Bilingualism in Children
A One misguided legacy of over a hundred years of writing on bilingualism is that children’s intelligence will suffer if they are bilingual. Some of the earliest research into bilingualism examined whether bilingual children were ahead or behind monolingual2 children on IQ tests. From the 1920s through to the 1960s, the tendency was to find monolingual children ahead of bilinguals on IQ tests. The conclusion was that bilingual children were mentally confused. Having two languages in the brain, it was said, disrupted effective thinking. It was argued that having one well-developed language was superior to having two half-developed languages.
B The idea that bilinguals may have a lower IQ still exists among many people, particularly monolinguals. However, we now know that this early research was misconceived and incorrect. First, such research often gave bilinguals an IQ test in their weaker language – usually English. Had bilinguals been tested in Welsh or Spanish or Hebrew, a different result may have been found. The testing of bilinguals was thus unfair. Second, like was not compared with like. Bilinguals tended to come from, for example, impoverished New York or rural Welsh backgrounds. The monolinguals tended to come from more middle class, urban families. Working class bilinguals were often compared with middle class monolinguals. So the results were more likely to be due to social class differences than language differences. The comparison of monolinguals and bilinguals was unfair.
C The most recent research from Canada, the United States and Wales suggests that bilinguals are, at least, equal to monolinguals on IQ tests. When bilinguals have two well- developed languages (in the research literature called balanced bilinguals), bilinguals tend to show a slight superiority in IQ tests compared with monolinguals. This is the received psychological wisdom of the moment and is good news for raising bilingual children. Take, for example, a child who can operate in either language in the curriculum in the school. That child is likely to be ahead on IQ tests compared with similar (same gender, social class and age) monolinguals. Far from making people mentally confused, bilingualism is now associated with a mild degree of intellectual superiority.
D One note of caution needs to be sounded. IQ tests probably do not measure intelligence. IQ tests measure a small sample of the broadest concept of intelligence. IQ tests are simply paper and pencil tests where only ’right and wrong ’answers are allowed. Is all intelligence summed up in such right and wrong, pencil and paper tests? Isn’t there a wider variety of intelligences that are important in everyday functioning and everyday life?
E Many questions need answering. Do we only define an intelligent person as somebody who obtains a high score on an IQ test? Are the only intelligent people those who belong to high IQ organisations such as MENSA? Is there social intelligence, musical intelligence, military intelligence, marketing intelligence, motoring intelligence, political intelligence? Are all, or indeed any, of these forms of intelligence measured by a simple pencil and paper IQ test which demands a single, acceptable, correct solution to each question? Defining what constitutes intelligent behaviour requires a personal value judgement as to what type of behaviour, and what kind of person is of more worth.
F The current state of psychological wisdom about bilingual children is that, where two languages are relatively well developed, bilinguals have thinking advantages over monolinguals. Take an example. A child is asked a simple question: How many uses can you think offer a brick? Some children give two or three answers only. They can think of building walls, building a house and perhaps that is all. Another child scribbles away, pouring out ideas one after the other: blocking up a rabbit hole, breaking a window, using as a bird bath, as a plumb line, as an abstract sculpture in an art exhibition.
G Research across different continents of the world shows that bilinguals tend to be more fluent, flexible, original and elaborate in their answers to this type of open-ended question. The person who can think of a few answers tends to be termed a convergent thinker. They converge onto a few acceptable conventional answers. People who think of lots of different uses for unusual items (e.g. a brick, tin can, cardboard box) are called divergers. Divergers like a variety of answers to a question and are imaginative and fluent in their thinking.
H There are other dimensions in thinking where approximately ’balanced’ bilinguals may have temporary and occasionally permanent advantages over monolinguals: increased sensitivity to communication, a slightly speedier movement through the stages of cognitive development, and being less fixed on the sounds of words and more centred on the meaning of words. Such ability to move away from the sound of words and fix on the meaning of words tends to be a (temporary) advantage for bilinguals around the ages four to six This advantage may mean an initial head start in learning to read and learning to think about language.
Complete the sentences. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
For more than (1)……………………, books and articles were wrong about the intelligence of bilingual children.
For approximately 40 years, there was a mistaken belief that children who spoke two languages were (2)………………….
It was commonly thought that people (3)………………………with a single were more effective thinkers.
Reading Passage 1 has eight paragraphs, A-H. Choose the correct heading for paragraphs B-G from the list of headings below
List of Headings
i No single definition of intelligence
ii Faulty testing, wrong conclusion
iii Welsh research supports IQ testing
iv Beware: inadequate for Selling intelligence
v International research supports bilingualism
vi Current thought on the advantage bilinguals have
vii Early beliefs regarding bilingualism
viii Monolinguals ahead of their bilingual peers
ix Exemplifying the bilingual advantage
Example Paragraph A vii
4. Paragraph B
5. Paragraph C
6. Paragraph D
7. Paragraph E
8. Paragraph F
9. Paragraph G
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1? Write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN If there is no information on this
10. Balanced bilinguals have more permanent than temporary advantages over monolinguals.
11. Often bilinguals concentrate more on the way a word sounds than on its meaning.
12. Monolinguals learn to speak at a younger age than bilinguals.
13. Bilinguals just starting school might pick up certain skills faster than monolinguals.
Changing Rules for Health Treatment
People who are grossly overweight, who smoke heavily or drink excessively could be denied surgery or drugs. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which advises on the clinical and cost effectiveness of treatments for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, said that in some cases the ’self-inflicted’ nature of an illness should be taken into account.
NICE stressed that people should not be discriminated against by doctors simply because they smoked or were overweight. Its ruling should apply only if the treatment was likely to be less effective, or not work because of an unhealthy habit The agency also insisted that its decision was not an edict for the whole NHS but guidance for its own appraisal committees when reaching judgements on new drugs or procedures. But the effect is likely to be the same.
NICE is a powerful body and the cause of much controversy. It is seen by some as a new way of rationing NHS treatment Across the UK, primary care trusts (PCTs) regularly wait for many months for a NICE decision before agreeing to fund a new treatment. One group of primary care trusts is ahead of NICE. Three PCTs in east Suffolk have already decided that obese people would not be entitled to have hip or knee replacements unless they lost weight The group said the risks of operating on them were greater, the surgery may be less successful and the joints would wear out sooner. It was acknowledged that the decision would also save money.
NICE said no priority should be given to patients based on income, social class or social roles at different ages when considering the cost effectiveness of a treatment. Patients should not be discriminated against on the grounds of age either, unless age has a direct relevance to the condition. NICE has already ruled that IVF should be available on the NHS to women aged 23 to 39 as the treatment has less chance of success in older women. It also recommends that flu drugs should be available to over-65s, as older people are more vulnerable.
But NICE also said that if self-inflicted factors meant that drugs or treatment would be less clinically and cost effective, this may need to be considered when producing advice for the NHS. They state that If the self-inflicted cause of the condition will influence the likely outcome of a particular treatment, then it may be appropriate to take this into account in some circumstances. ’They acknowledge that it can be difficult to decide whether an illness such as a heart attack was self-inflicted in a smoker. ‘A patient’s individual circumstances may only be taken into account when there will be an impact on the clinical and cost effectiveness of the treatment’
Prof Sir Michael Rawlins, the chairman of NICE, said: ‘On age we are very clear – our advisory groups should not make recommendations that depend on people’s ages when they are considering the use of a particular treatment unless there is clear evidence of a difference in its effectiveness for particular age groups. Even then, age should only be mentioned when it provides the only practical ‘marker1 of risk or benefit NICE values people, equally, at all ages.’
But Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said there was a danger of primary care trusts following the same course of action. There is no excuse for cash-strapped hospitals denying treatment to people whose lifestyle they disapprove of/ he said. Treatment decisions involving people’s lifestyle should be based on clinical reasons, not grounds of cost The NHS is there to keep people healthy, not to sit in judgement on individual lifestyles.’
A spokesman for NICE said: ‘We want to reassure people that in producing our guidance we are not going to take into consideration whether or not a particular condition was or is self-inflicted. The only circumstances where that may be taken into account is where that treatment may be less effective because of lifestyle choices.’
Jonathan Ellis, the policy manager at Help the Aged, said it was pleased NICE had finally shown an understanding of the importance of tackling age discrimination. ’While this is a major feat, there is still some way to go to banish the evident inherent age discrimination that exists within health care services,’ he said. The NHS now has much to leam. It will ensure a fairer deal all round for older people using the NHS.’
Choose THREE letters A-H.
Which THREE of the following statements are true of NICE, according to the text?
A it feels that people with bad health habits should not receive treatment
B it is an agency that offers advice to the NHS
C some of the reports they produce discriminate against the elderly
D it insists its decision should only be applicable in certain situations
E it is an agency that controls all NHS policy regarding treatments
F its powers are not as extensive as those of the NHS
G many PCTs base their decisions concerning funding on ones made by NICE
H it has made a statement that overweight people will not receive new joints
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
17. NICE argues that
A rich people should not be given special consideration over the poor.
B only patients from certain classes should be considered for treatment
C social roles should be considered when deciding treatment.
D cost of treatment would depend on patients’ income.
18. What recommendations has NICE made?
A to provide older women with IVF treatments
B to make flu drugs accessible to women under 40
C to give people between 23-39 flu drugs
D to allow certain women to have IVF treatments
19. NICE admits that
A some drugs used by the NHS were not clinically effective.
B their advice is sometimes ignored by the NHS.
C it is often hard to determine if a patient has caused his or her condition.
D they are more concerned about cost effectiveness than patients
Look at the following statements (Questions 20-26) and the list of people below. Match each statement with the correct person A-C.
20. This person was happy that-NICE realised age discrimination needed dealing with.
21. This person holds a very high position in the NICE agency.
22. This person is a member of a political party.
23. This person says their policy regarding age is precise and easy to understand.
24. This person does not agree with the position taken by NICE.
25. This person feels the NHS must further improve its relations with the elderly.
26. This person says that NICE does not discriminate on the grounds of age.
A Michael Rawlins
B Steve Webb
C Jonathan Ellis
The Romantic Poets
One of the most evocative eras in the history of poetry must surely be that of the Romantic Movement. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries a group of poets created a new mood in literary objectives, casting off their predecessors’ styles in favour of a gripping and forceful art which endures with us to this day.
Five poets emerged as the main constituents of this movement – William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Gordon Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. The strength of their works lies undoubtedly in the power of their imagination. Indeed, imagination was the most critical attribute of the Romantic poets. Each poet had the ability to portray remarkable images and visions, although differing to a certain degree in their intensity and presentation. Nature, mythology and emotion were of great importance and were used to explore the feelings of the poet himself.
The lives of the poets often overlapped and tragedy was typical in most of them. Byron was born in London in 1788. The family moved to Aberdeen soon after, where Byron was brought up until he inherited the family seat of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire from his great uncle. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1808 and left England the following year to embark on a tour of the Mediterranean. During this tour, he developed a passion for Greece which would later lead to his death in 1824. He left for Switzerland in 1816 where he was introduced to Shelley.
Shelley was born to a wealthy family in 1792. He was educated at Eton and then went on to Oxford. Shelley was not happy in England, where his colourful lifestyle and unorthodox beliefs made him unpopular with the establishment In 1818 he left for Italy, where he was reunited with Byron. However, the friendship was tragically brought to an end in July 1822, when Shelley was drowned in a boating accident off the Italian coast. In somewhat dramatic form, Shelley’s body was cremated on the beach, witnessed by a small group of friends, including Byron.
Historically, Shelley and Byron are considered to have been the most outspoken and radical of the Romantic poets. By contrast, Wordsworth appears to have been of a pleasant and acceptable personality, even receiving the status of Poet Laureate in 1843. He was born in 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumbria. By the time he entered his early teens, both his parents had died. As he grew older, Wordsworth developed a passion for writing.
In 1798 Wordsworth published a collection of poems with Coleridge, whom he had met, a few years earlier, when he settled in Somerset with his sister Dorothy. He married in 1802 and, as time passed, he deserted his former political views and became increasingly acceptable to popular society. Indeed, at the time of his death in the spring of 1850, he had become one of the most sought-after poets of his time.
Wordsworth shared some of the years at Dove Cottage in Somerset with his friend and poetical contemporary, Coleridge. Coleridge was born in Devon in 1772. He was a bright young scholar but never achieved the same prolific output of his fellow Romantic poets. In 1804 he left for a position in Malta for three years. On his return he separated from his wife and went to live with the Wordsworths, where he produced a regular periodical.
With failing health, he later moved to London. In 1816 he went to stay with a doctor and his family. He remained with them until his death in 1834. During these latter years, his poetry was abandoned for other forms of writing equally outstanding in their own right.
Perhaps the most tragic of the Romantic poets was Keats. Keats was born in London in 1795. Similar to Wordsworth, both his parents had died by his early teens. He studied as a surgeon, qualifying in 1816. However, poetry was his great passion and he decided to devote himself to writing. For much of his adult life Keats was in poor health and fell gravely ill in early 1820. He knew he was dying and in the September of that year he left for Rome hoping that the more agreeable climate might ease his suffering. Keats died of consumption in February 1821 at the age of twenty-five.
It is sad that such tragedy often accompanies those of outstanding artistic genius. We can only wonder at the possible outcome had they all lived to an old age. Perhaps even Byron and Shelley would have mellowed with the years, like Wordsworth. However, the contribution to poetry by all five writers is immeasurable. They introduced the concepts of individualism and imagination, allowing us to explore our own visions of beauty without retribution. We are not now required to restrain our thoughts and poetry to that of the socially acceptable.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN If there is no information on this
27. The Romantic Movement lasted for more than a century.
28. The Romantic poets adopted a style dissimilar to that of poets who had come before them.
29. Unfortunately, the works of the Romantics had no lasting impression on art.
30. The Romantics had no respect for any style of poetry apart from their own.
31. The Romantics were gifted with a strong sense of imagination.
32. Much of the Romantics’ poetry was inspired by the natural world.
Complete the table below. Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS for each answer.
Complete the sentence. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for the answer.
40. According to the writer, the Romantic poets left us with the ideas of………………
Academic Reading Practice Tests
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