AMERICAN “BRIBERY”

During the External Independent Assessment (English Language Test) held last summer in Ukraine, secondary school graduates were offered an abridged article by Benedict Carey, an American journalist writing for the New York Times. The beginning of article deals with the start of the academic year in September and with the difficulty of prodding high school students into studying after the summer holidays. The first question on the article and the paragraph to which the question is related are given below.

Read the text below. For questions (6 – 10) choose the correct answer (A, B, C or D). Write your answers on the separate answer sheet. 

 

Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits 

By BENEDICT CAREY

Every September, millions of parents try a kind of psychological witchcraft, to transform their summer-glazed campers into fall students, their video-bugs into bookworms. Advice is cheap and all too familiar: Clear a quiet work space. Stick to a homework schedule. Set goals. Set boundaries. Do not bribe (except in emergencies).

 

6.  In the 1st paragraph the author advises parents NOT to __________. 


A/  behave in a dishonest way in order to get an advantage

B / deliberately tell a child something that is not true

C / offer a child something in return for studying

D / make a child feel guilty for something he/she has done offer a child something in return for studying 

The majority of those who were tested chose the answer A (“behave in a dishonest way in order to get an advantage”) associating the word bribe with the meaning give money to someone (illegally) to gain influence, which was definitely wrong in this context, since the author meant that parents should not lure their children into to studying by promising, say, to buy something for them, or by giving permission to use their car, etc. (hence, the correct choice is C). I looked through the comments of the students who had undergone the test and were sharing their impressions right after taking it. Many of the participants in the forum sincerely believed that the author’s advice DO NOT BRIBE was about not giving presents to secondary school teachers (!!). The practice of parents “sweetening” teachers to get them favourably disposed towards their off-springs is quite common in Ukraine.  Those who had chosen A were just measuring the American reality with a Ukrainian yardstick.

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