Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More Children in the UK Going to School without Breakfast

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. skip (v.) – to not do something
Example: Some women skip meals in order to lose weight.

2. make ends meet (idiom) – to have enough money to pay for things that one needs to live
Example: The young man worked night and day but still couldn’t make ends meet.

3. apathy (n.) – a feeling of not having enough interest in something
Example: Some people feel apathy toward news about wars in other countries.

4. budget cut (n.) – the act of decreasing the budget set aside for something
Example: The company had to introduce budget cuts to cope with the economic problem.

5. disadvantaged (adj.) – poor; in a worse situation than other people
Example: Supporting disadvantaged people is one of the concerns of the government.

Read the text below.

Kellogg’s recent survey of 500 teachers in the UK revealed an alarming number of children skipping their morning meals. Teachers said four out of five children go to school without eating breakfast, and the problem is getting worse.

The teachers said that without eating a healthy breakfast, many children behave badly at school and are unable to focus on studying.

In the survey, teachers blamed parental apathy most of all. They said parents are often too busy or do not make an effort to prepare meals in the morning. Some parents feed their children junk food such as chocolate and soda for breakfast.

Teachers said financial hardship could be another reason why a lot of children are skipping breakfast. Parents who are trying to make ends meet may not have enough money to provide good food to their children.

To combat the problem, a third (1/3) of primary school teachers bring food to school. One-sixth (1/6) of the surveyed teachers reported spending £24.99 from their own salary feeding students.

Kellogg’s, a food company best known for its breakfast cereals, has been supporting school breakfast clubs all over the UK. Breakfast clubs provide free morning meals to hungry students. However, with recent budget cuts in schools, many teachers worry that breakfast clubs may have to close, and even more children will go hungry.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education commented on the survey results, saying the government too is worried.  She assured people that the Department of Education is protecting the schools’ budgets and is providing monetary support to schools with a high number of disadvantaged pupils.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         In your country, what are common reasons for children skipping breakfast?
·         How can we get more children to eat breakfast before going to school?

Discussion B

·         Is it important for people to eat breakfast? Why do you think so?
·         Describe your ideal morning meal. What is the best food to eat for breakfast?


Monday, November 12, 2012

New Version of EU Act to Improve the Poor Economy

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. act (n.) – a law or agreement that is the result of decisions made by lawmakers
Example: The congress approved the new act that regulates business in the country.

2. border (n.) – a line that divides one area from another
Example: One needs a passport to cross over a country’s borders.

3. confidence (n.) – trust or faith in someone or something
Example: The company has confidence in their new product because it has good quality at an affordable price.

4. mutual (adj.) –  shared or common to two or more people or groups
Example: Business partners have mutual interests.

5. stakeholder (n.) – a person or group that has interest or concern in one company or organization
Example: They aim to invite more stakeholders to invest in their company.

Read the text below.

The European Commission has recently approved the Single Market Act II, an agreement that contains new goals to make business easier between countries in the European Union (EU).

The act describes four main goals: to make business and employment easier across borders; to make finances more accessible across the 27 nations in the EU; to improve confidence in the economy of EU nations; and to improve travel and trade networks between countries.

Some benefits under the four main goals are better online business and banking services; more train systems between countries; a shared EU airspace for flights; and a deal that lets the 500 million citizens of the European Union choose which country to get energy supplies from.

The single airspace could save EU air travelers an estimated 5 billion euros per year, while the shared energy markets could save 13 billion euros.

The original Single Market Act was introduced last year to make friendlier business policies among EU nations. Through the first act, costs of mobile phone use and air travel when visiting other EU nations have been greatly reduced.

The need to further increase jobs and promote market growth pushed the creation of the Single Market Act II. Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner for internal market and services, said that proposals in the new act may be able to boost the European economy.

However, business leaders say that for the new act to become effective there must be mutual effort and commitment from EU nations and stakeholders to meet the goals.

The Commission aims to finalize the act by the end of next year, and to start working toward the goals in 2014.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think Asians should also be able to easily travel, work or do business in other Asian countries? Why or why not?
·         Why is it important for different countries to sometimes have mutual or shared goals? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         How does a country’s relationship with another country affect international businesses?
·         How can doing business with each other strengthen the relationship of countries?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 World Food Prize Awarded to Irrigation Scientist

Unlocking Word Meanings(5 minutes)
Let your student read the items below. Confirm that he/she understood each word. Use additional info/definition/question only when necessary.

1. irrigation (n.) – the act of providing water for plants to grow
Example: In the desert, a good irrigation system is necessary to keep plants alive.

2. crop (n.) – plants that are used for food or the creation of clothing and other products for humans
Example: The young farmer learned how to take better care of his rice crop.

3. channel (n.) – a narrow pathway for water to flow
Example: The farmer dug several channels that brought water from the river to the rice fields.

4. liken (v.) – to present the similarities between two things
Example:  Plants can be likened to animals which need food to survive.

5. scarcity (n.) – a situation of not having enough, a lack
Example: There is a scarcity of water in most parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Article(10 minutes)
Let the student read the article aloud. For the Comprehension Questions, you may:
     (a) Ask the questions in between. Tell the student ahead of time when to pause from reading.
     (b) Ask the questions after he or she finishes reading everything. 
For words difficult to pronounce, pronunciation guides are provided beside the word.

An Israeli scientist, Dr. Daniel Hillel, was awarded the World Food Prize for inventing the drip irrigation system. The system greatly lessens the amount of water needed to grow crops.

For over fifty years, Dr. Hillel has travelled to many parts of the world promoting the method. Today, the drip irrigation system is used in watering plants in areas that receive very little rainfall like Israel and Africa.

The efficiency of Dr. Hillel’s drip irrigation system can also be seen in farms in California. Despite being mostly desert area, California produces 50% of fruits and vegetables in the United States.

Traditionally, farmers would let water flow via open channels toward crops. However, this traditional method wastes a lot of water and is therefore not a good option in areas that do not have enough water.

In a drip irrigation system, water flows through plastic tubes with small holes. The tubes carry the water to the plants that need to be watered. The water then drips from the holes onto the base of plants.

Dr. Hillel likens drip irrigation to how one would feed a baby little bits of food at a time. He says drip irrigation delivers the needed amount of water at the right place on the ground, without wasting a single drop.

With the world’s growing worries over population growth, food scarcity, and climate change, innovations like the Dr. Hillel’s drip irrigation system are very important.

Viewpoint Discussion(7-8 minutes)
Lead the discussion using the questions below.

Discussion A

·          Do you think we should care about the farming problems in other countries? Why or why not?
·         How can sharing food-growing techniques and knowledge help solve food scarcity in the world?

Discussion B

·         What are common ways in which people waste water?
·         What can people do to save or conserve water?


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Amazon Seeks Profit When People Use their Devices

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. breakeven (adj.) – having the same amount of income and expense in business, and not making profit
Example: The company did not make any money after its break-even deals.

2. built-in (adj.) – made an important part of something
Example: The new e-reader has a built-in memory card slot.

3. media (n.) – means of communication that reaches a lot of people such as television or Internet
ExampleMedia make profits because of advertisements.

4. entice (v.) – to make someone interested in something
Example: The product’s affordable price and design enticed people to buy it.

5. shipping (n.) – the delivery of products from one place to another
Example: I paid a fortune for the shipping of books I bought in the US.

Read the text below.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that the sales of their newest Kindle e-readers will only be breakeven. According to Bezos, the company’s profits will depend instead on their software and online services.

The CEO talked about this strategy as the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader and Amazon’s e-book lending service launched in the UK, France and Germany.

Paperwhite has a built-in light, which Amazon hopes can rival other e-readers with a similar feature. In addition, Kindle users in Europe now have access to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.

This online feature lets users borrow one book monthly from authors who have released their works to Amazon’s e-library. The service’s UK database will have over 200,000 books at the start.

The e-library can be accessed if Kindle users pay for the Amazon Prime service, worth £49 a year.  The service entices customers to buy more by allowing access to the e-books as well as cheaper and faster shipping of physical products from the Amazon store.

Bezos says that Amazon wants to make money when people use their gadgets and not when people buy the gadgets.

He added that people read up to four times more after buying a Kindle, and people’s demand for media also increases once they own the device. Profit will depend on how much media customers will buy from Amazon.

Amazon’s strategy is the opposite of its competitors. Apple depends on the profit from its hardware products such as the iPad and makes a little more than breakeven sales from iTunes.  Google also earns more from sales of its Android tablet than from software.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with Amazon’s strategy of making more money through online media services instead of through their devices? Why or why not?
·         What other features can companies include to entice people to buy e-readers?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think people still buy paper books even though electronic books are available?
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of e-readers?


Friday, November 9, 2012

Electronic Dance Music Quickly Gaining Popularity

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. genre (n.) – category of something artistic (type of literature, music, etc.)
Example: Pop, rock and jazz are well-known genres of music.

2. disc jockey(n.) – someone who plays recorded music on the radio or at a party
Example: The disc jockey wore a headset to hear the music clearly.

3. transform (v.) – to change the form or appearance of something
Example: Technology transforms traditional types of music to make new ones. 

4. VIP (n.) –Very Important Person; someone who is given special care or attention
Example: The VIP room is exclusive to celebrities. 

5. fan base (n.) – the number of fans that support something or someone
Example: The new musician has already gathered a large fan base.

Read the text below.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is a genre of music that has become popular in recent years.

EDM is dance music made with electronic or digital instruments. According to Deniz Koyu, a disc jockey (DJ) and EDM composer, music has been transformed by technology. He said the laptop can be considered the new guitar. To make electronic songs, a person just needs a computer and software.

Before, EDM could only be heard in nightclubs, but the music is now often played on the radio and at music festivals and concerts.

Echostage, one of the biggest concert venues in Washington, hosts EDM events. Antonis Karagounis, owner of the venue, said Echostage is not a VIP night club or a lounge but a place where people can enjoy EDM.

EDM’s growing fan base means that concert venues can charge as much as $60 per person when famous DJs are visiting.

DJ Armin van Buuren, a world-famous DJ, has been to more than 100 countries playing EDM. He said that EDM has gathered much interest because it offers people a unique music experience, especially when mixed with colorful lights and dancing.

Buuren added that because of EDM’s acceptance as a music genre, people now see disc jockeying as a kind of art, and DJs are being given respect as artists.

EDM is also becoming recognized in the traditional music industry.  Earlier this year, EDM musician DJ Skrillex won three awards at the Grammys, one of the biggest music events in the US.  Additionally, EDM has been included as a category in this November’s American Music Awards.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think that Electronic Dance Music will continue to be popular in the future? Why or why not?
·         How can the success of digitally made music affect other more traditional music genres?

Discussion B

·         What is the importance of music in human life?
·         In what ways has technology changed the way we enjoy music?