立報新聞 李振清(世新大學英語系教授)

 

http://publish.lihpao.com/news/in_p1.php?art_id=13139

 

大學生、高中生與國中生英語文能力呈現雙峰的趨勢,愈來愈明顯。這種反常的英語文教育現象,逐漸反應出當前的英語文教育,只顧迎合國中基測、大學學測,與大學指考的命題與測試取向,卻忽略正常的教學與學習策略,以及預期的英語文「教材與能力本位」效應。換句話說,依循正常化的教學所獲得的基本英語文能力,可以用來接受國中基測、大學學測,與指考英文的客觀與多元檢測。除此而外,正常的英語文教學,應該能有效培養高中學生英語文聽、說、讀、寫、譯的基本能力;同時藉此因應任何型式的考試或測驗,包括全民英檢、托福(TOEFL)、多益(TOEIC),及雅思(IELTS)等。在這大前提下,無論是「一綱多本」,或「一綱一本」,師生最重要的共識是:配合英文教本的內容,輔以兼俱知性與趣味性的生活化真實讀物(authentic reading materials);同時,藉由課本與配套的課外真實性讀物如(網路上的)報章、雜誌、簡易小說等,由老師透過對話、討論、遊戲、分組活動等的互動教學模式,將最新穎的常用英文詞彙、句法、修辭、習慣用語等,靈活地運用於實際的生活中。這種「學以致用」的活化教授與學習模式,能擺脫現代的「考試煎熬」,同時也是增進記憶的不二法門。也唯有如此,方可引發學生的英語文學習動機,同時提昇國中基測、大學學測,與指考英文的實質成績。

 

2007年大學英文指考試題的創新性

 

今(2007)年72大學英文指考的英文試題,完全驗證了這項理念。筆者自民國70年(1981)大學聯考開始加考「英文作文與翻譯」以來,一直密切注意考生的英文寫作與翻譯能力,以及27年來台灣學生英語文能力不進反退的根本原因。當筆者仔細地研究今年的英文指考試題,並親自作答後,發現2007年的這份試卷已經跳脫出傳統的試題窠臼。除了5056題的「閱讀測驗」顯然偏難外,其餘的試題在內涵、用字、結構上,非常新穎,而且符合測驗的客觀度與實用性。無論是第一部份的「選擇題」(佔72分),或第二部份的「非選擇題」(佔28分),如考生能於平時在老師指導下,廣泛閱讀課內及課外英文讀物,並習慣於瀏覽網路上如《紐約時報》(The New York Times)、《時代週刊》(TIME),或《新聞週刊》(NEWSWEEK)的精采報導,必然能得心應手地回答今年的「選擇題」中的創新性問題。同時,課外閱讀所獲得的語料和觀念,更可應用於「英文翻譯」與「英文作文」之中。

 

相對地,平時若僅死背文法規則,或死板盲目地記憶單字,而不知語言學習的竅門與英語語音結構與特質者,則今年的考題,其得分必然不可能達到理想的境界。

 

另一種令筆者擔心的問題,是城鄉差異所可能造成的「雙峰現象」。原因無他,今年的英文指考試題,會反應出考生的閱讀頻率與學習策略,以及英文老師的整合性教學方法之正確程度。本文特從今年的英文指考試題,逐項分析,以供高中英文老師與同學們參考。

 

詞彙試題反應出的閱讀效益

 

在第1到第10題的「選擇題─詞彙」中,即使不用細讀4個選項(ABCD)中的待選答案,只要平時廣泛閱讀英文書報、雜誌、短文,都可根據「上下文」及文義,而快速決定應該填寫的正確詞彙。例如:

 

1. With his excellent social skills, Steven has been ________as a great communicator by all his colleagues.

 

這句英文,讓筆者聯想到amazon.com網上的暢銷書《雷根總統:偉大的溝通者》(Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator.)。熟悉文句的內涵後,該句的必然答案可能是被動語態的:regarded,或consideredperceivedadmired,但絕不是其他三個語意歧異的(Adiagnosed(診斷)、(Bexploited(剝削)或(Dconcerned(關切)。類似的新穎句法,或傳遞最新訊息的文句,只有藉由經常閱讀課外的真實性報章、雜誌,方可獲得最貼切的語感,和語用原則。

 

再看第2句:

 

2. When you enter a building, be sure to look behind you and hold the door open for someone coming through the same door. It is a common _________ in many cultures.

 

讀了第一句之後,依正常學習英文的經驗,大家應該可以瞭解holding the door open for someone coming through the same door是一種基本的「禮貌」或「教養」。因此,不用看後面的選項,平時常聽老師、父母討論倫理教養的學生,一定會很自然地聯想到courtesy一字。同時,選項中,除了(Bcourtesy 外,不可能是(Aprocess(程序)、(Cacceptance(接受)或(Doperation(運作)。

 

若運用相同的道理來檢視 510 題,英文程度中上的學生,必然可依上述的原則,不用參考選項,就可直接作答(題號58910為今年度英文指考的原題號):

 

5. If you want to keep your computer from being attacked by new viruses, you need to constantly renew and _______ your anti-virus software.Answer: update

 

6. Many factors may explain why people are addicted to the Internet. One factor ________ to this phenomenon is the easy access to the Net.Answer: contributing

 

8. Tropical rainforests are home to about one million plant and animal species. If the rainforests disappear, many of these species will become ________.Answer: extinct

 

9. An honest person is faithful to his promise. Once he makes a ________, he will not go back on his own word.Answer: commitment

 

10. The new computer game Wii provides us with an ________ way of exercising. People now may play sports in their living rooms, which was unimaginable before.Answer: innovative

 

上述第568910各題的文字,幾乎都是英文報章雜誌上最常討論的生活化議題,也是現代學生最需要瞭解的基本觀念。除了update(更新)、contributing(引發、導致、造成)、extinct(決滅、絕種)、commitment(承諾)、innovative(創新性)等新穎實用詞彙外,前10題的語法結構,也有助於檢測考生的基本英語文語法知識,以及對句子的理解能力。

 

閱讀衍生的篇章理解效益

 

在第二項佔20分的「綜合測驗」中,有4小段文字,分別描述「快樂指數/程度」(levels of happiness)、「北極光」(northern lights)、「地球暖化與氣候變遷」(global warming and climate change)、「不丹王國」(The Kingdom of Bhutan)。這些主題(topics)顯然都是當代學生應該理解的課題。但唯有經由日常的課內外閱讀與討論,外加「聆聽」與實際「寫作」練習,方可吸收而成為Stephen Krashen所主張的「理解性的汲取」(Comprehensible Input)。這種「認知分析、汲取與產出理念」(Cognitive Analysis of the Input/Intake/Output Hypothesis),可以肯定為什麼常看課外英文書報的高中學生,對英文自然地產生親切感,從而藉由英文而獲得更廣泛的新知識。例如下列「綜合測驗」的段落和句子,也可由閱讀與直接得到的語感獲得正確的答案:

 

16.The northern lights, known as the aurora borealis, is one of the nature's most dazzling spectacles. Science is still not certain __________ exactly what these lights are and what cause them.Answer: as to

 

26. The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked nation situated between India and China. The entire country is mountainous, _________ a small strip of subtropical plains in the extreme north.Answer: with the exception of

 

26題的理解,除了有賴平時的習慣性閱讀外,也可由句構中的「前後對比」(contrast)意涵,猜測出正確的答案:with the exception of.

 

萬一學生有疑惑,則可用「排除性」的原則,將「不可能」的答案,一一排除,然後找到可能的正確答案。

 

第三項的「文意選填」,和第四項的「篇章結構」,對一般考生來說,可能偏難,因為大多數的高中生都是應用「考試取向」的策略,來從事英語文的「非實用」學習。然而,若能養成閱讀習慣,外加前述的句構與文義理解,則依循文章「起、承、轉、合」的原則,則仍可整理出頭緒,找到正確的答案。例如:

 

41. Japan is dealing with a problem that's just starting to sweep the world - an aging population combined with a shrinking work force. __________. By so doing, it is hoped that Japan's government will save its increasingly burdened pensioni.e. payment received after retirement system from going bankrupt.Answer: B - Therefore, aged Japanese are now being encouraged to work longer in life.

 

理解本項問題的方式,是分析日本(Japan)「人口老化兼勞動力萎縮」(aging population combined with a shrinking work force)的原因。與此相對照的是「預期的解決方案」(expected solution),而這方案就是「鼓勵日本人延後退休」, 所以答案就浮現了。當然,閱讀是促成理解文義與文句的最佳途徑。

 

課外閱讀是因應「閱讀測驗」的不二法門

 

今年大學英文指考「閱讀測驗」(22分)部份,計有3篇,分別就美國匹茲堡「安德魯‧卡內基(Andrew Carnegies)的奮鬥與慈悲心」、「注意力不足與過動症」(Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder),及「血鑽石」(Conflict/Blood Diamonds),測試考生的閱讀理解能力。

 

3篇的內容均佳,尤其是「Andrew Carnegies(安德魯.卡內基)的奮鬥與慈悲心」。然而,「注意力不足與過動症」(Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)恐怕對絕大多數的高中生偏難了。對於平時不重視課外閱讀練習與教學的老師,咸信其學生一定無法應付。筆者特地將該文抄列如下,以便討論:

 

Most parents dread a note or call from school saying that their child's behavior is "not normal." If your child's academic performance and social life is suffering is suffering because they don't pay attention, can't sit still and act without thinking, it is most likely that they have AD/HD (Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder).

 

AD/HD is neurological disorder which stems not from the home environment, but from neurological and genetic causes. Its symptoms typically show up in early childhood. The main characteristics are inattention and impulsivity. Inattentive children have difficulty focusing on completing a task or learning something new. Hyperactive children always seem to be restless. Often they report that they need to stay busy and may try to do several tasks at once.

 

Impulsive children often do not think before they act. They often blurt out inappropriate comments or have difficulty talking turns in conversation.

 

Most children can be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive at times. It is when these behaviors are inappropriate for their age and affect different areas in their lives that the disorder is diagnosed. Depression, anxiety, and learning disabilities may co-exist with AD/HD. Therefore, if a child is suspected of AD/HD, it is very important that he or she be evaluated by a professional.

 

Once your child is diagnosed with AD/HD, it is important to let the school know so that they can provide appropriate academic and social support. Your child's school should keep this information confidential and it can usually make accommodations in the classroom to fit your child's learning needs.

 

命題人員本的用意很好,希望能在難易度的掌控中,符合常態分配的原則。這篇網路文章的用字、句構和修辭,均為優質的篇章。然而,部份詞彙的確超出「大考中心高中英文參考詞彙表」。不過,只要平時勤讀課外英文書報,尤其是網路上紐約時報、時代雜誌、新聞週刊之精采文章,及包括有關王建民、血鑽石、全球暖化、環保與生態能源危機、倫理教養、創新科技之報導,則任何形式的考試,自可駕輕就熟地應付;英語文能力與廣博知識也就可以同時自動提昇。影響所至,翻譯與作文也會變得容易了。本篇閱讀測驗中的academic performance and social life(課業表現與社會生活)、neurological and genetic causes(神經與遺傳因素)、depression(焦慮)等,雖屬偏難的詞彙,但只要方法正確,仍可以理出頭緒來。

 

今年的翻譯題(8分),跟3年前的試題極為類似,且都突顯了廣泛閱讀所帶來的常用詞彙與精緻句法之效應:

 

人類對外太空所知非常有限,但長久以來,我們對它卻很感興趣。

Human (Mankind's) knowledge of the outer space is very limited, but we are very much Interested in it for a long time.

 

太空科技的快速發展,使我們得以探索它的奧秘。

The rapid development of space technology has enabled us to explore its mystery.

 

在學習英語文的過程中,若能儘量歷練以閱讀為核心的互動教學,則高中生常犯的基本詞彙、動詞時式、時態之錯誤,自可逐步減少。相對地,寫作內容、作文之組織、文法句構、用字遣詞,及體例等,也可慢慢改善。在這同時英文老師的教學策略與「終身學習」,也是不可忽略的課題。

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