Activities

Reading comprehension

The objective of this activity is to practise the comprehension of a written text and write the answers in well-structured and complete sentences.

Read the following text and then answer the questions below.

Disability and the environment

The ‘social model of disability’ was pioneered in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and continued to gain momentum and acceptance in the decades that followed. This model, introduced by people with disabilities, civil/human rights activists and social theorists, specified that disability is not simply a manifestation of a person’s impairment, but rather a complex phenomenon, created in part by features of the physical and social world. It is the environment that acts to facilitate integration or contribute to isolation, influencing a person’s ability to participate in society. The recognition of the environment’s influence on the experience of disability and the implementation of Disability Discrimination Acts in various countries have led to the development and implementation of programs and initiatives for improving the environment experienced by a person with disabilities. Some examples include:

  • The concept of Universal Design, where the underlying principle is the design of products, buildings and environments that are useable by all people. Issues such as accessibility, safety, individual ability and efficiency underpin the design of articles that make up the physical world, from buildings and forms of transportation to computer and Internet access, and products used in the home.
  • Integration of students with disabilities into mainstream or regular educational settings. Enabling students with disabilities to participate in a regular education setting is thought to improve rather than hinder both academic and social learning. Furthermore, it improves their chances of participating in the future, instead of setting them on ‘a straight pathway to a segregated life’.
  • Schemes for the provision of aids and equipment, where individuals receive cost-free or low-cost equipment to help their performance of daily activities, such as self-care and mobility in and outside the house, and facilitate participation in sport, work, education and other activities.
  • Improvement of standards for accessible public transport. Transport is a fundamental human right, including having ready access to safe and disability-friendly forms of public transport, but remains a common problem for people with disabilities. There have been recent developments in Australia, such as the implementation of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, passed by Parliament in October 2002.

Adapted from www.aihw.gov.au

Questions:

  1. When did the social model of disability start?
  2. What’s the idea behind this social model?
  3. How can the environment influence a person with disabilities, according to the text?
  4. What are the advantages for a person with disabilities of joining a regular education setting?
  5. How do some programs and initiatives help people with disabilities to perform their daily activities?

Suggested answers:

  1. It started in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
  2. The idea is that disability is not simply a manifestation of a person’s impairment, but rather a complex phenomenon, created in part by features of the physical and social world.
  3. According to the text, the environment can facilitate integration or contribute to isolation.
  4. The advantages are that a regular education can improve both academic and social learning. Furthermore, it improves their chances of participating in the future, instead of setting them on ‘a straight pathway to a segregated life’.
  5. They help people with disabilities by giving them cost-free or low-cost equipment to help their performance of daily activities and facilitate their participation in sport, work, education and other activities.

Speaking: giving a short speech

The aim of this activity is to read a piece of text and practise the pronunciation.

You work at a day care center. You are in a worker interchange program and you receive the visit of a group of people from another country. You write a short welcome speech and read it aloud in front of your visitors. Here is the text:

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our day care center. Thank you very much for your visit. I hope we can learn a lot of things from our cooperation. First of all, I’ll show you around the premises and next we’ll hold our first meeting. Please follow me…

Now read it aloud.

Note: there is no correct answer to this activity. To check the pronunciation, introduce the text in the Text-to-speech’ website and listen to the pronunciation.

Listening comprehension

The aim of this activity is to check your listening comprehension by listening to a text.

Listen to the text and then answer the questions:

Social issues ( 843.5 KB )

  1. How did the speaker find the list of 33 different social issues?
  2. What surprised the speaker when looking at the list?
  3. What three social issues didn’t the speaker hear about when he was younger?
  4. What does the speaker hope in relation to the social issues?
  5. What does the speaker suspect that will happen in the future?

Suggested answers:

  1. He looked it up in Google.
  2. He was surprised that the social issues were so common.
  3. He didn’t hear about drug abuse, pollution and immigration.
  4. He hopes that the number of social issues will go down and not up.
  5. He suspects that there will be more problems in the future.

Transcription:

There seems to be so many social issues these days. I’m sure the list of issues is ten times bigger than it was a few years ago. I just Googled ‘social issues’ and found a list of 33 different issues. I suppose that’s not a huge amount. One thing that surprised me looking at the list is how common they are. Pretty much all of them appear on the news most days. A few of them weren’t really in the news when I was growing up. I can’t remember hearing about drug abuse, pollution and immigration years ago. I hope that the number of social issues on this list goes down and not up, although I suspect there will more problems in the future. I think there’ll be problems about things we don’t even know about today.

A telephone conversation

The objective of this activity is to practise the language commonly used on the telephone.

Complete the following telephone conversation in an appropriate way by looking at the context and following the instructions in brackets.

You work at the law firm Larson&Sons. Mr Malcom Morris, from British Toys Inc., calls your office to talk to your manager, Mr Larson.

You (answer the phone): (1) …

Mr Morris: Good morning. This is Malcolm Morris, from British Toys. May I speak to Mr Larson, please?

You: (2) …

Mr Morris: Really? Do you know when he’ll be back?

You: (3) …

Mr Morris: Two weeks? I can’t wait so long!

You: (4) …

Mr Morris: No, no message, thank you. Is his son Matthew there?

You (don’t understand): (5) …

Mr Morris: I asked you if Matthew Larson was there.

You: (6) …

Mr Morris: Good. Could I talk to him?

You (connect to Matthew): (7) …

Mr Morris: Right, thank you. Bye!

You: (8) …

Suggested answers:

(1) Larson&Sons. Hello!

(2) I’m afraid he’s not in his office now.

(3) In two weeks

(4) Can I take a message?

(5) Sorry. Could you repeat that, please?

(6) Oh, yes, he is.

(7) Yes, I’ll put you through.

(8) Bye

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Self-correcting exercises