Aiton English

Learning Languages for Life

Category: Linguistic Choice

Homelessness: Canada / Australia

Pre-reading

Before reading the following article from CBCnews guess your answer to the question below, then read to see if you were right:

 

What are the reasons for the jump in the amount of homeless people in Vancouver?

What does the local government plan to do?

 

Reading

Homeless count finds housing affordability crisis driving numbers up

Half of people surveyed said lack of income and lack of affordable housing main reason for plight

 

Housing costs and a lack of income are driving up the numbers of Lower Mainland homeless, 22 per cent of whom were employed full or part-time, according to the latest count conducted by Metro Vancouver.

The report issued Tuesday said the takeaway from this year’s homeless count is the need for more affordable housing.

About half of the people surveyed said housing costs and a lack of income were the main reasons they slept on the street or in shelters.

“In order to stem growing homelessness, it is clear we need more affordable housing options,” Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay, the chair of the region’s housing committee, said in a statement.

 

More seniors, fewer youths

About half the people surveyed had lived in the region 10 years or more before becoming homeless.

Vancouver, Surrey and Langley were the three cities with the most homeless people.

The report found 82 per cent of those surveyed had at least one health condition.

 

Aboriginal homelessness ‘troubling’

A finding 34 per cent of the homeless people surveyed were Aboriginal, an increase of 28 per cent from 2014, was called “troubling” by the authors of a separate report released Monday.

Aboriginal people only account for 2.5 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s total population.

“The enduring effects of colonization, the legacy of the residential school system and the impact of child welfare and the foster care system continue to impact the daily experience of many Aboriginal Peoples and families and directly contribute to the high incidence of Aboriginal homelessness,” the report read.

“The bottom line shows that Aboriginal peoples are 18 times more likely to be homeless in Metro Vancouver than the mainstream population.”

 

Read through the article again

  1. highlight 4-6 points of interest. In those points, underline some key collocations.
  2. re-tell in class the key points of interest for discussion

 

Extra

 

Read through the next article, from the Dail Telegraph (Australia), guess as many options as you can for the missing words

 

Homelessness is an increasingly 1)________problem in Sydney, especially in the inner city where it’s hard to miss the growing number of beggars, rough sleepers and people doing it tough on the streets. It’s a confronting, distressing sight.

Most of us are guilty at some stage of turning a blind eye to this suffering, writing it 2)______as a hopeless affair that can’t be solved. But that is simply not true. Sure, there is no magic 3)_______to solve homelessness, it’s a complex issue with complex causes, but there is one fundamental issue helping to perpetuate the cycle: a lack of affordable housing.

For decades, Australia has failed to meet the housing needs of our lowest income residents and nowhere is that more obvious than in Sydney. Housing affordability is at an all-time low and rents are skyrocketing, 4)_________more low and middle income earners at risk of homelessness than ever before. A single person on minimum wage can now pay up to 68 per cent of their income to rent a one-bedroom flat. Low income households earning $500 a week can pay up to 85 per cent of their income on rent. Many households are 5)___________just one unexpected expense away from disaster.

“In order to 6)___________homelessness we really need to have some affordable housing,” Homelessness NSW CEO Katherine McKernan says. “Crisis services are experiencing 7)__________demand but there’s simply nowhere to refer people into long-term accommodation.

“So there’s blockages occurring, which is why there’s an increase in rough sleeping because people simply aren’t able to access services.”

 

There’s nothing humane about sleeping on the street, it is never, ever a choice. Community attitudes, however, tend to 8)________some blame on the person experiencing it. A public perception survey by Homelessness Australia in 2014 found most people believed bad decision making, mental illness and substance abuse were the major causes of homelessness. The reality was that housing affordability, financial difficulties and family violence were much 9)_______drivers.

 

While the NSW Government has invested $22 million in additional private rental subsidies to provide access to housing for young people, women and children escaping violence, it doesn’t address 10)______________ issues like rental market affordability. It won’t address the 11)___________social housing waiting list nor the current high demand for homelessness services. And ultimately it boosts the coffers of private rental landlords rather than addressing the 11)___________issues contributing 12)_____high rents in Sydney, and the lack of affordable housing in general.

There is 13)__________evidence that a ‘housing first approach’ can reduce the risk and break the cycle of homelessness. That’s because when people have a roof over their heads with adequate support services, they’re more likely to get their life back on track.

“If you provide long-term accommodation with support, people will stay housed, they won’t fall back into homelessness,” McKernan says.

A Sydney housing forum was told last week that another 100,000 affordable homes must be made available in NSW over the next two decades to reduce housing stress and the risk of homelessness. That means 14)__________policies such as inclusionary zoning to ensure a percentage of new developments are affordable housing. That means developing innovative financial models to support more affordable housing.

An increase of supply won’t solve all of Sydney’s housing 15)_______but it will have a significant impact.

All it requires is the political will to create a city where everyone has access to housing, where everyone counts.

 

Click on the link here to find the answers, I also recommend reading the comments to the side of the article

 

 

 

Government UBI money for everyone!

What is Universal Basic Income? (UBI)

Universal Basic Income = is a form of social security[3] in which all citizens or residents of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, independent of any other income.[4

i.e. you get this money even if you have a job!

What is the difference between UBI and traditional unemployment benefits / welfare?

With traditional unemployment / welfare benefits you receive money if you do not have a job, but if you get a job you lose the benefits.

 

Does UBI sound crazy? Think again…

 

Reading 1

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

  1. Guess the author’s linguistic choice (LC) for this sentence: Robot-to-worker  ratios are rising gradually / constantly / rapidly.
  2. Which country has the highest robot-worker ratio?
  3. Author’s Linguistic Choice (LC) :The cost of robot implementation is shrinking / decreasing / plummeting.
  4. True / False: When it comes to jobs at risk, the developing world is not much better-off that the developed world.
  5. True / False: Some believe UBI could be given as a lump sum when people turn 18
  6. Author’s LC: You could make exclusions for households / people / families earning $100,000  a year or more
  7. LC: The greatest / most substantial / key benefit of UBI would be the elimination of people living below the povery line
  8. True / False: Trial projects are currently being undertaken in Kenya and Switzerland

 

Now read the infogaph here

Post -reading discussion:

  1. What do you think about the arguments for and against?
  2. Of the two case studies, Namibia and  Alaska, which is more interesting for you?
  3. Why do you think that those countries mentioned are undertaking experiments but others like Australia are not?
  4. Which proponent quote did you
  • like the most
  • find the strangest
  • disagree with

Reading 2

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

Author’s linguistic choice (LC): Finland’s pilot UBI scheme is radical / groundbreaking / unprecedented

True / False: The scheme sees people receiving 500 Euros a month

Author’s LC: The scheme is addressing / combating / tackling poverty

True / False: Under the current social welfare, claimants are afraid of losing out if they find a job.

LC: Finland has generous social security. As a result people refuse work because they feel better off with social benefits. This problem is growing / acute/ inevitable

Now read the article here

 

Post -reading discussion:

  • Do you agree that generous benefits can lead to an acute problem in terms of people turning down work?
  • The article references one person’s quote concerning “reduced stress”. What was the situation? How representative do you think it is?
  • How much do you agree with the listed benefits?

 

Video 1

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

Elon Musk believes large-scale unemployment will happen. In the video he talks about UBI, and mentions a “much harder challenge” than how to deal with income for those without jobs. What do you think this challenge is?

Now watch..

http://aitonenglish.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=488&action=edit

 

Post -reading discussion:

To what extent do you agree that:

goods and services will be in abundance due to automation?

a lot of people derive their meaning from their employment?

finding a replacement for “meaning” will / would be much more difficult than implementing a UBI sloution

 

 

Video 2

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

  1. In this talk,  Professor Peterson mentions the connection between computational (computer) power and concentration of wealth. What is the connection?
  2. When asked about the feasability of UBI,  he introduces sled dogs as a metaphor. Why do you think he does this?
  3. How do you think unemployment affects conscientious people as opposed to unconscientious people?

 

Post -video discussion:

  • To what extent are computational and cognitive skills important for making money in your country?
  • According to the speaker, people on the right believe that everyone can find a job, whereas those on the left believe everyone is equal. Do you agree with this?
  • Do you agree that people are pack animals?
  • To what extent does a person’s personality effect how the react to unemployment?
  • Do you also doubt that people with “enforced” leisure will / would figure out what to do with their lives?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elections / Protests: Kenya

Reading 1: Election / Political campaigning

 

Pre-reading 1: Your life experience – Compare and Contrast

This 2-minute video has no words.

  • compare and contrast this political rally with ones in your country/  that you’ve seen before
  • what’s your linguistic choice to describe what you see

 

Pre-reading 2: Guess what it’s like in another world

Unlike in countries like Australia and New Zealand, Kenyan politics is connected with tribes. Guess / wildly guess some answers to the following questions

  1. How many tribes do you think there are in politics?
  2. How much does the influence of one or another tribe change?
  3. Has there been any shift away from tribal politics in recent history?

Pre-reading 3: Painting the picture

Two main actors in the article you are about to read are “Uhuru Kenyatta” and “Raila Odinga”.

  1. Looking at their names, does one sound better than the other?
  2. Which actor, Kenyatta or Odinga will have more actions (verbs) in the text?
  3. The following actions are some that are used in the text: GUESS whether the actions are linked to the “Kenyatta” actor or the “Odinga” actor
  • Kenyatta / Odinga outperformed (+) a rival presidential candidate
  • Kenyatta / Odinga was seen to be a credible (+) opposition leader
  • Kenyatta / Odinga has campaigned tirelessly (+) against considerable odds (+)

 

Now read the text to answer the questions to pre-reading 2, and see if actions linked to the Kenyatta actor are different in level of positivity  to the actions linked with the “Odinga” character. Text here.

 

 

Reading 2: post-election protests

 

Pre-reading 1: Painting the picture

What’s your linguistic choice for the gapped combinations below

e.g. 1: Kenya falls into violence / Kenya descends into violence / Kenya……. into violence

 

Answers are at the end of the post. Look at them now

Pre-reading 2: What do the actors do?

Now you’ve been exposed to what the actor “Odigna” does in some texts,  have an educated guess what the actors will do

  • “Odinga says”  and / or “Odinga claims”
  • “Protests are held” and / or “protests erupt”
  • “the police used teargas” and / or “The police responded to violence with teargas”  and / or “The police crack down with teargas”

Now read and see (here)

 

Post – Reading 1: Video versus text

Would you use the linguistic choice from the article to describe the protesters / police actions?

 

 

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