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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 英国教育改革从教师培训开始

2018年02月05日11:47 来源:互联网
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【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 英国教育改革从教师培训开始图1

Britain Schools reform——Class acts

英国学校改革:优秀法案

England’s schools are radically different. Now makethem better

英格兰各个学校相比其他地方极为不同,现在是是时候改善这些学校了

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AT the King Solomon Academy in London, children from the nearby tower blocks are settlinginto a new school year. Girls in hijabs mingle with Afro-Caribbean boys in over-sized newblazers. The proportion of pupils receiving free school meals because their parents are poor isthree times the national average. Yet the academy, which is run by ARK, a charity, is rankedas “outstanding” by the schools inspector and has been lavishly praised by Anthony Seldon,headmaster of a leading private school.

在位于英国伦敦的索罗门国王学院里,来自附近高层贫民楼的学生们正迎来他们新的学年。学校里学生人种混杂:既有戴着头巾的穆斯林女学生,又有穿着肥大的新校服的加勒比黑人男学生。由于家境贫寒,一部分小学生可享受免费的校餐。这部分学生在全校中的比例现已达英国平均比例的三倍之多。然而,对于这所由某名为“ARK”的慈善机构所运营的学院,督学人员表示“表现优异”,同时,某著名私学校长安东尼·塞尔顿(AnthonySeldon)也对其大加赞誉。

Max Haimendorf, its young head, has adopted many ideas from American charter schools. Hismission is to get as many children as possible to top universities. “It’s what changes lives,” hesays. Notice-boards are festooned with information introducing children from primary levelupwards to that aspiration.

担任该学院校长一职的Max Haimendorf十分年轻。他从美国特许学校中借鉴了许多想法。其办校宗旨是让尽可能多的学生能进入顶尖高等学府。“这将改变命运”,他表示。学校的布告栏上贴满了宣传其学生从小学一路考入名牌大学的各种信息。

Ambitious outfits like this delight Michael Gove, the education secretary. He has expanded theacademies programme which began under Labour, and which aims to give schools more controlover their management and curriculum (though not their admissions policies) as well asdiscretion to vary teachers’ pay. Over half of state secondary schools are now academies. Thecoalition is also pushing free schools, created by parents and other groups dissatisfied withthe local offerings. So far 79 free schools have opened, with another 100 in the pipeline.

对于类似索罗门国王学院这样的学校,英国教育部部长迈克尔·戈夫(Michael Gove)表示十分欢迎。原本由英国工党发起的“学院计划”(academies programme)经其手得到拓展。该计划旨在使校方就学校管理、课程安排、教师工资方面(尽管招生政策不包含在内)有更多的自主权。如今,英国国立中学中有一半以上已是学院类学校。由家长等不满于地方政府补贴的团体也自发组成联盟,以推进此类公益学校。至今为止,已有79所义学向学生开放。同时,另有100所正处于酝酿之中。

That Britain’s schools need to be transformed is clear. A new OECD report, Education at aGlance, notes that British pupils slipped down the international league tables in the past decadedespite a big increase in spending, which doubled in real terms under the last Labourgovernment. Asian and former communist countries in eastern Europe are leaving them behind.

英国学校改革的必要性已不言而喻。据经合组织(OECD)一项名为“教育概览”(Education at a Glance)的最新报告显示,尽管英国政府的教育支出激增,相比工党执政期最后一任内阁时的实际额度翻了一番,但其小学生平均成绩的国际排名在过去10年间有所下滑。而亚洲各国和东欧的部分原共产主义国家的表现,则不断赶超英国。

【每日晨读】经济学人GRE双语阅读 英国教育改革从教师培训开始图2

Yet the government, so bold in many ways, has not dared to claim that its reforms will pushthe nation’s pupils up the rankings. England’s schools are different, but not yet demonstrablybetter (Scotland and Wales oversee their own schools, though not with much distinction).And as the schools revolution rolls on, new problems are popping up.

而即使各方面都行事大胆的英国政府,也不敢宣称其改革将升高本国小学生成绩的国际排名。英格兰的学校相对比较不同,但也无法证明其表现较好(而苏格兰和威尔士则拥有学校监督的自主权,尽管差别不大)。随着学校改革的推进,新的问题也将不断浮现。

The spread of more autonomous schools has created a gap in accountability, which has beenfilled in a piecemeal way. Getting sluggish local authorities out of running schools is one thing.Ensuring effective intervention when things go wrong in academies or free schools is another.At the moment this role is left to the Department for Education—a state of affairs described byone critic as “Napoleonic” (it is also odd, given the coalition’s enthusiasm for pruning Whitehallbureaucracy).

随着各学校自主权的增强,问责制缺口问题已然出现。对此,解决方法各式各样。其一是使学校脱离地方政府的保守经营。其二是确保学院或义校出现问题时政府的有效介入。目前,该义务由英国教育部承担。对于该现状,某评论家称之为“拿破仑式管理”(同时,由于私人团体强烈要求精简英国政府,这一现状也比较反常)。

The education secretary’s ability to send strong reformist signals, so useful in encouraging thegrowth of academies, can cause a mess. A row over the sudden downward revision of EnglishGSCE grades suggest that the qualifications regulator responded to pressure to make examstougher—a favourite theme of Mr Gove—without giving due warning of the shift in gradeboundaries or how to address them.

尽管教育部部长多次有力地暗示将进行教育改革,并有效地刺激了学院式学校的开办,但最终可能引起混乱。就近期英国普通初级中学毕业文凭评级(GSCE)向下修正一事争论迭起,这说明英国的资格考试审查机构屈于压力而增加考试难度(这迎合了戈夫部长的主题),但却没有酒评级标准改变和应对方法作出相应的提醒。

Another conundrum is what to do if an academy or free school under-performs (in America,charter schools close every year). Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of OFSTED, the schoolsinspectorate, hankers for powers to inspect academy chains as well as the local authoritieswho run the country’s remaining (and frankly neglected) comprehensive schools. OFSTED onlyhas the right to inspect individual schools: a hangover from the previous system. Oneremedy might lie in the creation of powerful regional school commissioners, who could demandchanges, send in improvement teams when things go awry and generally strive to outdo oneanother. A flaw in both Labour and Conservative school-reform efforts is that there is littledrive for improvements to spread round the country. A keener sense of regional responsibilitymight help.

另一个问题是,对于表现不佳的学院或义校该如何处理(美国每年都有倒闭的特许学校)。英国教育标准局(OFSTED)负责监督学校,其局长麦克·威尔萧爵士(Sir Michael Wilshaw) 则希望获得更大的权力,以监督各个学院以及经营英国其他(说白了就是被忽略的)综合学校。而目前,英国教育标准局的权力仅限于监督个别学校,这是先前的教育体系所遗留下的。对此,设立权限较大的地方教育专员可能是一个解决办法。该专业可以要求教育改革,发生问题时派遣补救小组,总体上又能相互竞争。英国工党和保守党在教育改革上都存在一个问题,那就是缺乏将改革扩散至全国的动机。而提高地区政府责任意识可能会有所改善。

Ultimately, though, no amount of structural change, interventions or inspections counts for asmuch as good teaching. Lord Adonis, a former Labour minister who set up the academiesprogramme, says it is “simply absurd” that top universities have no stake in teacher-training, ajob left too long, he says, to “under-par educational sociologists”. The best schools could begiven more autonomy and incentives to help train teachers, ensuring that newcomers learnfrom the best of their profession, not the middling performers. Rewards need sharpening, justas poor performers should be edged out more quickly. The coalition, which has supported“golden hellos” for some graduates training as teachers, could do more to entice top mathsand science performers. (It might not harm to recruit a few teachers from the Asian Tigereconomies, too, if only to impress parents with the amount of homework they would set.)

然后最终,无论进行多少结构性改革、加大多少政府介入和审查,都不如改善教育质量来得有效。学院计划的发起人,前工党大臣阿多尼斯男爵(Lord Adonis)表示,教师培训对于顶尖高等学府无关紧要,这“简直荒谬”。他还称,教师培训这一工作被搁置得太久,“教育社会学家们都失望了”。那些优异的学校可以获得更多自主权,同时在教师培训上有更强的动机。这样,可以确保教授学生的是那些顶尖的师资,而非中庸的讲师。对于那些表现不佳者,需要立刻予以取代。同时,留任者的报酬也宜有所提高。而那些私人团体向来支持对毕业后接受培训的准教师们提供优厚待遇,这些团体在招揽优秀的数学、理科教师方面将更胜一筹。(若只是为了给家长们留下海量作业的印象,雇佣一些来自“亚洲四小龙”的教师也无伤大雅。)

England’s reforms are sound—just not sufficient by themselves to transform outcomes. Thefocus should now be on acquiring as many brilliant teachers as possible, as fast as possible.Pursuing that aim, rather than judging progress by the numbers of freshly-hatched schools, isthe vital next step towards better education.

英格兰的教育改革本身没错,只是通过自身不足以改变结果。而现在,改革的焦点应该集中在尽可能多而快地招揽优秀教师。相比以新办学校数来衡量成果,师资力量才是今后改善教育的关键一步。

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