A Letter to a B Student Unit 11 Pre-reading Questions What grades do you usually get for the courses you have been taking? Are you satisfied? Imagine yourself to be a teacher and that you are to write a letter to a student who is disappointed with the grade he gets. What would say to him in the letter? What do you think the author will say to his student? About the author The author, Robert Oliphant is an English professor at California State University at Northridge. The text is an excerpt of a sensitive and thoughtful letter to a student on keeping a sense of perspective on grades. It appeared in Liberal Education in 1986. Structural Analysis Four parts: Part1(1)The 1st paragraph serves as an introduction, which introduces the topic of the letter. Part2(2-5) Key word: disappointment What Grades mean and do not mean Part3 (6-8) key words: The student as performer; the student as human being. Getting a B in class does not mean one will always be a performer in life. Part4 (9-10) Key word: Perspective In a complex society like ours, labels are necessary but they should be kept in perspective. Detailed Analysis Paragraph1 What change about grades has the writer mentioned briefly? What, according to the writer, has caused the change? Has the writer stated his purpose of writing in this paragraph? respectable fairly good; enough in amount or quality a respectable income a respectable grade This increase makes my salary fairly respectable at last. (result, distance, etc.) ! respectful, respective superior better in quality or value Of the two books, I think this one is superior. someone superior to you He is superior to all the other competitors. clearly superior; definitely superior; far superior norm a standard (of behavior or ability) that is regarded as average or generally acceptable the national norm the norms of civilized society above below eligibility The qualifications or abilities required for doing sth. We must check the eligibility of all candidates. eligibility for membership eligibility to become President eligible Eligibility for American president be a natural born citizen of the United States; be at least thirty-five years old; have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years. paragraph 2-5 disappointment In this part, the writer has made clear his purpose of writing. Can you find it ? To put your disappointment in perspective by considering exactly what your grade means and doesn’t mean How does the writer explain the notion of disappointment? inadequacy inadequate: (to, for) not good enough in quality, ability, size, etc. for a particular purpose The supply of water is inadequate for the trip. I feel inadequate to the occasion. The supply is inadequate to meet the demands. a feeling of personal inadequacy the shocking inadequacy of school system repute reputation formal use be held in high repute 很有名望 (be) of high/good/bad/evil repute 名誉好 （坏） This is a district of bad repute on account of many robberies. (be) of some repute I knew him only by repute. a zero-sum game zero-sum game就是指“零和博弈”，指参 与博弈的各方，在严格竞争下，一方的收益 必然意味着另一方的损失，博弈各方的收益 和损失相加总和永远为“零”，双方不存在 合作的可能。例如：In the long run, participation in the information age may not be a zero-sum game.（从长远看，信息时代 的分享与参与不再是零和博弈）。 "The China-US relationship is a mutually beneficial and win-win relationship rather than a zero-sum game," Zhou told the conference, which was held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ChinaU.S. diplomatic relations. （中国前驻美大使）周文重在纪念中美建交30周年 大会上说：“中美关系是互利和双赢的，而不是一 场零和博弈。” To lose, to fail, to go under, to go broke---… 失利失败，倾家荡产 prosperity: the state of being successful and rich "Sin" is often used to mean an action that is prohibited or considered wrong. In some religions (notably in Christianity), sin can refer not only to physical actions taken, but also to thoughts and feelings. Seven deadly sins Common ideas surrounding sin in various religions include: Punishment from other people or from God The possibility of forgiveness of sins, often through communication with a deity or intermediary; in Christianity often referred to as salvation. shrug away shrug off: ignore sth. or act as if it is not important It is difficult to shrug off that kind of criticism. She can shrug off her troubles and keep smiling. 她能够把烦恼置之度外而依旧保持笑容。 put…in perspective get/keep… in perspective We must put the problem in perspective; it is serious. take…at face value Believe something without thinking that there may be another meaning Unfortunately, I took what he said at face value. She took the story at face value and did not know he was joking. an English proficiency test 英语能力测验 Do you think the TOEFL score is a good yardstick for English proficiency? 你认为托福成绩是一种衡量英语流利程度的 好标准吗? correspond (to) match; to be in agreement; equivalent 符合; 相当; 相一致； The wing of a bird corresponds to the arm of a man. Her expenses do not correspond to her income. 她的收入与支出不相称。 retain To keep possession of; avoid losing She tried to retain her balance. This village still retains its old-world character. She retains a clear memory of her school days. 她对自己的学生时代有着清晰的记忆。 !!! hold keep maintain preserve save Paragraph6-8 the writer’s personal experience There is a distinction between ____and _____ What’s the revelation of his story ? make a point of To do sth. deliberately and carefully, esp. so that somebody else notices 特别注意做； 有意做某事 She made a point of coming over to speak to us. 她有意走过来和我们说话。 GI-Bill students GI-Bill or the GI-Bill of Rights The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 President Franklin Roosevolt It provided economic and educational assistance to veterans. The major impact was on education, employment, housing, etc. 就是《退伍军人权利法案》。该法案最先于 二战末期起草生效，给退伍美军军人提供免 费的大学或者技校教育，以及一年的失业补 助。 之后该法案历经大小修改，被沿用至今。 韩战、越战等战争的退伍军人，以及和平时 期的退伍军人，都得到这个法案所提供的保 障。 $ 500 per year allowance of $ 50 per month In 1967, a single veteran’s benefits were raised to $130 a month; in 1970 they rose to $175; under the monthly allowance rose to $220; in 1974 it rose to $270, $292 in 1976, and then $311 a month in 1977. flunk The professor flunked Hunter. 教授给亨特打了不及格分数。 She flunked the physics examination. 她物理考试不及格。 Paragraph9-10 Perspective: the way we should regard grades What is the writer’s view concerning social labels? How does the writer relate a student’s academic performance with his future life? terms in international terms 考虑到国际情况 in real terms 考虑到实际情况 on good terms 关系融洽 In terms of…关于，谈到 hamper to cause difficulty in movement or activity 阻碍；妨碍；牵制 We hoped in this way to hamper its movements and reduce its speed. 我们希望那样会阻滞它的行动,降低它的速度。 The search was hampered by appalling weather condition. Translation Exercises 1. He was hospitalized with acute appendicitis, with the result that he missed the final examination. 2. As many more people came to the lecture than expected, there were not enough handouts to go round. 3. No matter what a long day he may have, he makes a point of checking his e-mail box before going to bed. 4. Unemployment is found in all countries in the world, but the governments vary in their way to handle the problem. 5.Anyone who has come to a foreign country for the first time is apt to find everything around him both strange and interesting. 6.The football fans were very disappointed at the performance of the players of both teams. 7.Never take what he says at face value. Think it over yourself. 8.The doctor’s words removed his fears about the operation.