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  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    comprehension, practical

    Dear teachers,

    I have two questions to ask:

    No.1
    The temptation remains strong largely because young children adapt so well to computers. First graders have been _________ willing to work for two hours on math skills. Some have an attention span of 20 minutes.
    I have two questions concerning this part:
    First,
    a. watched b. seen
    The key is 'b'. No problem. Could you please explain if 'a' is possible? It doesn't sound nice to me but it is grammatically correct. Is that right?
    Second,
    I don't think the italicized sentences make sense. Could you please explain if they are contradictory to each other?

    No.2
    One big reason the question is being raised is the fact that a large number of young people who graduate from the school systems are unable to handle simple, everyday tasks such as reading a newspaper, filling out a job application or balancing a checkbook. They are considered "____4_______ illiterate".
    a. practically b. functionally
    The key is 'b'. Could you please explain why 'a' isn't correct ?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  2. #2
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    Re: comprehension, practical

    The fuller sentence would be:
    First graders have been seen to be willing

    With 'watched' the collocation would be something like:
    First graders have been watched as they worked on...

    This changes the meaning, from how the children 'were willing to work...'


    2. 'illiterate': unable to read or write
    So - practically illiterate means almost, nearly unable to read and write.
    They are most probably not as bad as that, but their level of vocabulary and so understanding of the words in newspapers; and being able to comprehend the meaning of what they are reading is so poor, that in terms of when they are asked to perform the tasks of "reading a newspaper, filling out a job application or balancing a checkbook", they function very poorly - hence, functionally illiterate.
    For example, if an application form had a blank for "Gender' they may be blank as to what they need to write there!
    Last edited by David L.; 03-Mar-2009 at 09:23.

  3. #3
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Re: comprehension, practical

    Dear David,

    Thank you very much for your explanation.
    No.1
    Does your explanation mean this is a problem of collocation?
    No.2
    Do they mean because of computers they are able to work for two hours. But before they had a computer their attention span was only 20 minutes? If that is the case why isn't the second sentence in past tense? This is confusing.
    Could you please explain more?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    The fuller sentence would be:
    First graders have been seen to be willing

    With 'watched' the collocation would be something like:
    First graders have been watched as they worked on...

    This changes the meaning, from how the children 'were willing to work...'

  4. #4
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    Re: comprehension, practical

    No - you're right. It is more than that.

    The meaning of the sentence is that teachers noticed/observed this aspect of children's behaviour in the classroom; the children were seen to exhibit this behaviour.
    'watch/watched' goes much further, to 'having a deliberate intent to observe attentively over a period of time'. That is not what is implied or meant in the sentence.

    Do they mean because of computers they are able to work for two hours. But before they had a computer their attention span was only 20 minutes?
    Hmm, it isn't particularly clear, is it? It means, all told, they were happy to stick with a maths session for a total of 2 hours. An adult might work on some project for 2 hours - but - but he wouldn't have an attention span of 2 hours!
    'attention span' is the length of time for which a person is able to concentrate mentally on a particular activity without distraction. After an hour, even an adult would want a break for a cup of coffee. Yet with 5 and 6 year old children, they were able to maintain their attention span for 20 minutes when working and interacting with a computer, which is damn good!
    Last edited by David L.; 03-Mar-2009 at 09:40.

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