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Ask an American schoolchild what he or she is learning in school these days and you might even get a reply, provided you ask it in Spanish. But don't bother, here's the answer: Americans nowadays are not learning any of the things that we learned in our day, like reading and writing. Apparently these are considered fusty old subjects, invented by white males to oppress women and minorities.

What are they learning? In a Vermont college town I found the answer sitting in a toy store book rack, next to typical kids' books like Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy Is Dysfunctional. It's a teacher's guide called Happy To Be Me, subtitled Building Self Esteem.

Self-esteem, as it turns out, is a big subject in American classrooms. Many American schools see building it as important as teaching reading and writing. They call it "whole language" teaching, borrowing terminology from the granola people to compete in the education marketplace.

No one ever spent a moment building my self-esteem when I was in school. In fact, from the day I first stepped inside a classroom my self-esteem was one big demolition site. All that mattered was "the subject", be it geography, history, or mathematics. I was praised when I remembered that "near", "fit", "friendly", "pleasing", "like" and their opposites took the dative case in Latin. I was reviled when I forgot what a cosine was good for. Generally I lived my school years beneath a torrent of castigation so consistent I eventually ceased to hear it, as people who live near the sea eventually stop hearing the waves.

Schools have changed. Reviling is out, for one thing. More important, subjects have changed. Whereas I learned English, modern kids learn something called "language skills." Whereas I learned writing, modern kids learn something called "communication". Communication, the book tells us, is seven per cent words, 23 per cent facial expression, 20 per cent tone of voice, and 50 per cent body language. So this column, with its carefully chosen words, would earn me at most a grade of seven per cent. That is, if the school even gave out something as oppressive and demanding as grades.

The result is that, in place of English classes, American children are getting a course in How to Win Friends and Influence People. Consider the new attitude toward journal writing: I remember one high school English class when we were required to keep a journal. The idea was to emulate those great writers who confided in diaries, searching their souls and honing their critical thinking on paper.

"Happy To Be Me" states that journals are a great way for students to get in touch with their feelings. Tell students they can write one sentence or a whole page. Reassure them that no one, not even you, will read what they write. After the unit, hopefully all students will be feeling good about themselves and will want to share some of their entries with the class.

There was a time when no self-respecting book for English teachers would use "great" or "hopefully" that way. Moreover, back then the purpose of English courses (an antique term for "Unit") was not to help students "feel good about themselves." Which is good, because all that reviling didn't make me feel particularly good about anything.

Which of the following is the author implying in paragraph 5?

A.Self-criticism has gone too far.

B.Communication is a more comprehensive category than language skills.

C.Evaluating criteria are inappropriate nowadays.

D.This column does not meet the demanding evaluation criteria of today.

  • 阅读理解: (1)It's 7 pm on a balmy Saturday night in June, and I have just ordered my first beer in I Cervejaria, a restaurant in Zambujeira do Mar, one of the prettiest villages on Portugal's in this sout

  • Walter Adamson is

    A.a mobile phone gambler.

    B.an Internet and mobile services consultant.

    C.an Internet gambling operator.

    D.a telecommunications analyst.

  • Nobody’s Watching Me

    I am a foot taller than Napoleon and twice the weight of Twiggy; on my only visit to a beautician, the woman said she found my face a challenge. Yet despite these social disadvantages I feel cheerful, happy, confident and secure.

    I work for a daily newspaper and so get to a lot of places I would otherwise never see. This year I went to Ascot to write about the people there. I saw something there that made me realize the stupidity of trying to conform, of trying to be better than anyone else. There was a small, plump woman, all dressed up—huge hat, dress with pink butterflies, long white gloves. She also had a shooting stick. But because she was so plump, when she sat on the stick it went deep into the ground and she couldn't pull it out. She tugged and tugged, tears of rage in her eyes. When the final tug brought it out, she crashed with it to the ground."

    I saw her walk away. Her day had been ruined. She had made a fool of herself in public--she had impressed nobody. In her own sad, red eyes she was a failure.

    I remember well when I was like that, in the days before I learned that nobody really cared what you do . . .

    I remember the pain of my first dance, something that is always meant to be a wonderful occasion for a girl... There was a fashion then for diamante (人造钻石) ear-rings, and I wore them so often practicing for the big night that I got two great sores on my ears and had to put sticking-plaster on them. Perhaps it was this that made nobody want to dance with me. Whatever it was, there I sat for four hours and 43 minutes. When I came home, I told my parents that I had a marvelous time and that my feet were sore from dancing. They were pleased at my success and they went to bed happily, but I went to my room and tore the bits of sticking-plaster off my ears and felt forlorn and disconsolate.

    ‘The beautician found the writer's face a challenge’, which means _________.

    A.she thought it was a challenge to have such a face repaired

    B.she thought it was a challenge to deal with such a face

    C.the writer's face challenged the beautician's

    D.it was a challenge to find the writer's face

  • Sixty-eight percent of America's wealth is generated by manufacturing. If the United States hopes to continue to maintain a position of prestige and remain competitive in the global economy, it must have a strong manufacturing sector.

    What has been done to maintain the competitive position of the United States as a major manufacturing nation? Unfortunately, it would appear too little has been done. While spending about $150 billion per year on research and development — more than the U.K., France and lapan combined — the United States has not paid sufficient attention to manufacturing and technology transfer. The National Science Foundation spends only 13 percent of its budget on engineering and only 1.2 percent on manufacturing. In Germany, 30 percent of the research funding goes to engineering and 15 percent to manufacturing. The U. S. Department of Commerce has only five government-run technology centers while Japan has 170 government-run technology centers bringing new manufacturing techniques to business.

    In terms of scientific research, the United States has done very well. About one third of the world's scientific papers are produced by the United States. The nearest competitors are the United Kingdom with 8.2 percent, Japan with 7.7 percent and the former Soviet Union with 7.6 percent. Almost 50 percent of all references cited in other scientific papers are American; the nearest competitors are all below 10 percent.

    Some of the problems of American industry can be illustrated by a few examples:

    The number of hours it takes to build an automobile in the United States has increased; in

    Japan it has decreased (by 60 percent between the years 1970 and 1981 alone).

    It now takes half as much time to assemble a Toyota as to assemble a General Motors automobile.

    It took nine years for the United States to go from research to production of Numerically Controlled (NC) machine tools; in Japan it took only two years.

    Typical Japanese machine tool accuracy and repeatability are better than that of equivalent U.S. machines.

    The use of robots in the United States lags behind other industrialized nations:

    Japan 550,000

    Europe 69,000

    Former Soviet Union 62,000

    United States 37,000

    The Japanese use five times more Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) than the United States.

    What would the author probably suggest in the section that follows this passage?

    A.The U.S. should reduce the time needed to assemble an automobile.

    B.Achievement of world class manufacturing is essential to the U. S..

    C.The U.S. should take pride in her scientific research.

    D.Japan is the leader in technology transfer.