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WASHINGTON, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States and the first carefully planned capital in the world. It is situated between Virginia and Maryland on the Potomac River. The district is named after Columbus.

The city was planned by a French engineer Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant. This work was completed by Major Andrew Ellicott and Benjamin Banneker, a freeborn black man, who was an astronomer and mathematician.

Washington is one of the most beautiful and unusual cities in the USA. It has little industry. One reason Washington looks different from other cities is that no buildings in the city may be more than 40 meters tall. There are no skyscrapers because they would hide the city’s monuments from view.

The federal government and tourism are the mainstays of the city’s economy. Thousands of tourists visit Washington every day. People from all parts of the United States come to see their capital and the monuments to those who in past centuries struggled for the independence of their country.

 

The White House

The White House, the official residence of the President, is at Pennsylvania in Washington, D. C. The place was chosen by President Washington and Pierre Charles L’Enfant, and the architect was James Hoban. The first residents of the White House were President and Mrs. John Adams in November 1800. The building was fired by the British in 1814, during the War of 1812.

From December 1848 to March 1952, the interior of the White House was rebuilt.

The rooms for public functions are on the first floor; the second and third floors are used as the residence of the President and the First Family. There are 132 rooms in the White House.

 

 

GREAT BRITAIN

 

Great Britain is situated to the north-west of Europe on the British Isles. It is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The official name of the country is the United Kingdom (U.K.). Great Britain is separated from the Continent by the English Channel and is connected with many countries be sea.

The climate of Britain is mild and warm because of the warm Gulf Stream. Most of the mountains are in the north, in Scotland, but they are not very high. Scotland is also famous for its beautiful lakes. The rivers in Great Britain are not long but many of them are deep. The longest rivers are the Clyde and the Thames.

London, the capital of the country, is situated on the Thames. The most important industrial cities are Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Edinburgh, Birmingham and others. Cambridge and Oxford are famous university cities.

The U.K. is a constitutional monarchy. The official head of the state is the king or the queen. But the power of the monarch is limited by Parliament which is made up of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Members of the House of Lords are appointed, and members of the House of Commons are elected by people. Parliament

makes laws. The head of the Government is the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the party in power. At present there are four main political parties in Great Britain: the Conservative, the Labour, the Liberal and Social-Democratic Party.

The official language of Great Britain is English. It is now spoken in many countries of the world: the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and others.

 

LONDON

Let us go sightseeing in London and visit the principal places of interest. We’ll start our tour from Trafalgar Square, which is the geographical centre of London. Trafalgar Square is also a historical place. In the middle of it is the famous Nelson Column, which was built in memory of Admiral Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar. Here, there is also the National Gallery with its wonderful collection of works from the British, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish schools. Now we go down Whitehall, and turn to the right to a quiet street. This is the famous Downing Street and house No. 10 is the residence of the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

And now we are in Westminster. It is the most important part of London. Here you see the Houses of Parliament. It is a beautiful building with two towers: the Clock Tower with Big Ben and the Victoria Tower with the national flag over it. Opposite the Houses of Parliament is Westminster Abbey. Many English kings and queens were crowned and are burried there.

Another interesting sight in the West End is Hyde Park. It is the largest of London parks and is famous for its Speaker’a Corner which attracts a lot of tourists. The West End is full of museums, art galleries, the best theatres, cinemas, expensive clubs and shops.

Now we take a bus and go to the City, which is a small area but is the business and commercial heart of London. Very few people live there. All the main banks and offices are situated in the City. In the centre of the City there is the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Tower has a very long history. It used to be a fortress, a royal residence, then a prison, and now it is a museum.

A visit to London is full of surprises. If you are in Piccadilly Circus you can meet very strange-looking young people wearing all kinds of fancy clothes, speaking different languages.

 

The USA

 

The USA (the United States of America) is a federation of 50 states. 48 of these states are in the same general area between Canada in the north and Mexico in the south. The other two states are geographically separate. Alaska is in the extreme north-west of the American continent, and Hawaii is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The federal capital is Washington, south of New York, near the east coast. Washington is the centre of federal government but each state has its own capital and its own government. State governments have a large amount of power and independence, they make their own laws and they’re also responsible of education, for the state police force, for the prison system, for road building and many other things.

Federal laws are made by Congress which is the equivalent of the British Parliament. There are two Houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each state sends representatives and senators to Congress. Elections to the House of Representatives are held every two years, while senators are elected for a 6-year period. The President is elected separately, together with the Vice-President. They serve for a term of four years.

The President chooses the people who will form his Cabinet. These do not have to be elected Congressmen, they can be brought in from outside Congress, but the Senate must agree to their appointment.

There are two main political parties in the United States: the Democrats and the Republicans. The Democrats are slightly more to the left than the Republicans, but the differences between their policies are not usually very great.

The United States does not have a separate ceremonial head of state.

 

 

TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS

Every nation and every country has its own customs and traditions. In Britain traditions play a more important part in the life of the people than in other countries.

Englishmen are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up. Foreigners coming to England are struck at once by quite a number of customs and peculiarities in English life. Some ceremonies are rather formal, such as the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, Trooping the Colour, the State opening of Parliament. Sometimes you will see a group of cavalrymen riding on black horses through the streets of London. They wear red uniforms, shining helmets, long black boots and long white gloves. These men are Life Guards. Their special duty is to guard the king or the queen of Great Britain and very important guests of the country.

To this day an English family prefers a house with a fireplace and a garden to a flat in a modern house with central heating. Most English love gardens. Sometimes the garden in front of the house is a little square covered with cement painted green in imitation of grass and a box of flowers. They love flowers very much.

The English people like animals very much, too. Pet dogs, cats, gorses, ducks, chickens, canaries and other friends of man have a much better life in Britain than anywhere else. In Britain they have special dog shops selling food, clothes and other things for dogs. In recent years the English began to snow love for more «exotic» animals such as crocodiles, elephants, tigers, cobras, camels.

Holidays are especially rich in old traditions and are different in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. Christmas is a great English national holiday and Scotland it is not observed at all. But six days later, on New Year’s Eve the Scotts begin to enjoy themselves. All the shops and factories are closed on New Year’s Day. People invite their friends to their houses. Greetings and presents are offered.

A new tradition has been born in Britain. Every year a large number of ancient motor-cars drive from London to Brighton. Some to Brighton is a colourful demonstration. People are dressed in the clothes of those times. It is not a race, and most of the cars come to Brighton, which is sixty miles from London, only in the evening.

 

American Customs

 

Americans are very punctual. It is important to be on time at business, social and public events. If you must miss an appointment for any reason, telephone ahead to the person you were supposed to meet, saying that you won’t be able to come.

When you are invited to a home where food will be served, it is best to let your host or hostess know in advance if you are on a diet. It is all right, however, to say, «No, thank you,» if you would rather not eat or drink what is being served. No further explanation is needed, but if you would like to explain, people are interested.

In some homes the atmoshpere is quite formal. In others, it is informal and you may sit at the kitchen table to eat dinner. Informality is a way of taking you into the warmth of the family circle.

It is not always customary to sit at dinner table as we do in Russia. When you are at a party you may be walking from one sitting -room to another, talking to the guests with a glass of wine in your hand. Food is served in one of the rooms and you can help yourself to whatever you like and whenever you like.

The Americans may have a party on one occasion in several houses at a time. The party starts in one house where they have some light wine and snacks, and then move on to another house and still another, travelling from house to house, taking drinks and food with them; and previous arrangements are made about what food each family cooks. Normally three or four houses are involved. Such a party is called progressive dinner.

Generally Americans tend to be fairly informal. They often (but not always) address each other by their given names on first meetings. They also tend to abbreviate a lot. For example, Mass. Ave. Means Massachusetts Avenue. Do not be surprised and ask what these abbreviations mean.

New Year’s Day has traditionally been the occasion for starting new programs and giving up bad habits. People talk about «turning over a new leaf.» Many Americans make New Year’s resolutions, promising themselves and their families to improve their behaviour. Typical New Year’s resolutions are to spend less money, give up smoking, begin a diet, or control one’s temper. To Americans the closing of one calendar year and the opening of another is a serious, yet happy occasion.

 

WILLAM SHAKESPEARE

William Shakespeare, the greatest and most famous of English writers, and probably the greatest playwright who has ever lived, was born on the 23d of April, 1564, in Stratford-on-Avon.

In spite of his fame we know very little about his life. At the age of six he was sent to school, but had to leave it at the age of 13. His father, John Shakespeare, was a glove-maker, and when he fell into debt, William had to help him in the trade.

Just what William did between his fourteenth and eighteenth year isn’t known. At the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. Ann was eight years older than her husband and the marriage wasn’t a happy one.

When Shakespeare was twenty-one, he went to London. We don’t know why he left Stratford-on-Avon.

There is story that Shakespeare’s first job in London was holding rich men’s horses at the theatre door. But nobody can be sure that this story is true.

Later, Shakespeare became an actor and a member of a very successful acting company. It’s highly probable that The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet and some other plays by Shakespeare were performed for the first time on this stage.

Very soon, however, the actors were told that they could no longer use the land that their theatre was built on and the company had nowhere else to perform. There is a story that in the dead of night the whole acting troop took down their theatre, timber by timberm brick by brick. They carried it across the river and rebuilt it. The new theatre was called the Globe.

Shakespeare’s Globe was rather different from modern theatres. The plays were performed in the open air and the audience got wet if it rained. There was no scenery, very dew props, and the only lighting was the daylight that came from the open roof above. Women in those days weren’t allowed to act in public and all the parts (even Juliet!) were played by men. Much of the audience stood to watch the performance and moved around, talking with each other and throwing fruit at the stage if they didn’t like something.

Shakespeare wrote 37 plays: 10 tragedies (such as Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth), 17 comedies (such as As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing), 10 historical plays (such as Henry IV, Richard III.). He also left 7 books of poems.

Most of Shakespeare’s plays were not published in his lifetime. So some of them may have been lost in the fire when the Globe burnt down in 1613.

Shakespeare spent the last years of his life at Stratford, where he died, ironically, on the same date as his birthday, the 23d of April, 1616. He was buried in the church of Stratford. A monument was erected to the memory of the great playwright in the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. In 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe was restored.

 

 

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Agatha Christie is known all over the world as the Queen of Crime. She wrote 78 crime novels, 19 plays and 6 romantic novels under the name of Mary Westmacott. Her books have been translated into 103 foreign languages. She is the best-selling author in the world (after Shakespeare and the Bible). Many of her novels and short stories have been filmed. The Mousetrap, her most famous play, is now the longest-running play in history.

Agatha Christie was born at Torquay, Devonshire. She was educated at home and took singing lessons in Paris. She began writing at the end of the First World War. Her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was published in 1920. That was the first appearance of Hercule Poirot, who became one of the most popular private detectives since Sherlock Holmes. This little Belgian with the egg-shaped head and the passion for order amazes everyone by his powerful intellect and his brilliant solutions to the most complicated crimes.

Agatha Christie became generally recognised in 1926, after the publishing of her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. It’s still considered her masterpiece.

When Agatha Christie got tired of Hercule Poirot ehr invented Miss Marple, a deceptively mild old lady with her own method of investigation.

Her last Poirot book, Curtain, appeared shortly before her death, and her last Miss Marple story, Sleeping Murder, and her autobiography were published after her death.

Agatha Christie’s success with millions of readers lies in her ability to combine clever plots with excellent character drawing, and a keen sense of humour with great powers of observation. Her plots always mislead the reader and keep him in suspense. He cannot guess who the criminal is. Fortunately, evil is always conquered in her novels.

Agatha Christie’s language is simple and good and it’s pleasant to read her books in the original.

 

 

ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Ernest Hemingway is one of the great 20th century American writers. His incredible career, and the legend which developed around his impressive personality, was that of a man of action, a devil-may-care adventurer, a brave war correspondent, an amateur boxer, a big-game hunter and deep-sea fisherman, the victim of three car accidents and two plane crashes, a man of four wives and many loves, but above all a brilliant writer of stories and novels.

Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. His father was a doctor who initiated the boy into the outdoor life of hunting, camping and fishing. In high school Hemingway played football and wrote for the school newspaper.

In 1917, when the United States entered the First World War, Hemingway left home and schooling to become a young reporter for the Kansas City Star. He wanted to enlist for the war but was rejected because of an eye injury from football. Finally he managed to go to Europe as an ambulance driver for the Red Gross. He joined the Italian army and was seriously wounded.

His war experience and adventurous life provided the background for his many short stories and novels. He achieved success with A Farewell to Arms, the story of a love affair between an American lieutenant and an English nurse during the First World War.

Hemingway actively supported the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War and wrote another successful novel of war, love and death. It was For Whim the Bell Tolls.

During the Second World War Hemingway was a war correspondent first in China and then in Europe. He fought in France, and helped to liberate Paris.

In his later years Hemingway lived mostly in Cuba where his passion for deep-sea fishing provided the background for The Old Man and the Sea. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.

Hemingways is famous for his lean style, which has been widely imitated but never matched. His heroes show courage in the face of danger, a characteristic which Hemingway admired greatly and which he prided himself on possessing. Unwilling to live with the inevitable physical aging, Hemingway committed suicide, as his father had done before him under similar circumstances.

 

 

AUSTRALIA

If you go Australia it will seem to you rather an upside-down world. The seasons are the other way round. Summer is from December to February, autumn from March to May, winter from June to August, and spring from September to November. New Year is at midsummer, midwinter is in June. Hot winds blow from the north; cold winds blow from the south. The farther north you go, the hotter it gets.

You will be dazzled with magnificent landscapes and unusual plants. It will seem strange to you that trees lose their bark, not their leaves, and a lot of flowers have no smell. Even stranger than plants are the animals. Many of them are found nowhere else in the world. There live kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, platypi and a lot of rare birds.

Australia is the world’s largest island and its smallest continent. People often call Australia the «land down-under» because it lies entirely south of the equator.

Australia is the oldest of all continents. Its mountains are the worn and ancient stumos that were once higher than the Himalayas; its desert sands rose from the waves of the sea millions of years ago and still contain fossils of the marine creatures that formerly swan over them. Its animals are ancient and unique. Its wandering aboriginal tribes still live like the men of the Stone Age.

Australia is the driest continent on earth. The dour great deserts of central Australia cover 2, 000,000 square kilometres. There are few rivers there. Australian lakes which look impressive on the map, are usually little more than clay and salt pans.

Australia is the flattest of all continents. Unlike any other continent, it lacks mountains of truly alpine structure and elevation. Its most significant mountain chain is the Great Dividing Range running down most of the east coast. Because of its overall flatness and regular coastline, Australia is often called a «sprawling pancake».

An island continent, Australia was cut off from the rest of the world for millions of years. As a result, it was the last continent to be discovered and settled by Europeans.

Australia is the only continent than is also a country. As a country, it has the sixth largest area in the world after Russia, Canada, China, the United States and Brazil.

Australia is the least populated of the continents. Only 0,3% of the world’s population live there. However, Australia is the most urbanized country in the world. Two out of three of its citizens live in the eight largest cities.

The capital of Australia is Canberra.

 

 

CANADA

Canada is the second largest country in the world. It covers the northern part of North America and its total area is 9,975,000 square kilometres. Canada’s only neighbour is the USA. The border between the two countries is the longest unguarded border in the world.

Canada’s motto, «From Sea to Sea», is particularly appropriate because the country is bounded by three oceans - the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic. Its vast area includes some of the world’s largest lakes and countless smaller ones. One-third of all fresh water on Earth is in Canada.

Canada’s name comes from an Indian word kanata, which means «village». The first French settlers used the Indian name for the colony, but the official name was «New France». When the area came under the British rule in 1897, the new country was called the Dominion of Canada , or simply Canada. Canada is a union of ten provinces and two territories.

Compared with other large countries, Canada has a small population, only about 27,300,000. The country, however, is one of the world’s most prosperous. Canadians developed its rich natural resources and, in the process, have achieved a high standard of living.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and Queen Elizabeth II is its official head of state. Although the Queen holds this high position, she doesn’t rule. She serves as a symbol of British tradition. Her representative in Canada is the Governor General, whom she appoints on the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister. The Governor’s duties are limited to symbolic, mostly ceremonial acts.

The real power belongs to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The Canadian Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Commons and the Senate.

There are two official languages in the country: English and French. All Canadian children have to learn both French and English at school, but Francophones and Anglophones do not enjoy learning each other’s language.

«We have two races, two languages, two systems of religious belief, two sets of laws ... two systems of everything,» said one Canadian journalist.

There was a time when Quebec Province (Its population is 90% French) decided to separate from Canada and form a new country. Fortunately, the movement has waned.

The capital of Canada is Ottawa.

 

 

ROBERT BURNS

Robert Burns was born in 1759 and was the eldest of 7 children, growing up in a life of poverty and hard farm work. His father made sure that his sons were well educated and employed a private tutor to teach them English, French, Latin, and even Philosophy. It was the kind of education that rich children of the day might have had, certainly not the son of a poor farmer.

When Robert wasn’t having lessons he would help his father on the farm. In his spare time he started to write poetry. In 1784 Robert’s father died leaving Robert with his mother, and the rest of family, to support. The farm was a failure, the crops wouldn’t frow and to make matters worse, Robert had fallen in love with Jean Arma. They wanted to marry but Jean’s father disapproved. Burns was a poor farmer with little money and not good enough for his daughter.

Burns was fed up and planned to emigrate from Scotland to Jamaica and in order to make some money for the voyage he decided to print some of his poems. When Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was published, Burns became famous overnight and editions appeared all over the world.

Burns didn’t just write poems, he was Scotland’s first collector of folk songs. In 1787 he set off on a journey around Scotland, jotting down fragments of old songs like Auld Lang Syne, often rewriting them into the versions we know today.

In 1788 Burns and Jean Arma married and went to live at Ellisland Farm. There he wrote his famous Tam O’Shanter - a tale of a farmer who, after a night of drinking, stumbles across some dancing witches in his way home.

Burns and his family left Ellisland and moved to Dumfreys in 1793. My love is Like a Red Red Rose was written soon after.

By 1796 Burns had become dangerously ill and on the 21st of July he died, aged just 37 years old. Scotland had lost one of its best loved poets and a national hero. Burns dreamt of immortality and wanted to be the poet of Scotland. His dream came true and today his work is loved by millions all over the world.

 

 

BRITISH CHARACTER

One of the most striking features of British life is the self-discipline and courtesy of people of all classes. There is little noisy behaviour, and practically no loud disputing in the street. People do not rush excitedly for seats in buses or trains, but take their seats in queues at bus stops in a quiet and orderly manner.

The British are naturally polite and are never tired in saying «Thank you», «I’m sorry», «Beg your pardon». If you follow anyone who is entering a building or a room, he will hold a door open for you. Many foreigners have commented on a remarkable politeness of the British people.

The British don’t like displaying their emotions even in dangerous and tragic situations, and ordinary people seem to remain good/tempered and cheerful under difficulties.

They don’t like any boasting or showing off in manners, dress or speech. Sometimes they conceal their knowledge: a linguist, for example, may not mention his understanding of a foreigner’s language.

 

 

HALLOWEEN

You should be very careful on the night of October 31. This is the night when witches and ghosts come out!

Halloween is the most famous of witches’ festivals. They ride on brooms through the midnight air to meet with the Devil. Black cats, their best friends, usually accompany them.

Poor cold ghosts come out of the lonely woods and fields and warm themselves in people’s houses.

Ghosts and witches are not the only ones who come out at Halloween. From their hiding places come hundreds of demons, skeletons, goblins and other supernatural creatures.

Children in the US, Great Britain and Ireland like Halloween very much.

In the weeks before October 31, they decorate the windows of their houses and schools with pictures of witches, black cats and bats.

They make lanterns out of pumpkins. They are called jack-o’-lanterns.

Black and orange are traditional Halloween colours.

On October 31, children dress up as ghosts and witches, skeletons and Draculas, and have noisy parties.

Sometimes they go to the people’s houses and ring at the door, shouting «Trick or treat!» The person who opens the door must give the children a treat - some sweets or cookies. If not, the children play a trick on them. For example, they can throw flour at the window or draw a funny picture on the door.

Halloween parties are great fun.

 

 

APRIL FOOL’S DAY

Most European countries «celebrate» April 1st in some strange way, either by mocking the simple-minded or honouring the fool.

Most of the tricks played on this day are far from original, and many have been used so often that they have become traditional.

The most common form of the joke is to send a simple-minded person on some fruitless errand. Naturally, children are the easiest victims. They may be sent to get a dozen cock’s eggs, or a stick with one end, or a litre of sweet vinegar, or, probably, a leather hammer, or a pint of pigeon’s milk.

A popular joke is to say that something is wrong with your victim’s dress (when in fact everything is in order) or that a cockroach is crawling over his or her clothes (there’s no cockroach, of course).

At school children try to pin notices like «Kick me», or «I’m A fool» on each other’s backs. Teachers have to be very careful or they, too, might find themselves walking around with a silly sign on their backs.

Some jokes are not harmless. For example, you may step into a basin of water placed secretly where you are sure to step into it. You nay get salt in your coffee instead of sugar. You may fall on the floor because your trousers are sewn up or your shoe-laces are tied.

These jokes may be silly, but they succeed again and again.

On April 1st television and radio services join in the fun. They tell unbelievable stories and advertise nonexistent goods. Newspapers print long articles which turn out to be jokes. Often, you have to read the long article to the very end to realise that you have been fooled.

 

Тексты для чтения и перевода

Text 1

Harrow School

(from "Mozaika Angielska")

1. Harrow, a boarding-school for boys, is one of the best known of the relatively small number of fee-paying schools (called "public" though they are in fact private schools) which are attended by some 5 % of Britain's nine and a half million schoolchildren.

2. In status second only to Eton College, Harrow School is famous as the place where Winston Churchill was educated as well as six other Prime Ministers of England, Pundit Nehru, the poet Lord Byron, the play­wright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and many other emi­nent men.

3. The school is built on the top of a steep hill called Harrow-on-the Hill on the western outskirts of London, and this is what really marked it out from the three hund­red other grammar schools that were founded in the six­teenth century or continued the traditions of monastic schools.

4. At first, as the founder, John Lyon, intended, local boys came from nearby hamlets up the hill to learn their Latin. But gradually they were ousted by "foreigners", the children of rich parents, sent as boarders from their

London houses to the school on the top of the hill, rather than to the flat marshy site of Eton, beside the river Thames

5. By 1803 Harrow had three hundred and fifty boys

in residence, as many as Eton. Scarcely one was a local boy. The curriculum had not altered since the school was founded, but the atmosphere was very different. The school was largely made up of sons of the aristocracy.

6. And the bigger boys had strong views about reforming headmasters. A particular reformer made them so angry that they laid gunpowder outside his room

and the poet Byron composed savage satires. A few years later, the boys rose in revolt, seized the keys of the school, and blocked all the roads to London.

7. Everything changed in the nineteenth century. Harrow, like all the other schools of its kind, came under the influence of the great headmaster of Rugby School, Thomas Arnold, who regarded the training of a schoolchild's character as being of prime importance. So, although the old limited Latin curriculum was enlarged by modern subjects—mathematics, history and modern languages —the school authorities didn't concern themselves overmuch with academic standards. Nevertheless, Harrow School includes among its old boys-former pupils— many distinguished historians and scientists.

8. Today over seven hundred boys attend Harrow School. Each boy's parents pay a basic 760 a year in school fees. This sum represents more than an average British industrial worker earns in six months.

9. For this sum, apart from the general advantages of attending so old-established and distinguished an institute of learning, they enjoy not only excellent opportunities for all kinds of study and sport, but also tuition — often individually as well as in very small groups

and classes—from some of the best qualified teachers in Britain.

 

Notes

2. Eton College— Итон, мужская привилегированная частная средняя школа в г. Итоне

Winston Churchill -— известный политический деятель Англии, лидер консерваторов

Pundit—так называют учёных в Индии Nehru, Jawaharlal — известный политический деятель Индии eminent — знаменитый, известный

3. steep — крутой

monastic school — монастырская школа

4. hamlet—деревушка to oust — вытеснять marshy site — болотистая местность

5. scarcely — едва ли

to alter = to change—изменять

6. gunpowder — порох

savage — безжалостный, резкий revolt — бунт

7. Rugby School — Рэгби, одна из мужских привилегированных част­ных средних школ в г. Регби of prime importance — важнейший

 

 

Text 2

School Examinations in England(by D. Levin)

1. Our school examinations in England are very dif­ferent from yours. First of all, they are mostly written, that is, each pupil is given a paper on which there are certain numbers of questions to which he must write answers wi­thin a; given time.

2. It depends on the head of a school whether school examinations, or exams, as we call them for short, are held once, twice or even three times a year. In our school they are held twice a year, in March and in June. They last for three days, and there are three papers each day — two in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each lasts an hour. Examinations in practical subjects such as woodwork, art, needlework and cookery take pla­ce in an ordinary lesson period, as they need more time, and the lessons in these subjects last for two or four pe­riods.

3. The exam papers are prepared by the teachers and duplicated in the school office. The questions vary accor­ding to the subject. There are two papers in English, one which gives a choice of titles for a composition or essay and some questions on literature, and a second one with questions on grammar, the use of words, punctuation... this is really a test of the knowledge of the language.

4. The subjects examined during the three days are English, mathematics, religious knowledge, geography, history, general science, and French.

5. We divide the classes in half, mix them so that half a third form sits with half a fourth form, for examp­le, and that means that no one sits next to a person do­ing the same paper. This makes it much harder to cheat.

6. After the three days of exams, when the children breathe sighs of relief, the teachers begin to mark the pa­pers. They have several hundred papers to mark in addi­tion to their ordinary school work, and so the results are not known for some weeks.

7. The papers are marked out of a hundred, and then the pupils are listed according to the marks they have obtained. These lists are put up in the classrooms. The results are also written in the reports which are sent ho­me to the parents. The June results are totalled to find who is top in each class. At the end of the school year prizes are given to pupils and many of them depend on the results of these examinations.

Notes

2. for short — кратко

3. to duplicate — делать копию to vary — меняться, различаться

5. to mix т—смешивать to cheat — обманывать

6. to breathe a sigh of relief — вздохнуть с облегчением

7. the papers are marked out of a hundred — работы оцениваются по стобалльной системе

to obtain — получать

to total — подводить итог


Text 3

A View on Modern Examinations

(from "A Reading Spectrum" Book 5, American English)

1. In ancient times the most important examinations were spoken, not written. In the schools of ancient Gree­ce and Rome, testing usually consisted of saying poetry aloud or giving speeches.

2. In the European universities of the Middle Ages, students who were working for advanced degrees had to discuss questions in their field of study with people who had made a special study of the subject. This custom exists today as part of the process of testing candidates for the doctor's degree.

3. Generally, however, modern examinations are written. The written examination, where all students are tested on the same questions, was probably not known until the nineteenth century. Perhaps it came into exis­tence with the great increase in population and the de­velopment of modern industry. A room full of candidates for a state examination, timed exactly by electric clocks and carefully watched over by managers, resembles a group of workers at an automobile factory. Certainly, during examinations teachers and students are expected to act like machines. There is nothing very human about the examination process.

4. Two types of tests are commonly used in modern schools. The first type is sometimes called an "objecti­ve" test. It is intended to deal with facts, not personal opinions. To make up an objective test the teacher wri­tes a series of questions, each of which has only one cor­rect answer. Along with each question the teacher writes the correct answer and also three statements that look like answers to students who have not learned the mate­rial properly.

5. In objective tests the student has just one task: he must recognize the correct answer and copy its letter (or number) on his examination paper. Sometimes there is an answer sheet on which the four letters or numbers are printed. Then the student has only to circle the one that goes with the correct answer.

6. For testing students' memory of facts and de­tails, the objective test has advantages. It can be scored very quickly by the teacher or even by a machine. In a short time the teacher can find out a great deal about the student's: range of knowledge.

7. For testing some kinds of learning, however, such a test is not very satisfactory. A lucky student may guess the correct answer without really knowing the material. Moreover, some of the wrong answers are usually more incorrect than others, yet the scores on the test will not take account of this fact.

8. For a clearer picture of what the student knows, most teachers use another kind of examination in addi­tion to objective tests. They use "essay" tests which re­quire students to write long answers to broad general questions.

9. One advantage of the essay test is that it reduces the element of luck. The student cannot get a high score just by making a lucky guess. Another advantage is that it shows the examiner more about the student's ability to put facts together into a meaningful whole. It should show how deeply he has thought about the subject. So­metimes, though, essay tests have disadvantages, too. Some students are able to write rather good answers without really knowing much about the subject, while other students who actually know the material have tro­uble expressing their ideas in essay form.

10. Besides, in an essay test the student's score may depend upon the examiner's feelings at the time of rea­ding the answer. If he is feeling tired or bored, the stu­dent may receive a lower score than he should. From this standpoint the objective test gives each student a fairer chance, and of course it is easier and quicker to score.

11. Most teachers and students would probably agree that examinations are unsatisfactory. Students dislike taking them; teachers dislike giving them and scoring students' answers. Whether an objective test or an essay test is used, problems arise. When some objective ques­tions are used along with some essay questions, how­ever, a fairly clear picture of the student's knowledge can usually be obtained.

Notes

2. advanced degree — степень более высокого уровня

5. to circle — обвести кругом

6. to score — подсчитывать очки

range — объём

9. meaningful — полный смысла

10. to bore—надоедать, наскучить

fair — справедливый

Text 4

Against Selection

(from the British Communist Party's Pamphlet)

1. Today the "selection" examination, commonly known as the "11-plus" cannot be justified educationally as well as socially. It dominates the work of the entire primary school down to the youngest age groups, distor­ting the whole character of primary education and lowe­ring the standards that could be achieved. The same cri­ticism applies to the many different varieties of "selecti­on" procedure now being used by LEAs.

2. Progress in understanding how children learn and develop has led to an expansion of the aims of infant edu­cation with greater emphasis on the child's social and emotional developments. This has shown even mere clearly than before the need of small classes and well-trained teachers at the infant stage. On such foundations the infant schools could truly fulfil their purpose.

3. As things are, however, the shadow of "selection" is cast even on these, the youngest of our schoolchildren, in the effort to "spot the winners" early. Selection often starts on the day the child first goes to school.

4. Its greatest evil is felt in the junior schools whose major objective under the present system is to prepare a proportion of their pupils for the eleven-plus examina­tion. The word "proportion" is used, for so fierce is the competition for Grammar School places that children are normally segregated in "streams", the "top" stream containing those thought likely to succeed.

5. Instead of aiming to give all children a grounding in the basic school subjects, the "top" streams, "disco­vered" by tests which can be little more than a reflection of home background are intensively trained, while the real problems of improving the curriculum or developing teaching methods and providing adequate conditions to raise the educational level of all, are relatively negle­cted.

6. Where streaming is practised, "backwardness" which may be due to a variety of causes and can be lar­gely eradicated, is often falsely seen in terms of "native intelligence" and is treated as something inborn and un­changeable, instead of being narrowed by efforts to raise the standards of those who have fallen behind.

7. Every child suffers from this approach since the school ceases to be a united community; and the achieve­ment of a reasonable standard for all based on common syllabuses and the application of the best available me­thods is seriously hindered. Fine teachers whose only desire is to do the best for their pupils feel frustrated.

8. A growing number of schools are today "unstreaming" their classes and showing in practice that even under present conditions "streaming" is unnecessary. Such schools are getting as good results in the "eleven-plus" as "streamed" schools, and are aslo raising educa­tional standards.

9. A progressive future for the primary schools is, in our view, bound up with the ending of "selection" and the educational practices arising from it. We, therefore, propose that steps be taken by the Government to abo­lish the selection whatever form it takes.

 

Notes

 

1. "11-plus''—элевен-плас, экзамены для одиннадцатилетних (отбо­рочные испытания школьников в возрасте 11 лет, проводятся по окончании начальной школы)

to distort — искажать

to justify — оправдывать

LEA (Local Education Authority) — местный орган народного обра­зования

2. expansion — расширение

3. shadow — тень

to cast — бросать (тень)

to spot — определить

4. objective — цель

fierce — жестокий, суровый

to segregate — отделять, выделять

5. home background — домашняя подготовка

6. backwardness — отсталость, отставание

to eradicate — ликвидировать

native intelligence — врожденные умственные способности

inborn — врождённый

7. to cease — прекращать, переставать

to hinder — мешать, препятствовать

frustrated — разочарованный

to bind up — связывать

 

Text 5





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