Think for yourself
1.Thinking for yourself is still a radical act.
2.Thinking for yourself is not a popular activity, though it should be. Every step of real
progress in our society has come from it. But in most circles, particularly in places that shape our lives –families, schools and most workplaces –thinking for yourself is regarded with suspicion. Some institutions thwart it on purpose. It can be seen as dangerous.
3.I was reminded of this sad fact at a party when a fellow guest asked me the subject of a book
I was planning to write. I told him that it was about how people can help each other to think
for themselves. “Oh dear,” he said, “I don’t think much of that; I much prefer people do as they’re told.” I later found out that he is the fourth-generation president of one of the largest oil companies.
4.When was the last organizational vision statement you saw that included the words “… to
develop ourselves into a model environment in which everyone at every level can think for themselves”? For that matter, when was the last time somebody asked you, “What do you really think, really?” and then waited for you to answer at length?
5.This dearth should not surprise us. Hardly anyone has been encouraged, much less trained, to
think for themselves, and their teachers and parents and bosses weren’t either. And neither were theirs. (We may have learned to revere thinkers like Socrates, but we also learned that the state poisoned him for thinking for himself: not unmitigated encouragement.)
6.Occasionally, however, we do have a teacher or mentor who truly wants us to develop our
own thinking. They give us glimpses. When I was 13 years old, I was put into an advanced algebra course. On the first day the teacher, who was maligned by students as a hard teacher because she tried to get them to think, stood in front of the blackboard and said, “On the paper in front o f you write the sum of a number.”
7.The entire class of 35 pubescent people just stared at her. She repeated the direction, “Write
the sum of a number.”
8.I remember my hand gathering sweat around the pencil. A few heads looked down and their
pencils started up. I wondered what in the world they were writing. I saw the girl across the aisle from me lean forward and peer over the shoulder of the boy in front of her who was scribbling something. Then she scratched a figure and immediately covered it with her hand.
9.The teacher paced and rubbed the chalk between her fingers. I wondered what she was about
to put on the board. I was now the only one not writing. I leaned back and over my left shoulder whispered to my friend, “What is it?”
10.“Seven,” she whispered back.
11.So I wrote “7” on my paper. I kept my head down, hoping I looked busy and confident.
12.After the agony among us had become tactile, the teacher asked us for our answers. The
number 7 was prevalent. She walked slowly over to the board and wrote: “There is no such thing as the sum of a number.”
13.I knew that.
14.Why didn’t you write it?
15.Sarah said it was 7.
16.Why did you ask her?
17.Because –I don’t know.
18.That’s right. From now o n, think for yourself.
19.I was too scared around that teacher for the rest of my young life to think very well in her
presence. But I took the message with me and gradually examined and valued it. I don’t recommend humiliating people into thinking for themselves as she had. She certainly did not create a Thinking Environment for us. Had she affirmed our intelligence first and spoken about the joy of thinking for ourselves, had she not fanned our fear of her, we would all have learned even more powerfully what it meant to do our thinking. And we might have been able to think well around her too.
20.But at least she introduced the concept into my academic life.
Reading and understanding
○2Choose the best answer to the questions.
1 Why does the writer believe thinking for oneself is not popular?
(a) Because it takes too much time.
(b) Because institutions don’t like it.
(c) Because it doesn’t lead to progress.
(d) Because only a few people are able to do it.
2 How often are people interested in what other people think according to the writer?
(c) Hardly ever.
3 Who first made the writer realize that thinking for oneself is important?
(a) The manager of an oil company.
(b) The writer’s pa rents.
(c) The writer’s maths teacher.
(d) The writer’s friend Sarah.
4 How did the writer feel when she was asked to write “the sum of a number”?
(a) Pleased, because it was an easy question to answer.
(b) Bored, because she wasn’t interested in maths.
(c) Worried, because she was the only one who didn’t
know the answer.
(d) Confused, because she didn’t understand the
5 What did the writer do in the end?
(a) She copied what someone else wrote.
(b) She suddenly realized the meaning of the question.
(c) She felt too frightened to write an answer.
(d) She asked the teacher to explain.
6 What does the writer think of the maths teacher?
(a) She was the best teacher she ever had.
(b) She was the worst teacher she ever had.
(c) She taught her an important lesson.
(d) She valued the intelligence of her pupils.
Dealing with unfamiliar words
○3Replace the underlined words with the correct form of the words in the box. You may need to make other changes.
1I moved my body forwards so that I could get a quick look at what was written in the book.
2Our college has publicly stated that it will help students with financial problems.
3 Waiting for the results of the exams was not pleasant – it was a feeling of great worry.
4 I looked carefully at the letter but I couldn’t read the name at the bottom.
5 In the next room a woman was walking up and down the room.
6 I could hear the dog moving its claws against the door, trying to get out.
7 The university is one of the most famous large organizations in the country.
8 The king died after he was made to eat or drink a substance that could kill him.
9 She woke up and pressed and moved her hands over her eyes, still feeling sleepy.
○4Complete the paragraph with the correct form of the words in the box.
has been proved in a lot of research, (2) __________ with young children. When they find themselves in the (3) __________ of other children, the desire to imitate them is a(n) (4) __________ aid to learning. Adults may lose their motivation, but not children! But real progress comes when children learn to think for themselves –and that, as we all know now, is a(n) (5) __________ skill. It may sound (6) _________ and we may view it with (7) __________, but it’s an important skill to learn.
○5Answer the questions about the words.
1 If you thwart something, do you (a) make it happen, or (b) stop it from happening?
2 If you revere someone, do you think they are (a) very old, or (b) very wise?
3 If you malign another person, do you say (a) nice things, or (b) bad things about them?
4 Is an aisle (a) a narrow area between rows of seats, or (b) an area at the front of a classroom?
5 If you scribble something, do you write it (a) very quickly, or (b) very clearly and carefully?
6 If you humiliate another person, do you make them feel (a) bad, or (b) good about themselves?
Language in use
impersonal structures with the passive voice
○1Look at the sentences.
People regard thinking for yourself with suspicion. They see it as dangerous.
We can rewrite them like this:
Thinking for yourself is regarded with suspicion. It can be seen as dangerous.
Now rewrite the sentences using impersonal structures with the passive voice.
1 Some people consider asking too many questions to be rude.
2 They view a relaxed attitude to learning with suspicion.
3 People believe that our university dates back to the tenth century.
4 Most people consider this library to be the oldest in the country.
5 Many people think Imperial College London is the best place to study sciences.
6 They say my old school has the best teachers.
Had + subject inversion
○2Look at the sentence.
If she had affirmed our intelligence first, we
would all have learned even more powerfully.
We can rewrite it like this:
Had she affirmed our intelligence first, we would
all have learned even more powerfully.
Now complete the sentences about yourself using Had + subject inversion.
1 I would have enjoyed myself more ___________________________________.
2 __________________________________, I would have made different plans for the weekend.
3 I wouldn’t have worked so hard __________________________________________.
4 _________________________________, I would have gone to a different college.
neither + inversion
○3Look at the sentences.
Hardly anyone has been encouraged to think for themselves, and their teachers and parents and bosses weren’t either. And the same is true of theirs.
We can rewrite them like this:
Hardly anyone has been encouraged to think for
themselves, and their teachers and parents and
bosses weren’t either. And neither were theirs.
Now complete the sentences with your own ideas using neither + inversion.
1 My friends weren’t told about the change of the timetable, and _____________.
2 Xiao Ming doesn’t feel ready to do the work yet, and ____________.
3 They don’t understand how to solve the problem, and ____________.
4 Josh won’t be able to get there ea rly, and ________________________.
5 Melanie never really spoke to me about the course, and _______________________.
6 I don’t feel like doing anything more tonight, and _______________________.
○4Match the sentences with the uses of much.
1 I don’t think much of that …
2 I much prefer people do as they’re told.
3 Hardly anyone has been encouraged, much less trained, to think for themselves …
(a) used to say that something is even less true
(b) used after “I don’t think” to ind icate an opinion
(c) used before a verb expressing a preference
○5Rewrite the sentences using not think much of.
Rewrite the sentences using not think much of.
1 I didn’t think that lesson was very good.
2 None of us like the timetable we’ve been given for this term.
3 I’m afraid I’ve got a lot of doubts about what he’s written.
4 Our professor is always criticizing this book.
5 I don’t like the theme of this week’s essay.
○6Complete the sentences with your own ideas using much prefer.
1 I _____________________________ than in my room.
2 Lily ______________________ her friend than go there on her own.
3 Personally I ____________________ to playing basketball.
4 Some people ______________________________ than spend a lot of time reading.
5 I ____________ teachers _______________________ than send me an email.
○7Rewrite the sentences using much less.
1 I can’t even say two words of Chinese, so I definitely can’t speak the language.
2 Basic study skills are not taught here, and certainly not practised.
3 Nobody has even started the essay, let alone finished it.
4 Nobody even heard what the lecturer said, and so of course they didn’t understand him.
5 I haven’t even got a PC in my room, so I obviously haven’t got an Internet connection.
○8Translate the sentences into Chinese.
1 But in most circles, particularly in places that shape our lives –families, schools and most workplaces – thinking for yourself is regarded with suspicion.
2 Hardly anyone has been encouraged, much less trained, to think for themselves, and their teachers and parents and bosses weren’t either.
3 I saw the girl across the aisle from me lean forward and peer over the shoulder of the boy in front of her who was scribbling something.
4 I was too scared around that teacher for the rest of my young life to think very well in her presence.
5 Had she affirmed our intelligence first and spoken about the joy of thinking for ourselves, had she not fanned our fear of her, we would all have learned even more powerfully what it meant to do our thinking.
○9Translate the sentences into English.
1 独立思考能力是大学生必备的素质之一。(think for yourself; quality)
2 虽然大家对这部电影好评如潮，我却不怎么喜欢这部电影。(despite; not think much of) 2 虽然大家对这部电影好评如潮，我却不怎么喜欢这部电影。(despite; not think much of)
4 正要离开书店时，他发现了自己一直在寻找的一本书。(be about to do sth.)
5 会上，大家对如何提高学生的阅读技能进行了更详细的探讨。(at length)