In western countries, where English is the native language, most elementary school students go to school in the morning at about nine o’clock and come home at three o’clock in the afternoon. Most of the time they have very little homework, so when they get home, they are often able to spend the rest of the night watching T.V. with their families, or playing with their friends. They almost never have any classes at all on Saturdays. It is a very different story, however, for students of similar ages in Asian countries such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan. These students usually spend hours each night in Language Institutes as well as longer hours in school.
The importance of the ability to read and write English has long been recognized in Asian countries. For many years, High school students have been learning to read and write English, mainly as a means of passing very difficult university entrance exams. However, more recently, it has been regarded as just as important to speak English well. During the last few years, Taiwanese companies have had increasingly more contact with foreigners, so it is vital that business people can speak English well. Also, many students want to go overseas to study or travel, and their experience is always better if they can communicate with native speakers.
So English is now being taught at elementary school level across the country and there are thousands of Language schools around Taiwan that help young learners develop their speaking and writing skills. This is mostly a good thing, except that it does put a lot of pressure on these young children that others their age do not experience. Many of them go to school as early as eight o’clock in the morning and don’t get home until about eight o’clock at night. Some complain that they are overtired most of the time, and that there is not enough time to play with their friends.
However, although English may be difficult at first, it does get easier after the first couple of years, and most students end up enjoying it. The students who study English very hard for a few years become quite good at it and they feel that it is a lot of fun to learn. As they grow older, they enjoy speaking to foreigners very much, and they find that there are many more great jobs and interesting experiences in life open to them than is the case for their friends who cannot speak English well.
1. In western countries, how many hours a day, roughly, do elementary students go to school?
2. Which of the following can be described as a ‘western’ country?
3. Why is it important for business people to be able to speak English well?
a) To socialize with native speakers of English
b) To make themselves happier
c) To communicate in business English
d) To make their travel more exciting
4. What is the main purpose of language schools?
a) To help students with their speaking skills and writing skills
b) To help students with their English reading
c) To help students make new friends
d) To help students with their school homework
5. How do some students feel about language schools?
a) They like them because they can make new friends
b) They don’t like them because there is too much work
c) They don’t like them because they work too many hours in a day
d) They don’t like them because of the teachers are not friendly
6. How do most students feel about learning English after the first couple of years?
a) They dislike it
b) They think it’s funny
c) They enjoy it because it gets easier
d) They enjoy it because it becomes fun to learn
7. Which of the following is not mentioned as a reason to learn English?
a) Speaking to foreigners
b) Finding better jobs
c) Enjoying learning English
d) Improve grades at school
8. What was the main reason students used to learn how to read and write English?
a) Passing entrance exams
c) Reading a newspaper in English
d) Finding a job
9. How do students feel about learning English?
a) They dislike it and want to stop
b) They like it very much
c) Some dislike it at first, but a few end up enjoying it
d) Some think it is difficult at first, but most students enjoy it after a couple of years.
10. What is the main message of the essay?
a) Elementary students are different in western countries and Asian countries
b) It is very beneficial to learn English
c) Learning English gets easier after a couple of years
d) Students are very pressured in Asian elementary school
There is a family of ants that live in the ground. They live beside a beautiful lake. There are many trees around the lake. There are five ants in the family, Emily ant, Andy ant, Adam ant and mother and father ant. Everyday, they work very hard. Father ant and his two sons work all day to gather food for the biggest ant of them all, Queen ant. Mother ant and Emily ant also work hard all day. They help all the girls look after the Queen ant.
In fact, there are thousands of ants that do the same thing all day. All day, every day, they work and work and work. They never have time to rest. They never have time to play with their friends. Actually, because they work all day, they do not have any friends.
One day, Emily ant asked her mother: “Mom, why do we work all day?” Emily’s mother simply said: “We work all day because we are ants. We must all work all day to look after the Queen ant.” When Emily ant said to her mother that she wanted to make friends and play, her mother said: “You terrible girl! That is a terrible thing to say! You are an ant and your duty is to work all day with everybody for the rest of your life.”
Emily then walked off to look for more food. She was very sad, and she wished she was not an ant. Then a very handsome bee flew by. “Hello! My name is Billy the bee! Why are you so sad?” Emily said: “I wish I was not an ant. We work all day and never play. You are so lucky! I wish I could fly. If I could fly, I could see so many beautiful things!”
Billy looked at Emily and saw that she was very sad. “Look”, said he, “jump on my back and we can fly together across the lake.”Billy took Emily on his back and he started to fly over the lake. Emily closed her eyes because she was scared. But soon, she opened them and looked across the lake at all the birds. She looked down and saw fish swimming in the water. When they reached the other side, she met Billy’s friends and they were very happy to meet her. They said to her: “If you work hard for Queen ant each day, we will fly you across the lake. You can play with us.”
With this, Emily was so happy she smiled all day every day, and worked very hard for Queen ant. Then, everyday, she flew over the lake with her friends
1. How many ants are there in Emily’s family?
2. What is the job for Father Ant, Andy ant and Adam ant?
a) Help Mother ant look after Queen ant.
b) Help Billy bee take Emily across the lake
c) Gather food for Queen ant
d) None of these.
3. Why do ants not have any friends?
a) They are nasty to others
b) They eat all day
c) They don’t want to play
d) They work all day
4. What did Emily’s mother say to her when she said she wanted to play?a) Yes, sure you can play.
b) Yes, if you work for a while first.
c) No, because you have not done enough work.
d) No, because you are an ant, and ants must work.
5. Why did Emily think that Billy was lucky?
a) Because he had lots of food
b) Because he can see his friends
c) Because he can fly
d) Because he does not have to work all day
6. What did Emily do at first when she was with Billy the bee?
a) Met with Billy’s friends
b) Closed her eyes
c) Looked at all the birds
d) Saw many tiny ants running into their holes
7. What does Emily have to do so that she can play with her new friends?a) Work hard for the queen
b) Run away from her family
c) Talk to Billy and ask him first
d) Fly across the lake
8. How does Emily feel about having to work all day?
a) She likes it, because she likes the queen ant
b) She likes it, because she likes to spend time with her family
c) She doesn’t like it because it makes her very tired
d) She doesn’t like it because she has no time to play
9. How did Emily feel when she first met Billy the bee?
10. How did Emily feel when she returned home from seeing her new friends?