CITY PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
When modern city life becomes too stressing, many people who live in the
city feel like moving out to the countryside. The countryside appears to offer
so much: clean air, beautiful scenery, less crime, a slower kind of life, and the
chance to 'get back to nature'. In the country you can save money when you
grow your own fruit and vegetables. For young children, the countryside can be
a very exciting place to grow up. You can explore and play outside in reasonable safety. However, there is also a price to pay if you want to give up city life for the beauties of the countryside.
For example, Mike Thomas used to work as a lawyer* in New York. He became
so tired of city life that he decided to give up his job and move to a small
village in the woods of New York State. "I get my water from a clean river and
my firewood from the woods. I grow my own food and I am able to live almost
without money," Mike says. "I work when I want to. There is a public library
nearby with free internet access and email. What more could I ever want?"
But country life is not always so idyllic*. Teenagers often find the countryside
boring and depressing because there is little or no exciting entertainment.
Services and basic conveniences in small towns and villages are not as good as
those in the city. The lack of public transport means that parents sometimes have to take their children up to 30 miles to go to school. People have less choice about where to go shopping and there is a lack of basic entertainment. This may explain why more teenagers feel unhappy in country areas.
Also villagers often dislike the so-called 'townies'. They think that people from
the cities do not really understand the true spirit of the countryside. They try
to stop farmers go shooting. They do not use local village shops, they have little
contact with the local people at all.
So, people who move from the city to the countryside should understand that
life in the country is not always easy.
2. Mike Thomas is quite happy in the countryside. Read aloud the extract which
says about it.
3.What do people from cities find attractive in the countryside?
4.What problems can people face in the countryside?
1. Read the article and say in 2—3 sentences what it is about.
Most people have an idea of what is right and what is wrong, and why things
are the way they are, and who they are and who to trust. Philosophers want to
know the truth about life for themselves and spend their time studying, thinking
and asking questions.
The first western philosophers lived in Greece. They encouraged people to
find their own answers to questions about life instead of believing the Gods
did everything. Socrates was the most famous of these. He is one of the most
famous philosophers in the world, yet he said: "One thing I know and that is that
I know nothing." This is why he never wrote or lectured. He only discussed. He
did not believe he could tell anybody anything, that it was better to encourage
Today philosophers are still encouraging people to think. Schools in some
countries teach philosophy to children. Reading books written by old
philosophers can be difficult because the language is from the past. So stories
are used to help schoolchildren make their own decisions about what is right
and wrong and think about the best way to solve problems.
Why do we need philosophy? There are plenty of people who think that killing
animals is cruel, but eating animals is fine. If you are one of these people, you1
should ask yourself why. Why is killing animals cruel? Why is it okay to eat
animals? You might find that the answer to each question is very different
and you could have an argument by yourself using your own ideas! Go on and
argue — you will understand. You will begin to understand the subject more
deeply. And this helps you to feel comfortable with it. When we ask ourselves
questions, we start to understand ourselves and our lives, and it's up to us
to make changes or not. If the ideas in your head agree, this means you have
integrity*. What you say and what you do are the same. Everyone respects
someone who has integrity!
By thinking and questioning, we can understand more and maybe prevent
problems caused by misunderstanding.
2. Socrates is a famous ancient Greek philosopher. Read aloud the extract which
tells about him.
3. How are children taught to think?
4. Why do we need philosophy?
1.Read the article and say in 2—3 sentences what it is about.
Are you sure that you are a polite person? Good manners are important
across the globe, but that doesn't mean they are the same all over the world.
That's what Marta Ingram, who is English, understood when she married
Alexander, who is Russian.
When I first met Alexander and he said to me, in Russian, "Naley mne tchai —
pour me some tea." I got angry and answered, "Pour it yourself." Translated into
English, without a 'Couldyou?..' and a 'please', it sounded really rude to me. But
in Russian it was fine — you don't have to add any polite words.
However, when I took Alexander home to meet my parents in the UK, I had to
give him an intensive course in pleases and thank yous (which he thought was
completely unnecessary), and to teach him to say sorry even if someone else
steps on his foot, and to smile, smile, smile.
Another thing which Alexander just couldn't understand was why people said
things like, "Would you mind passing me the salt, please?" He said, "It's only
the salt, for goodness sake! What do you say if you want a real favour?"
He watched in amazement when at a dinner party in England we had to eat some really disgusting food and I said, "Mmm... delicious." In Russia people are much more direct. The first time Alexander's mother came to our house for dinner in Moscow, she told me that my soup needed some flavouring. After that when we argued about it my husband said, "Do you prefer your guest to lie?"
Alexander complained that in England he felt like a 'village idiot', because in
Russia if you smile all the time people think that you are mad. In fact, this is
exactly what my husband's friends thought of me the first time I went to Russia
because I smiled at everyone, and translated every 'please'and 'thankyou'horn
English into Russian.
At home we now have an agreement, if we are speaking Russian, we can say
"Pour me some tea", and make just a noise like a grunt when I get it to him. But
when we are speaking English he has to add a 'please', a thank you', and a smile.
2.What did Marta Ingram understand when she met Alexander? Read aloud the
extract which says about it.
3.Can you prove that the Russian and the English ideas of good manners are
4.What sort of decision did Marta and Alexander make?
I. Read the article and say in 2—3 sentences what it is about.
Being old is when you know all the answers,
but nobody asks you the questions.
My grandmother moved into an old people's home when she was 80 and I visited her there when I was in Britain. She was sitting in the living room with about fifteen other residents, mostly women, half of them asleep. The room was clean and warm and the care assistants were kind and cheerful. 'The News' was on to snore the television, and the only other sound was snoring*. People only moved when they needed to be helped to the bathroom. It was depressing. I wanted to leave.
So when I came across a newspaper article about a new type of old people's
homes in France, I felt happy. The idea is simple, but revolutionary: combining
a residential home for the elderly with a nursery school in the same building.
The children and the residents eat lunch together and share activities such as
music, painting, gardening and caring for the pets. In the afternoons, the old
people enjoy reading or telling stories to the children and, if a child is feelinj
sad or tired, there is always a kind adult to talk and help. There are trips out
and birthday parties too.
The advantages are enormous for everyone concerned. The children are happj
because they get a lot more individual attention and respond well because
someone has time for them. They also learn that old people are not different
or frightening in any way. And of course, they see illness and death and learn
to accept them. The residents are happy because they feel useful and needed
They are more active and more interested in life when the children are around
and they take more interest in their appearance too. And the staff are happy
because they see an improvement in the physical and psychological health of
the residents and have an army of assistants to help with the children.
If older people can understand and accept the youth of today, and vice versa,
there will be less conflict in a community. In a world where the number of old
people is increasing, we need as much understanding and tolerance as possible
2. The author's Granny lived in an old people's home. Read aloud the extract which describes the atmosphere there.
3. What is the concept of a French old people's home?
4. Why do people feel happy there?
1.Read the people's opinions on smoking in the internet chat and say in 2—3
sentences what they are discussing.
IS SMOKING VERY BAD?
Peter: I am an athlete. Growing up I was constantly around cigarettes, so you
guessed it, I started smoking too. But as a few years passed it became more
difficult to do my sports. Although I didn't see a change at the beginning I
definitely did later. Even now, I still have breathing problems even though I
have given up smoking. I understand that everyone wants to experiment, but
I can say to all of you — don't make the mistake I made. Don't be stupid guys,
you're better than that!
Kate: In my opinion, smoking should be banned in public places because
nonsmokers shouldn't breathe the smoke of smokers. For example, at the disco,
smokers don't respect nonsmokers and dance in smoke. It's dangerous. Kids also
have to be protected from smokers with a smoking ban.
Mike: Why is it that people always mention peer* pressure as a big reason
for people to start smoking? I started smoking to protest against my parents.
Because of the simple fact — I wasn't supposed to.
Jane: Now, some people say that smoking is done for a sense of relaxation. Let
me tell you one thing, folks: I seriously think that the relaxation some of you use as an excuse for smoking comes from the movements performed by your lungs, certainly not the tobacco! Just go out and take a deep breath!
Joe: One person stated that smoking was the number one cause of death
therefore it should be illegal. Actually car accidents kill more people per year. So I guess we should make driving illegal. The truth is we all need to stop screaming for everything we disagree with to be illegal. I own* my body so I SHOULD have the right to do with it whatever I see fit. This includes drugs. Prohibition doesn't do anything positive. Education is the only answer.
Sam: I understand that tobacco is addictive* and very difficult to stop using
later in life, but I will stand by my statement that anybody (who starts smoking
today and lives in the U.S. or another developed country where the harmful
effects are clear) either has lived under a rock his whole life or is just plain
2.Who is for banning smoking in public places? Read aloud what he/she thinks
3.What arguments do people use to encourage others to stop smoking?
4.Can you prove that people's opinions about smoking are varied and even
1.Read the article and say in 2—3 sentences what it is about.
CHILDREN AND GARDENING
A lot of children these days have a dislike of vegetables and they often have
little knowledge of where food comes from — either it's from a tin (metal box),
a packet or a plastic bag. And this is why some schools have begun projects
which help children understand more about nature and also get to like healthy,
One school in Derbyshire in northern England was really proud of its project.
The course lasted a total of six weeks. In this time, the children learned about
growing vegetables and healthy living. They also learned how to make supports
in wood for climbing plants like beans and peas. They helped to plant vegetables and take care of their vegetable gardens. It helped the children understand more about where food comes from and it also brought different people together.
In another project in Wales schoolchildren grew their own vegetables without
the use of dangerous chemicals and they learned about the problems caused by
intensive farming. As a result, the children began eating a lot more fresh fruit
and vegetables instead of crisps and chocolate. The head teacher says that this
has contributed to the children's health and it has also resulted in less rubbish
in the school playground.
In Scotland teachers have found that children's mathematical skills have
become better as a result of learning to grow their own vegetables. The children
measured the size of their vegetable garden and calculated the space that they
needed to grow the optimum number of vegetables. They also used Maths to find out how much food they could grow on their plot of land. Then they compared their result with the actual amount of food that they grew. They also calculated the cost of producing each vegetable. The head teacher said that the children had enjoyed the project. They had learned about how Maths can be used in the real world.
The projects were such a great success that some of them were shown on TV.
2. Why did the schools begin the projects connected with vegetables? Read aloud the extract which says about it.
3. What did the projects teach the children in England and Wales?
4. How did growing vegetables help the children to develop their mathematical
skills and good habits?
1.Read the article and say in 2—3 sentences what it is about.