Unit1 A Learning, Chinese-Style
Unit2 A A Life Full of Riches
Unit3 A Father Knows Better
Unit4 A A Virtual Life
Unit5 A True Height
Unit6 A A Woman Can Learn Anything a Man Can
Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, reflects on a visit to China and gives his thoughts on different approaches to learning in China and the West.
Howard Gardner 1 For a month in the spring of 1987, my wife Ellen and I lived in the bustling eastern Chinese city of Nanjing with our 18-month-old son Benjamin while studying arts education in Chinese kindergartens and elementary schools. But one of the most telling lessons Ellen and I got in the difference between Chinese and American ideas of education came not in the classroom but in the lobby of the Jinling Hotel where we stayed in Nanjing.
2 The key to our room was attached to a large plastic block with the room number on it. When leaving the hotel, a guest was encouraged to turn in the key, either by handing it to an attendant or by dropping it through a slot into a box. Because the key slot was narrow, the key had to be positioned carefully to fit into it.
3 Benjamin loved to carry the key around, shaking it vigorously. He also liked to try to place it into the slot. Because of his tender age and incomplete understanding of the need to position the key just so, he would usually fail. Benjamin was not bothered in the least. He probably got as much pleasure out of the sounds the key made as he did those few times when the key actually found its way into the slot.
4 Now both Ellen and I were perfectly happy to allow Benjamin to bang the key near the key slot. His exploratory behavior seemed harmless enough. But I soon observed an interesting phenomenon. Any Chinese staff member nearby would come over to watch Benjamin and, noting his lack of initial success, attempt to assist. He or she would hold onto Benjamin's hand and, gently but firmly, guide it directly toward the slot, reposition it as necessary, and help him to insert it. The "teacher" would then smile somewhat expectantly at Ellen or me, as if awaiting a thank you ─and on occasion would frown slightly, as if considering us to be neglecting our parental duties.
5 I soon realized that this incident was directly relevant to our assigned tasks in China: to investigate the ways of early childhood education (especially in the arts), and to throw light on Chinese attitudes toward creativity. And so before long I began to
introduce the key-slot anecdote into my discussions with Chinese educators. 我很快意识到，这件小事与我们在中国要做的工作直接相关：考察儿童早期教育（尤其是艺术教育）的方式，揭示中国人对创造性活动的态度。因此，不久我就在与中国教育工作者讨论时谈起了钥匙槽口一事。
TWO DIFFERENT WAYS TO LEARN
6 With a few exceptions my Chinese colleagues displayed the same attitude as the staff at the Jinling Hotel. Since adults know how to place the key in the key slot, which is the ultimate purpose of approaching the slot, and since the child is neither old enough nor clever enough to realize the desired action on his own, what possible gain is achieved by having him struggle? He may well get frustrated and angry ─certainly not a desirable outcome. Why not show him what to do? He will be happy, he will learn how to accomplish the task sooner, and then he can proceed to more complex activities, like opening the door or asking for the key ─both of which accomplishments can (and should) in due course be modeled for him as well.
7 We listened to such explanations sympathetically and explained that, first of all, we did not much care whether Benjamin succeeded in inserting the key into the slot. He was having a good time and was exploring, two activities that did matter to us. But the critical point was that, in the process, we were trying to teach Benjamin that one can solve a problem effectively by oneself. Such self-reliance is a principal value of child rearing in middle-class America. So long as the child is shown exactly how to do something ─whether it be placing a key in a key slot, drawing a hen or making up for a misdeed ─he is less likely to figure out himself how to accomplish such a task. And, more generally, he is less likely to view life ─as Americans do ─as a series of situations in which one has to learn to think for oneself, to solve problems on one's own and even to discover new problems for which creative solutions are wanted.
TEACHING BY HOLDING HIS HAND
8 In retrospect, it became clear to me that this incident was indeed key ─and key in more than one sense. It pointed to important differences in the educational and artistic practices in our two countries.
9 When our well-intentioned Chinese observers came to Benjamin's rescue, they did not simply push his hand down clumsily or uncertainly, as I might have done. Instead, they guided him with extreme facility and gentleness in precisely the desired direction. I came to realize that these Chinese were not just molding and shaping Benjamin's performance in any old manner: In the best Chinese tradition, they were ba zhe shou jiao ─"teaching by holding his hand" ─so much so that he would happily come back for more.
10 The idea that learning should take place by continual careful shaping and molding applies equally to the arts. Watching children at work in a classroom setting, we were astonished by their facility. Children as young as 5 or 6 were painting flowers, fish and animals with the skill and confidence of an adult; calligraphers 9 and 10 years old were producing works that could have been displayed in a museum. In a visit to the homes of two of the young artists, we learned from their parents that they worked on perfecting their craft for several hours a day.
11 In terms of attitudes to creativity there seems to be a reversal of priorities: young Westerners making their boldest departures first and then gradually mastering the tradition; and young Chinese being almost inseparable from the tradition, but, over time, possibly evolving to a point equally original.
12 One way of summarizing the American position is to state that we value originality and independence more than the Chinese do. The contrast between our two cultures can also be seen in terms of the fears we both harbor. Chinese teachers are fearful that if skills are not acquired early, they may never be acquired; there is, on the other hand, no comparable hurry to promote creativity. American educators fear that unless creativity has been acquired early, it may never emerge; on the other hand, skills can be picked up later.
13 However, I do not want to overstate my case. There is enormous creativity to be found in Chinese scientific, technological and artistic innovations past and present. And there is a danger of exaggerating creative breakthroughs in the West. When any innovation is examined closely, its reliance on previous achievements is all too apparent (the "standing on the shoulders of giants" phenomenon).
14 But assuming that the contrast I have developed is valid, and that the fostering of skills and creativity are both worthwhile goals, the important question becomes this: Can we gather, from the Chinese and American extremes, a superior way to approach education, perhaps striking a better balance between the poles of creativity and basic skills?
Finding a way of teaching children to appreciate the value of money can be a problem. Yet the solution, David Owen suggests, is simple -- just open a bank. Easier said than done? Well, it turns out to be not quite so difficult as it sounds, as you'll discover in reading about the First National Bank of Dave.
Part II Reading Task
A Life Full of Riches
Karl R. Green
It was early December 2003,my first season as a Salvation Army bell ringer,when I was confronted with the question.I was standing just outside the doorway of a Wal-Mart,offering a "thank you" and a smile to each person who dropped a donation into my red kettle.A neatly dressed woman and her young son walked up to the kettle stand.While she searched her purse for some cash, the boy looked up at me.I can still see the confusion and curiosity in his eyes as he asked,"Are you poor?"
"Well," I stammered, trying to think,"I have more than some people, but not as much as others."His mother scolded him for the social no-no,and they hurried off to do their shopping.His question, however, did not leave me.
“嗯，”我结结巴巴地说，试图想：“我比有些人多，但不如别人了。”他妈骂他为社会的禁忌，他们急急忙忙走了尽自己的购物。但是他的问题并没有离开我。I've never thought of myself as "poor,"but I can't deny certain facts.Every time I fill out my 1040 form,I fall into one of the lowest income brackets.In the past 35 years, I've taken just one vacation trip.My TV is a black-and-white set that someone gave me eight
Yet I feel nothing more than a passing whim to attain the material things so many other people have.My 1999 car shows the wear and tear of 105,000 miles.But it is still dependable.My apartment is modest, but quiet and relaxing.My clothes are well suited to my work, which is primarily outdoors.My minimal computer needs can be met at the library.
In spite of what I don't have, I don't feel poor. Why?I've enjoyed exceptionally good health for 53 years.It's not just that I've been illness-free,it's that I feel vigorous and spirited.Exercising is actually fun for me.I look forward to long, energizing walks.
And I love the "can do" attitude that follows.
I also cherish the gift of creativity.When I write a beautiful line of poetry,or fabricate a joke that tickles someone,I feel rich inside.I'm continually surprised at the insights that
come through my writing process.And talking with so many interesting writer friends is one of my main sources of enjoyment.
But there is one vital area of my life where I am not so well off.In a society that spends so much emotional energy on the pursuit of possessions,I feel out of place.
When I was younger, there was an exceptionally interesting person I dated.What was most important to her,she told me, was "what's on the inside."I thought I had found someone special to share my life with.Then I took her to see my apartment.At the time,I lived in a basement efficiency with a few pieces of dated furniture.The only new, comfortable chair was the one at my desk.Shortly after her visit, our relationship went straight south.
当我年轻的时候，有一个非常有趣的人，我约会。什么是最重要的是她，她告诉我，是“什么在里面的。”我想我已经找到了特别的人分享我的生活与。然后我带她去看我的公寓。当时，我住在一间地下室效率日期为几件家具。唯一的新的，舒适的椅子是在我的办公桌之一。不久后，她的访问，我们的关系直奔南方。The seemingly abrupt change in her priorities was jolting.It remains a most memorable turning point in my personal journey.看似在她的关注点突变是颠簸。它仍然是一个最难忘的转折点，我个人的旅途。
In contrast to relationships,stuff just doesn't mean that much to me.I think most people feel the same way — except when there are social consequences to not having particular items.There is a commercial on the radio that begins,"Everybody wants a high-end TV ..." The pressure to purchase is real.It may be true that everybody wants a high-end TV.After all, nobody wants to be a nobody.
But I'm happy to live without one.In fact, not being focused on material goods feels quite natural to me.There are many people throughout the world who would consider my lifestyle to be affluent.
Near the end of the year,when I put on the Salvation Army's red apron,something changes inside me.Instead of feeling out of place economically,I begin to feel a genuine sense of belonging.As I ring my bell,people stop to share their personal stories of how much it meant to be helped when they were going through a rough time.People helping people is something I feel deeply connected to.While I'm ringing the bell,complete strangers have brought me hot chocolate,leaving me with a lingering smile.Countless individuals have helped to keep me warm with the sentiments of the season:"Thank you for ringing on such a cold day.""Can I get you a cup of coffee?""Bless you for your good
work."December is the time of year I feel wealthiest.
Over the past four years,I've grown to understand more about myself because of a single question from a curious child.As I've examined what it means to be poor,it has become clear to me what I am most thankful for:both my tangible and my intangible good fortune.
This comedy centers around a proud father's attempts to help his children, attempts which somehow or other always end up embarrassing them. For the sake of fun it carries things to extremes, but nearly everyone can recognize something of themselves and their parents in it.
Father Knows Better
Marsh Cassady 1
CHARACTERS: FATHER; MOTHER; HEIDI, 14; DIANE, 17; SEAN, 16; RESTAURANT MANAGER, 20s; MRS. HIGGINS.
SETTING: Various locations including a fast-food restaurant, the Thompson family dining room, and an office at a high school.
AT RISE: As the lights come up, HEIDI enters and crosses Down Right to the edge of the stage. SEAN and DIANE enter and cross Down Left to the edge of the stage. They listen as HEIDI addresses the audience.
HEIDI: My dad's a nice man. Nobody could possibly believe that he isn't. Yet he's...well, he's always doing these stupid things that end up really embarrassing one or more of us kids. One time, see, my brother wanted to buy this guitar. Been saving money for it for a long time. Then he got a job at this fast-food place, OK? Waiting tables. It was Sean's first actual job, and he was real happy about it. He figured in two or three months he'd have enough money to buy exactly the kind of guitar he wanted. Mom and Dad were proud of him, and well, OK, he's my big brother, and he's always pulling these dumb things on me. But, well, I was proud of him too. You know what happened? I hate to tell you because:
SEAN, DIANE and HEIDI: (In unison) Father knows better!
(The lights come Up Left on the fast-food restaurant where SEAN works. It consists of a counter and couple of small tables. The MANAGER stands behind the counter. SEAN is busily cleaning the tables when FATHER walks in. )
MANAGER: Good evening, sir. May I help you?
FATHER: Good evening.
SEAN: (To himself) Oh, no! (He squats behind one of the tables trying to hide from FATHER. )
FATHER: I'm looking for the manager.
MANAGER: That would be me, sir.
FATHER: I'm Sam Thompson. My son works here.
MANAGER: Oh, you're Sean's father.
FATHER: Yes. It's his first job, you know. I just wanted to check that he's doing OK. MANAGER: Oh, fine. No problem.
SEAN: (Spreading his hands, palms up, speaking to himself) What did I do to deserve this? Tell me what?
FATHER: Hiring him was a good thing then?
MANAGER: Well, yeah, I suppose so.
SEAN: (Still to himself) Go home, Dad. Go home. Go home.
FATHER: I'm sure he's a good worker but a typical teenager, if you know what I mean. MANAGER: (Losing interest) I wouldn't know.
FATHER: He's a good boy. And I assure you that if there are any subjects that need to be addressed, Sean and I will have a man-to-man talk.
MANAGER: I don't think that will be necessary...
FATHER: Oh, no problem. I'm proud of my son. Very, very proud. And I just wanted you to know that I'll do anything I can to help him through life's dangerous sea.
SEAN: (Standing up and screaming) Aaaargh! Aaaargh! Aaaaaaargh!
FATHER: Son, I didn't know you were here.
SEAN: It's where I work, Dad.
FATHER: Of course. I mean, I didn't see you.
SEAN: I can't imagine why.
FATHER: Your manager and I were just having a nice chat.
(DIANE enters Down Left just as HEIDI enters Down Right. They look at SEAN and FATHER. )
SEAN, DIANE, HEIDI: (In unison) Father, you know better than that. 肖恩：（站起身，高声喊叫）唉！唉！唉！