Thursday, October 6, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Two video activities!

Watch two fantastic videos and answer the questions that follow them! Answers can be given in comment form or in a new blog post. You will find everything by clicking on this link:

http://aliki-ka.blogspot.com/search/label/Activities 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Listening to university lectures


Watch it on Academic Earth

Philosophy of Death, Yale University Introductory Lecture: Listen and write the missing words.

Professor Shelly Kagan: All right, so this is Philosophy 176. The class is on death. My name is Shelly Kagan. The very first thing I want to do is to invite you to call me Shelly. That is, if we meet on the street, you come talk to me during office hours, you ask some question; Shelly's the name that I respond to. I will, eventually, respond to Professor Kagan, but the synapses take a bit longer for that. It's not the name I immediately 1.__________________. I have found that over the years, fewer and fewer students feel comfortable calling me Shelly. When I was young, it seemed to work. Now I'm gray and august. But if you're comfortable with it, it's the name that I prefer to be called by.

Now, as I say, this is a class on death. But it's a philosophy class, and what that means is that the set of topics that we're going to be talking about in this class are not 2._________ to the topics that other classes on death might try to cover. So the first thing I want to do is say something about the things we won't be talking about that you might 3.____________ expect or hope that a class on death would talk about, so that if this is not the class you were looking for, you still have time to go check out some other class.

So here are some things that a class on death could cover that we won't talk about. What I primarily have in mind are sort of 4.________________and 5._____________ questions about the nature of death, or the phenomenon of death. So, a class on death might well have a discussion of the process of dying and coming to 6.____________ yourself with the fact that you're going to die. Some of you may know about Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' discussion of the so-called five stages of dying. There's 7.__________, and then there's anger, and then there's bargaining. I actually don't remember the five stages. We're not going to talk about that.

Similarly, we're not going to talk about the funeral industry in America and how it rips off people, which it does, in their moments of grief and 8.______________ and overcharges them for the various things that it offers. We're not going to talk about that. We're not going to talk about the process of grieving or 9.___________________. We're not going to talk about sociological attitudes that we have towards the dying in our culture and how we tend to try to keep the dying hidden from the rest of us. These are all perfectly important topics, but they're not, as I say, topics that we're going to be talking about in this class.

So what will we talk about? Well, the things we'll talk about are philosophical questions that 10.___________ as we begin to think about the nature of death. Like this. In broad scope, the first half of the class is going to be metaphysics, for those of you who are familiar with the philosophical piece of 11.___________. And roughly, the second half of the class is going to be value theory.

So, the first half of the class is going to be concerned with questions about the nature of death. What happens when we die? Indeed, to get at that question, the first thing we're going to have to think about is what are we? What kind of an 12.__________ is a person? In particular, do we have souls, and for this class when I talk about a soul, what I'm going to mean is sort of a bit of philosophical jargon. I'm going to mean something 13.______________, something distinct from our bodies. Do we have immaterial souls, something that might survive the death of our body? And if not, what does that 14.______ about the nature of death?

What kind of an event is death? What is it for me to survive? What would it mean for me to survive my death? What does it mean for me to survive tonight? That is, you know, somebody's going to be here 15.___________ to the class on Thursday, 16.___________ that will be me. What is it for that person who's there on Thursday to be the same person as the person who's sitting here lecturing to you today? These are questions about the nature of personal 17._____________. Pretty clearly, to think about death and continued existence and survival, we have to get clear about the nature of personal identity. These sorts of questions will occupy us for 18.___________ the first half of the semester.

And then we'll turn to value questions. If death is the end, is death bad? Now, of course, most of us are immediately and strongly inclined to think that death is bad. But there are a set of philosophical puzzles about how death could be bad. To sort of give you a quick taste, if after my death I won't exist, how could anything be bad for me? How could anything be bad for something that doesn't exist? So how could death be bad?

So it's not that the result is going to be that I'm going to try to convince you that death isn't bad, but it takes actually a little bit of work to pin down precisely what is it about death that's bad and how can it be death? Is there more than one thing about death that makes it bad? We'll turn to questions like that. If death is bad, then one might wonder would 19. ___________ be a good thing? That's a question that we'll think about.

Or, more generally, we'll worry about how should the fact that I'm going to die affect the way I live? What should my attitude be towards my mortality? Should I be afraid of death, for example? Should I despair at the fact that I'm going to die?

Finally, we'll turn to questions about suicide. Many of us think that given the valuable and precious thing that life is, suicide makes no sense. You're throwing away the only life you're ever going to have. And so we'll end the semester by thinking about questions along the lines of the 20._______________ and morality of suicide. So roughly speaking, that's where we're going. First half of the class, metaphysics; second half of the class, value theory.

Find the answers here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are we free?





Lucas , an American Jewish teenager protests and stand up for palestinian people. He considers that Israel is occupying the Palestinian people in his name, in the name of world Jewry. That is a serious political, social  and moral issue.  


I would like  us to wonder if we are free to express our opinion or  there are limits of freedom of speech. This video indicates us that we are not free to support our point of view and each state do not put up with a  civilized dialogue or rational arguments. In addition to this,  repressive mechanisms of state prefer violence. 


To conclude,  I strongly believe that whoever  does violence instead of  democratic dialogue, either he is silly or he is unjust. Lucas is a teenager hero , not only because he stands up for palestinians' rights, but also since he is powerful and brave to express his opinion. As human beings we should condemn violence wherever it comes from.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The last post - Derek K. Miller



This is a blogger's touching final post published after his death from cancer. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt by reading this, but the most important one is expressed in this exract:

It turns out that no one can imagine what's really coming in our lives. We can plan, and do what we enjoy, but we can't expect our plans to work out. Some of them might, while most probably won't. Inventions and ideas will appear, and events will occur, that we could never foresee. That's neither bad nor good, but it is real.
I think and hope that's what my daughters can take from my disease and death. And that my wonderful, amazing wife Airdrie can see too. Not that they could die any day, but that they should pursue what they enjoy, and what stimulates their minds, as much as possible—so they can be ready for opportunities, as well as not disappointed when things go sideways, as they inevitably do.

More thoughts and updates on Derek's wife's blog: talkingtoair.com

Friday, July 1, 2011

The most important 48 hours in EU history?

By Jérôme E. Roos On June 28, 2011


Post image for The most important 48 hours in EU history?
Amidst mass protests and an historic 48-hour strike, one ‘no’ vote by a Greek MP could tip Greece into bankruptcy and the world into global financial meltdown.
The eyes of the world are on Greece. Or, to be more specific, on Syntagma Square, where 300 MPs prepare for a crucial vote on the EU-IMF imposed austerity package — and where hundreds of thousands of Greeks will converge to stop the vote from being passed in the country’s first 48-hour strike since the fall of the dictatorship.
There is an uneasy tension in the air in Athens. Just yesterday, Communist protesters stormed the Acropolis and unfurled a giant banner calling for a massive organized counterattack. Today, over 5,000 policemen have mobilized in central Athens to prepare for an epic stand-off with hundreds of thousands of striking workers and indignants.
What is going on in Athens right now is truly historic. Indeed, superlatives aside, it is nearly impossible to describe the gravity of the situation at hand. What happens in the next 48 hours in Athens will determine the fate of the entire eurozone, the EU and — indeed — the world economy as a whole. This is the very climax of the eurocrisis.
Here’s the short synopsis: today, Greek members of parliament will start debating a new round of austerity measures, which are a condition for Greece to receive both the fifth tranche of last year’s bailout, worth €12bn, and a second bailout, worth €80-120bn from the EU and IMF. They will vote on the measures on Wednesday.
Now, if Parliament votes against, Greece will be denied both the fifth tranche of last year’s bailout and the second bailout by the EU and IMF. As a result, Greece will be forced to formally default by mid-July, when several billions of euros worth in three and six-month bonds mature.
In the midst all of this, hundreds of thousands of Greeks are expected to converge upon Syntagma Square, right in front of Parliament, for the largest mass demonstration so far — coinciding with the country’s first 48-hour strikesince the fall of the dictatorship and the establishment of democracy in 1974. Unions have threatened to storm Parliament and physically prevent the vote from taking place.
As a result of the strike, the entire country will grind to a halt right as the austerity memorandum goes to vote on Wednesday. Indignant protesters will mount popular pressure on Parliament to possibly unsustainable levels, right when four Socialist MPs announced that they consider voting against the memorandum.
This leaves Prime Minister Papandreou’s Parliamentary majority hanging in the balance: if all four abovementioned Socialist MPs vote against, Papandreou will only have a majority of one. That means that if one more MP unexpectedly votes against the austerity package (or simply fails to show up for the vote), the measures won’t pass.
This, in turn, will almost certainly trigger a sovereign default, as the EU and IMF will withhold the disbursement of additional bailout funds. Rating agencies will call a ‘credit event’, causing the Greek banking sector to collapse. To understand how this could trigger an EU-wide financial meltdown, read the article here.
While the world holds its breath, some smart people are finally starting to realize that this is not just a Greek crisis. Even the Wall Street Journal now seems torecognize what we have been repeating endlessly on ROAR, namely that this is not a fiscal crisis in Greece, but a financial crisis in the European banking sector:
What we have come to call the Greek crisis is, first, an international banking crisis. Like Lehman Brothers, Greece is definitely not too big to fail. It is too interconnected to fail, too interconnected to the international banking system … What we are calling the Greek crisis is also a crisis of structural economic dysfunction.
Similarly, in an editorial yesterday, The Guardian wrote that:
Discussions of the Greek debacle commonly assume that it’s a disaster made in Greece that now requires the rest of Europe to step in and sort it out. Wrong: this is a crisis of the eurozone, in which Athens is not a leading actor but merely a stage set.
Only dimly aware of the structural problems in the eurozone and the looming insolvency of some of Europe’s largest banks, EU leaders met up with some of the continent’s richest and most powerful bankers last night. In the luxurious comfort of a Roman palace, they debated how the private sector could contribute to a ‘real’ solution for the crisis.
One of the options put on the table by the French was to roll over some debt, buying Greece more time to get out of this mess. But while the idea sounds appealing in theory, even the Financial Times has recognized that “you’d have to be dropping acid to think that [this approach] is even going to do its job of buying time for the next few years.”
As the German Green Joshka Fischer pointed out in an op-ed yesterday, this leaves us with only one realistic policy option: to prepare for a controlled default. But since Europe’s leaders seem unwilling and/or incapable of even considering this as a legitimate policy option, the people are going to have to drive this option home themselves.
Unfortunately for Greece and for Europe, the only way to demand a sane solution to this overwhelming crisis right now is through a full-blown revoltagainst the Greek political establishment and the foreign powers to which it has been so beholden. From Syntagma Square, we are hearing nothing less than a cry for revolution.
As Costas Douzinas just put it in The Guardian:
Syntagma has become Tahrir Square in slow motion. It is a peaceful, democratic revolt that was easier to start because the fear of brutal repression is smaller, but will be harder to complete as it faces the enormous might of the European Union and global finance capital.
Whatever the outcome, in the next 48 hours, the future of Greece, Europe and the world hangs in the balance. I will be on an airplane flying back to Europe for most of it, but hope to continue updating you as soon as I get back. Until then, strength and solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Athens!


Source: http://roarmag.org/2011/06/strike-protest-austerity-athens-greece/

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Democracy’s Cradle, Rocking the World by Mark Mazower

YESTERDAY, the whole world was watching Greece as its Parliament voted to pass a divisive package of austerity measures that could have critical ramifications for the global financial system. It may come as a surprise that this tiny tip of the Balkan Peninsula could command such attention. We usually think of Greece as the home of Plato and Pericles, its real importance lying deep in antiquity. But this is hardly the first time that to understand Europe’s future, you need to turn away from the big powers at the center of the continent and look closely at what is happening in Athens. For the past 200 years, Greece has been at the forefront of Europe’s evolution.


In the 1820s, as it waged a war of independence against the Ottoman Empire, Greece became an early symbol of escape from the prison house of empire. For philhellenes, its resurrection represented the noblest of causes. “In the great morning of the world,” Shelley wrote in “Hellas,” his poem about the country’s struggle for independence, “Freedom’s splendor burst and shone!” Victory would mean liberty’s triumph not only over the Turks but also over all those dynasts who had kept so many Europeans enslaved. Germans, Italians, Poles and Americans flocked to fight under the Greek blue and white for the sake of democracy. And within a decade, the country won its freedom.
Over the next century, the radically new combination of constitutional democracy and ethnic nationalism that Greece embodied spread across the continent, culminating in “the peace to end all peace” at the end of the First World War, when the Ottoman, Hapsburg and Russian empires disintegrated and were replaced by nation-states.
In the aftermath of the First World War, Greece again paved the way for Europe’s future. Only now it was democracy’s dark side that came to the fore. In a world of nation-states, ethnic minorities like Greece’s Muslim population and the Orthodox Christians of Asia Minor were a recipe for international instability. In the early 1920s, Greek and Turkish leaders decided to swap their minority populations, expelling some two million Christians and Muslims in the interest of national homogeneity. The Greco-Turkish population exchange was the largest such organized refugee movement in history to that point and a model that the Nazis and others would point to later for displacing peoples in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India.
It is ironic, then, that Greece was in the vanguard of resistance to the Nazis, too. In the winter of 1940-41, it was the first country to fight back effectively against the Axis powers, humiliating Mussolini in the Greco-Italian war while the rest of Europe cheered. And many cheered again a few months later when a young left-wing resistance fighter named Manolis Glezos climbed the Acropolis one night with a friend and pulled down a swastika flag that the Germans had recently unfurled. (Almost 70 years later, Mr. Glezos would be tear-gassed by the Greek police while protesting the austerity program.) Ultimately, however, Greece succumbed to German occupation. Nazi rule brought with it political disintegration, mass starvation and, after liberation, the descent of the country into outright civil war between Communist and anti-Communist forces.
Only a few years after Hitler’s defeat, Greece found itself in the center of history again, as a front line in the cold war. In 1947, President Harry S. Truman used the intensifying civil war there to galvanize Congress behind the Truman Doctrine and his sweeping peacetime commitment of American resources to fight Communism and rebuild Europe. Suddenly elevated into a trans-Atlantic cause, Greece now stood for a very different Europe — one that had crippled itself by tearing itself apart, whose only path out of the destitution of the mid-1940s was as a junior partner with Washington. As the dollars poured in, American advisers sat in Athens telling Greek policy makers what to do and American napalm scorched the Greek mountains as the Communists were put to flight.
European political and economic integration was supposed to end the weakness and dependency of the divided continent, and here, too, Greece was an emblem of a new phase in its history. The fall of its military dictatorship in 1974 not only brought the country full membership in what would become the European Union; it also (along with the transitions in Spain and Portugal at the same time) prefigured the global democratization wave of the 1980s and ’90s, first in South America and Southeast Asia and then in Eastern Europe. And it gave the European Union the taste for enlargement and the ambition to turn itself from a small club of wealthy Western European states into a voice for the newly democratic continent as a whole, extending far to the south and east.
And now today, after the euphoria of the ’90s has faded and a new modesty sets in among the Europeans, it falls again to Greece to challenge the mandarins of the European Union and to ask what lies ahead for the continent. The European Union was supposed to shore up a fragmented Europe, to consolidate its democratic potential and to transform the continent into a force capable of competing on the global stage. It is perhaps fitting that one of Europe’s oldest and most democratic nation-states should be on the new front line, throwing all these achievements into question. For we are all small powers now, and once again Greece is in the forefront of the fight for the future.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/30/opinion/30mazower.html?_r=4&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

Guardian article on Greek current affairs

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

POLITICS AND RELATED WORDS

I am sure you will enjoy reading and learning the words of
 a very interesting online article about Greek political affairs: 


Your comments are always welcome here or on the Students' Page. 


The motto 'Wake Up!' was formed by burning candles during the
 indignant citizens' demonstrations at Heraklion's main square. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Suggested links to practise reading during the summer




This site especially is highly recommended to advanced learners:

The full and unabridged texts of classic works of English literature: Literature.org

Friday, April 29, 2011

Just get interested, the rest will come!

http://www.yearlyglot.com/2011/04/get-interested-the-rest-will-come/

Great article about how to learn a language and, pretty much, most of the things on this Earth! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Evening (film)




Evening is a deeply emotional film that illuminates the timeless love which binds mother and daughter -- seen through the prism of one mother's life as it crests with optimism, navigates a turning point, and ebbs to its close. Two pairs of real-life mothers and daughters -- Vanessa Redgrave and Natasha Richardson, and Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer -- portray, respectively, a mother and her daughter and the mother's best friend at different stages in life.

Overcome by the power of memory, Ann Lord (Ms. Redgrave) reveals a long-held secret to her concerned daughters; Constance (Ms. Richardson), a content wife and mother, and Nina (Toni Collette), a restless single woman. Both are bedside when Ann calls out for the man she loved more than any other.

But who is this "Harris," wonder her daughters, and what is he to our mother? While Constance and Nina try to take stock of Ann's life and their own lives, their mother is tended to by a night nurse (Eileen Atkins) as she journeys in her mind back to a summer weekend some fifty years ago, when she was Ann Grant (Claire Danes)...

Some questions that arose after I watched that film: 


Does happiness lie in small, daily, seemingly insignificant moments or in the chances we missed in life, commonly referred to as the 'road not taken'? Is happiness easily feasible? Who does it depend on: us or people who surround us?

(a little something for all of us to contemplate on :-)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Learn words through... politics!




Great learning tip, especially for adult learners: Since reading comics and cartoons helps digest complex vocabulary, why not visit Jeffrey Hill's blog, indulge in the (politically oriented, but hilarious) cartoon section and read the explanation of words used? For instance, by keeping the above cartoon in mind, you will never forget the meaning of the phrasal verb 'clamp down on'! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's raining... idioms!!!

Rolls off the Tongue: Great Facebook page including illustrations of idioms and an explanation of their meaning. That is exactly what we always say to students: form mental images if you want to retain all these idiomatic expressions!!! Comic strips or cartoons are also said to be one of the top strategies to enhance lexical uptake. Don't forget to check out the respective blog: rollsoffthetongue.tumblr.com

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY TO ALL BLOGGING LADIES!


16 of History's Most Rebellious Women


In honor of International Women's Day, TIME takes a look at some unlikely revolutionaries, from Joan of Arc to Harriet Tubman and a modern-day mother of three who became a key democracy activist in Yemen.

Read more here.



Read the captions of these photos as well as the post on the Students' Page and write your opinion about the women's achievements during the last 100 years. 


Do you believe that women nowadays have satisfactory access to education and equal privileges to men, especially concerning developing countries or certain religions, like Muslims?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder



Note:A pun on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who Wants to be a YouTubillionaire?

An amazing interactive YouTube video for the students who want to win real... imaginary money! To play the game, simply click on the answer of your choice or ask a friend (you will never guess who!) to help you by clicking on the 'phone-a-buddy' sign at the top of your screen. In case you want to look up an answer before you make a decision, you are free to google it.

FEBRUARY AS BLACK HISTORY MONTH AND ROSA PARKS

Black woman challenges race law

A black woman has been arrested by police in Montgomery, Alabama, after refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white person.

Mrs Rosa Parks now faces a fine for breaking the segregation laws which say black Americans must vacate their seats if there are white passengers left standing.

It is not the first time Mrs Parks, who is a seamstress, has defied the law on segregation.

In 1943 she was thrown off a bus for refusing to get on via the back door, which was reserved for black passengers. She became known to other drivers who sometimes refused to let her on.

Read the rest of the article here.

Questions: 

  • What are your thoughts after reading this article? 
  • Would you have done the same if you had been in Rosa’s shoes?
  • What should a group of people do if they face a similar type of oppression in the future? (Think of race, social class, religion, gender.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Do schools kill creativity?



What are the speaker's main ideas? Do you agree with him?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Learning phrasal verbs

A very interesting and useful site to learn a difficult part of english grammar: PHRASAL VERBS. http://www.learn-english-today.com/phrasal-verbs/phrasal-verb-list.htm

Friday, January 28, 2011

Immigrants: Just another social problem?

Immigrants in Greece Occupy University, Start Hunger Strike:

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/01/25/immigrants-in-greece-occupy-university-start-hunger-strike/

Read this article and explain how you feel about this influx of immigrants.

The First Flight of the Frisbee

Taken from: http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa980218.htm

Every object has a history, and behind that history an inventor, the person who thought it up first. Sometimes who was first can be a topic for hot debate: often several people independent of each other will all think of the same good idea at around the same time and will later have to argue "No it was me, I thought of it first." Many people have claimed to have invented the Frisbee.


The Frisbie Baking Company (1871-1958) of Bridgeport, Connecticut, made pies that were sold to many New England colleges. Hungry college students soon discovered that the empty pie tins could be tossed and caught, providing endless hours of game and sport. Many colleges have claimed to be the home of 'he who was first to fling.' Yale College has even argued that in 1820, a Yale undergraduate named Elihu Frisbie grabbed a passing collection tray from the chapel and flung it out into the campus, thereby becoming the true inventor of the Frisbie and winning glory for Yale. That tale is unlikely to be true since the words 'Frisbie's Pies' was embossed in all the original pie tins and from the word 'Frisbie' was coined the common name for the toy.

In 1948, a Los Angeles building inspector named Walter Frederick Morrison and his partner Warren Franscioni invented a plastic version of the Frisbie that could fly further and with better accuracy than a tin pie plate. Morrison's father was also an inventor, who invented the automotive sealed-beam headlight. Another interesting tidbit was that Morrison had just returned to America after World War II, where he had been a prisoner in the infamous Stalag 13. His partnership with Warren Franscioni, who was also a war veteran, ended before their product had achieved any real success.

Morrison (after his split with Franscioni) produced a plastic Frisbie called the Pluto Platter, to cash in on the growing popularity of UFOs with the American public. The Pluto Platter has become the basic design for all Frisbies. The outer third of the Frisbie disc is called the 'Morrison Slope', listed in the patent. Rich Knerr and A.K. 'Spud' Melin were the owners of a new toy company called 'Wham-O'. Knerr and Melin also marketed the Hula-Hoop, the Super Ball and the Water Wiggle. They pair first saw Morrison's Pluto Platter in late 1955. They liked what they saw and convinced Morrison to sell them the rights to his design. With a deal signed, Wham-O began production (1/13/1957) of more Pluto Platters. The next year, the original Frisbie Baking Company shut down and coincidentally Fred Morrison was awarded a patent (Design patent 183,626) for his flying disc. Morrison received over one million dollars in royalties for his invention.

The word 'Frisbee' is pronounced the same as the word 'Frisbie'. Rich Knerr (Wham-O) was in search of a catchy new name to help increase sales, after hearing about the original use of the terms 'Frisbie' and 'Frisbie-ing'. He borrowed from the two words to create the registered trademark Frisbee ®. Sales soared for the toy, due to Wham-O's clever marketing of Frisbee playing as a new sport. In 1964, the first professional model went on sale. Ed Headrick was the inventor at Wham-O who patented Wham-O's designs for the modern frisbee (U.S. patent 3,359,678). Ed Headrick's frisbee with its band of raised ridges called the Rings of Headrick had stablized flight as opposed to the wobbly flight of its predecessor the Pluto Platter.

In 1967, high school students in Maplewood, New Jersey, invented Ultimate Frisbee, a recognized sport that is a cross between football, soccer and basketball. Ten years later, a form of Frisbee golf was introduced, complete with professional playing courses and associations.


Sotiria, why do you like Frisbee so much? How do you feel when you play this sport? What else do you usually do in your free time? Thodoris could answer the last question, as well! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fate vs Chance

'Your mother's story is your grandmother's story and it is also your great-grandmother's story. It's your great- aunt's story too. Their lives are intertwined and that's what we really mean when we talk about fate in Greece. Our so-called fate is largely ordained by our ancestors, not by the stars. When we talk about ancient history here we always refer to destiny- but we don't really mean the uncontrollable. Of course events seem to take place out of the blue that change the course of our lives, but what really determines what happens to us are the actions of those around us now and those that came before us.'
Extract from 'The Island' (page 43) by Victoria Hislop


Do you agree with this interpretation of what fate is? Why? Why not?  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Adolescence: ECPE Reading Passage

Read the passage and answer the questions.

Adolescence is a time of tremendous changes. The adolescent may experience feelings which, at first, may seem strange. These feelings lead to changes in socialization. For example, boys and girls start to find one another attractive, which alters how they behave with friends and acquaintances. At the same time, there is a profound impact on the adolescent’s relationship with authority figures, notably parents. Perhaps, subconsciously, the adolescent realizes that parental support must be sacrificed for independence. As a result, the culmination of these changes influences how the adolescent views society and himself.

In an effort to understand the psychological development of a teenager, psychologists come across many obstacles. While a teenager, as compared to a child, is capable of discussing his emotions and rationale, he may find certain topics embarrassing. In addition, a teenager’s actions cannot be easily observed first-hand by psychologists, thus the actual facts of an adolescent’s behavior are difficult to accurately record.

A society’s perception of adolescence affects the expectations it has of a teenager. In countries such as the United States, a teenager is expected, to some extent, to be financially independent. What this means is that, instead of getting an allowance, the average teenager has an after-school, part-time job to earn pocket money. Similarly, he may be responsible for others, such as a younger brother or sister, while their parents are at work; whereas in other countries, such as those of southern Europe, a teenager is expected to devote his time solely to his studies and not work.

Once a teenager has proven to be responsible, then he is allowed certain privileges that are reserved for adults. In some states, for instance, an American high school student is allowed to drive by the age of 16. He is usually free to decide what to wear unless the school which he attends has dress restrictions. At the age of 18, an American teen can vote and live on his own but is not permitted to consume alcohol.

According to the passage, which statement is NOT true?
a Adolescents experience changes they don’t expect.
b Adolescents experience emotional changes.
c Adolescents become distant from their parents.
d Adolescents are indifferent towards the opposite sex.

What problem do psychologists face when they study adolescents?
a Psychologists won’t talk about embarrassing issues.
b Teenagers cannot explain why they act the way they do.
c First-hand observations are misleading.
d The behavior of teenagers cannot always be observed.

According to the passage, teenagers in southern European countries
a are responsible for younger siblings.
b are expected to have a part time job.
c are supposed to focus on school.
d can live alone.

In the United States, teenagers
a aren’t allowed to drink beer.
b don’t drive until they are 18.
c cannot vote until they get a job.
d wear what parents don’t allow.

The passage suggests that
a being a teenager is the best time of a person’s life.
b teenagers only worry about school.
c teenagers grow closer to their parents.
d rights and responsibilities are a part of adolescence.

Reading score: ___ / 5