Listen to KA WORDCAST: Listen Up!
LESSON THIRTY HERE!
Entrance exam season is right around the corner, and we’re here to make sure you are 100 percent ready for it. For the next several weeks, we will be providing you with additional listening material that you can use to practice and improve your aural comprehension skills.
Each week, you will listen to a short passage on a different topic—one that is interesting and useful in its own right, but one that is also the type of topic test-makers love to include on their exams. Then, after listening to the passage, you will answer ten comprehension questions. Before we listen to today’s passage, Nurturing the Arts, here are a few tips:
It goes without saying that you should always listen to the passage carefully. Give it your undivided attention. That means: no outside distractions. (A passage-only track is available on the KA Wordcast website so you can listen to the passage a second or third time.)
You can make brief notes of key points and details, but don’t let your note taking distract you from your listening.
Key vocabulary words are explained in the bonus track. Each key word is clearly defined and accompanied by common synonyms and antonyms as well as sample sentences that show you how the word is used, and how to use it. What better way to augment your active vocabulary!
The comprehension questions “test” three general areas: FACTUAL CONTENT, LOGICAL INFERENCE, and PERSONAL JUDGMENT. (These are explained on the website and are available to download.) The questions come in three different types or formats: MULTIPLE CHOICE, TRUE OR FALSE, and SHORT ANSWER. The question format will vary, so be sure to listen to the instructions carefully before you answer the questions.
Nurturing the Arts
Listen to Listen Up! Lesson Thirty PASSAGE ONLY track:
In high schools all across America, young singers, musicians, dancers, and actors fantasize about “making it big” in Hollywood. They attend schools that support their aspirations by offering elective music and fine-arts classes and art-related after-school clubs and societies. These lucky students are taught to read music, play an instrument, perform Hamlet’s soliloquy, or paint with watercolors by devoted teachers who share their passion for the arts.
But the unfortunate reality is that today, many American public schools have been compelled to do away with their arts programs, for two reasons. One is that school budgets have been severely cut. At the same time, a law called No Child Left Behind, passed in 2001, requires schools to meet national standards in academic subjects like math and reading proficiency. So all of a sudden, there is no place—and no money—for “non-academic” subjects like music and the performing arts
Los Angeles, the world’s entertainment capital, shows how bleak the situation is. A recent survey found that 45 out of the 900 schools in the Los Angeles school district had no arts teachers—not a single one. So thousands of LA children have zero instruction in music, the visual arts, dance, or theater. They can look up at the celebrated Hollywood sign—an enduring symbol of excellence in popular art that is just a stone’s throw away—and only dream. For these disappointed students, “HOLLYWOOD” might as well be on Mars.
But things are improving. In 2014, LA school district officials made a shrewd decision. They hired former TV writer/producer Rory Pullens as Executive Director for Arts Education. Since coming on board, Pullens has put a dedicated arts teacher on the faculty at every LA school. He has held discussions with executives at Paramount and Universal as well as other entertainment industry leaders asking them to “adopt” schools and to provide students with arts-related equipment, mentorships, and training
Pullens’s idea is not exactly new. In the past, some film and music studios have “adopted” schools, but their contributions have been focused mainly on schools right next door. Warner Brothers Studios, for example, has provided funding to improve auditoriums at schools in Burbank, where the studio is located. And Sony Entertainment Pictures runs career-training workshops for Culver City high-school students. But as Pullens points out, “The schools with the biggest needs are in less affluent neighborhoods.” He believes that when his program takes hold in a district with 90 percent minority students, it will go a long way towards diversifying the Hollywood film industry. Already, partnerships with Nickelodeon, Sunset Bronson Studios, and Sunset Gower Studios have been confirmed, and many other studios, including Disney, Sony, and CBS, have said they want to get in on the act.
Twelve-year-old Terry Quintero, an aspiring professional singer, is a happy beneficiary of Pullens’s efforts. For her, attending a music class and having a music teacher for the first time has been a dream come true. When she’s singing she leaves everything that’s troubling her behind. “What matters right now,” she says, “is this class.”
In February 2016, a baby rhinoceros named Lofo was rushed by helicopter to an animal rescue center in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Lofo and his mother had been grazing in Kruger National Park when ivory poachers sneaked up on and viciously attacked them. The poachers killed the mother and sawed off her horn, but the eight-month-old calf managed to escape. Five days later, park rangers found him roaming alone in the bush.
When Lofo reached the Care for Wild Africa rhino orphanage, he was dehydrated, starving, and extremely stressed. He also had a stab wound in his leg and deep cuts on his back from the machete that the poachers had used to try to sever his spine. But thanks to the vets and experts who cared for him, Lofo—so named because he was LOst then FOund—has made a miraculous recovery.
Poaching is the illegal hunting of animals that is driving many of the world’s wild animals to the brink of extinction. African poachers hunt rhinos and elephants in particular for their horns, which they sell on the black market for huge profits. The ivory often goes to countries like China and Vietnam, where it is carved into ornaments and jewelry for the wealthy. Falsely believing that rhino horn possesses magical healing powers, some people also grind the horns into a powder to make medicines. Since the start of the poaching epidemic in 2008, South Africa has lost more than 5,000 rhinos, with more being killed every day. At this rate, rhinos may disappear altogether within our lifetime.
What impact would the disappearance of rhinos have on the world?
The loss of any species and any diversity is a tragedy in its own right, but rhinos’ loss would have other serious consequences. Rhinos are mega-herbivores whose grazing helps maintain Africa’s savanna grasslands, which play an essential role in maintaining the health of the environment. These extensive grasslands act as natural storage lockers for carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases and a major contributor to global warming. As African countries become more industrialized, the continent’s CO2 emissions will increase, potentially speeding up climate change. But by helping to manage the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere, Africa’s grasslands also help keep temperature rises under control. But they can’t do this if they aren’t thriving, and that’s where rhinos and their grazing come into play. Bluntly put, if rhinos were to be heinously poached into extinction, it would spell disaster for African savannas—and ultimately for the whole planet.
An organization called the Rhino Rescue Project is taking some pretty drastic, and somewhat controversial, action in an attempt to make rhino horns as undesirable to poachers as possible. By infusing a permanent pink dye directly into the horns of living rhinos, rangers can render the horns unusable for ornamental purposes. The dye, harmless to rhinos but toxic to humans when ingested, also shows up on airport scanners, even when the horns have been ground into a powder. So far, only about 100 rhinos have been injected with the dye. But the anti-poaching method has proven to be such a successful deterrent that it is now being implemented at several wildlife sanctuaries across Africa.
Today’s questions are MULTIPLE CHOICE and based on FACTUAL CONTENT and LOGICAL INFERENCE.
Listening comprehension questions fall into three main types or areas to be tested, as explained below:
The answer is specifically stated as a detail in the text.
If the text reads, “John Birks Gillespie was born in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina,” you might be asked where Gillespie was born or in which year was he born.
The answer may not be directly stated in the text, but can be understood or inferred from the details given. A direct hint may be given, from which you would have to work out the most logical answer (usually based on a MULTIPLE CHOICE or TRUE OR FALSE question).
For example, if the text describes a “hot and muggy afternoon,” you might be asked what season it is. If the text reads, “In 1872, an abandoned railroad track in the mountains of Pennsylvania became the first roller coaster ride in America,” you may be asked a question like:
“The railroad tracks …
were made of poor quality steel.
had not been used for a while.
were dug up and replaced with roller-coaster tracks.
were too damaged to use.
You must use the hints given in the passage to work out the most likely answer. In this case, the answer, based on “hot and muggy,” to the first question would be “summer,” and the answer to the second question would be B, with the hint being the word “abandoned.”
The answer is not directly stated in the text and you might have to read more deeply or “between the lines.”
You may be asked to describe a character’s feelings, reactions, or intentions. For example, if the question is, “How do you know Joanna felt sad on the last day of school?” you would have to find evidence in the descriptive language the author uses. Perhaps Joanna had tears on her cheeks, or she was walking with her head hanging low, or perhaps she had a frown on her face.
Listen to each question carefully and write or speak your answer. Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
1. Choose the best answer to complete this sentence.
American schools that support their students’ Hollywood aspirations____________________________________.
a) require all enrolled students to take a music class
b) offer students elective music and fine-arts courses and art-related after-school clubs and societies
c) encourage students to focus more on academic subjects such as math and science
d) teach all enrolled students to paint with watercolors
2. Choose the TWO best answers to complete this sentence.
Many public schools have been compelled to do away with their arts programs__________________________.
a) because of severe budget cuts
b) because there aren’t enough arts teachers to go around
c) because music and drama are no longer popular among students
d) because the No Child Left Behind law requires schools to meet national standards in academic subjects
3. Choose the TRUE statement.
a) Under the No Child Left Behind law, no American schools are allowed to offer fine-arts classes.
b) Under the No Child Left Behind law, schools have had to meet national standards in reading and science.
c) Under the No Child Left Behind law, schools have had to meet national standards in math and reading proficiency.
d) Thanks to the No Child Left Behind law, American schools are now required to offer academic and fine-arts courses in equal numbers.
4. Choose the best answer.
According to a recent survey, out of the 900 public schools in the Los Angeles school district, how many were found to be without a single arts teacher?
a) Forty-five out of 900 schools did not have an arts teacher.
b) More than half of the schools did not have an arts teacher.
c) Only the schools in the most affluent areas of the city had an arts teacher.
d) The 45 schools located nearest the Hollywood sign were the only ones found to have an arts teacher.
5. Choose the best answer.
Before being hired in 2014 by the Los Angeles school district as the Executive Director for Arts Education, how did Rory Pullens make a living?
a) He was a former arts teacher himself.
b) He had worked as a TV writer and producer.
c) He was an executive at a major studio.
d) He had been an arts education director in another school district.
6. Choose the TWO best answers to complete this sentence.
Since coming on board, Pullens has _____________________.
a) guaranteed mentorships at every LA high school
b) held discussions with Hollywood executives and other industry leaders
c) actively campaigned against the No Child Left Behind law
d) put a dedicated arts teacher on the faculty at every LA school
7. Choose the best answer.
What has Warner Brothers Studios provided for schools in Burbank, California?
a) They have donated arts-related equipment actually used in the studio.
b) They have provided mentorships and career-training workshops.
c) They have provided funding to improve school auditoriums.
d) They have enlisted several famous Hollywood directors to act as the schools’ arts teachers.
8. Choose the TRUE statement.
a) Sony Entertainment Pictures runs career-training workshops for Culver City high-school students.
b) The schools with the biggest needs are in LA’s most affluent neighborhoods.
c) Culver City high-school students are allowed to attend acting classes at Sony Entertainment Pictures.
d) Students who attend schools in Burbank, California, are likely to come from poor, minority families.
9. Choose the best answer to complete this sentence.
Pullens believes that when his program takes hold in a district with 90 percent minority students, _________________________.
a) music created by LA minority students will become more popular all across America
b) more Hollywood studios will volunteer to get involved in arts education
c) it will go a long way towards diversifying the Hollywood film industry
d) the American film industry will diversify to other places outside of Hollywood
10. Choose the FALSE statement.
a) Thanks to Rory Pullens, Terry Quintero has been able to start attending music classes.
b) Terry Quintero is a 12-year-old aspiring professional singer.
c) When Terry Quintero is in singing class, she forgets all her troubles for a while.
d) Terry Quintero has already had many years of musical training from private mentors.
Now that you have completed today’s listening comprehension exercise, it’s time to check your answers and see how well you did. Answers to today’s listening comprehension questions will follow immediately after the closing jingle , so please stay tuned in.
Listen to the Listening Comprehension Questions and Answers HERE:
You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.
KA WORDCAST: Listen Up! LESSON THIRTY
KEY VOCABULARY WORDS
Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track. This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.
They attend schools that support their ASPIRATIONS by offering elective music and fine-arts classes and art-related after-school clubs and societies.
ASPIRATION is a noun that refers to the strong desire to have or achieve something. Yearning, ambition, hope, aim, goal, target, and dream are some good substitutes.
The school interviewer asked me what my greatest ASPIRATION was, and all I could think of to say was, “To pass this interview.”
Because Daniel loves sports, his biggest ASPIRATION is to become a professional athlete.
I once had ASPIRATIONS of writing “the great American novel,” but regrettably, that dream died a long time ago.
The verb form, ASPIRE, means to have a strong desire to achieve or become something. ASPIRE is most often followed by “to.” Some similar words and phrases include aim for (or to), set one’s heart or sights on (something), and dream of (becoming something).
“With your brains and outgoing personality,” Mrs. Jenson told her young pupil, “you can ASPIRE to become whatever you set your mind to.”
Now that I have seen the Cambridge University campus and felt its academic “vibe,” I have something to ASPIRE to, dream of, and study for.
A growing number of young people ASPIRE to become entrepreneurs and to run their own business rather than work for someone else.
While most musicians ASPIRE to get discovered and become successful recording artists, very few even come close.
ASPIRANT, another noun form for ASPIRE, refers to a person who ASPIRES to some job or position. Candidate and applicant are good synonyms.
All ASPIRANTS for the role of Puck in the local theater’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are invited to an audition at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 13.
They attend schools that support their aspirations by offering ELECTIVE music and fine-arts classes and art-related after-school clubs and societies.
In the passage, ELECTIVE is an adjective that describes a lesson or course of study a student can choose. ELECTIVE courses are not compulsory, though most schools require students to choose a specific number of ELECTIVE courses to “round out” their education or degree. The noun ELECTIVE is the course or subject at a college or school the student chooses to take.
Students in our Performing Arts program do their core classes Monday to Thursday and their ELECTIVE classes on Friday.
Seniors must take at least two ELECTIVE courses, but the type of course they choose is entirely optional.
The ELECTIVE creative-writing course is open to all students in grades 9 through 12.
I had fulfilled all my graduation requirements by the middle of my junior year, so as a senior, I only had to take a few ELECTIVES.
Students can choose from a range of ELECTIVES offered by the history department.
Back to the adjective form: You can also choose to have ELECTIVE surgery or medical treatment to treat an illness, condition, or injury that is not serious or urgent, as in:
If you are considering ELECTIVE cosmetic surgery, make sure you speak to more than one consultant, as certain procedures can have damaging side effects.
Though the doctor said it wasn’t necessary, at least not yet, my mother chose to have ELECTIVE knee-replacement surgery.
ELECTIVE also describes a public office that is achieved through a vote.
Billionaire business tycoon Donald Trump became the 2016 Republican nominee despite not having any experience in ELECTIVE office.
In addition to her ELECTIVE office on the City Council, Leslie is involved in many other community programs.
Of course, both the adjective and noun forms are based on the verb ELECT, which means to choose, often by a vote.
The all-American high-school basketball player has ELECTED to forgo college and go straight into the NBA draft.
Since being ELECTED class president, Susie isn’t nearly as friendly as she used to be.
If Trump is ELECTED, many celebrities have said they will leave America.
At the same time, a law called No Child Left Behind, passed in 2001, requires schools to meet national standards in academic subjects like math and reading PROFICIENCY.
PROFICIENCY is a noun that is defined as a high degree of skill or expertise. Ability, capability, capacity, competence, and aptitude are some possible synonyms.
Students aiming to enroll in Waseda University’s International Liberal Studies program must demonstrate a high level of English PROFICIENCY.
Among secondary students in the U.K., less than 60% scored at or above PROFICIENCY in math.
While candidates do not need to have any prior office experience, PROFICIENCY in Word and Excel are a must.
One reader suggested that cyclists should have to get a “bicycle driver’s license” by passing a cycling PROFICIENCY test just as people have to do to get a driving license.
PROFICIENT is the adjective form. If you are PROFICIENT at something, you can do it well because of training or practice. Skilled, accomplished, competent, capable, and experienced are some good synonyms.
Diego was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland, where he became PROFICIENT in several European languages.
All but one of my pupils in my sixth-grade class are PROFICIENT in math and English to the level set by national standards.
I haven’t had the opportunity to speak Japanese much in the last ten years, so I’m not nearly as PROFICIENT in it as I used to be.
Though Robert has never had any formal training, he earns a high salary because he is such a PROFICIENT computer programmer.
But things are improving. In 2014, LA school district officials made a SHREWD decision.
In the passage, SHREWD is an adjective that means showing good judgment. A SHREWD person has keen understanding and makes smart decisions. Astute, perceptive, wise, observant, and clever are some possible synonyms.
Taryn may only be eight, but she shows a SHREWD judgment of people’s character.
The young substitute teacher soon proved how SHREWD she was by spotting the class’s three biggest troublemakers and seating them right in front of her desk.
As President Obama pointed out in a speech, being the Commander-in-Chief means that you have to be flexible and politically SHREWD.
A SHREWD problem solver, Joan Clarke was one of World War II code-breaker Alan Turing’s closest friends and confidants.
Elizabeth Woodville, the “White Queen” and wife of Edward IV, was ruthlessly SHREWD about marrying off her siblings and children for political advantage.
SHREWD is also useful as an adverb, SHREWDLY, and as a noun, SHREWDNESS, as in these sentences.
Seeing that the customer was about to become “difficult,” the restaurant manager apologized for the late order and SHREWDLY offered him a complimentary plate of hors d’oeuvres.
The coach’s SHREWDNESS in using his bench players to rest his stars is the main reason the team is leading the league.
FYI: Don’t confuse SHREWD with SHREW. A SHREW is someone, usually a woman, who is bad-tempered and mean, like Katherina in William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the SHREW. (The word SHREWD, by the way, is actually related to SHREW, an Old English word meaning wicked or evil, which is why the words are sometimes confused.)
He believes that when his program takes hold in a district with 90 percent MINORITY students, it will go a long way towards diversifying the Hollywood film industry.
A MINORITY is a small group of people within a community or country that is different from the rest of the population because of race, religion, language, or political persuasion. MINORITY is often used in the plural form.
Our homework for this weekend is to find out all we can about an ethnic MINORITY in our community.
A recent study showed that by 2050, ethnic MINORITIES could make up one-third of the UK population.
While women are still a MINORITY in politics and government, that statistic is slowly but surely changing.
Making up nearly 20% of the population of Turkey, the Kurds are a sizable MINORITY that should be granted more civil rights.
MINORITY is also used as an adjective.
The scholarships are awarded to MINORITY single mothers who otherwise could not afford to go on college.
American MINORITY students studying abroad often discover that their uniqueness attracts others, creates curiosity, and facilitates conversation.
Those from Muslim and other MINORITY backgrounds made up 60% of this year’s school admissions.
MINORITY also refers to the smaller part of a group of people or things. For this usage, MAJORITY is the opposite of MINORITY, as shown in the last two examples.
Until recently, only a small MINORITY of young Americans were interested in politics, but this year’s controversial presidential election has changed that.
Evidently, I’m in the MINORITY here, but I believe that Mr. Peterson is doing a fine job as history teacher, and I would hate to see him replaced!
Only a MINORITY of the homes in our community are rental properties.
Paul McCartney and John Lennon composed the MAJORITY of the songs sung by the Beatles.
Latinos make up the MAJORITY of voters in many communities in California and across the American Southwest.
He believes that when his program takes hold in a district with 90 percent minority students, it will go a long way towards DIVERSIFYING the Hollywood film industry.
The verb DIVERSIFY means to make or become more varied. Synonyms include branch out, vary, bring variety to, and mix.
The trilobites are an extinct marine arthropod that DIVERSIFIED into a great number of species.
Having at first refused to DIVERSIFY its “classic” course selection, the prep school foundered and eventually had to give in to newer market demands.
To DIVERSIFY their revenue sources, many colleges now offer evening and weekend courses aimed at full-time workers who wish to upgrade their qualifications.
Many convenience stores, while still offering essential food and household items, have recently DIVERSIFIED into coffee houses, do-nut shops, and snack bars.
Because of the current low market price for many crops, farmers have been forced to DIVERSIFY and use their land for innovative new ventures.
The decreasing supply and increasing price of fossil fuels has forced some oil companies to DIVERSIFY by investing in the development of alternative-energy technologies.
DIVERSE is the adjective form for DIVERSIFY. It means showing a lot of variety. Synonyms include various, varied, different, miscellaneous, sundry, and diversified.
Using models from a DIVERSE range of backgrounds and ethnic groups is common in advertisements for clothing companies such as GAP and Benetton.
My two sisters and I have very DIVERSE ideas on how to raise children, which can make for some heated discussions.
Coral reefs are in fact complex, highly DIVERSE communities that are under threat from global warming and ocean pollution.
Joanie loved living in central London because of the DIVERSE range of shops, restaurants, and types of entertainment available, not to mention the many different kinds of people.
The noun DIVERSITY means a range of different things or the state of being DIVERSE. Synonyms include variety, assortment, array, and miscellany.
India’s geographical DIVERSITY is mirrored by the DIVERSITY of its people, who reflect a myriad of racial characteristics, social patterns, and cultures.
The DIVERSITY and creativity of the entries in the design competition for the new school logo led to much debate among the judges and a nail-biting wait for the finalists.
Professor Majors was pleasantly surprised to find considerable DIVERSITY in the writing style and political perspective of the reports submitted by his journalism students.