British Studies Web Pages
Facing up to a challenge
Mrs A, an English teacher and a mother of two teenagers - Julka and Maciek - is a regular feature of our pages. In this issue, Media, she uses in her diary a lot of phrasal verbs and some nouns formed from phrasal verbs. If you need any help understanding them, just place the mouse over the purple ball following an underlined phrase.
19th February, Wednesday
The Head called me into his office during the long break. For a split second I worried he’d want to go over my class’s notoriously low attendance during the school assembly and trot out his old arguments about having to keep discipline. I was wrong. He had a new task for class III c - my class, the class with the extended programme in English. As it turned out our school was going in for a new competition organized by the Kuratorium. The aim is to launch a school newsletter that will:
· deal with the problems of young people,
· come out regularly every month,
· be created by students for students,
· include columns or sections written in English.
The Head is sure it’ll take off. Even before he finished talking I’d guessed his wish. The English section will be the responsibility of my class and I have to see to it that the whole thing comes off.
19th February, Wednesday afternoon
I broke the news to the class and called for suggestions and volunteers. The class really took to the idea. Tomorrow during the long break we’ll meet in the library to discuss the details. I hope some interesting ideas will crop up.
19th February, Wednesday evening
Since Spouse had ‘an important business meeting’ at work, and Maciek and Julka had slipped away ‘to learn with their friends’, I decided to make some good use of the ‘home alone’ situation and dig up a couple of teenage magazines that my kids read. Maybe they’ll give me an idea what kind of articles are written for the young generation so when I meet my class tomorrow I’ll have at least some notion of ‘the problems of young people’. I started by looking through Maciek’s treasure chest - that is a couple of old shoeboxes stored away under his bed. Huge disappointment. Five old issues of Anglers’ News, one rather dog-eared Playboy, a copy of Auto plus a poster of Jennifer Lopez. Among these - three odd socks in a varied state of smelliness. I tried Julka’s room. A pile of magazines neatly tucked away looked promising - mostly Filipinka and some Cosmopolitan. At the sight of Cosmopolitan I was slightly taken aback but still in good faith thumbed through some copies: ‘The ten top sexiest bums in Hollywood’, ‘How safe are silicon implants?’, ‘When your best friend tries to pick up your boyfriend’, ‘Cellulite? - we can help’, ‘Healthy skin - happy life’. Teenage problems? I only hope my class will pick on different topics and come up with some better suggestions.
20th February, Thursday
Six volunteers turned up at our library meeting. They’d already talked things over. Darek said they’d been thinking of a special title for their English page, maybe a kind of acronym in which the letters would form a catchy phrase, like Fantastic, Unbelievable, Creative.... ‘Hold on!’, I quickly butted in, ‘nothing that starts with an ‘F’, OK? I won’t stand for dirty language!’. He nodded his head but I could see a shadow of a smile lingering at the corner of his mouth. They were rather secretive about the rest. Przemek put forward a suggestion that they’d prepare a draft copy for Monday and present it for my approval. I went along with that.
24th February, Monday
I’m looking at the newsletter now. The title is: Kids’ Universe - Creative, Unbelievable, Fantastic. So they haven’t started with an ‘F’, but if you rearrange the words... Hmm.... There are five parts altogether. Not bad. They really got down to some serious work over the weekend.
Every generation has their idols. Grown-ups often complain that the youth of today have no heroes, no moral authorities to look up to, no role models to follow. This is simply not true. Below you’ll find the results of a survey carried out in class III c. There was only one question to answer: ‘Who is your favourite hero from all the set texts you had to read for your Polish lessons? Justify your choice.’ Our Top Five Heroes list is based on the answers handed in by 35 people.
Teachers often harp on about students who don’t read. If students have to study a set text, they try to get out of doing it by choosing a film adaptation instead. The quiz below tests your knowledge of some literary sources that have been used by film or television. If you recognize correctly the titles of the books, pass your answers on to Daria from class III c. The winner’s name will be announced in our next newsletter.
Our biology teacher’s mind. Last Friday she gave out the test results. Twenty one people got a ‘1’, ten a ‘2’, and three ‘2=’ She must have lost her mind. If you come across ‘it’, bring ‘it’ along to class III c for some re-programming. Characteristic features: size XS, visible shrinkage in the area responsible for natural human reactions, marked decay in lateral thinking.
One of the aims of our pages is to give you an opportunity to try out your English. In our first issue we suggest an exercise based on direct translation. Read the phrases written below in column A (all are direct word-by-word translations of Polish idiomatic expressions) and think of their proper English equivalents (column B). Match the columns. The key is provided but use it only to check up if you are right.
Key: 1d; 2c; 3e; 4a; 5b; 6f
The ‘Still Living’ Poets’ Corner (unlike the one in Westminster Abbey)
Whoever claims that young people have been put off reading poetry is a fool. They sometimes even write poems themselves. The authors of the texts presented here would like to remain incognito. But if you’d like an interview or an autograph, we can fix it up. Talk to Sylwia from IIIc.
The final cry of the last stanza made me pause for a second. Is it fake? Do they want to take me in? Is someone deliberately putting on the pose of a tormented soul? And what if there’s a truly unhappy person in my class? How can I know? I couldn’t make it out. Underneath the final poem I saw the last fragment, as if hastily jotted down:
· Editorial Board: Daria, Justyna, Sylwia, Przemek, Karol and Darek from IIIc
· Layout: Przemek
· Proof-reading: Sylwia
Next to ‘censorship’ a big question mark was written in pencil. A defiant, provocative sign, as if they were daring me. I took my red pen and crossed it out. No further changes were necessary. No matter what the Head says I’ll stick by my class.
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