What is this episode about?
Learn new words and expressions you can use when you want to talk about education debates and issues in this new Vocabulary Advanced Series episode from English Plus Podcast.
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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.
Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today’s episode is vocabulary and it is vocabulary advanced. So some of the things here might sound a little bit difficult, but don’t worry. We have vocabulary intermediate. We have a lot of other series that might be a little bit less difficult than this one, but I promise you even, this is vocabulary advanced.
[00:00:25] Most of you. If your English is intermediate, you will understand everything I’m saying here. I’ll try to explain these concepts as clearly as I can. And today’s episode is going to be about education. We will talk about some debates and issues in education in the world of education. And of course we will learn.
[00:00:43] A couple of words, a couple of expressions that are very useful, very important and common that’s, you know, just like the, the Holy Trinity for us, that should be useful. Interesting and common. They have to be common. We’re not teaching you things. You’re not going to use in your everyday language. Now, before I start, of course, let me remind you that you can find the transcript of this episode, but it’s not only the transcript.
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[00:02:46] Oh, without further ado, let’s start with our episode today. It is going to be about education. As I told you, we’re going to talk about debates and issues in education, and we will focus on keywords and phrases or expressions that are very important and useful. Things that you can use to talk about education.
[00:03:05] Now I will start by reading a text and after I read this text, I will stop and focus on certain words and expressions and explain them to you. Now, this text is about education systems and how they are different and some of their problems, as I told you, the topic of our episode today is actually debates and issues.
[00:03:24] So all education systems may ultimately be judged in terms of equality of opportunity. This is often referred to in the debates over selective versus comprehensive schooling. The main issue is whether everyone has the same opportunities for educational achievement or whether elite is of one sort or another is inherent in the system.
[00:03:48] Leak tables for schools and colleges may actually help unintentionally to perpetuate inequalities. While claiming to promote the raising of standards, inevitably leak tables, divide educational institutions into good and bad success and failure resulting in a two tier system. Or at least that is how the public perceives it.
[00:04:12] The ability of better off parents and well endowed schools to push children towards the institutions at the top of the league may in the long-term have the effect of depressing opportunity for the less well off or for children from home environment that do not provide the push and motivation to Excel.
[00:04:33] Financial support of different kinds can help to make educational opportunity more equal. There are, for example, scholarships or bursaries that make it possible for less privileged youngsters to afford tertiary education, student loans allow undergraduates to pay for their tuition fees and living expenses while they are studying.
[00:04:56] But few would claim that real equality of opportunity has been achieved. This is mainly about opportunity and equality and education. And that is why it is a debate because we can never agree. Or at least we can never all agree on one thing. Some people are with this system. Some people are against the system and it’s going to be like that all the time, because so far we’ve never seen this system of education that is really equal.
[00:05:24] And that really believes in the equality of opportunity. Of course, they try, some systems are better than others. But they’re not perfect. And that’s why it is sometimes important to debate and to talk about those issues. And that’s what we’re trying to do here. We’re going to learn some words and phrases that can make this task easier.
[00:05:42] So let me start first by the very first expression I would like to talk about, and that is equality of opportunity. Now, when we say equality of opportunity. Now in the text, we said here, all education systems may ultimately be judged in terms of equality of opportunity. What do we mean by equality of opportunity?
[00:06:01] Well, equality of opportunity that happens when everyone has the same chances. That is equality of opportunity. That is a term we use, not only for education, by the way, we can use it for other things as well. But here, since we’re talking about education, That means everyone has the same chance to get the education they want.
[00:06:21] So that was our first term equality of opportunity. Then we continued on and said, this is often referred to in the debates over selective versus comprehensive schooling. So what is selective schooling and what is comprehensive schooling? Let’s start with selective. When we say selective schooling, that means students are chosen for entry.
[00:06:40] Usually for Academy reasons. Though in the case of some private schools, parents ability to pay school fees may be a factor in selection, maybe a big factor, to be honest. So that means it is not fair. There is no equality of opportunity in this case, or there might not be. And that is one thing we said, selective versus comprehensive schooling.
[00:07:03] So if selective is like that, what is comprehensive then? Well, comprehensive schooling is just the opposite or the other type. If we don’t want, just to. Posed them against each other as opposites. Comprehensive schooling is when everyone enters without exams and education is free paid for by the government.
[00:07:20] Well, these are the two ends of a spectrum and usually better results happen when we find something in between. But of course, some people are all in for selective schooling and some other people are all in for comprehensive schooling. But what is important for us here, English plus podcast listeners.
[00:07:37] You need to understand the difference between selective and comprehensive schooling and now you do. And now let’s continue with this one. The main issue is whether everyone has the same opportunities for educational achievement or whether elite ism elitism comes from elite. And that is when you favor a small privileged group.
[00:07:56] Over others. That is elitism. And that is usually not a good thing. Of course, most people are against. So that was elite as them. And then we continue, we said of one sort or another, and here we said whether elite ism of one sort or another is inherent in the system. What is the meaning of something that is inherent in the system?
[00:08:15] When you say something is inherent in the system? That means it exists in the system. In our example, here as a basic part of it inherent in means existing as a basic part of something. Now let’s continue league tables for schools and colleges may actually help unintentionally to perpetuate inequalities.
[00:08:34] Now, here, let’s talk first about league tables. What are league tables? League tables. These are lists of schools or colleges. From the best down to the worst based on exam results and sometimes other criteria. So these are called league tables. That’s why we have something that they call the Ivy league schools.
[00:08:53] That’s the best of the best. The creme de LA creme. Some people are with this. Some people are against this. Some people are against this kind of classification because as we continued and said, that may actually unintentionally. Help perpetuate inequalities. When you say perpetuate, and that is our word here, that means to make something continue not to stop something, but actually you help it.
[00:09:16] You make it continue. That is to perpetuate. And now we continue and say inevitably leak tables, divide educational institution into good and bad success and failure resulting in a two tier system. Now, what is the two tier system? When we have two tier something specialty systems, we’re talking about a system with two separate levels.
[00:09:37] One of which is better than the other. And that’s not a very good thing, because that is again against opportunity and equality that we’re talking about. That’s actually the topic of all this text. And here we continue and say, or at least that is how the public perceives it. Maybe this two tier system is not actually there, but that is at least how the public perceives it.
[00:09:59] What does it meaning of perceives? That’s the way how they see it. That’s the way how they consider it. Let’s continue the ability of better off. Parents and well endowed schools to push children towards the institutions at the top of the league may in the long-term have the effect of depressing opportunity for the less well-off.
[00:10:18] Now here we have better off and less well off and well, in doubt, let’s talk about these expressions. Now, when we say better off the ability of better off parents. Now, that means the richer. Of course, here, you might say, why don’t we just say Richard? Of course, you can say Richard, but here we’re talking about language that is stronger and that can be used in a more formal context and you might need that.
[00:10:38] And that’s why we’re trying to learn these things so better off means richer. And then we continue and say, well, in doubt, we’re talking about schools. That means receiving a lot of money in grants gifts from rich people. And these are called endowments. These are gifts. These are donations. So here, well in doubt schools, better off parents.
[00:10:59] They may push their children towards the institutions at the top of the league. But that in the long run may depress, we said here have the effect of depressing opportunity, but this does not come from depression and being sad. No, that means reducing depressing an opportunity means to reduce an opportunity.
[00:11:17] And that is we are depressing opportunity for the less well off. That’s just the opposite of better off. We’re talking about the poor, the poor people. Not the richer, the poor people. And here there’s one more word I’d like to talk about. That is to Excel. When we say for children from home environments that do not provide the push and motivation to Excel, Excel here means to achieve an excellent standard.
[00:11:39] Now, of course, in this case, this word is better because we can use it instead of saying, achieve an excellent standard. We have one word for it. So sometimes it’s not just because it’s formal, but sometimes because it’s shorter. And in writing, especially in writing, that will be a lot better. Let’s continue this last part of the text before we move on.
[00:11:55] Here. We said financial support of different kinds can help to make educational opportunity more equal. There are, for example, scholarships or bursaries. Now what are scholarships and what are bursaries? Are they the same or different? You might have heard of scholarships. Now let’s talk about scholarships.
[00:12:10] First. Now scholarships are money given to be for studies. And if you look at bursaries, they’re just the same. They’re the same money given to pay for studies, but the criteria is different scholarships. As we said money given to pay for studies, but that is usually provided on the basis of academic merit.
[00:12:27] But when we talk about bursaries, that’s the same thing, money given to pay for studies, but it’s usually provided on the basis of need the students who need money. It’s not just academic, maybe both sometimes, but that is the main difference, scholarships and bursaries. And then we continue and say that, make it possible with scholarships and bursaries, make it possible for less privileged youngsters to afford tertiary education or tertiary education.
[00:12:51] Now, tertiary is a British English pronunciation. Tertiary is an American English pronunciation, but that’s not the point it’s spelled T E R T I a R Y. Tertiary. Now tertiary education. That’s, we’re talking about primary, secondary, and tertiary. That’s like after high school, but what does that mean?
[00:13:09] Actually, not just like after high school that’s education at university or college level, any education at university or college level, we can call it tertiary education. And now we go on and talk about student loans. Student loans allow undergraduates to pay for their tuition fees. Yeah, student loans.
[00:13:26] What are these student loans are not like scholarships. Scholarships are different student loans that come from the bank. And when you take something from the bank, guess what you have to give it back. Student loans are money that students can borrow from a bank while studying, and then pay back once they are in work.
[00:13:43] And we also hear said, student loans allow undergraduates. Uh, who are the undergraduates? And what’s the opposite of that, or what’s the other word that we hear all the time. Post-graduates undergraduates and postgraduates. We use that in education all the time. What does that mean? Undergraduates are students doing a first degree while post-graduates are students doing a further degree?
[00:14:03] Usually after the bachelor or any other kind of degree, but the first degree is what we call undergraduates. People who are doing further degrees or degree are called postgraduates. And finally, we said students loans allow undergraduates to pay for their tuition fees. Now, what are the tuition fees?
[00:14:21] That’s the money paid to receive teaching. You need to pay that. If you want to get the education you want at any university you choose. So this was our first text, and now we will move on to talk about some other debates and issues. We will talk about those as small debates and issues, and then we will discuss the important words I would need you to learn from these smaller debates and issues.
[00:14:42] Let’s start with the first one. Some people think we should return to an emphasis on the three RS, the traditional basic skills. What do we mean when we say the three RS? Everybody might know about that, but sometimes you hear the three RS. What does that mean? Well, three RS, very easy reading, writing, arithmetic.
[00:14:59] These are the three RS. We call them the three RS because actually they are the basic thing. And most schools, even now, they still focus. Most of the students time on the three RS. Now let’s move on to the next debate or issue literacy and numeracy are skills. No one can afford to be without now. You might agree with that.
[00:15:18] You might not, but what do we mean by literacy and numeracy now? Literacy. That’s the ability to read numeracy. That’s the ability to count or do basic math. Now let’s move on to the next one. Curriculum reform is often done for political reasons, rather than for good educational ones. Now, a lot of people might agree with that.
[00:15:38] Maybe it is true, but anyway, what we care about here is the word curriculum reform. What do we mean by that curriculum reform? These are the changes to what is covered in the national syllabus, but what is the syllabus? The syllabus is a plan of what is to be studied. When you change that that is called curriculum reform changes to what is covered in the national syllabus.
[00:16:00] Now let’s move on to the next one. Nowadays, lifelong or continuing education is an issue and creating opportunities for mature students is important. So first we’ll talk about lifelong or continuing education. That is a term. What does that mean? That means education for all ages. Not only for children, not only for children at schools, education for all ages.
[00:16:22] And then we have mature students. What do we mean by mature students? These are adult students older than the average students that you find. They don’t have to be fifties or sixties, but they are older than the average student. That’s what we call mature students. Now let’s move on to the next debate.
[00:16:38] Special needs. Education is expensive because class sizes need to be small or one-to-one here. The key thing, or the key word we want to learn is special needs education. What does that mean? That is education for children who cannot learn in the normal way because they have some disability. And we also talked about the classes need to be small or one-to-one.
[00:17:00] And when we say one-to-one, that means one teacher and one students, not a group. And that is why it is expensive. Now let’s move on to the next debate or issue. Children are unhappy at school. If there is a lot of bullying and that’s a big issue, obviously it’s not even a debate. Everybody agrees on that.
[00:17:18] Everybody actually must agree that this is a big problem and that makes children unhappy. But what is bullying? Bullying that is the threatening behavior. Some students act on other students, which is very dangerous and very disheartening to other children that might lead to catastrophic effects.
[00:17:35] Sometimes. Anyway, that’s bullying threatening behavior. Now let’s move on to the next issue or the bait. Some head teachers complain that getting to grips with constant new government guidelines on what schools should be doing is a distraction from what they ought to be focusing on. To be honest, as I can say for myself, been there, done that.
[00:17:55] I kind of agree with them. Sometimes those guidelines can be a distraction, especially when there are too many and they change too much. So what are the guidelines? The guidelines are usually advice. These are not laws. These are not rules, but these are advice and kind of compelling because they’re official.
[00:18:12] So when they’re official, yes, you don’t have to follow the guidelines, but if you don’t follow the guidelines, there are consequences. So you’d better do that. So these are the guidelines. And here we’re talking about these guidelines, the constant new government guidelines can be a distraction.
[00:18:27] Distraction obviously is something that takes your attention away. That was the last thing I wanted to tell you about in this episode. I hope you found it useful. I hope you learn new things, and I’m pretty sure that some of the things we talked about today are kind of new, but the most important thing is that you can use this in your own language and your own writing and your own speaking, especially if you’re using.
[00:18:49] Formal language. A lot of the words we learned here today can be very handy and you can use them now, remember that if you want to practice the information you learn and you should, I’m giving you my own guidelines. Now you don’t have to follow them, but there are consequences. I’m just kidding. The point is if you would like to practice, if you would like to master these things and to remember them, Not just to let that an episode that you listened to and you forget about after a week or two.
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[00:19:28] Maybe you will leave that till tomorrow. You’ve learned about that right now. If you do the practice worksheet just now you will know all the answers, but maybe tomorrow will be a good time to review the information you learned here today. But don’t wait until tomorrow. You might forget. Take the link now, go there, download the PDF, keep it somewhere where you can remember where it is and review it tomorrow.
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[00:20:09] And there’s also the other link that will take you to our mailing list, where you can subscribe and get updates every two weeks, whenever we release a new chapter. That being said, that’ll be everything for this episode. This is your host, Danny. Thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcast.
[00:20:24] I will see you next time.