Aiton English

Learning Languages for Life

Category: Reading

Read for Writing: negative effects of social networks

1 – read the writing question and answer the question: What is the “topic(s)” language”?

 

Some people say that children’s use of social networks, due to the negative effects, should be restricted at home and banned at school.

To what extent do you agree?

 

 

2  – Brainstorm negative effects of networking, particularly on children / teens. Make a note

 

3 – Do the same for positive effects

4 – Look at your notes, what collocations / phrases did you use? Can you think of alternatives to increase your linguistic choice?

5 – skim read the three articles to see which points you brainstormed are made.

article one

article two

article three

 

 

 

 

6 – copy into one document the more “interesting points” on positives and negatives.

7 – highlight collocations / phrases that you would like to activate (either in this essay or another)

8 – Plan your essay:

Read the statement / questions again

Some people say that children’s use of social networks, due to the negative effects, should be restricted at home and banned at school.

To what extent do you agree?

 

  • Do you need to discuss both sides?
  • Do you need to talk about both advantages and disadvantages?

 

Answer:

As always, you just need to answer the question. In this case it is “To what extent do you agree?” So you just need to say…

fully agree / mostly agree/ generally agree / partially agreee/  fully disagree / disagree with some exceptions etc…

Naturally in your essay you will have to talk about the negatives. If you completely agree, then you won’t need to talk about positives very much, if you fully disagree, then you will need to show why common negatives are wrong, while also showing the positive sides to a greater extent.

 

9 –  write your essay

 

10 – read what others have written

 

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

 

 

 

Canadian view on Russia – US election scandal

Pre-reading

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

 

Which countries will the author critcise: Russia, China, America, Saudi Arabia, Canada?

Reading

Why is Vladimir Putin’s Russia seen as uniquely evil?

The question comes to mind again following former U.S. national security advisor Michael Flynn’s decision to plead guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about his conversations in late 2016 with Russia’s then ambassador to Washington.

So far, most reportage has concentrated on the effect this will have on U.S. President Donald Trump,

But I’m stuck on a prior question: Why did Flynn feel it necessary to lie in the first place? What was wrong with someone sure to be a key member of the new administration talking to an important foreign ambassador?

Technically, Flynn could have been charged under a 1799 law aimed at preventing private citizens from discussing matters of state with foreign entities. But it’s a law that, for obvious reasons, has never been used.

I expect Flynn wouldn’t have bothered lying to the FBI about conversations with, say, the Canadian ambassador on matters of mutual interest. But, in this climate, talking to the Russians was simply one step too far.

The ostensible reason is the widely held belief that Russian hackers working under Putin’s orders undermined the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The unspoken corollary is that Putin is responsible for Trump’s victory. The reigning conspiracy theory is that Trump and/or his minions colluded with Putin to bring this about.

All of this is possible. Sometimes there are conspiracies.

The simpler explanation, however, is that Trump won because his brand of right-wing populism worked particularly well in the complicated U.S. electoral college system and because his opponent, Hillary Clinton, ran a terrible campaign.

But the conspiracy theory fits the popular Western notion of Putin as evil genius.

I’m not sure why this notion holds. It is true that Russian elections are stacked. But as long-time political operative Donna Brazile has pointed out in a recent book, so is the U.S. Democratic Party’s nomination process.

At least the Russians do have elections, a nicety that the Saudis, say, don’t bother with.

Putin is justly criticized for unilaterally annexing Crimea to Russia. Yet no Western government berates China for its unilateral annexation of Tibet in 1950.

Beijing’s argument that Tibet is historically part of China is accepted. Putin’s argument that Crimea is historically part of Russia is not.

Canada, for instance, has imposed economic sanctions against figures around Putin for their gross violation of human rights. It has done nothing against Chinese rights violators close to Xi.

Some of the reasons for this double standard are economic. China is the world’s second-largest economy. Western business people want a piece of the action.

To that end, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to China thus week is focused on trade and investment. Don’t expect sunny Trudeau to dwell on downers such as Xi’s human rights record.

Other reasons for the double standard are geopolitical. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West became accustomed to a diminished Russia. To see it reasserting itself today in its traditional spheres of influence — Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Baltic states, Central Asia — is disconcerting.

China is also reasserting itself, particularly in the South China Sea. But that has given rise to little popular alarm in the West.

Which brings me back to Michael Flynn and America’s current fascination with the Russian threat. The notion of Trump as Putin’s malleable tool has the eerily familiar ring of Cold War paranoia. And it is equally improbable.

 

(article is adapted from here)

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

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food and Diet:

Fast food England: does putting a cap on takeaways improve people’s health?

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/40eae015e5119a5c1e23dd10d51defcabb8d6338/0_224_5542_3326/master/5542.jpg?w=620&q=20&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&dpr=2&s=3e8cd75343ede9b01f1165b5c28806f1

Roziur Choudhury prides himself on offering a healthier alternative at Grillzone, in the east London suburb of Dagenham. Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian (link below)

 

 

 

Pre-reading: activate ideas

  1. Do you think people in your country eat too much fast food?
  2. What do you think the government should do about fast food
  • ban fastfood outlets (shops)
  • introduce a cap (maximum number) on fastfood outlets
  • introduce a levy (special tax) on fastfood outlets
  • let the market decide

Pre-reading: linguistic choice

What is your linguistic choice for the gapped combinations below?

e.g.

It is too early to say whether Roziur Choudhury is the future of Britain’s  (1) _______________ fast food sector. For now, he represents its conscience.

(1) flourishing, booming, burgeoning / struggling, waning / lucractive /  vital / insignificant …….     fast food sector

 

It is too early to say whether Roziur Choudhury is the future of Britain’s  (1) _______________ fast food sector. For now, he represents its conscience.

Choudhury’s smart new Grillzone restaurant, in the east London suburb of Dagenham, aims to be a “healthy” takeaway: golden, corn-fed half-chickens roast _(2)____________ on a rotary grill; chips are fried in low-fat oil; (3) ________ chopped salad is given away free with orders.

 

“Why would I want to feed people something I would not feed my own family?” Choudhury asks.

At £3.49 for six chicken wings, however, his food is (3)____________  pricey – and the competition around here is (4)__________. There are 61 fast-food joints jostling for business within a mile radius of Grillzone, according to the Centre for Diet and Activity Research’s new “food environment assessment tool”, which offers the public unprecedented analysis of the prevalence of food outlets throughout England.

 

click here to compare your linguistic choice with the author’s

 

Food and diet listening and vocab for speaking

                                                  ⤾

Can reading books in English help improve my English?

“I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself, and falls on the other.” – MacBeth(Act I, Scene VII).

Reading books in English will……

  1.  improve your ability to read in English
  2.  help you learn / remember words that you see in the books

BUT…..

if you read Shakespeare, like the line from MacBeth above, it is  probably going to be hard, have strange words, and will be language you won’t use for speaking……… so it’s not that useful for English, unless your priority / short-term goal is to read Shakespeare:)  If your priority is not just to improve reading of Shakespeare, but improve reading and even speaking, keep the following in mind

  • listening will help more with speaking than reading books

Children learn to speak without reading, because speaking is using combinations of sounds. If you listen you hear these combinations, it is easier for your brain to re-use them for speaking. If you’re not watching TV series, online videos or movies in English, think about developing this habit before developing the habit of reading books.

  • books about your “profession” are better for speaking about your profession

If you work and need to improve English for your work, then you need specific business English. Books that aren’t about your area will not have this specific English. So if your FIRST goal is to improve your specific business English, read books connected with this FIRST. When you’re happy with that, start with “general” books.

  • choose a book that is interesting

It can be a book for children, a detective, a silly book, a strange book, a normal book. Japanese manga even!!! It is important for you to find it interesting. The more interesting it is, the more often you read, and the more deeply things go into your mind.

  • develop a habit of reading for pleasure / enjoyment

One type of reading is “intensive”. This is when you want to understand all the details, so you need to know almost all the words. This is ok for short texts like articles, but not possible when you start reading books. With books, develop the habit of “reading quickly for the general idea” (extensive reading). I know it may be difficult at first, but the advice below should help……..

  • you can miss parts!

You do not need to understand every word! Be happy at first with the general idea. If you look up all the words you do not know, it will become annoying and you will stop. So try not to use a dictionary. If you do not understand a word, guess from the context. If you do not understand a sentence, keep reading the next one. If you do not understand a paragraph, keep reading the next one. Even a page, miss a page if you want!

If you go through 20 pages in 60 minutes, you will “see” a lot more English than if you go through 2 pages in 60 minuntes, even if you miss 20%-50%. Looking up words takes a lot of time!! !  If you see a word three times and are really interested, then use a dictionary. If you want to stop reading the book after 20 pages, stop. Choose another one that is easier / more interesting.  You can come back to the first book later.

The more you read in this way, the better you get at reading, the more vocabulary you see, the more vocabulary you learn, and, in the end….you will miss less and less

  • it can be difficult at first, keep it easy

If it’s difficult, it’s bad. Because you are less likely to do it. Even if you have motivation now, you’ll lose it. So, if you want difficult, read a short article in magazines or newspapers with a specific topic. But with books, the following are easier and therefore generally better

– shorter books(or with short chapters)

–  easier language (start with adapted books if you need to)

–  familiar stories (if you have an idea of what the book is about, if you’ve read it in your language, if you’ve seen a movie, or if you’ve read about “the first half of the book” on wikipedia, it will make it easier for you. If you haven’t, then think about reading a summary of the book on wikipedia [but not all] or watching a bit of the movie)

– more dialogue, less descriptions (dialogue is easier to follow)

– author with an easier style

– more modern authors (I recently looked at Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer”. It had a lot of words I had never seen before, they were specific to that time, and place, not useful for now.)

– mini-dictionary at the back / at the bottom of the page can help, so can translation into your language on every second page. This is ok at first, but it does stop you increasing your ability to read quickly for the general idea.

 

Remember, focus on developing the habit by minimizing negatives (time, difficulty) and maximizing positives (interest, relevance)

 

 

 

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