2011年12月四级考试阅读真题第一篇

原文题目:Single-sex schools help boys to enjoy arts, says study"

原文来源:英国卫报

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Absence of girls removes pressure to conform to masculine stereotype, claims US researcher

Rachel Williams
The Guardian, Wednesday 20 January 2010

Boys' schools are the perfect place to teach young men to express their emotions and are more likely to get involved in activities such as art, dance and music, according to research released today.

Far from the traditional image of a culture of aggressive masculinity in which students either sink or swim, the absence of girls gives boys the chance to develop without pressure to conform to a stereo*type, the US study says.

Boys at single sex schools were said to be more likely to get involved in cultural and artistic activities that helped develop their emotional expressiveness, rather than feeling they had to conform to the "boy code" of hiding their emotions to be a "real man".

The report, presented at a conference of the International Boys' Schools Coalition in London attended by the heads of private and state schools, goes against received wisdom that boys do better when taught alongside girls.

The headmaster of Eton, Tony Little, warned that boys were being failed by the British education system because it had become too focused on girls. He criticised teachers for failing to recognise that boys are actually more emotional than girls, despite the fact that girls "turn on the waterworks".

The research argued that boys often perform badly in mixed schools because they become demoralised when their female counterparts do better earlier in verbal skills and reading, because the left side of the brain develops faster in girls. They also felt they had to be "cool" rather than studious.

But in single sex schools teachers are able to tailor lessons to boys' learning style, letting them move around the classroom and getting them to compete in teams to prevent boredom, wrote the study's author, education expert Abigail James, of the University of Virginia.

Teachers could encourage boys to enjoy reading and writing with specifically "boy-focused" approaches such as themes and characters that appeal to them. Boys in boys' schools "loved" to pen verse because they enjoyed the "inherent structure in poems", James said. Because, the researchers say, boys generally have better spatial skills, more acute vision, learn best through touch, are more impulsive and more physically active, they need to be given "hands-on" lessons where they are allowed to walk around, with this natural impulse not seen as disruptive. "Boys in mixed schools view classical music as feminine and prefer the modern genre in which violence and sexism are major themes," James wrote.

Single sex education also made it less likely that boys would feel they had to conform to a stereotype gained from the media by girls that men should be "masterful and in charge" in relationships. "In the present sexualised atmosphere prevalent in mixed schools, boys feel coerced into acting like men before they understand themselves well enough to know what that means," the report said.

 

2011年12月四级考试阅读真题第三篇

原文题目:Are money problems driving you apart?

原文来源:英国卫报

 

Are money problems driving you apart?
Sometimes love really can be measured in pounds and pence

It's an annual argument. Do we or do we not go on holiday? My partner says no because the boiler could go, or the roof fall off, and we have no savings to save us. I say that you only live once and we work hard and what's the point if you can't go on holiday. The joy of a recession means no argument next year – we just won't go.

Since money is reputed to be one of the things most likely to bring a relationship to its knees, we should be grateful. For many families the recession means more than not booking a holiday. A YouGov poll of 2,000 people in May this year found 22% said they were arguing more with their partners because of concerns about money. What's less clear is whether divorce and separation rates rise in a recession – financial pressures mean couples argue more but make splitting up less affordable. A recent report from ICOR (the online Information Centre on Relationships) cited research showing arguments about money were especially damaging to couples – even more so to their children. Disputes were characterised by intense verbal aggression, tended to be repeated and not resolved, and made men, more than women, extremely angry.

So why are arguments about money so emotive? Since they seem to be so even without a recession, they have to be about more than literally pounds and pence.

Kim Stephenson, an occupational psychologist, believes money is such a big deal because of what it symbolises, which may be different things to men and women. "People can say the same things about money but have different conceptions of what it is for," he explains. "They will say it's to save, to spend, for security, for freedom, to show someone you love them, to keep score."

He says men are more likely to see money as a way of buying status, of trying to best the man down the road who's just bought a flash car, and of showing their parents that they've achieved something. He warns that, while couples need enough money not to struggle and be unhappy, an extra £5,000 above that amount won't make them any happier.

"The biggest problem is that couples assume each other knows what is going on with their finances, but they don't. There seems to be more of a taboo about talking about money than talking about death. But you both need to know what you are doing, who is paying what into the joint account and how much you keep separately. In a healthy relationship you don't have to agree about money, but you have to talk about it."

Research from a wholesome organisation in the US called the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center says that establishing a "fair and equitable pattern of handling money early in marriage appears to be important for the quality and stability of the marriage". Admitting your incomes to each other and making budgets for your household expenses may not seem romantic but it is, in fact, the real language of love.