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Pass the chalk

来源:www.en369.cn  作者:英语阅读网  时间:2009-09-21  

BACK in 1922, Thomas Edison predicted that "the motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and...in a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks." Well, we all make mistakes. But at least Edison did not squander vast quantities of public money on installing cinema screens in schools around the country.

  With computers, the story has been different. Many governments have packed them into schools, convinced that their presence would improve the pace and efficiency of learning. Large numbers of studies, some more academically respectable than others, have purported to show that computers help children to learn. Now, however, a study that compares classes with computers against similar classes without them casts doubt on that view.

  In the current Economic Journal, Joshua Angrist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Victor Lavy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem look at a scheme which put computers into many of Israel's primary and middle schools in the mid-1990s. Dr Angrist and Dr Lavy compare the test scores for maths and Hebrew achieved by children in the fourth and eighth grades (ie, aged about nine and 13) in schools with and without computers. They also asked the classes' teachers how they used various teaching materials, such as Xeroxed worksheets and, of course, computer programs. The researchers found that the Israeli scheme had much less effect on teaching methods in middle schools than in elementary schools. It also found no evidence that the use of computers improved children's test scores. In fact, it found the reverse. In the case of the maths scores of fourth-graders, there was a consistently negative relationship between computer use and test scores.

  The authors offer three possible explanations of why this might be. First, the introduction of computers into classrooms might have gobbled up cash that would otherwise have paid for other aspects of education. But that is unlikely in this case since the money for the programme came from the national lottery, and the study found no significant change in teaching resources, methods or training in schools that acquired computers through the scheme.

  A second possibility is that the transition to using computers in instruction takes time to have an effect. Maybe, say the authors, but the schools surveyed had been using the scheme's computers for a full school year. That was enough for the new computers to have had a large (and apparently malign) influence on fourth-grade maths scores. The third explanation is the simplest: that the use of computers in teaching is no better (and perhaps worse) than other teaching methods.

  The bottom line, says Dr Angrist, is that "the costs are clear-cut and the benefits are murky." The burden of proof now lies with the promoters of classroom computers. And the only reliable way to make their case is, surely, to conduct a proper study, with children randomly allocated to teachers who use computers and teachers who use other methods, including the cheapest of all: chalk and talk.

  Economist; 10/26/2002, Vol. 365 Issue 8296, p74, 2p, 1c

  注(1):本文选自Economist;10/26/2002, p74;

  注(2):本文习题命题模仿对象是1999年真题text4(1, 2, 3, 4)和text1第4题(第5题);

  1.We can learn from the first paragraph that __________________.

  [A] motion picture has revolutionized education system

  [B] Edison’s prediction has been proved wrong

  [C] Edison encouraged schools to install cinema screens

  [D] schools are cautious about Edison’s idea

  2.Dr. Angrist and Dr. Lavy have done the following except _______________.

  [A] comparing the test scores of students in different age groups

  [B] interviewing teachers about their teaching methods

  [C] launching the computer program in many Israeli schools

  [D] explaining students’ school performance

  3.According to Dr. Angrist and Dr. Lavy, in the Israeli scheme, students didn’t make

  improvement in their test scores because______________.

  [A] other aspects of education were affected due to cash shortage

  [B] it was not long enough for the program to take effect

  [C] there was a negative relationship between computer use and test scores

  [D] the use of computer was no better than other teaching methods

  4.It can be inferred from the last paragraph that ________________.

  [A] there hasn’t been a proper study on this issue yet

  [B] school authorities should provide proof to support the computer program

  [C] installing computers in schools costs too much, but has little or no effect

  [D] chalk and talk work better than computer in teaching

  5.The author’s attitude towards governments’ packing computers in schools seems to be

  ___________________.

  [A] biased

  [B] indifferent

  [C] disapproving

  [D] puzzling

  答案:BCDAC

  篇章剖析:

  本文为说明文,采用新闻报道体,在第一段以爱迪生所作的错误预测开始,将其与第二段中学校期望通过将电脑引入课堂来改进教学的想法进行对照,引入话题,指出学校的上述想法未必正确。第三段叙述了两位研究人员对以色列在1990年代中期将电脑引入中小学课堂所带来的教学效果的研究,以此说明电脑未必如人们所期望的那样促进课堂学习。第四段,第五段,第六段分别引述了研究人员的解释,并逐一进行分析,最后得出结论:要证明电脑有助于教学,必须进行正确的研究。

  词汇注释:

  supplant[sE5plB:nt] v. 取代,代替(另一个)

  squander[5skwRndE(r)] v. 挥霍或浪费;放荡地花掉

  purport[pE5pC:t] v. 声称

  Hebrew [5hi:bru:]n. 以色列语;希伯来人

  Xerox v. 复印

  reverse [rI5v\:s]n. 相反,颠倒:相反的事物或相反的方面

  gobble [5^Rb(E)l]v. 吞并;贪婪地攫取

  transition [trAn5sIF(E)n, trB:-]n. 转变, 转换

  malign [mE5laIn] adj. 有害的:具不良影响的;有害的

  the bottom line 要点或关键之处;结果,结局:最后结果或声明

  randomly adv. 任意地, 随便地,

  allocate [5AlEkeIt]v. 分派, 分配

  难句突破

  1.First, the introduction of computers into classrooms might have gobbled up cash that would otherwise have paid for other aspects of education.

  主体句式:the introduction might have gobbled up cash

  结构分析:本句是一个主从复合句,主句中的might have gobbled up表示对过去事实的猜测,that引导一个定语从句,限定修饰cash,其中从句中的otherwise常常用来引出虚拟语气,表示“要不然;在另一种情况下”。例如:Otherwise I might have helped you. 要不然我就帮你了。

  句子译文:第一,将电脑引入课堂可能会占用本应用于其它教育方面的资金。

  2.And the only reliable way to make their case is, surely, to conduct a proper study, with children randomly allocated to teachers who use computers and teachers who use other methods, including the cheapest of all: chalk and talk.

  主体句式:the way is to conduct a study

  结构分析:本句是一个复杂长句,不但涉及主从句,还涉及不定式,分词和介词短语。第一个不定式to make their case作定语修饰way,第二个不定式作表语;with引导的介词短语往往可以是“介词+复合宾语”的形式,其中复合宾语可以由现在分词或者过去分词来充当,由它和介词宾语之间的逻辑关系决定,例如:with her hair flying in the wind;with the paper tucked under his arm等;who引导的定语从句修饰教师,分词including 引导的短语限定修饰methods。

  句子译文:而他们所能采用的唯一可靠方法当然就是进行适当的研究,学生应该是随机分配给使用电脑教学的教师和使用其他方法教学的教师,包括最廉价的方法:粉笔和谈话。

  题目分析:

  1.答案是B,属事实细节题。文中第一段提到“we all make mistakes”,说明爱迪生的预言

  是错误的。

  2.答案是C,属事实细节题。文中第三段和第四段分别提到两位研究人员compare test

  scores;ask the classes’ teachers和offer explanations,但launch the computer program则是由以色列政府所为。

  3.答案是D,属事实细节题。从文中第四段,第五段里两位研究人员所给出的解释以及

  相应的分析可以看出,学生成绩没有提高主要是因为在教学中使用电脑并不比采用其他方法教学更好。

  4.答案是A,属推理判断题。作者在本文第二段中指出,许多学术文章都宣称使用电脑

  有助于课堂教学,但新的研究对这一说法提出了怀疑。在最后一段中,作者说要证明使用电脑有助于教学,就必须进行正确的研究。可见,作者对以前的研究方法提出了质疑。

  5.答案是C,属推理判断题。对政府在学校安装电脑一事,作者虽然没有明确提出反对,

  但字里行间都透出不赞成的态度。在第一段,作者以爱迪生的预言为例,说爱迪生至少没有浪费公共资金,言下之意就是当前发生的情况算得上是浪费公共资金的举动。在最后一段,作者引用研究人员的观点说明在学校安装电脑是成本清楚但收效模糊的事。并提出让支持使用电脑的人采用正确的方法对学校应不应该在教室安装电脑进行论证。可见作者对这一类问题持否定的态度。

  参考译文:

  1922年的时候,托马斯·爱迪生曾经预测说“电影必将革新我们的教育制度,…要不了几年,它就能取代大部分(即便不是全部的)教科书。”当然,人都会有出错的时候。不过至少在给全国各地的学校安装电影屏幕这件事上,爱迪生并没有浪费大笔公共资金。

  有了电脑,情况又不一样了。许多政府已经把电脑装进了学校,并深信电脑会提高学习的速度和效率。大量的研究,其中还包括一些学术性更强的研究,都试图说明电脑有助于儿童的学习。不过,现在有一项对用电脑教学和不用电脑教学的课堂的比较研究对这一观点提出了怀疑。

  在本期经济专刊中,来自麻省理工学院的乔舒亚·安格里斯特和耶路撒冷希伯莱大学的维克多·拉维对九十年代中期开始在许多以色列中小学安装电脑的计划进行了研究。安格里斯特博士和拉维博士比较了有电脑和没有电脑的四年级和八年级(也就是年龄在9到13岁之间)的儿童在数学和希伯莱语两个科目的考试成绩。他们还访问了课堂教师,询问他们是如何使用各种教学材料,例如复印纸,电脑设备等。两位研究者发现,这个以色列计划在改进中学教学方法方面的效果比小学的效果逊色得多。研究还发现,没有证据证明使用电脑能够提高儿童的考试成绩。实际上,情况正好相反。从四年级学生数学成绩来看,使用电脑和考试成绩的关系一直成反比。

  两位作者对这种情况提出了三种可能的解释。第一,将电脑引入课堂可能会占用本应用于其它教育方面的资金。但在这个例子当中,这种情况不太可能发生,因为该计划的资金来自国家彩票。研究发现,在按照该计划添置电脑的学校中,教学资源,教学方法或者培训并没有显著变化。

  第二种可能性就是用电脑授课的这种变化要一段时间才能见效。两位作者说的只是一种可能性,但被调查的学校使用计划中的电脑已经有整整一学年了。新电脑在这段时间里足以对四年级的数学成绩产生较大的(但显然是不利的)影响。第三种解释也最简单:在教学中使用电脑并不比其他教学方法更好(也许还更糟)。

  最后,安格里斯特博士说:“成本很清楚,但收效却很模糊。”求证效果的担子现在就落在那些提倡在课堂使用电脑的人身上了。而他们所能采用的唯一可靠方法当然就是进行适当的研究,学生应该是随机分配给使用电脑教学的教师和使用其他方法教学的教师,包括最廉价的方法:粉笔和谈话.

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