English Challenge 13

I.  Article

A. Why Attitude Is More Important Than Intelligence – Link / Excerpt and Questions /

B. Excerpt to Read and Record

  1. When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude).
  2. Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.
  3. Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
  4. With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.
  5. People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.
  6. Common sense would suggest that having ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is easy.  The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges.  People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms.
  7. According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with the growth mindset this way: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’”
  8. Regardless of which side of the chart you fall on, you can make changes and develop a growth mindset. What follows are some strategies that will fine-tune your mindset and help you make certain it’s as growth-oriented as possible.

Don’t stay helpless

  1. We all hit moments when we feel helpless. The test is how we react to that feeling.  We can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag us down.  There are countless successful people who would have never made it if they had succumbed to feelings of helplessness.  People with a growth mindset don’t feel helpless because they know that in order to be successful, you need to be willing to fail hard and then bounce right back.

Be passionate

  1. Empowered people pursue their passions relentlessly. There’s always going to be someone who’s more naturally talented than you are, but what you lack in talent, you can make up for in passion. Empowered people’s passion is what drives their unrelenting pursuit of excellence.  Warren Buffet recommends finding your truest passions using what he calls the 5/25 technique: Write down the 25 things that you care about the most.  Then, cross out the bottom 20.  The remaining 5 are your true passions.  Everything else is merely a distraction.

Take action

  1. It’s not that people with a growth mindset are able to overcome their fears because they are braver than the rest of us; it’s just that they know fear and anxiety are paralyzing emotions and that the best way to overcome this paralysis is to take action. People with a growth mindset are empowered, and empowered people know that there’s no such thing as a truly perfect moment to move forward. So why wait for one?  Taking action turns all your worry and concern about failure into positive, focused energy.

Then go the extra mile (or two)

  1. Empowered people give it their all, even on their worst days. They’re always pushing themselves to go the extra mile… There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there; you must go beyond them.  A man must constantly exceed his level.  If you aren’t getting a little bit better each day, then you’re most likely getting a little worse—and what kind of life is that?

C. Comprehension Questions

  1. Explain the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset.
  2. Explain Warren Buffet’s “5/25 Technique”.
  3. What personal characteristic is the best predictor of your success?
  4. Can anyone form a growth mindset?

D. Grammar Analysis

  1. In Paragraph 4: “…you believe you are who you are…”
    Identify all subjects, verbs, and direct objects in this fragment.
  2. In Paragraph 7, both double quotes and single quotes are used. Explain why.
  3. In Paragraph 8: “…in order to…”
    How can we simplify this phrase?
  4. In Paragraph 10, from the context, what do you think the phrasal verb “cross out” means?
  5. Paragraph 11 shows a common pattern used in English: “It’s not that… It’s that…”
    Try to write a sentence or two using this pattern.
  6. Paragraph 11 shows a common pattern used in English: “…there’s no such thing as…”
    Try to write a sentence or two using this pattern.
  7. Paragraph 12 uses an idiom: “To go the extra mile”.
    Using the context, what do you think this idiom means?

II.  Song

A. Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina – Song Video 1 / Song Video 2 / Lyrics and Questions /

B. Story

Eva grows up in a poor village in Argentina and has a sad life.  She longs to go to the big city (Buenos Aires) to find fame and fortune.

She goes to a show and falls in love with a tango singer named Magaldi.  She persuades him to reluctantly take her to Buenos Aires with him when he returns there.

He dumps her, and she has to “fend for herself”.  She becomes a prostitute, slowly working her way up due to having influential men as her “clients”.  She eventually works as a model, an actress, and a radio personality.

There is an ambitious colonel (military man) named Juan (WAHN) Peron (puh RONE) who is “climbing the political ladder” in Argentina.  He seeks power.  After a 1944 earthquake in San Juan, Argentina, Peron “holds a charity event” to help the victims.  Eva attends and meets Peron just as he is leaving the event at the end.  He is attracted to her, and they agree to meet later.  She hints that she can help him rise to power.  She replaces Peron’s current mistress and becomes his new mistress.  She moves in with Peron (lives in his home).  Peron’s high-society friends don’t like her because of her poor background and former profession as a prostitute.  She helps publicize his agenda, and he secretly “eliminates” any political opponents who stand in his way in his climb to the top.

In 1946, Peron becomes the President of Argentina, and Eva becomes the First Lady.  Her nickname becomes Evita (little Eva).  Due to her poor upbringing, Evita’s passion becomes helping the poor people of her country to better their lives.  Meanwhile, Peron is a cruel dictator who kills those who oppose him.  Nevertheless, he lets Evita indulge her passion by helping the poor people.  Many poor people distrust her because she left her “home” to seek fame and fortune.  They feel she betrayed them by rising above them in stature.  Still Evita manages to better the lives of the poor people a little.  Eventually, Evita gets cancer and is slowly dying.  On her death bed (in the movie), she sings the song “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”, in which she tries to explain her love for her people.

C. Lyrics

  1. It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange,
  2. When I try to explain how I feel,
  3. That I still need your love after all that I’ve done.
  4. You won’t believe me. All you will see is a girl you once knew
  5. Although she’s dressed up to the nines
  6. At sixes and sevens with you.
  7. I had to let it happen, I had to change —
  8. Couldn’t stay all my life down at heel.
  9. Looking out of the window, staying out of the sun,
  10. So I chose freedom, running around trying everything new,
  11. But nothing impressed me at all.
  12. I never expected it to.
  13. Don’t cry for me, Argentina.
  14. The truth is, I never left you,
  15. All through my wild days, my mad existence,
  16. I kept my promise.
  17. Don’t keep your distance.
  18. And as for fortune and as for fame,
  19. I never invited them in,
  20. Though it seemed to the world they were all I desired.
  21. They are illusions; they’re not the solutions they promised to be.
  22. The answer was here all the time.
  23. I love you and hope you love me.
  24. Don’t cry for me, Argentina.
  25. Don’t cry for me, Argentina
  26. The truth is, I never left you.
  27. All through my wild days, my mad existence.
  28. I kept my promise.
  29. Don’t keep your distance.
  30. Have I said too much?
  31. There’s nothing more I can think of to say to you.
  32. But all you have to do is look at me to know
  33. That every word is true.

D. Questions for the Students

  1. Who was Eva Peron aka Evita?
  2. What was her background?
  3. What was her passion when she became the First Lady of Argentina?
  4. Why did some of the poor people distrust her intentions?
  5. Why does the song tell us not to cry for her?
  6. What does she say is the solution to all our problems?
  7. Listen to the two versions of the song (Sarah Brightman, Madonna).
    Which do you like more and why?

E. Grammar Points

  1. What does the idiom “dressed up to the nines” mean?
  2. What does the idiom “at sixes and sevens with you” mean?
  3. What does the idiom “down at heel” (British) or “down at the heels” (American) mean?
  4. When she says “I never left you”, what does she mean?
  5. What does “don’t keep your distance” mean?
  6. What is the difference between fortune and fame?
  7. In Line 22, she says she never “invited them in”. What is she trying to say?

F. Take a Geography Quiz

  1. Go to this link, turn “Labels On”, and study the country names for a few minutes.
  2. Then turn “Labels Off”.
  3. Take a short 13-question quiz to see how many countries you remember.  Don’t miss Argentina for sure!


A. Why Thinking You’re Ugly Is Bad for You Link / Excerpt & Questions /

B. Read and Record – Excerpt

  1. This is my niece, Stella. She’s just turned one and started to walk.  And she’s walking in that really cool way that one-year-olds do, a kind of teetering, my-body’s-moving- too-fast-for-my-legs kind of way.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  And one of her favorite things to do at the moment is to stare at herself in the mirror.  She absolutely loves her reflection.  She giggles and squeals, and gives herself these big, wet kisses.  It is beautiful.  Apparently, all of her friends do this and my mom tells me that I used to do this, and it got me thinking: When did I stop doing this?  When is it suddenly not okay to love the way that we look?  Because apparently we don’t.
  2. Ten thousand people every month google, “Am I ugly?” This is Faye. Faye is 13, and she lives in Denver.  And like any teenager, she just wants to be liked and to fit in.  It’s Sunday night.  She’s getting ready for the week ahead at school.  And she’s slightly dreading it, and she’s a bit confused because despite her mom telling her all the time that she’s beautiful, every day at school, someone tells her that she’s ugly.  Because of the difference between what her mom tells her and what her friends at school, or her peers at school are telling her, she doesn’t know who to believe.  So she takes a video of herself.  She posts it to YouTube, and she asks people to please leave a comment: “Am I pretty or am I ugly?”  Well, so far, Faye has received over 13,000 comments.  Some of them are so nasty, they don’t bear thinking about.  This is an average, healthy-looking teenage girl receiving this feedback at one of the most emotionally vulnerable times in her life.  Thousands of people are posting videos like this, mostly teenage girls, reaching out in this way.  But what’s leading them to do this?
  3. Well, today’s teenagers are rarely alone. They’re under pressure to be online and available
    at all times, talking, messaging, liking, commenting, sharing, posting — it never ends.  Never before have we been so connected, so continuously, so instantaneously, so young.  And as one mom told me, it’s like there’s a party in their bedroom every night.  There’s simply no privacy.  And the social pressures that go along with that are relentless.  This always-on environment is training our kids to value themselves based on the number of likes they get and the types of comments that they receive.  There’s no separation between online and offline life.  What’s real or what isn’t is really hard to tell the difference between.  And it’s also really hard to tell the difference between what’s authentic and what’s digitally manipulated.  What’s a highlight in someone’s life versus what’s normal in the context of every day.
  4. And where are they looking to for inspiration? Well, you can see the kinds of images that are covering the newsfeeds of girls today.  Size zero models still dominate our catwalksAirbrushing is now routine.  And trends like #thinspiration, #thighgap, #bikinibridge and #proana.  For those who don’t know, #proana means pro-anorexia.  These trends are teamed with the stereotyping and flagrant objectification of women in today’s popular culture.  It is not hard to see what girls are benchmarking themselves against.  But boys are not immune to this either.  Aspiring to the chiseled jaw lines and ripped six packs of superhero-like sports stars and playboy music artists.
  5. But what’s the problem with all of this? Well, surely we want our kids to grow up as healthy, well-balanced individuals.  But in an image-obsessed culture, we are training our kids to spend more time and mental effort on their appearance at the expense of all of the other aspects of their identities.  So, things like their relationships, the development of their physical abilities, and their studies and so on begin to sufferSix out of ten girls are now choosing not to do something because they don’t think they look good enough.  These are not trivial activities.  These are fundamental activities to their development as humans and as contributors to society and to the workforce.  Thirty-one percent, nearly one in three teenagers, are withdrawing from classroom debate.  They’re failing to engage in classroom debate because they don’t want to draw attention to the way that they look.  One in five are not showing up to class at all on days when they don’t feel good about it.  And when it comes to exams, if you don’t think you look good enough, specifically if you don’t think you are thin enough, you will score a lower grade point average than your peers who are not concerned with this.  And this is consistent across Finland, the U.S.  and China, and is true regardless of how much you actually weigh.  So to be super-clear, we’re talking about the way you think you look, not how you actually look.  Low body confidence is undermining academic achievement.

C. Comprehension Questions

  1. What is the overall message of this excerpt?
  2. How often do people ask themselves “Am I ugly?”
  3. In Paragraph 2, Faye asked people via YouTube if she was ugly or pretty. Describe the responses to her question.
  4. Summarize the gist (essential content or message) of Paragraph 3.
  5. In Paragraph 4, what does “proana” stand for? Is this a good or bad thing?
  6. Summarize the gist of Paragraph 4.
  7. Summarize the gist of Paragraph 5.

D. Grammar Analysis

  1. In Paragraph 1, why is “one-year-old” hyphenated?
  2. In Paragraph 2: “…she doesn’t know who to believe.”
    Strictly speaking, there is a small grammar error in this sentence.  What is it?
  3. In Paragraph 3: “Never before have we been so connected”.
    Why is the subject-verb order reversed (inverted) in this clause?
  4. In Paragraph 2, the word “dreading” is used. Does this word mean fear or something else?
  5. In Paragraph 4, what is meant by the “objectification of women?”
  6. In Paragraph 5: “Low body confidence is undermining academic achievement.”
    What is this sentence trying to say?
  7. Paragraph 6 talks about “the way you think you look” and “the way you actually look”. What is the difference between this two expressions?
  8. In Paragraph 4, what in the world is a “catwalk?” ?




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