MATERIAL FOR RENDERING AND DISCUSSION

I. Study the text and retell it:

CHILD, PARENTS, SCHOOL

America's families and their children are in trouble, trouble so deep and pervasive as to threaten the future of our nation. The source of the trouble is nothing less than a national neglect of children and those primarily engaged in their care-America's parents.

... In today world parents find themselves at the mercy of a society which imposes pressures and priorities that allow neither time nor place for meaningful activities and relations between children and adults, which downgrade the role of parents and the function of parenthood, and which prevent the parent from doing things he wants to do as a guide, friend, and companion to his children ...

The frustrations are great for the family of poverty where the capacity for human response is crippled by hunger, cold, filth, sickness, and despair. No parent who spends his days in search of menial work, and hbs nights in keeping the rats away from the crib can be expected to find the time-let alone the heart-to engage in constructive activities with his children or serve as a stable source of love and discipline ...

For families who can get along, the rats are gone, but the rat race remains. The demands of a job, or often of two jobs, that claim mealtimes, evenings and weekends as well as days, the trips and moves necessary to get ahead or simply hold one's own; the ever increasing time spent in commuting, evening out, social and community obligation-all the things one has to do to meet so-called primary responsibilities-produce a situation

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in which a child often spends more time with a passive baby-sitter than a participating parent.

And even when the parent is at home, a compelling force cuts off communication and response among the family members. Although television could, if used creatively, enrich the activities of children and families, it now only undermines them. Like the sorcerer of old, the television set casts its magic spell, freezing speech and action and turning the living into silent statues so long as the enchantment lasts. The primary danger of the television screen lies not so much in the behaviour it produces as the behaviour it prevents-the talks, the games, the family festivities and arguments through which much of child's learning takes place and his character is formed. Turning on the television set can turn off the process that transforms children into people ...

Yes, this is what is happening in America today. We are experiencing a breakdown in the process of making human beings human. By isolating our children from the rest of society, we abandon them to the world devoid of adults and ruled by the destructive impulses and compelling pressures both of the age-segregated peer group and the aggressive and ex-ploitive television screen.

(From the book "Two Worlds of Childhood.
US and USSR" by Urie Bronfenbrenner)

II. Find in the text the English equivalents for the following:

пренебрежение; оказывать давление и налагать обязанности; снижать роль; деятельность, имеющая смысл; руководитель; обездоленная семья; способность к душевному отклику; творческая деятельность; погоня за общественным успехом; совершать регулярные поездки; родитель, участвующий в деятельности ребенка; нарушать общение; процесс превращения детей в людей; сегрегированная по возрасту группа сверстников

III. Ask questions to the above text using the words from Ex. II.

IV. Retell the text using the words from Ex. II.

V. Discuss the problems dealt with in the extract given below:

If the child is to become a responsible person, he must not only be exposed to adults engaged in demanding tasks, but himself, from early on, begin to participate in such activities ...

While training for responsibility by giving responsibility clearly begins in the family, the institution which has probably done the most to keep children insulated from challenging social tasks is the American school system ...

In terms of content, education in America, when viewed from a cross-cultural perspective, seems peculiarly one-sided; it emphasizes subject matter to the exclusion of another moral aspect of the child's development-what the Russians call vospitanie-the development of the child's qualities as a person - his values, motives and patterns of social response ...

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... our school and thereby our children, are kept from the immediate social environment, from the life of the community, neighbourhood, and the families ... '

Moreover, the insularity characterizing the relation of the American school to the outside world is repeated within the school system itself, where children are segregated into classrooms that have little social connection with each other or to the school as a common community, for which members take active responsibility both as individuals and groups.

(From the book "Two Worlds of Childhood.
US and USSR" by Urie Bronfenbrenner)

VI. Render the text into English:

Основное различие между американскими и советскими школами состоит, на наш взгляд, в том, что в последних огромное значение придается не только обучению предметам, но и воспитанию.

Деятельность каждого ученика постоянно обсуждается его товарищами и оценивается по шкале, разработанной программами и методическими пособиями. Поскольку успехи каждого ребенка отражают успехи всего коллектива, членом которого он является, то все, естественно, стараются помочь друг другу и добиться того, чтобы никто не отставал ни в учебе, ни в поведении. Так, детский коллектив становится выразителем требований государства и общества. Подобно всякому советскому коллективу, он и поощряет; и порицает. Порицания обычно принимают форму групповых санкций, выраженных в публичной критике вплоть до угрозы исключить провинившегося, из своих рядов.

Наиболее яркая черта воспитания в коллективе - поощрение бескорыстия и благородства. Детей приучают не только помorать друг другу; при существующей системе так называемorо шефства весь класс принимает на себя заботу об одном из младших классов. Старшие ученики провожают младших в школу, играют с ними на переменах, разучивают вместе с "подшефными" новые песни, читают им вслух, помorают выполнять домашние задания - проще говоря, относятся к ним, как старшие братья и сестры. Более того, исполнение этих гражданских обязанностей учитывается и соответственно оценивается как учителем, так и общешкольным коллективом.

Система шефства охватывает и коллективы взрослых: школа может быть подопечной фабрики, завода, учреждения. Рабочие и служащие уделяют немало времени "своему классу". Подобная традиция позволяет взрослым участвовать в делах и помыслах детей куда как более активно, чем в нашей стране.

Теперь мы видим, что на всех уровнях,, от классной парты до колхоза или фабрики, коллектив - основа процесса воспитания.

(Ури Бронфенбреннер. "Два мира детства.
Дети в США и СССР")

VII. Answer the following questions and discuss the points raised in them:

1. What accounts for the growing alienation of youth in the USA! 2. What is done in this country to make the child a responsible person? 3. What are the basic patterns of Soviet upbringing, both within the family

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and in collective settings? 4. What roles do parents, school and age-segregated groups play in upbringing of children in the USSR and USA? 5. What is the role of mother and father in a modern family? 6. Is the young Soviet mother more eager than her parents to enroll her child in nursery? And why? 7. How does the regular school using the well-proven techniques of collective upbringing care for individual needs of a child?

VIII. Comment on the following quotations:

1. "Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them." (O. Wilde) 2. "The childhood shows the man as morning shows the day." (J. Milton) 3. "It is a wise father that knows his own child." (W. Shakespeare) 4. "When children are doing nothing, they are doing mischief." (H. Fielding)

IX. Read the following essay on the relations between parents and children in nowadays Britain. Speak for or against the point of view expressed by the author:

PARENTS ARE TOO PERMISSIVE WITH THEIR CHILDREN NOWADAYS

... The child's happiness is all-important, the psychologists say, but what about the parents' happiness? Parents suffer constantly from fear and guilt while their children gaily romp about pulling the place apart. A good old-fashioned spanking is out of the question: no modern child-rearing manual would permit such barbarity. The trouble is you are not allowed even to shout ... Certainly a child needs love, and a lot of it. But the excessive permissiveness of modern parents is surely doing more harm than good.

Psychologists have succeeded in undermining parents' confidence in their own authority. And it hasn't taken children long to get wind of the fact. In addition to the great modern classics on child care, there are countless articles in magazines and newspapers. With so much unsolicited advice flying about, mum and dad just don't know what to do any more. In the end, they do nothing at all. So, from early childhood, the kids are in charge and parents' lives are regulated according to the needs of their offspring. When the little dears develop into teenagers, they take complete control. Lax authority over the years makes adolescent rebellion against parents all the more violent. If the young people are going to have a party, for instance, parents are asked to leave the house. Their presence merely spoils the fun. What else can the poor parents do but obey?

... The spread of-juvenile delinquency in our own age is largely due to parental laxity. Mother, believing that little Johnny can look after himself, is not at home when he returns from school, so little Johnny roams the streets. The dividing line between permissiveness and sheer negligence is very fine indeed.

(From "For and Against"
by L.G. Alexander)

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X. Write an argumentative essay1 on one of the topics:

  1. A child's a plaything for an hour. (Mary Lamb)
  2. The teen-age world is a place of extremes.
  3. Parents and young children cannot be expected to see eye to eye as they have grown in different generation.

XI. Comment on the pictures.

 Out with it!
Out with it!

 Do you really want us to buy you a guitar, so that you could ridicule our way of life?
Do you really want us to buy you a guitar, so that you could ridicule our way of life?

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1 Present a viewpoint for or against a proposition. Define your attitude to the problem under discussion. Make 6ut a full plan before attempting to write your essay. Choose illustrations carefully to prove your case. Keep your English as simple and direct as possible. The length of an essay should be between 600 and 800 words.


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