.
    Liu Lin- was a third-year pupil in a primary school in a Tibetan autonomous6
prefecture in Northwest Qinghai Province: She was one of the best students in her school, according to yesterday's Workers' Daily.
    But on July 10, she did not do her arithmetic homework when Sun Fengxia, her mother, got home from work at 16:00 p.m.


    Sun severely7 beat her daughter with a rolling pin, the newspaper said.
    By 19:30 p.m. that evening, she found that her daughter had done only part of the homework, and she became even more angry.
Sun slapped her daughter in the face and kicked her, according to the paper.
    Lin became unconscious and later died despite efforts of doctors to save her.
    Such cases are not rare in China.


    In December last year in the province, Wu Yuxia beat her nine-year old son Xia Fei to death . She later committed suicide in a prison.
    In Dalian of Northeast Liaoning Province, Li Liansheng beat his 14- year old son Li Guobin to death in March last year because the boy was playing truant8.
    In Nanjing, capital of coastal9 Jiangsu Province, 19-year old Wang Lin killed his parents at home because they forced him to try to get good marks in examinations.

 

                     4. Examinations Are Primitive10 Methods
                        of Testing Knowledge and Ability

    We might marvel11 at the progress made in every field of study, but the methods of testing a Person's knowledge and ability remain as primitive as they ever were. It really is extraordinary that after all these years, educationists have still failed to devise anything more efficient and reliable than examinations. For all the pious12 claim that examinations test what you know, it is cotnmon knowledge that they more often do the exact opposite. They may be a good means of testing memory, or the knack13 of working rapidly under extreme pressure, but they can tell you nothing about a person's true ability and aptitude14.

 

                         5. Examinations Are Anxiety-makers

    As anxiety-makers, examinations are second to none. That is because so much depends on them. They are the mark of success or failure in our society. Your whole future may be decided15 in one fateful day. It doesn't matter that you weren't feeling very well, or that your mother died. Little things like that don't count: the exam goes on. No one can give of his best when he is in mortal terror,or after a sleepless16 night, yet this is precisely17 what the examination system expects him to do. The moment a child begins school, he enters a world of vicious competition where success and failure are clearly defined and measured. Can we wonder at the increasing number of "drop-outs": young people who are written off as utter failures before they have even embarked18 on a career? Can we be surprised at the suicide rate among students?

 

                     6. The Examination System Never Trains
                             You to Think for Yourself

    A good education should, among other things, train you to think for yourself. The examination system does anything but that. What has to be learnt is rigidly19 laid down by a syllabus20, so the student is encouraged to memorise21. Examinations do not motivate a student to read widely, but to restrict his reading; they do not enable him to seek more and more knowledge, but induce cramming22. They lower the standards of teaching, for they deprive the teacher of all freedom. Teachers themselves are often judged by examination results and instead of teaching their subjects, they are reduced to training their students in exam technipues which they despise. The most successful, candidates are not always the best educated; they are the best trained in the technique of working under duress23.

 

                    7. Exam Is a Subjective24 Assessment25 by Some
                                 Anonymous26 Examiner

    The results on which so much depends are often nothing more than a subjective assessment by some anonymous examiner. Examiners are only human. They get tired and hungry: they make mistakes. Yet they have to mark stacks of hastily scrawled27 scripts in a limited amount of time. They work under the same sort of pressure as the candidates. And their word carries weight.

 After a judge,s decision you have the right of appeal, but not after an examiner's. There must surely be many simpler and more effective ways of assessing a person's true abilities. Is it cynical28 to suggest that examinations are merely a profitable business for the institutions that run them? This is what it boils down to in the last analysis. The best comment on the system is this illiterate29 message recently scrawled on a wall: "I were a teenage drop-out and now I are a teenage millionaire. "


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 acting czRzoc     
n.演戏,行为,假装;adj.代理的,临时的,演出用的
参考例句:
  • Ignore her,she's just acting.别理她,她只是假装的。
  • During the seventies,her acting career was in eclipse.在七十年代,她的表演生涯黯然失色。
2 remains 1kMzTy     
n.剩余物,残留物;遗体,遗迹
参考例句:
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
3 modernize SEixp     
vt.使现代化,使适应现代的需要
参考例句:
  • It was their manifest failure to modernize the country's industries.他们使国家进行工业现代化,明显失败了。
  • There is a pressing need to modernise our electoral system.我们的选举制度迫切需要现代化。
4 analyze RwUzm     
vt.分析,解析 (=analyse)
参考例句:
  • We should analyze the cause and effect of this event.我们应该分析这场事变的因果。
  • The teacher tried to analyze the cause of our failure.老师设法分析我们失败的原因。
5 steadily Qukw6     
adv.稳定地;不变地;持续地
参考例句:
  • The scope of man's use of natural resources will steadily grow.人类利用自然资源的广度将日益扩大。
  • Our educational reform was steadily led onto the correct path.我们的教学改革慢慢上轨道了。
6 autonomous DPyyv     
adj.自治的;独立的
参考例句:
  • They proudly declared themselves part of a new autonomous province.他们自豪地宣布成为新自治省的一部分。
  • This is a matter that comes within the jurisdiction of the autonomous region.这件事是属于自治区权限以内的事务。
7 severely SiCzmk     
adv.严格地;严厉地;非常恶劣地
参考例句:
  • He was severely criticized and removed from his post.他受到了严厉的批评并且被撤了职。
  • He is severely put down for his careless work.他因工作上的粗心大意而受到了严厉的批评。
8 truant zG4yW     
n.懒惰鬼,旷课者;adj.偷懒的,旷课的,游荡的;v.偷懒,旷课
参考例句:
  • I found the truant throwing stones in the river.我发现那个逃课的学生在往河里扔石子。
  • Children who play truant from school are unimaginative.逃学的孩子们都缺乏想像力。
9 coastal WWiyh     
adj.海岸的,沿海的,沿岸的
参考例句:
  • The ocean waves are slowly eating away the coastal rocks.大海的波浪慢慢地侵蚀着岸边的岩石。
  • This country will fortify the coastal areas.该国将加强沿海地区的防御。
10 primitive vSwz0     
adj.原始的;简单的;n.原(始)人,原始事物
参考例句:
  • It is a primitive instinct to flee a place of danger.逃离危险的地方是一种原始本能。
  • His book describes the march of the civilization of a primitive society.他的著作描述了一个原始社会的开化过程。
11 marvel b2xyG     
vi.(at)惊叹vt.感到惊异;n.令人惊异的事
参考例句:
  • The robot is a marvel of modern engineering.机器人是现代工程技术的奇迹。
  • The operation was a marvel of medical skill.这次手术是医术上的一个奇迹。
12 pious KSCzd     
adj.虔诚的;道貌岸然的
参考例句:
  • Alexander is a pious follower of the faith.亚历山大是个虔诚的信徒。
  • Her mother was a pious Christian.她母亲是一个虔诚的基督教徒。
13 knack Jx9y4     
n.诀窍,做事情的灵巧的,便利的方法
参考例句:
  • He has a knack of teaching arithmetic.他教算术有诀窍。
  • Making omelettes isn't difficult,but there's a knack to it.做煎蛋饼并不难,但有窍门。
14 aptitude 0vPzn     
n.(学习方面的)才能,资质,天资
参考例句:
  • That student has an aptitude for mathematics.那个学生有数学方面的天赋。
  • As a child,he showed an aptitude for the piano.在孩提时代,他显露出对于钢琴的天赋。
15 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
16 sleepless oiBzGN     
adj.不睡眠的,睡不著的,不休息的
参考例句:
  • The situation gave her many sleepless nights.这种情况害她一连好多天睡不好觉。
  • One evening I heard a tale that rendered me sleepless for nights.一天晚上,我听说了一个传闻,把我搞得一连几夜都不能入睡。
17 precisely zlWzUb     
adv.恰好,正好,精确地,细致地
参考例句:
  • It's precisely that sort of slick sales-talk that I mistrust.我不相信的正是那种油腔滑调的推销宣传。
  • The man adjusted very precisely.那个人调得很准。
18 embarked e63154942be4f2a5c3c51f6b865db3de     
乘船( embark的过去式和过去分词 ); 装载; 从事
参考例句:
  • We stood on the pier and watched as they embarked. 我们站在突码头上目送他们登船。
  • She embarked on a discourse about the town's origins. 她开始讲本市的起源。
19 rigidly hjezpo     
adv.刻板地,僵化地
参考例句:
  • Life today is rigidly compartmentalized into work and leisure. 当今的生活被严格划分为工作和休闲两部分。
  • The curriculum is rigidly prescribed from an early age. 自儿童时起即已开始有严格的课程设置。
20 syllabus PqMyf     
n.教学大纲,课程大纲
参考例句:
  • Have you got next year's syllabus?你拿到明年的教学大纲了吗?
  • We must try to diversify the syllabus to attract more students.我们应该使教学大纲内容多样化,可以多吸引学生。
21 memorise memorise     
vt.记住,熟记
参考例句:
  • An actor must be able to memorise his lines.演员须善于熟记台词。
  • I shall try to memorise all these phrases.我要熟记所有这些词组。
22 cramming 72a5eb07f207b2ce280314cd162588b7     
n.塞满,填鸭式的用功v.塞入( cram的现在分词 );填塞;塞满;(为考试而)死记硬背功课
参考例句:
  • Being hungry for the whole morning, I couldn't help cramming myself. 我饿了一上午,禁不住狼吞虎咽了起来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • She's cramming for her history exam. 她考历史之前临时抱佛脚。 来自《简明英汉词典》
23 duress DkEzG     
n.胁迫
参考例句:
  • He claimed that he signed the confession under duress.他说他是被迫在认罪书上签字的。
  • These unequal treaties were made under duress.这些不平等条约是在强迫下签订的。
24 subjective mtOwP     
a.主观(上)的,个人的
参考例句:
  • The way they interpreted their past was highly subjective. 他们解释其过去的方式太主观。
  • A literary critic should not be too subjective in his approach. 文学评论家的看法不应太主观。
25 assessment vO7yu     
n.评价;评估;对财产的估价,被估定的金额
参考例句:
  • This is a very perceptive assessment of the situation.这是一个对该情况的极富洞察力的评价。
  • What is your assessment of the situation?你对时局的看法如何?
26 anonymous lM2yp     
adj.无名的;匿名的;无特色的
参考例句:
  • Sending anonymous letters is a cowardly act.寄匿名信是懦夫的行为。
  • The author wishes to remain anonymous.作者希望姓名不公开。
27 scrawled ace4673c0afd4a6c301d0b51c37c7c86     
乱涂,潦草地写( scrawl的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • I tried to read his directions, scrawled on a piece of paper. 我尽量弄明白他草草写在一片纸上的指示。
  • Tom scrawled on his slate, "Please take it -- I got more." 汤姆在他的写字板上写了几个字:“请你收下吧,我多得是哩。”
28 cynical Dnbz9     
adj.(对人性或动机)怀疑的,不信世道向善的
参考例句:
  • The enormous difficulty makes him cynical about the feasibility of the idea.由于困难很大,他对这个主意是否可行持怀疑态度。
  • He was cynical that any good could come of democracy.他不相信民主会带来什么好处。
29 illiterate Bc6z5     
adj.文盲的;无知的;n.文盲
参考例句:
  • There are still many illiterate people in our country.在我国还有许多文盲。
  • I was an illiterate in the old society,but now I can read.我这个旧社会的文盲,今天也认字了。
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TAG标签:   高级  口语  examinations  harm
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