Sunday, 18 December 2011

Objective Proficiency p 79. Education. Speaking

1. MONOLOGUE. Prepare a talk of AT LEAST 5 minutes on the subject. You may use the pictures above and the contents below if you wish:

“It takes a village to raise a child”.  
-African proverb-
Do you agree with this African proverb?  To what extent are we all responsible for the actions and behaviour of our children? Have discipline problems worsened in schools in recent times?  Compare what you know of these issues with your own school days. Are teachers trained to tackle problems like bullying or other serious problems which might arise in schools? Were you ever given a detention at school? Were you ever grounded as a consequence?  Did these punishments successfully act as a deterrent? When do you think a student should be suspended from school? and expelled? Were any of your classmates defiant or obnoxious at school? How did the teachers deal with them? 

You may make some notes for your talk to take into the exam. These should not exceed five lines.


In this part of the test, the examiner will ask you some questions about issues related to the TOPIC. Remember that you are expected to have a conversation as natural as possible and give full answers. This part of the examination will last AT LEAST 5 minutes. You will not see the questions below.



  1. Are standardized tests actually helping or hurting student learning? What are the benefits and drawbacks of teaching to the test? Can areas like creativity, imagination, and collaboration be compromised
  2. Do universities prepare people for the real world?  Why?  Why not?
  3. “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education” (Albert Einstein). Do you agree?  Would you say that knowledge is the result of curiosity? Discuss.
  4. Do you know anybody who started a degree but dropped out after only a year? Why do you think this happens?
  5. Did you ever play truant and did you ever write your own absence notes? Did any of the kids at your school ever do that? Were they ever caught red-handed? 
  6. Do you know students who cheat in exams even at the university level? How would you feel if you found out that your doctor cheated at medical school
  7. What should be done about plagiarism in this day and age of the internet? 
  8. What will the classroom of the future look like? 
  9.  "Knowledge is power" (Francis Bacon). Do you agree? Discuss 
  10. How might university education be improved? 
  11. What kind of subjects / topics do you read widely and voraciously? 
  12. "The dumbest people I know are those who know it all" (Malcolm Forbes). Do you agree? Discuss. 
  13. Should university students study away from home in order to get a degree? Do you think studying in a foreign country on an Erasmus grant is something positive or not? 
  14. What role do the new technologies play in education nowadays? Have traditional teaching methods outlived their usefulness? How do children learn best? Can children learn almost anything through video games?

1. Monologue questions

tackle something  




to make a determined effort to deal with a difficult problem or situation. E.g. The government is determined to tackle inflation. I think I'll tackle the repairs next weekend. Firefighters tackled a blaze in a garage last night.  


 the punishment of being kept at school for a time after other students have gone home. E.g. They can't give me (a) detention for this. 

ground somebody  

to punish a child or young person by not allowing them to go out with their friends for a period of time. E.g. You're grounded for a week! 

deterrent (to somebody/something) 

 a thing that makes somebody less likely to do something (= that deters them). E.g. Hopefully his punishment will act as a deterrent to others. The country's nuclear deterrents (= nuclear weapons that are intended to stop an enemy from attacking)

be suspended from 

 to officially prevent somebody from going to school for a time. E.g. She was suspended from school for a week.

expel somebody (from something)  

to officially make somebody leave a school or an organization. E.g. She was expelled from school at 15.








 /dɪˈfaɪənt/ openly refusing to obey somebody/ something, sometimes in an aggressive way. Sp. desafiante, rebelde. E.g. a defiant teenager. The terrorists sent a defiant message to the government.








/əbˈnɒkʃəs/ extremely unpleasant, especially in a way that offends people. Offensive. E.g. obnoxious behaviour. A thoroughly obnoxious little man. He found her son somewhat obnoxious.








/pʌɡˈneɪʃəs/ having a strong desire to argue or fight with other people. E.g. I found him pugnacious and arrogant.




having or showing a desire to argue or fight. E.g. The general made some bellicose statements about his country's military strength. I saw some bellicose students protesting

2. Interaction questions

drop out (of something) 

 to leave school, college, etc. without finishing your studies. E.g. She started a degree but dropped out after only a year. 


play truant:  

to stay away from school without permission: e.g. he often played truant and he usually wrote his own absence notes  

catch somebody red-handed

to catch somebody in the act of doing something wrong or committing a crime. E.g. I caught him red-handed, stealing a wallet.

medical school: 

 a college where students study to obtain a degree in medicine.








 /ˈpleɪdʒərɪzəm / the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. E.g. he was expelled for plagiarism. There were accusations of plagiarism. A text full of plagiarisms. 




Plagiarist: /ˈpleɪdʒərɪst/  




in this day and age 




now, in the modern world. E.g. you can’t be too careful in this day and age.








outlive something to continue to exist after something else has ended or disappeared. E.g. The machine had outlived its usefulness(= was no longer useful).

More useful vocabulary  related to the topic of education


/ˈnʌmɪŋli/ very boring. E.g. The lecture was mind-numbingly tedious.



Settle in/ settle into something




 to move into a new home, job, etc. and start to feel comfortable there. Sp. instalarse, adaptarse. E.g. How are the kids settling into their new school?




School failure/ academic failure




He stayed after school to do extra work




Throw someone out:  




expel someone unceremoniously from a place, organization, or activity. E.g. You'll be thrown out if you don't pay the rent. His wife had thrown him out. At least four kids have been thrown out of school for cheating on exams.  




Kick somebody out (of something): 




(informal) to make somebody leave or go away (from somewhere).




Dismiss somebody 




 to send somebody away or allow them to leave. E.g. At 12 o'clock the class was dismissed.  




Skip something  




to not do something that you usually do or should do. E.g. She decided to skip class that afternoon.








/ˈtruːənt/ a child who stays away from school without permission. E.g. He is a truant and his parents have received truancy letters. 




Play truant: (also truant or play hooky, play hookey




 to stay away from school without permission. E.g. he often played truant and he usually wrote his own absence notes. A number of pupils have been truanting regularly. If my daughter had been truanting from school I would have been informed. He played hookey from school to go out hunting.








/ˈtruːənsi/ the action of staying away from school without good reason; absenteeism. E.g. fines to tackle truancy. Truancy rates at the school are very high.




Bunk off/ bunk off school/work 




(British English, informal) to stay away from school or work when you should be there; to leave school or work early. E.g. I'm going to bunk off this afternoon. She had bunked off work all week. He bunked off school all week.








/skaɪv/ to avoid work or school by staying away or leaving early. E.g. ‘Where's Tom?’ ‘Skiving as usual.’ I skived off school. She used to skive lessons.




Unexcused absence: 




 E.g.  this student has three or more unexcused absences




Acquire something 




 /əˈkwaɪə(r)/ to gain something by your own efforts, ability or behaviour. E.g. She has acquired a good knowledge of English. How long will it take to acquire the necessary skills? Acquire (an) education/ training/ (British English) (some) qualifications.




Lack something 




 to have none or not enough of something. E.g. lack (an) education/ training/ (British English) (some) qualifications.




Training (in something/in doing something):  




the process of learning the skills that you need to do a job. Sp. formación. E.g.  receive/ provide somebody with training. Few candidates had received any training in management. A teacher training course.









(in something): /tjuˈɪʃn/ 1. the act of teaching something, especially to one person or to people in small groups. Sp. instrucción, clases. E.g. provide somebody with tuition. She received private tuition in French. The course involves six hours of individual tuition per week. I studied dance for two years under her expert tuition. 2. (also tuition fees [plural]) the money that you pay to be taught, especially in a college or university. E.g. I’m not paying next year’s tuition. College tuition.




Develop/design/plan a curriculum/(especially British English) course/(North American English) program/syllabus.




Curriculum: /kəˈrɪkjələm/ plural curricula /kəˈrɪkjələ/ or curriculums the subjects that are included in a course of study or taught in a school, college, etc. Sp. plan de estudios. The school curriculum. (British English) Spanish is on the curriculum. (North American English) Spanish is in the curriculum.




Curricular:  /kəˈrɪkjələ(r)/ (adj) connected with the curriculum of a school, etc. relating to the subjects that students study at a particular school or college  Curricular changes have been introduced gradually. The 14 curricular topics of C2.




Program: (AmE) /ˈprəʊɡræm/ a course of study. E.g. an intense training program. The university's graduate programs. A school programme. 




Syllabus: /ˈsɪləbəs/ plural syllabuses or syllabi  /ˈsɪləbaɪ/ a list of the topics, books, etc. that students should study in a particular subject at school or college. Sp. programa, temario. E.g. there isn’t time to cover the syllabus.




Insubordinate: /ˌɪnsəˈbɔːdɪnət/ defiant of authority. Disobedient to orders. E.g. an insubordinate attitude.




Disorderly: /dɪsˈɔːdəli/ (of people or behaviour) showing lack of control; publicly violent or noisy. E.g. disorderly conduct. They were arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

unruly: /ʌnˈruːli/ difficult to control or manage. Disorderly. E.g. an unruly class. Unruly behaviour.


/hjuˈrɪstɪk/ heuristic teaching or education encourages you to learn by discovering things for yourself. Encouraging a person to learn, discover, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error. E.g. a ‘hands-on’ or interactive heuristic approach to learning. a heuristic teaching method.

keep somebody on their toes

to make sure that somebody is ready to deal with anything that might happen by doing things that they are not expecting. to make someone concentrate so that they are ready to deal with anything that might happen. If you say that someone or something keeps you on your toes, you mean that they cause you to remain alert and ready for anything that might happen.  E.g. Surprise visits help to keep the staff on their toes. Regular surprise visits help to keep the staff on their toes. ♢ This job really keeps me on my toes. He keeps changing the rules, just to keep us on our toes. His fiery campaign rhetoric has kept opposition parties on their toes for months. With a test every Friday, she keeps her students on their toes.

knuckle down (to something) /ˈnʌkl/

(informal) to begin to work hard at something. Get down to. E.g. I'm going to have to knuckle down to some serious study.
knuckle: (N) any of the joints in the fingers, especially those connecting the fingers to the rest of the hand.

get down to something  

to begin to do something; to give serious attention to something. E.g. Let's get down to business. I like to get down to work by 9. get down to doing something It's time I got down to thinking about that essay. 

pull your socks up

(British English, informal) to try to improve your performance, work, behaviour, etc. You're going to have to pull your socks

put your best foot forward

to make a great effort to do something, especially if it is difficult or you are feeling tired. E.g. You really need to put your best foot forward in the interview if you want to get this job. When you apply for a job, you should always put your best foot forward. I try to put my best foot forward whenever I meet someone for the first time.


using or involving every possible effort and done in a very determined way. E.g. all-out war. an all-out attack on the opposition. We made an all-out effort to get the project finished on time. Going all out to win. an all-out sprint.

go the extra mile (for somebody/something)

to make a special effort to achieve something, help somebody, etc. To go beyond what is necessary or expected in order to please someone, achieve something, or get something done correctly. E.g. I have to say, our lawyer really went the extra mile in making sure every aspect of our case was watertight. Suzy always goes the extra mile to make my birthday special. I like doing business with that company. They always go the extra mile. My teacher goes the extra mile to help

go to great lengths

to try very hard to achieve something. E.g. Some people go to great lengths to make their homes attractive. He'll go to any lengths to get what he wants. We went to great lengths to ensure that this film was historically accurate. I appreciate that the tutor went to great lengths to make sure I understood the assignment.

God helps those who help themselves

(saying) ​said to show you believe that if you make an effort to achieve something, you will be successful. E.g. A: "I'm really praying hard for an A on my exam." B: "You'd better start studying. God helps those who help themselves."

strive, strove, striven (also strive, strived, strived)

to try very hard to achieve something. E.g. strive (for something) We encourage all members to strive for the highest standards. We strive for perfection but sometimes have to accept something less. strive (against something) striving against corruption strive to do something Newspaper editors all strive to be first with a story. She strove to find a solution that was acceptable to all. Mr Roe has kindled expectations that he must now strive to live up to. We must strive to narrow the gap between rich and poor. We are constantly striving to improve our service.


strain every nerve

to make the greatest possible effort. E.g. She's straining every nerve to get the work finished on time.

do/try your level best (to do something)

to do as much as you can to try to achieve something. E.g. Tickets are hard to come by but I'll do my level best to get you one. I tried my level best to persuade her to stay. I’ll do my level best to help you.


 /nʌdʒ/ a slight push, usually with the elbow. E.g. She gave me a gentle nudge in the ribs to tell me to shut up. (figurative) He can work hard but he needs a nudge now and then. 

nudge somebody/something + adv./prep.  

to push somebody/something gently or gradually in a particular direction. E.g. He nudged the ball past the goalie and into the net. She nudged me out of the way. (figurative) He nudged the conversation towards the subject of money. (figurative) She tried to nudge him into changing his mind (= persuade him to do it).


to forcefully persuade or direct someone to do or achieve something. E.g. Her parents pushed her into marrying him. The school manages to push most of its students through their exams. If we want an answer from them by Friday, I think we're going to have to push them for it.[ + to infinitive ] We had to push them to accept our terms, but they finally agreed to the deal. You'll never be successful if you don't push yourself (= work) harder.

be snowed under (with something)  

to have more things, especially work, than you feel able to deal with. E.g. I'd love to come but I'm completely snowed under at the moment. I am totally snowed under at school

knee-deep: /ˌniː ˈdiːp/

up to your knees. E.g. The snow was knee-deep in places.  knee-deep in mud. knee-deep in snow. knee-deep in water. knee-deep in leaves. (figurative) I was knee-deep in work.

overworked /ˌəʊvəˈwɜːkt/ 

made to work too hard or too much. E.g. overworked nurses. They’re overworked and understaffed. an overworked civil servant. I'm overworked and underpaid.

overwork: (N) 

the fact of working too hard. E.g. His illness was brought on by money worries and overwork. 

be up to your ears in something

to have a lot of something to deal with. E.g. We're up to our ears in work. 

be up to your eyebrows in something

to have a lot of something to deal with. E.g. I’m absolutely up to my eyebrows in work. Stein is up to his eyebrows in debt.

be up to your eyes in sth​ 

to be very busy doing something. E.g. I'm up to my eyes in homework this week. 

be up to your eyeballs in something

to have a lot of something to deal with. E.g. They're up to their eyeballs in work.

all work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy) 

saying. ​said to warn someone that they will not be an interesting person by working all the time. continuous work without rest or relaxation is harmful to one's personal life and well-being. E.g. "in addition to firm information, we have a little game because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"



/ˌmʌltiˈtɑːsk/ to do several things at the same time. E.g. Women seem to be able to multitask better than men.


the amount of work that has to be done by a particular person or organization. E.g. a heavy workload. We have taken on extra staff to cope with the increased workload. Management is looking at ways of spreading the workload between departments. 

outdo: outdo somebody/something  

to do more or better than somebody else. Beat. E.g.  Sometimes small firms can outdo big business when it comes to customer care. Not to be outdone (= not wanting to let somebody else do better), she tried again. The brothers tried to outdo each other in everything. He always tries to outdo everybody else in the class.



acquire/get/lack (an) education/training/(British English) (some) qualifications




receive/provide somebody with training/tuition 




develop/design/plan a curriculum/(especially British English) course/(North American English) program/syllabus




give/go to/attend a class/lesson/lecture/seminar




hold/run/conduct a class/seminar/workshop 




sign up for/take a course/classes/lessons 





 go to/start preschool/kindergarten/nursery school 




be in the first, second, etc. (North American English) grade/(especially British English) year (at school)




study/take/drop history/chemistry/German, etc.




(British English) leave/finish/drop out of/(North American English) quit school




(North American English) graduate high school/college 


Problems at school



be the victim/target of bullying




(British English) play truant from/(both British English, informal) bunk off/skive off school (= not go to school when you should)


(both especially North American English) skip/cut class/school




(British English) cheat in/(North American English) cheat on an exam/a test




get/be given a detention (for doing something) 




be expelled from/be suspended from school 


Work and exams



do your homework/(British English) revision/a project on something




work on/write/do/submit an essay/a dissertation/a thesis/an assignment/(North American English) a paper 




finish/complete your dissertation/thesis/studies/coursework




hand in/(North American English) turn in your homework/essay/assignment/paper




study/prepare/(British English) revise/(North American English) review/(North American English, informal) cram for a test/an exam




take/(both British English) do/sit a test/an exam 




(especially British English) mark/(especially North American English) grade homework/a test




(British English) do well in/(North American English) do well on/(informal, especially North American English) ace a test/an exam 




pass/fail/(informal, especially North American English) flunk a test/an exam/a class/a course/a subject 





apply to/get into/go to/start college/(British English) university




leave/graduate from law school/college/(British English) university (with a degree in computer science) 




study for/take/(British English) do/complete a law degree/a degree in physics



(both North American English) major/minor in biology/philosophy




earn/receive/be awarded/get/have/hold a master's degree/a bachelor's degree/a PhD in economics. 

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