Last week, on a flight to Washington, I met a self-assured businessman who asked me about my profession when sitting himself down comfortably next to me. I told him that I am an educator, and for twelve years I have been trying to develop and promote cri
Last week, on a flight to Washington, I met a self-assured businessman who asked me about my profession when sitting himself down comfortably next to me. I told him that I am an educator, and for twelve years I have been trying to develop and promote critical thinking about learning in mainstream education.
“Good gracious, that must be the most difficult task in the world!” He thought for a moment. “Why do you do this?”
I talked about how I had started teaching geography. I told him about the struggles of being a headmaster. And then I told him what I have since come to regard as my real turning-point experience.
It was back in 1984, when I visited what was known at the time as one of the most outstanding high schools on the Eastern seaboard. After two days there I was totally amazed. I had never met such a fine collection of young people, every one of them apparently confident, enthusiastic, sensitive and well able to manage their futures. I asked the principal how this had been achieved and he grinned. “We believe in functional literacy for all young people; that is, the ability to feel confident that you can handle the challenges of modern society. That confidence comes when you known that you are able to manage your own learning and will be able to handle that throughout a lifetime. And that,” he concluded, “requires the highest possible skills in thinking, communicating, collaborating and decision-making.”
“But, for goodness’ sake, those are just the skills I’m looking for among my employees,” exclaimed my companion. “That’s just what industry’s been trying to tell the academic world for years. Instead of listening, you continue to perpetuate a set of practices which are counterproductive to those very skills needed in employment. You teachers think that life is about working alone on some piece of academic research in an ivory tower far removed from the daily routines and the need to consult other people. You just don’t understand about working with muddle, nor do you accept the importance of rule-of-thumb calculations or even plain guesswork! This is the real world. There are real issues. What are you or anyone else going to do about just that?”
11. What was the turning point in the author’s teaching career?
A. His encounter with a self-assured businessman.
B. His visit to a high school on the Eastern seaboard
C. His appointment as a headmaster.
D. His teaching of geography.
12. What impressed the writer most when he visited a high school on the Eastern seaboard?
A. The confidence of the students in managing their own future.
B. The enthusiasm of the principal in experimenting with new methods.
C. The students’ critical attitude toward traditional education.
D. The quality of teaching and the intelligence of the students.
13.What does the principal mean by “functional literacy”?
A. The ability to read, write and make calculations.
B. The ability to do every assignment on one’s own.
C. The ability to communicate and collaborate with others.
D. The ability to feel confident in the face of challenges.
14.What qualities does the businessman prefer to see in his employees?
A. The willingness to work alone on academic research.
B. The ability to do simple calculations and plain guesswork.
C. The willingness to take business risks.
D. The ability to solve problems in the real world.
15.We can infer from the passage that the businessman _____.
A. is critical of the way students are taught in schools
B. attaches great importance to work experience
C. thinks highly of the teaching profession
D. is not satisfied with the performance of his employees
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