BOOK 6 UNIT 3 TEACHER扴 NOTES by shuifanglj


									UNIT 3         The Importance of Attitude

1. Background to Text 1
Stephen Jay Gould: one of the foremost American science writers of today. A professor at
Harvard University, he has won world-wide acclaim for his work on biology, evolution, and
man‟s place in nature. Among his collection of essays are Ever Since Darwin, Bully for
Brontasaurus, Wonderful Life (winner of the Rhone-Pouleme Science Book prize), and Eight
Little Piggies. He also writes and speaks for popular audiences, as with this essay.
Mark Twain: pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), US writer, born in
Florida, Missouri. He adopted his own name from a well-known call of the man sounding the
river in shallow places (“mark twain” meaning “by the mark two fathoms”). In 1867 he wrote
Innocents Abroad (1869), which esyablished his reputation as a humorist. His two best-
known works are the novels Tom Sawyer (1876) and Huckleberry Finn (1884), which are
drawn from his own boyhood experiences. Other works include A Tramp Abroad (1880) and
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889).
Hallowe’en: the evening of 31 October, the eve of All Saint‟s Day, when according to an old
tradition girls would use certain “magic” rites to foresee who they wouyld marry. Today the
day is usually marked by costume or fancy-dress parties and is a popular occasion with young
people and children.
Harvard: Harvard University in the USA, a university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is the
oldest university and was founded in 1636. Originally intended as a religious training center
for ministers, it gradually expanded and by the late 19c had become a major educational
institution. The affiliated college for women is called Radcliffe College (founded in 1879)
Sir Peter Medawar: (1915-1987) British zoologist, professor at Birmingham and London,
and Director of the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill from 1962. he shared
the 1960 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Macfarlane Burnet.
Bahamas: Its official name is Commonwealth of the Bahamas. It is independent archipelago
(group of islands) in the Atlantic Ocean?
Francis Bacon: (1561-1626) English philosopher and statesman, born in London. He was
called to the Bar in 1582 and became an MP in 1584. His philosophical works include The
Advancement of Learning (1605) and Novum Organum (1620), which stressed the scientific
method of induction.
Plato: (c427-347Bc), Athenian philosopher, one of the most important philosophers of all
times, disciple of Socrates, and teacher of Aristotle. Plato is particularly known for his theory
of ideas, or forms, in which the world of transient, finite, ever-changing objects of sense
experience is to be distinguished from that of the timeless, unchanging, universal forms,
which are the true objects of knowledge.
Many features of Plato‟s philosophy include a belief in a transcendent realm of abstract,
perfect entities; the inferiority of the physical world; the power of reason to know these
perfect entities; bodily separability and immortality of the soul.

Methodology: In general, follow the guidelines in the introduction to the Teacher‟s Book. As
the text is quite difficult we suggest that, after the students have read the whole text once, you
ask the following questions to check their general understanding. They should be able to
answer without referring again to the text. If there is any serious misunderstanding this can
then be corrected at an early stage.
        What was wrong with the writer?
        What question did the writer ask the doctor?
        What was the reply? Was it true?

       What did the writer discover in the library?
       If he hadn‟t had scientific knowledge, what might he have thought?
       According to the book he read, which factors increase a patient‟s chances of fighting

Aim of the text: What we learn from this text is that intellect and scientific knowledge can be
very useful in ordinary life. (The writer‟s purpose is to defend intellectualism, so he makes a
case against anti-intellectualism here.)

Terms in statistics:
statistics: study of facts in the form of figures
mean: middle, average; middle point between two extremes
median: a point which is in the middle line
variation: a thing that varies from a standard; the extent to which a thing vaaries from a
distribution:: in statistics, a set of measurements or values, together with the observed or
predicted frequencies with which they occur. Such information is often presented in the form
of a graph.
abstraction: something which exists as a general idea rather than as an actual example
symmetrical: having the exact similarity between two parts or halves, as if one were a mirror
image of the other
asymmetrical: not symmetrical
curve: rounded shape like a semi-circle
right-skewed: the distribution is not symmetrical. It goes to the right hand…?
probability: in statistics, a mathematical expression of the likelihood or chance of a
particular event occurring, usually expressed as a fraction or numeral, eg. a probability of one
in four
skewness: a measurement of the degree of asymmetry about the central value of a
dichotomy: a division or separation into two groups or parts, especially when they are
sharply opposed or contrasted

II. Detailed study of the text
1. My life has recently intersected, in a most personal way, two of Mark Twain’s famous
quips. (L. 1)
intersect: to cut across
quip: short, clever and amusing remark
2. One I shall defer to the end of this essay. (L.2)
defer: to delay something until a later date, eg.
    Let‟s defer the decision for a few weeks.
3. The other…identifies three species of mendacity,… (L. 4)
   mendacity: the quality of being untruthful
4. The leader of the opposition might retort,… (L.17)
   retort: to reply quickly, in an angry or humorous way
5. Both are right, neither cites a statistic with impassive objectivity. (L. 18)
  When giving these figures, the politicians from both parties are influenced by their own
feelings or opinions.

6. In some contemporary traditions, abetted by attitudes stereotypically centred upon
Southern California feelings are exalted as more “real” and the only proper basis for
action--- if it feels good, do it---while intellect gets short shrift as a gang-up of outmoded
elitism. (L. 25)
abet: to help someone do something wrong or illigal
exalt: to put someone or something into a high rank or position
get short shrift: not get much attention or sympathy from someone, eg
    My warning, as usual, got short shrift.
    Her suggestions were given short shrift by the Chairman.
hang-up: thing which worries you and prevents you from acting normally, eg.
   She‟s got a real hang-up about her nose.
elitism: a system in which a small group of people have a lot of power or advantages
Some people regard feelings as more valid than intellect, which they see as old fashioned, and
a symptom of elitism. This view is reinforced by attitudes
    prevalent in Southern California.
7. She replied, with a touch of diplomacy (the only departure she has ever made from
direct frankness), that the medical literature contained nothing really worth reading.
(L. 42)
diplomacy: skill in dealing with people and persuading them to agree to something without
upsetting them, eg.
The job requires tact and diplomacy.
a touch of : a very small amount of, eg.
“I‟m afraid I don‟t agree,” said hazel, with a touch of irritation.
She had a touch of fever in the night.
departure: a way of doing something that is different from the usual, traditional, expected
way, eg.
literature: all the books, articles, etc. on a particular subject, eg. literature on the history of
This approach represents a radical departure from previous policy.
The doctor was usually direct and frank with her patients. But this time she was different. She
replied rather tactfully and said that there was not anything worth reading in books and
articles on medicine.
8. …trying to keep an intellectual away from literature works about as well as
    recommending chastity to Homo Sapiens the sexiest primate of all. (L. 45)
chastity: the principle or way of behaving in which you do not behave in a way that is
    sexually immoral, especially for religious reasons
primate: a member of the group of mammals that includes humans and monkeys
It is as difficult to keep an intellectual away from books as it is to advice modern man, the
    sexiest animal in the world, to keep sexually pure.
9. I made a beeline for Harvard’s Countway medical library and punched mesothelioma
    into the computer’s bibliographic search program. (L. 47)
make a beeline for: to go directly and quickly towards someone or something, eg.
Rob always makes a beeline for women at parties.
punch…into/in…: to put information into a computer by pressing buttons or keys
I went directly to the medical library of the Countway campus of Harvard University and
typed the word “mesothelioma” into the computer‟s program for books and articles on this
particular subject.
10. …with a median mortality of only eight months after discovery. (L. 52)

…the average rate at which people suffering from mesothelioma die is eight months after the
disease is discovered.
11. If a little learning is a dangerous thing, I had encountered a classic example. (L. 57)
“A little learning is a dangerous thing” is a proverb. The writer uses this proverb to show how
knowledge and intellect help him in fighting cancer.
A classic example/case etc: a very typical example of something, sometimes in an
impressive or humorous way, eg.
Tom made the classic mistake of trying to drive away without releasing the hand brake.
12. …from my old-style materialistic perspective, I suspect that mental states feed back
upon the immune system. (L. 59)
feed back upon: respond
materialistic perspective: belief that only physical things really exist
According to my old-fashioned view only physical things exist. But I don‟t know why I
believe that the immune system responds to mental states.
13. …with commitment to struggle… (L. 63)
commitment: the hard work and loyalty that someone gives to an organization, activity, etc.
Her commitment to work is beyond questions.
…with a determination to fight against cancer…
14. …Sir Peter Medawar, my personal scientific guru…(L. 66)
scientific guru: notable scientist who has many disciples
15. A sanguine personality. (L. 68)
    a confident, optimistic personality
16. …since one can’t reconstruct oneself at short notice and for a definite purpose. (L.
at short notice: (or at a moment‟s notice) allowing only a short time to prepare for
something, eg.
You can‟t expect to produce a meal at short notice.
…since one can‟t remake oneself in a very short time and for a definite purpose;
…since one can‟t change oneself at one‟s own will within a short period of time.
17. Hence the dilemma for humane doctors. (L. 71)
For this reason, the kind and gentle doctors are in a difficult situation.
18. My technical training enjoined a different perspective on “eight months median
mortality. (L. 86)
enjoin: to order someone to do something
My profession made me look at this eight months mortality in a different way.
19. We still carry the historical baggage of a platonic heritage that seeks sharp essences
and definite boundaries. (L. 91)
Even though Plato lived long ago we are still influenced by his philosophy, which
    is characterised by black and white contrasts.
20. …although nature often comes to us as irreducble continua. (L. 94)
  irreducible: which can’t be reduced
  continua: (This is the plural form of continuum) something thay changes or develops very
gradually, so that each part is very similar to previous and following parts, eg.
 …a learning continuum along which all learner fit
…lthough things usually develop very gradually and can not be reduced to something definite
and you can‟t tell where the boundaries are…
21. This Platonic heritage, with its emphasis on clear distinctions and separated
immutable entities, leads us to view statistical measures of central tendency wrongly,

indeed opposite to the appropriate interpretation in our actual world of variation,
shadings, and continua. (L. 94)
shadings: slight differences between things, situations or ideas.
Influenced by Plato‟s philosophy, we can not understand the fact that our actual world is one
of variation, differences and gradual changes and development, rather than one of clear
distinction and separated unchangeable entities, represented by abstract statistic figures.
22. …the “I will probably be dead in eight months” may pass as a reasonable
interpretation. (L. 102)
pass as/for: to be thought to be, eg.
With my hair cut short I could have passed as/for a boy.
22. … to see the doughnut instead of the hole,…(L. 108)
   to be very optimistic; to see the bright side of things
23. I read for a furious and nervous hour… (L. 113)
   I read for an hour in a furious and nervous manner; I read for an hour and I was very angry
and nervous.
    This is a rhetorical device called “transferred epithet” where the words “furious” and
“nervous”, which are normally used to modify the person or the manner in which he does the
action, are shifted to modify the word “hour”. You can find another example in L. 162, “the
delicious pleasure”.
24. …the left of the distribution contains an irrevocable lower boundary of zero. (L.
irrevocable: which can not be changed
…the left of the distribution is almost always near to zero. (see the figure on P. 50)
25. …it must be scrunched up between zero and eight months. (L. 130)
  scrunch up: to crush and twisted into a small round shape
  Since the left is near to zero, variation from zero to eight months must be somewhere in the
right of the distribution and therefore hope lies in the right half of the curve.
26. They apply only to a prescribed set of circumstances --- in this case to survival with
     mesothelioma under conventional modes of treatment. (L. 146)
     prescribed: decided by a rule, eg. a prescribed number of hours
Those statistical distributions are only relevant to those cases where people suffering from
      mesothelioma only get conventional medical treatment.
27. I was placed on an experimental protocol of treatment and, if fortune holds, will be
      in the first cohort of a new distribution with high median and a right tail extending
      to death by natural causes at advanced old age. (L. 149)
protocol: draft agreement
cohort: large group of people
   I was getting a new medical treatment which was in experiment and if my luck continued
      to be with me, I would be one of the first group of people who live longer than the eight
      months median and might continue to live to old age and die a natural death.
28. It has become a bit too trendy to regard the acceptance of death as something
     tantamount to intrinsic dignity. (L. 154)
  be tantamount to: if an action, suggestion, plan, etc. is tantamount to something, it is
      almost the same as it, eg.
  But that‟s tantamount to saying that poor people are criminal.
   intrinsic: being part of the nature or character of something or someone
   Now people regard it as dignified to accept death passively. But I think I can‟t follow this
      fashionable view.
29. …when my skein runs out I hope to face the end calmly and in my own way. (L. 156)

     skein: length of wool loosely wound round and round into a loop. Here it refers to
     human‟s life.
     When my life reaches the end, I hope to face death calmly and in my own way.
30. … I prefer the more martial view that death is the ultimate enemy --- I find nothing
     reproachable in those who rage mightily against the dying of the light. (L. 157)
   martial: connected with war and fighting
   rage against/about: to feel very angry about something and show this in the way you
      behave or speak, eg.
Margo raged against the unfairness of the situation.
the dying of the light: figurative speech meaning death
I „d like to regard death as an enemy and I‟ll fight against it with all my efforts. And those
      people who fight violently against death should not be blamed.
31. …I almost experienced the delicious pleasure of reading my obituary by one of my
     best friends. (L. 162)
obituary: a report in a newspaper about the life of someone who has just died
I was very amused when I read the report about my death in a newspaper written by one of my
      best friends.

III. Answers for Text 1
Ask each student to tell you his/her height and list them on the board. Then let them do the
three calculations, and write the solutions on the board.

The three technical words are mean (a), mode (b) and median (c).
„Mode‟ has no relevance to Text 1, but the students need to understand the difference
between „mean‟ and „median‟, and also the fact that for most non-scientists the non-technical
word „average‟ is almost always interpreted as „mean‟.

The longest tail is on the right, because it‟s not possible for the tail on the left to extend past
zero (which would be negative income), and there are always one or two extremely rich
people to extend the tail on the right.
 2) 4)
   1) He was suffering from cancer.
   2) What is the best technical literature about mesothelioma?
   3) Mesothelioma is incurable, with a median mortality of only eight months after
   4) He might have thought that he would die in eight months.
   5) Positive attitude, a strong will, a purpose for living, commitment to struggle, an active
       response to aiding their own treatment, not just passive acceptance of anything doctors
   Moral: Attitude critically matters in fighting cancer.

4. F ( „absurd dichotomy‟)
1)       F
3) T (he often quotes literary works)
4)       F
5)       T
6)       F
7)       T
8)       T
9)       T
10)      T
11)      T (this essay was written in 1985. The writer is, incidentally, still   alive in 1996.
12)      T
13)      T
14)      T
15)      T
16)      T

This activity is to get students to talk about their own opinions and attitudes and relate their
experience with the theme of the text.

Language Development
1) Quip = b)
2) Mendicant = a)
3) Exalt = a)
4) Give short shrift = c)
5) Revive = c)
6) Make a beeline = a)
7) Classic = c)(in this context!)
8) Sanguine = b)
9) Transient = c)
10) See the doughnut instead of the hole = a)
1) gave short shrift
2) made a beeline
3) hold
4) pass as/for
5) at short notice
6) passed as/for
7) given short shrift
8) hold
9) pass as/for
10) at short notice
11) hang up
12) hang ups

millionaire    mendicant
exalt          downgrade
symmetrical    asymmetrical
subtle         distinctive /sharp /clear
active         passive
overjoyed      desperate
somber         sanguine
stretch out    extend out
nurturant      life-giving
death          mortality
proclaim       announce
immutable      irreducible
optimistic     sanguine
contempt       downgrading

1) The more general concern that causes people to despise or look down upon statistics is
more serious. This point is then explained in the rest of the
2) Some people regard feelings as more valid than intellect, which they see as old fashioned,
and a symptom of elitism. This view is reinforced by attitudes
   prevalent in Southern California.
3) She replied rather tactfully.
4) Even though Plato lived long ago we are still influenced by his philosophy, which is
characterised by black and white contrasts.
5) I was put on a programme of experimental treatment, and if I am lucky I will appear in a
   new set of statistics which shows a high median, and a very long right tail, which extends
   as far as death at a very old age from natural causes.
6) to regard it as dignified to accept death passively.

Educated laymen
The writer makes allusions to technical terms and literary works which would not be
accessible to less educated readers. However, he also provides explanations and justifications
which would be unnecessary for fellow scientists or academics.
1) I can't imagine how such a place passes for a five-star hotel. Not only the service is terrible,
   the room is also disgustingly dirty.
2) Many a time has his suggestion been given short shrift, so he isn't really sanguine about it
   this time, either.
3) We were exalted by his music in which a strong feeling of northland is embodied.
4) Because of the emergency, a meeting had to be arranged at short notice.
5) Many students ignored supper and made a beeline for the playground because they were
   told that there was a wonderful basketball match yesterday afternoon.
6) He is rather boastful about his remembering many quips by Mark Twain and other famous
7) They had tried their best, but still failed to fulfill their promises to revive economy.
8) The love between Romeo and Juliet is a classic example of love at first sight.

9) She felt very sweet and happy the moment she woke up from the beautiful dream, however
   the happy feeling was only transient and soon she was back in the boring reality again.
10) If the weather holds, we are sure to have a good harvest this year.
11) Being very hung up about traveling along by train, she had deferred her departure several
   times with the hope that someone would join her as a company.

Text Awareness

The answer to this is to some extent subjective, i.e. there may be more than one opinion about
it. We suggest that there are three major sections, as follows:
          introduction (Para. 1--3)
          anecdote to illustrate the writer‟s thesis (Para. 4--16)
          conclusion (Para. 17—18))
Another possible analysis may break down the second section into two parts: anecdote and
If you regard the first three paragraphs as the introduction (see 1. above) you may decide that
all of these methods are used here.
Close with a statement or quotation the readers will remember
Tell an anecdote
The reader may be impressed by his learning and regard the essay as authoritative.
The quips by Mark Twain are intended to be humorous - the first because a neutral term
(statistics) appears as the final item of a list of negative terms, a sort of anti-climax, the
second because it is a gross understatement.
The analogy in lines 43-45?. The two items being compared are very different in kind. Also
scientific terminology (homo sapiens, primate) is used alongside a very colloquial and
unscientific term (sexy). It is clearly intended to create a humorous effect.
The „doughnut‟ metaphor in line 109. The use of such an ordinary and trivial image in such a
serious context (fatal illness) creates an amusing effect. Similarly the use of such
colloquialisms as „trendy‟ (line 153) and „so-and-so‟ (line 163).

6. transferred epithet: a furious and nervous hour;
7. See 4. above

IV. Background to Text 2

Malcolm Cowley: (1898-1989) a poet, critic, historian, and literary editor of The New
Republic magazine. He remained energetic and productive well into old age. He is the author
of Exile’s Return, an important book about the “lost generation” of American writers, such as
Hemingway and Fitzgerald, who lived in Paris during the 1920s.
Rolls-Royce: expensive British automobile
Words and expressions
ailments: illness, disorder, disease
compelling: convincing, strong, valid
distinguished: well-respected

distraction: amusement, diversion
infirmities: illness, weakness, ailments
lithograph: prints
outwitted: outsmarted, outmaneuvered
senility: forgetfulness and decrease in mental powers affecting some elderly people
stoical: brave, uncomplaining

V. Answers for Text 2
1) They see no reason for working (line 6). They may suffer from a variety of ailments (line
2) They both discuss attitudes to misfortune.
3) He means that they feel a sense of challenge each time they face a new disability.
4) Because they need good sight and manual skills.
1) Infirmities
2) When writers want to recommend someone or something, and their argument involves
   presenting a contrast, it is usually considered more effective to end with the recommended
   item. The final part of a sentence/ paragraph/essay carries the most „weight‟.
3) It means that we can actually manage very well without all of our physical faculties. “You
   don‟t need your hand to paint”.
4) It depends.
5) It lends more weight to one of the two groups (here the ones who face challenges bravely),
   rather than giving each equal weight, as in a neutral description.
3. This is a skill-transfer activity which gives students a chance to practice relating an event
   or story.

VI. Answers for Further Development

1. 名词

零碎                         食宿                         身心
生计                         杯盘                         鱼片薯条
血肉                         残渣                         吃喝
敌友                         连滚带爬                       健康安全?
全心全意                       天地?                        亲戚朋友
刀叉                         陆地海洋?                      治安
至亲                         南北?                        详情
纸笔                         利弊                         椒盐?
色情暴力                       兴衰                         妇孺

健康快乐/风行一时                  好歹?                        或是或非/不管怎样
黑白分明                       手足无措                       安然无恙
土生土长                       又急又怕                       厌烦至极

酗酒滋事                       万事具备

来来往往地                      到处;忽此忽彼                     无论如何
来回地;忽前忽后                   忽里忽外?                       来回往复
到处;广泛地                     清楚明白                        到处
首要的                        在外闲逛?                       确实地
此时此地                       真正的

来来往往                       气喘吁吁                        月圆月缺
潮长潮落/盛衰消长                  咆哮怒吼                        悲泣哀鸣
打杂                         款待吃喝

1) bits and pieces
2) hands and knees
3) law and order
4) alive and well
5) right or wrong
6) sick and tired
7) backwards and forwards
8) far and wide
9) coming and going
10) ebbs and flows

Tips for Teachers

Advantages                               Problems
More language practice                   Noise
More lively atmosphere                   Difficulty in organization
More students‟ involvement               More preparation
More real language use                   Mistakes in language

2. Suggested procure:

First, get the students to work in pairs and write out a similar role card to the one provided.
They can begin with one of the following phrases:
Your Aunt Mary…
Your sister‟s boyfriend, Bill…
Your friend, Simon, whom you went college with…
Your cousin, Susan, from America…

Your pen-friend from Sweden, Anna Hansson…

Then the students pass the role card they have written to A in another pair. A reads the card
and discusses with his/her partner what to do with his/her guest.

Write the following phrases on the blackboard for students reference:
Student A                              Student B
My (cousin) is coming to stay with     How old is he/she/
me at the weekend.
Can you suggest anything to do?
Any idea for what I can do with
Yes, he does/sometimes.                Does he/she like…?
No, she doesn‟t/never.                               Ever…?
                                                     (play tennis)?
Yes, he is/I think so.
No, she isn‟t.                         Is he/she interested in…?
No, I don‟t think so.
No, but he/she likes….
No, but he/she‟s interested in….
No, I don‟t think so.                  You can                 take him/her
Mmm, I‟m not sure.                     I suggest you           to…
Any other suggestions?                 Why don‟t you
Any other idea?                        Why not                 go to…
Yes, good idea.                        Perhaps you could
Yes, that sounds a good idea.          You could always        have a party…
Yes, I could do that, I suppose.
Thank you very much.                   That‟s all right.
Thanks for help.                       Don‟t mention it.
Thanks a lot.                          That‟s OK.
Thanks for the idea.                   Well, that‟s what friends are for,
                                       aren‟t they?


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