Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Language Development II - Week 8: 4.1 Steps to Writing a Summary (Exercise)

Exercise 1
In a paragraph of not more than 100 words, sum up the changes that took place in music around 1966 to 1967, according to the passage.
The New Music
The new music was built out of materials already in existence: blues, rock’n’roll, folk music. But although the forms remained, something wholly new and original was made out of these older elements - more original, perhaps, than even the new musicians themselves yet realise. The transformation took place in 1966 to 1967. Up to that time, the blues had been an essentially black medium. Rock’n’roll, a blues derivative, was rhythmic, raunchy, teen-age dance music. Folk music, old and modern, was popular among college students. The three forms remained musically and culturally distinct, and even as late as 1965, none of them were expressing any radically new states of consciousness. Blues expressed black soul; rock, as made famous by Elvis Presley, was the beat of youthful sensuality; and folk music, with such singers as Joan Baez, expressed anti-war sentiments as well as the universal themes of love and disillusionment.

In 1966 to 1967 there was a spontaneous transformation. In the United States, it originated with youthful rock groups playing in San Francisco. In England, it was led by the Beatles, who were already established as an extremely fine and highly individual rock group. What happened, as well as it can be put into words, was this. First, the separate musical traditions were brought together. Bob Dylan and the Jefferson Airplane played folk rock, folk ideas with a rock beat. White rock groups began experimenting with the blues. Of course, white musicians had always played the blues, but essentially as imitators of the Negro style; now it began to be the white bands’ own music. And all of the groups moved towards a broader eclecticism and synthesis. They freely took over elements from Indian ragas, from jazz, from American country music, and as time went on from even more diverse sources (one group seems recently to have been trying out Gregorian chants). What developed was a protean music, capable of an almost limitless range of expression.

The second thing that happened was that all the musical groups began using the full range of electric instruments and the technology of electronic amplifiers. The twangy electric guitar was an old country-western standby, but the new electronic effects were altogether different - so different that a new listener in 1967 might well feel that there had never been any sounds like that in the world before. The high, piercing, unearthly sounds of the guitar seemed to come from other realms. Electronics did, in fact, make possible sounds that no instrument up to that time could produce. And in studio recordings, multiple tracking, feedback and other devices made possible effects that not even an electronic band could produce live. Electronic amplification also made possible a fantastic increase in volume, the music becoming as loud and penetrating as the human ear could stand, and thereby achieving a ‘total’ effect, so that instead of an audience of passive listeners, there were now audiences of total participants, feeling the music in all of their senses and all of their bones.

Third, the music becomes a multi-media experience; a part of a total environment. In the Bay Area ballrooms, the Fillmore, the Avalon, or Pauley Ballroom at the University of California, the walls were covered with fantastic changing patterns of light, the beginning of the new art of the light show. And the audience did not sit, it danced. With records at home, listeners imitated these lighting effects as best they could, and heightened the whole experience by using drugs. Often music was played out of doors, where nature - the sea or tall redwoods - provided the environment.
(From The Greening of America by Charles Reich)

 Exercise 2

In a paragraph of not more than 100 words, say what are the various ways in which this machine can be used, and what are the objections to its use.

Lie Detector

            A new form of lie detector that works by voice analysis and which can be used without a subject’s knowledge has been introduced in Britain. The unit is already widely employed by the police and private industry in the US, and some of its applications there raise serious worries about its potential here. The Dektor psychological stress analyser (PSE) is used by private industry for pre-employment screening, investigating thefts, and even periodic staff checks. Although at least 600 of the devices are used in the US, there are apparently only three in Britain. Burns International Security Services showed its PSE at the International Fire and Security Exhibition in London last week. Philip Hicks, assistant manager of Burns’ Electron Division and the Burns official trained to use the PSE, said that one of the other two units was being employed by a private firm for pre-employment checks.

            In addition to the normally understood voice generation mechanisms - vibrations of the vocal chords and resonance of cavities inside the head - there is a third component caused by vibration of the muscles inside the mouth and throat. Normally, but not under stress, these voluntary muscles vibrate at 8-12 Hz, and this adds a clearly noticeable frequency-modulated component to the voice. The PSE works by analysing this infrasonic FM component. Dektor claims that the muscle tightening occurs very quickly, and can change from one word to the next, so that it is possible to pick out a word or phrase that caused stress.

            Dektor emphasises that the device shows only stress, not dishonesty. Three steps are suggested to overcome this difficulty. First, the subject is supposed to see a full list of the questions in advance. Second, there are ‘neutral’ questions and one to which the subject is specifically asked to lie. Third, if an individual shows stress on a vital question (such as Have you stolen more than £100 in the last six months?), then additional questions must be asked to ensure that this does not reflect an earlier theft or the subject’s knowledge of someone else responsible.

              The standard report recommended by Dektor is simply the statement ‘After careful analysis, it is the opinion of this Examiner that the Subject’s chart did contain specific reaction, indicative of deception, to the relevant questions listed below.’ And Hicks admitted that if a person showed stress and Hicks was unable to ascertain just what caused the stress, he would assume that the stress was ‘indicative of deception’.

             In the US, the device is used for pre-employment interviews, with questions such as ‘Have you used marihuana?’ and for monthly checks with branch managers, asking questions like ‘Do you suspect any present employees of cheating the company?’- which at least prevents a manager from setting his own pace to investigate possibly suspicious behaviour. Finally, US insurance investigators are now using the PSE. They need not carry it with them - only tape record the interview, usually with the permission of the unsuspecting claimant. Not only does an assessor go through the claim form to look for false claims (a questionable practice, because a person is just as likely to stress over being reminded of a lost or damaged object as to lying), but he also offers less money than requested. The claimant’s response can, apparently, be analysed to show if he is, in fact, likely to eventually accept.

           The potential application of the PSE in Britain is extremely disquieting, especially as there seems no law to prevent its use. The most serious problem is that its primary application will be in situations where people may not object - such as pre-employment interviews. But it can also be used to probe a whole range of personal issues totally unrelated to job - union and political affiliations, for example. And, of course, the PSE can be used without the subject even knowing; its inventors analysed the televised Watergate hearings and told the press who they thought was lying. Finally, the device is not foolproof but depends on the skill of the investigator, who receives only a one-week course from Dektor.

            In the US, where lie detectors of all sorts are much more widely used, Senator Sam J. Ervin has introduced a bill to virtually prohibit their use by private companies. There may be a privacy bill from the UK government this summer, and hopefully it will include the use of lie detectors. In the interim, trade unions and consumer groups should prevent their use before they become widespread.

(Article by Joseph Hanlon in New Scientist)

 Exercise 3

In a paragraph of not more than 100 words, sum up the various things a mother of small children can do (according to the writer) in order not to be trapped and oppressed by her family.

Dilemma of the Working Mother
            Living with children is one of the few situations where virtue is rewarded. Though it sounds intolerably priggish to say so, parents who think first what’s best for the children really do have an easier, more comfortable life than those who do what they like and make the children fit in.

            The key decision is: should both parents go out to work? Dr Spock takes the standard line: if a mother realises how vital her care is to a young baby ‘it may make it easier for her to decide that the extra money she might earn, or the satisfaction she might receive from an outside job, is not so important after all’.

            The evidence is, as usual, more confused. All research agrees on consistent loving care and a high level of stimulation as essential ingredients in optimal child development. But there’s increasing doubt that the 24 hours a day, seven days a week mum is the best way to provide it.
Two recent, as yet unpublished, London studies have quite independently come up with the same result: 40 per cent of mothers who stay at home with children under five are clinically depressed, although the depression is not necessarily caused by staying at home. Dr Michael Rutter, of the Maudsley Hospital, and Dr G. Stewart Prince, among others, have shown that depressed mothers produce depressed, neurotic and backward children. There are many other mothers who, without being depressed, are oppressed by the unending repetitive task of caring for a young baby, or the unceasing chatter of a toddler, and so get less pleasure from their children than they might.

          Extra money is not to be despised. It buys automatic washers, tumble driers, dish-washers to make life easier and give more real attention-time to the children. It buys time off excursions, holidays. It may make the difference between a town flat and a house with a garden, a better environment for bringing up children.

            For professional women there is another difficulty. To give up or even work part-time, probably means climbing painfully back on to the bottom rung of the ladder at 35 or 40 in galling subordination to younger and perhaps less able men.

            Assuming the still-normal situation - mother at home - there are ways to guard against the imprisoned feeling. Any arrangement will do as long as it’s regular and doesn’t involve renegotiation every time.

             For instance, once a week, a completely free day and evening during which the mother is relieved of all responsibility. She can visit friends, or go to a museum, spend all morning buying a pair of shoes and needn’t come back until she feels like it. The only rule is she must go out, not hang around catching up on household jobs. It’s best of all if combined with a regular night out for parents together. You can employ another woman to stand in for the day, set up a reciprocal arrangement with another family, or make it a Saturday when Father can take over - but that’s less good.

              The split Saturday works well for some families. Father has morning off, Mother afternoon, to do what they like unencumbered by children. Much nicer for them, too, than the family shopping expedition, which soon makes small children tired and fractious.

            Child-free weekends every few months are very restorative, and well worth the money. Family exchanges are fun for older children. Advertise if you don’t know a suitable family, but get well acquainted before you go off.
A word of caution: work which can be done at home is superficially attractive - Rhona and Robert Rapport’s book Dual-Career Families describes several households coping with this situation. But there is good evidence that withdrawal of attention is more harmful to children than physical absence - which is one reason why the switch-off phenomenon associated with maternal depression is so damaging.

           Anyone with a toddler knows how he will play happily while you cook, wash up or make beds, but no sooner do you sit down with a book, pick up a complicated piece of knitting or take out your violin than he becomes demanding and tiresome. In our house ‘Mum's writing an article’ is a signal for unusual gloom, whereas ‘Mum’s off for the weekend’ is excellent news. (But it’s not a good idea to leave a child for very long between the ages of 9 months and 2.)

(Article in The Observer Magazine)


Exercise 4

In a paragraph of not more than 100 words, sum up what the writer says about the causes of conflict.

The Causes of Conflict
           The evidence taken from the observation of the behavior of apes and children suggests that there are three clearly separable groups of simple causes for the outbreak of fighting and the exhibition of aggressiveness by individuals.

             One of the most common causes of fighting among both children and apes was over the possession of external objects. The disputed ownership of any desired object - food, clothes, toys, females, and the affection of others - was sufficient ground for an appeal to force. On Monkey Hill disputes over females were responsible for the death of thirty out of thirty-three females. Two points are of particular interest to notice about these fights for possession.
In the first place they are often carried to such an extreme that they end in the complete destruction of the objects of common desire. Toys are torn to pieces. Females are literally torn limb from limb. So overriding is the aggression once it has begun that it not only overflows all reasonable boundaries of selfishness but utterly destroys the object for which the struggle began and even the self for whose advantage the struggle was undertaken.

           In the second place it is observable, at least in children, that the object for whose possesion aggression is started may sometimes be desired by one person only or merely because it is desired by someone else. There were many cases observed by Dr Isaacs where toys and other objects which had been discarded as useless were violently defended by their owners when they became the object of some other child’s desire. The grounds of possessiveness may, therefore, be irrational in the sense that they are derived from inconsistent judgments of value. Whether sensible or irrational, contests over possession are commonly the occasion for the most ruthless use of force among children and apes.

           One of the commonest kinds of object arousing possessive desire is the notice, good will, affection, and service of other members of the group. Among children one of the commonest causes of quarrelling was ‘jealousy’ - the desire for the exclusive possession of the interest and affection of someone else, particularly the adults in charge of the children. This form of behaviour is sometimes classified as a separate cause of conflict under the name of ‘rivalry’ or ‘jealousy’. But, in point of fact, it seems to us that it is only one variety of possessiveness. The object of desire is not a material object - that is the only difference. The object is the interest and affection of other persons. What is wanted, however, is the exclusive right to that interest and affection - a property in emotions instead of in things. As subjective emotions and as causes of conflict, jealousy and rivalry are fundamentally similar to the desire for the uninterrupted possession of toys or food. Indeed, very often the persons, property which is desired, are the sources of toys and food.

             Possessiveness is, then, in all its forms a common cause of fighting. If we are to look behind the mere facts of behaviour for an explanation of this phenomenon, a teleological cause is not far to seek. The exclusive right to objects of desire is a clear and simple advantage to the possessor obit. It carries with it the certainty and continuity of satisfaction. Where there is only one claimant to a good, frustration and the possibility floss is reduced to a minimum. It is, therefore, obvious that, if the ends of the self are the only recognized ends, the whole powers of the agent, including the fullest use of his available force, will be used to establish and defend exclusive rights to possession.

           Another cause of aggression closely allied to possessiveness is the tendency for children and apes greatly to resent the intrusion of a stranger into their group. A new child in the class may be laughed at, isolated, and disliked and even set upon and pinched and bullied. A new monkey may be poked and bitten to death. It is interesting to note that it is only strangeness within a similarity of species that is resented. Monkeys do not mind being joined by a goat or a rat. Children do not object when animals are introduced to the group. Indeed, such novelties are often welcomed. But when monkeys meet a new monkey or children a strange child, aggression often occurs. This suggests strongly that the reason for the aggression is fundamentally possessiveness. The competition of the newcomers is feared. The present members of the group feel that there will be more rivals for the food or the attention of the adults.

            Finally, another common source of fighting among children is a failure or frustration in their own activity. A child will be prevented either by natural causes such as bad weather or illness or by the opposition of some adult from doing something he wishes to do at a given moment - sail his boat or ride the bicycle. The child may also frustrate itself by failing, through lack of skill or strength, to complete successfully some desired activity. Such a child will then in the ordinary sense become ’naughty.’ He will be in a bad or surly temper. And, what is of interest from our point of view, the child will indulge in aggression - attacking and fighting other children or adults. Sometimes the object of aggression will simply be the cause of frustration, a straightforward reaction. The child will kick or hit the nurse who forbids the sailing of his boat. But sometimes - indeed, frequently - the person or thing that suffers the aggression is quite irrelevant and innocent of offence. The angry child will stamp the ground or box the ears of another child when neither the ground nor the child attacked is even remotely connected with the irritation or frustration.

             Of course, this kind of behaviour is so common that everyone feels it to be obvious and to constitute no serious scientific problem. That a small boy should pull his sister’s hair because it is raining does not appear to the ordinary unreflecting person to be an occasion for solemn scientific inquiry. He is, as we should all say, ‘in a bad temper.’ Yet it is not, in fact, really obvious either why revenge should be taken on entirely innocent objects, since no good to the aggressor can come of it, or why children being miserable should seek to make others miserable also. It is just a fact of human behaviour that cannot really be deduced from any general principle of reason. But it is, as we shall see, of very great importance for our purpose. It shows how it is possible, at the simplest and most primitive level, for aggression and fighting to spring from an entirely irrelevant and partially hidden cause. Fighting to possess a desired object is straightforward and rational, however disastrous its consequences, compared with fighting that occurs because, in a different and unrelated activity, some frustration has barred the road to pleasure. The importance of this possibility for an understanding of group conflict must already be obvious.

(From Personal Aggressiveness and War by E. F. M. Durbin and John Bowlby)

 Exercise 5
In a paragraph of around 100 words, summarise the steps Mr Lewis took to abolish corporal punishment, and describe his attitude to education.

Goodbye to the Cane
        'If the head says there will be corporal punishment in the school then you are bound to get unofficial face slapping and hitting with bits of wood, metal, slippers and anything else, all the way down. And if that school shows you its punishment book with one entry a term, then I don't believe it. I know because I went through that.'

           Mr David Lewis, headmaster of Redefield secondary school, which serves the huge Blackbird Leys housing estate in Oxford, did not find it easy to get rid of the cane, but he has succeeded and now stands a firmly committed abolitionist.

          It was a gradual process with no help from the LEA. (Oxford City has only recently decided to abolish corporal punishment in primary and secondary schools as from January). The cane disappeared from the upper school in 1965, much earlier than in the lower school which finally got rid of corporal punishment about three years ago.

         The last time Mr Lewis wanted to cane a boy he had difficulty finding a cane. Eventually he found a small dilapidated one meant for junior children and administered the punishment. But he does not think it hurt the fourth former very much.

           Mr Lewis became head of the school when it opened as a new secondary modern with only 50 children in 1963. Now it has 788, all but a handful from council houses. Most parents work at the nearby British Leyland Cowley car factory.

          Because numbers in the beginning were so small and the growth of the school was gradual, problems of discipline and violence were minimal, and he feels he was luckier than other schools in this respect, particularly with the older children.

           However, the discipline of the lower school had been given over completely to the lower school head who believed in corporal punishment. Mr Lewis decided not to interfere. The responsibility, he said, had been delegated and it was 'not up to me to tell him how to do his job'. At that time, around 1966-67, there were about three first and second year children being caned each week. Most of the staff were in sympathy with the headmaster over corporal punishment - namely that violence on children by teachers did not solve any problems or do any good for the children or the school as a whole. When the particular lower school head left Redefield, corporal punishment stopped. There were no riots; the school continued as normal.

             Mr Lewis did not mention it to anyone explicitly. In time, he began to say more and more in conversation with staff or pupils, or at school assembly that he did not like the cane, that Redefield did not have a cane and finally that it never wanted to use the cane. The hardest period for Redefield was getting the last few teachers to 'cross the bridge' as Mr Lewis puts it. There was then the problem of ensuring that no unofficial corporal punishment went on in the classrooms, and cloakrooms, whether it was ear-clipping or hitting a child with a block of wood. Once the main task has been achieved, coping with the unofficial side is probably the most difficult for any school. Teachers' habits die hard. While there was no hounding of those few teachers who had their own rules at Redefield, Mr Lewis said it was essential that it stopped because by this time he was openly saying to his children, 'We don't want to hit you because we don't believe in violence and we are not a violent school.' 

             The fact that Redefield is a happy place to visit is not of course due only to the abolition of corporal punishment. But it is an essential part of the overall philosophy of the school - 'Children must be encouraged to grow up. This means they must be encouraged to have their own dignity and self-respect and must be respected as individuals by us' (extract from the aims and objects of the school issued to staff before they join Redefield).

(Report by Mark Vaughan in The Times Educational Supplement)

1 comment :

  1. Tutorial: Task 8
    In groups of 4 or 5, select any one of the essays above (first come first serve basis) and write a summary for it. Present the summary in the class.