The Graduate

The Graduate is a 1967 American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols.[3] It is based on the 1963 novel The Graduate byCharles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The screenplay was by Buck Henry, who makes a cameo appearance as a hotel clerk, and Calder Willingham.

The film tells the story of Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), a recent university graduate with no well-defined aim in life, who is seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and then proceeds to fall in love with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross).

In 1996, The Graduate was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Initially, the film was placed at #7 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list in 1998. When AFI revised the list in 2007, the film was moved to #17.

Adjusted for inflation, the film is #21 on the list of highest-grossing films in the United States and Canada.[



Benjamin Braddock, who will soon turn 21, returns to his parents’ home in the Los Angeles area after graduating from a college on the East Coast. At his graduation party, all his parents’ friends want to know about Benjamin’s upcoming plans for graduate school or a career, something about which Benjamin is clearly uncomfortable and anxious. His parents ignore his anxiety and are only interested in talking about his academic and athletic successes and their plans for him to attend graduate school.

Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father’s law partner, asks Benjamin to drive her home from the party. She invites Benjamin inside and attempts to seduce him, removing her clothes. She tells Benjamin, who becomes increasingly nervous, that she finds him attractive and wants him to know that she is available to him anytime. Mr. Robinson arrives home but neither sees nor suspects anything. He advises Benjamin that he should relax and enjoy his youth while he still can. A few days later, following a humiliating incident with a well-intentioned but absurd birthday gift from his parents, Benjamin contacts Mrs. Robinson and organizes a tryst at a hotel, and their affair begins.

Benjamin spends the summer floating in a pool by day and meeting Mrs. Robinson at the hotel at night. Through their encounters, Benjamin discovers that they have nothing in common but also learns that Mrs. Robinson was forced to give up college and marry someone whom she did not love when she became pregnant with her daughter, Elaine.

However, under increasing pressure from his parents to begin a career or enroll in graduate school, Benjamin is set up on a date with Elaine, whom Benjamin last saw in high school, by his father and Mr. Robinson. Although Mrs. Robinson has made it clear to Benjamin that he is to have nothing to do with Elaine, Benjamin eventually succumbs to the pressure and takes Elaine out on a date. During the course of their date, Benjamin goes out of his way to mistreat and be rude to Elaine, even going as far as taking her to a lewd strip joint, in order to sabotage the evening. Upon seeing Elaine sobbing, Benjamin kisses her. He explains his motives and that he only asked her out on a date as an obligation from each of their fathers. The two reconcile and each discover that they are able to discuss their current worries and their plans for future happiness.

Upon Benjamin’s arriving at the Robinsons’ home to take Elaine out again, Mrs. Robinson threatens to reveal to Elaine her earlier relationship with Benjamin. However, Benjamin preemptively blurts out the details of his affair to Elaine before Mrs. Robinson can make good on her threat. Upset and heartbroken, Elaine returns to college at Berkeley and severs all communication with him.

Benjamin resolves that he must marry Elaine and follows her to Berkeley. There, he finds Elaine and accompanies her to a date between her and a classmate, Carl Smith. Later that evening, Elaine confronts Benjamin, asking what he is doing there after having raped her mother while she was drunk. Benjamin reveals his side of the story to Elaine and that he was the one who was pursued by Mrs. Robinson, which further upsets Elaine. Benjamin tells Elaine he will leave her alone, but Elaine asks him to remain until he has a plan.

The following day, Elaine confronts Benjamin again and asks him to kiss her. Although Benjamin wants to marry Elaine and presses her to obtain a blood test so they can wed, Elaine laments that she has already told Carl that she might marry him. Mr. Robinson, who has learned about his wife’s affair with Benjamin, goes to Benjamin’s apartment in Berkeley and berates him, threatening to have him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, should Benjamin ever come near Elaine again. He forces Elaine to drop out of school and takes her away to marry Carl. Elaine leaves Benjamin a note saying that although she loves him, her father’s anger would prevent the family from ever accepting Benjamin as Elaine’s husband.

Benjamin races back south looking for Elaine but finds Mrs. Robinson, who tells him she cannot stop the wedding. Benjamin learns from Carl’s fraternity brothers that the wedding is taking place in Santa Barbara. En route to the church, his car runs out of gas, forcing him to run the final few blocks to the chapel, arriving just in time to see Elaine and Carl, already married, in the traditional kiss. Watching from the loft at the back of the church, Benjamin bangs on the glass window and screams, “Elaine!” several times, in a desperate attempt to win her over. With some hesitation, Elaine returns a cry of “Ben!” and rushes toward Benjamin. A brawl breaks out as everyone tries to stop her and Benjamin from leaving. Elaine manages to break free from her mother, who claims “It’s too late!”, to which Elaine replies, “Not for me!” Benjamin and Elaine escape the chapel by barring the chapel’s double doors with a wooden cross, trapping the attendees inside. Benjamin and Elaine then flag down a bus. After making their way to the back seat of the bus as it pulls away, Elaine in her wedding dress and Benjamin in tattered clothing, they both initially appear ecstatic about their dramatic escape. Gradually however, this exhilaration subsides, with Benjamin just looking forward and Elaine occasionally looking at Benjamin, into realization of what they have done.

In the closing shot, Elaine and Benjamin are shown through the rear window sitting at the back of the bus as it travels down the road.


The Graduate Original Soundtrackalbum cover.

The film boosted the profile of folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel. Originally, Nichols and O’Steen used their existing songs like “The Sound of Silence” merely as a pacing device for the editing until Nichols decided that substituting original music would not be effective and decided to include them on the soundtrack, an unusual move at that time.[7]

According to a Variety article by Peter Bart in the 15 May 2005 issue, Lawrence Turman, his producer, then made a deal for Simon to write three new songs for the movie. By the time they had nearly finished editing the film, Simon had only written one new song. Nichols begged him for more, but Simon, who was touring constantly, told him he did not have the time. He did play him a few notes of a new song he had been working on; “It’s not for the movie… it’s a song about times past — about Mrs. Roosevelt and Joe DiMaggio and stuff.” Nichols advised Simon, “It’s now about Mrs. Robinson, not Mrs. Roosevelt.”[8]

On the strength of the hit single “Mrs. Robinson“, the soundtrack album rose to the top of the charts in 1968 (knocking off The BeatlesWhite Album). However, the version that appears in the film is markedly different from the hit single version, which would not be issued until Simon and Garfunkel’s next album, Bookends. The actual film version of “Mrs. Robinson” does appear on The Graduate soundtrack LP.

Air Force 1


Air Force One

Air Force One over Mount Rushmore

No matter where in the world the President travels, if he flies in an Air Force jet, the plane is called Air Force One. Technically, Air Force One is the call sign of any Air Force aircraft carrying the President. In practice, however, Air Force One is used to refer to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A.

Air Force One is one of the most recognizable symbols of the presidency, spawning countless references not just in American culture but across the world. Emblazoned with the words “United States of America,” the American flag, and the Seal of the President of the United States, it is an undeniable presence wherever it flies.

Capable of refueling midair, Air Force One has unlimited range and can carry the President wherever he needs to travel. The onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse, and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States.

Inside, the President and his travel companions enjoy 4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels, including an extensive suite for the President that features a large office, lavatory, and conference room. Air Force One includes a medical suite that can function as an operating room, and a doctor is permanently on board. The plane’s two food preparation galleys can feed 100 people at a time.

Air Force One also has quarters for those who accompany the President, including senior advisors, Secret Service officers, traveling press, and other guests. Several cargo planes typically fly ahead of Air Force One to provide the President with services needed in remote locations.

Air Force One is maintained and operated by the Presidential Airlift Group, part of the White House Military Office. The Airlift Group was founded in 1944 as the Presidential Pilot Office at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. For the next 20 years, various propeller driven aircraft served the President. In 1962,President John F. Kennedy became the first President to fly in his own jet aircraft, a modified Boeing 707. Over the years, several other jet aircraft have been used, with the first of the current aircraft being delivered in 1990 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush.

TOEFL-Test of English as a Foreign Language


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Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL /ˈtfəl/ toh-fəl, is astandardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers wishing to enroll in U.S. universities. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions. TOEFL is one of the two major English-language test in the world, the other being theIELTS.

TOEFL test scores are accepted by more than 9000 colleges, universities, agencies and other institutions in 130 countries and that list includes the top 100 universities in the world. In addition it can be used to satisfy visa requirements for both Australia and the U.K.[5][6]

TOEFL is a trademark of ETS (Educational Testing Service), a private non-profit organisation, which designs and administers the tests. The scores are valid for two years; then they are no longer reported.[7]

In 1962, a national council made up of representatives of thirty government and private organizations was formed to address the problem of ensuring English language proficiency for non-native speakers wishing to study at U.S. universities. This council recommended the development and administration of the TOEFL exam for the 1963-1964 time frame.[8]

The test was originally developed at the Center for Applied Linguistics under the direction of Stanford University applied linguistics professor Dr. Charles A. Ferguson.[9]

The TOEFL test was first administered in 1964 by the Modern Language Association financed by grants from the Ford Foundation and Danforth Foundation.[8]

In 1965, The College Board and ETS jointly assumed responsibility for the continuation of the TOEFL testing program.[8]

In 1973, a cooperative arrangement was made between ETS, The College Board, and the Graduate Record Examinations board of advisers to oversee and run the program. ETS was to administer the exam with the guidance of the TOEFL board

Internet-based test[edit]

Since its introduction in late 2005, the TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT) format has progressively replaced the computer-based tests (CBT) and paper-based tests (PBT), although paper-based testing is still used in select areas. The TOEFL iBT test has been introduced in phases, with the United StatesCanadaFranceGermany, and Italy in 2005 and the rest of the world in 2006, with test centers added regularly. The CBT was discontinued in September 2006 and these scores are no longer valid.

Initially, the demand for test seats was higher than availability, and candidates had to wait for months. It is now possible to take the test within one to four weeks in most countries.[10] The four-hour test consists of four sections, each measuring one of the basic language skills (while some tasks require integrating multiple skills) and all tasks focus on language used in an academic, higher-education environment. Note-taking is allowed during the TOEFL iBT test. The test cannot be taken more than once a week.

  1. Reading
    The Reading section consists of 4–6 passages, each approximately 700 words in length, and questions about them. The passages are on academic topics; they are the kind of material that might be found in an undergraduate university textbook. Passages require understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. Students answer questions about main ideas, details, inferences, essential information, sentence insertion, vocabulary, rhetorical purpose and overall ideas. New types of questions in the TOEFL iBT test require filling out tables or completing summaries. Prior knowledge of the subject under discussion is not necessary to come to the correct answer.
  2. Listening
    The Listening section consists of six passages 3–5 minutes in length and questions about them. These passages include two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussions. A conversation involves two speakers, a student and either a professor or a campus service provider. A lecture is a self-contained portion of an academic lecture, which may involve student participation and does not assume specialized background knowledge in the subject area. Each conversation and lecture stimulus is heard only once. Test-takers may take notes while they listen and they may refer to their notes when they answer the questions. Each conversation is associated with five questions and each lecture with six. The questions are meant to measure the ability to understand main ideas, important details, implications, relationships between ideas, organization of information, speaker purpose and speaker attitude.
  3. Speaking
    The Speaking section consists of six tasks: two independent and four integrated. In the two independent tasks, test-takers answer opinion questions on familiar topics. They are evaluated on their ability to speak spontaneously and convey their ideas clearly and coherently. In two of the integrated tasks, test-takers read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and answer a question by combining appropriate information from the text and the talk. In the two remaining integrated tasks, test-takers listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and then respond to a question about what they heard. In the integrated tasks, test-takers are evaluated on their ability to appropriately synthesize and effectively convey information from the reading and listening material. Test-takers may take notes as they read and listen and may use their notes to help prepare their responses. Test-takers are given a short preparation time before they have to begin speaking. The responses are digitally recorded, sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network (OSN), and evaluated by three to six raters.
  4. Writing
    The Writing section measures a test taker’s ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent. In the integrated task, test-takers read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss it. The test-taker then writes a summary about the important points in the listening passage and explains how these relate to the key points of the reading passage. In the independent task, the test-taker must write an essay that states, explains, and supports their opinion on an issue, supporting their opinions or choices, rather than simply listing personal preferences or choices. Responses are sent to the ETS OSN and evaluated by four raters.
Task Description Approximate time
Reading 3–5 passages, each containing 12–14 questions 60–100 minutes
Listening 6–9 passages, each containing 5–6 questions 60–90 minutes
Break 10 minutes
Speaking 6 tasks 20 minutes
Writing 2 tasks 50 minutes

One of the sections of the test will include extra, uncounted material. Educational Testing Service includes extra material to pilot test questions for future test forms. When test-takers are given a longer section, they should give equal effort to all of the questions because they do not know which question will count and which will be considered extra. For example, if there are four reading passages instead of three, then one of the passages will not be counted. Any of the four could be the uncounted one.

Taking the TOEFL is a necessary step for any non US educated student wanting to study at a North American university. It is also increasingly required from other educational institutions throughout the world as well as a desired or mandatory job qualification.

While it is true that the TOEFL is an extremely difficult test there are a number of resources to help students prepare for the test. Luckily the Internet has an ever expanding treasure trove of study materials. Most of these areas require registration and payment however a number of the sites do offer some free services. If you are interested in taking the TOEFL it will probably be necessary to purchase some of these services. This guide shows you a number of the free services available on the Internet. By using this feature you can get an excellent headstart on your studies without paying a dime.

What is the TOEFL?

Before beginning to study for the TOEFL it is a good idea to understand the philosophy and purpose behind this standardized test. Here is an excellent detailed description of the Internet based test.

What can I expect from TOEFL?

There are a number of resources available to help you discover exactly what grammar listening and reading skills will be expected on the TOEFL. One of the most thorough of these resources isTestwise.Com

which explains each type of question in terms of the grammar or skill required to answer that type of question successfully.

How do I approach the TOEFL?

One of the most important skills to acquire before taking the test is not a language skill. It is TOEFL test taking strategy. To get up to speed on test taking, this guide to taking tests can help you understand general test taking preparation. The TOEFL, like all standardized American tests, has a very particular structure and typical traps for you to fall into. By understanding these traps and structures you can go a long way to improving your score.

The writing section of the TOEFL requires that you write an essay based on a set topic. has a wonderful selection of sample essays

discussing common mistakes and giving examples of essays with various scores to show you the range expected on the essay.

Christmas in Colombia “Navidad en Colombia”


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Ajiaco santafereño

Ajiaco santafereño (Photo credit: El Agujero)

Español: El día de las velitas en Bogotá Colombia

Español: El día de las velitas en Bogotá Colombia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christmas in Colombia is a religious event also mixed with lots of “parranda” or fiesta, like it is common in Hispanic culture. As soon as December starts we take out our decorations which must include “el pesebre” or nativity, the Christmas tree, red and white candles, angels, and lights that we display on the windows or balconies of our home.

In Colombia Christmas or “Navidad” starts on December 7th by celebrating the day of “La Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción” or The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. This day is widely known as “El Día de las Velitas” or the day of the candles.

Lighting “Las Velitas”
Or The Candles. 


ágora (Photo credit: M. Ewert)

How do we celebrate “El Día de las Velitas”? Simple, we start at dusk by lighting candles (skinny ones) on long pieces of wood board to make infinite lines that illuminate the front of homes, house complexes, churches, etc.

“El Día de las Velitas” is not complete until we mix in dancing music, foods like “buñuelos” or fritters, “empanadas” which are fried dough stuffed with potatoes and meat or grilled meats. We drink rum and the famous “Aguardiente,” an anise drink that is pretty powerful.

“La Novena de Aguinaldos” or
The Christmas Novena

Christmas in Colombia is deeply rooted in Catholic tradition like most of the Hispanic culture countries, therefore the novena is a must. On the 16th of December we reunite with family members, and I mean everybody, each night until the 24th to pray the novena. “La Novena de Aguinaldos” is a special occasion to get closer to our faith byremembering the birth of Jesus.

Inauguración de la Navidad en la UTPL

Inauguración de la Navidad en la UTPL (Photo credit: UTPL Unidad de Gestión de la Comunicación)


Each night of the novena we sing “villancicos” or Spanish Christmas carols and enjoy typical Hispanic Christmas foods. The novena can rotate from one home to another or in many cases, the grand parents host it and everybody brings a dish.

The Role of Children
During Christmas in Colombia

There is no doubt, celebrating Christmas in Colombia is a major event for our children. The first thing they do is to write a Carta al Niño Dios or baby Jesus. The letter goes in the nativity from where it mysteriously disappears, meaning baby Jesus took it so he can know what presents to place on or near your bed on the 24th of December. It can also remain on display for baby Jesus to read.

Nativity Underneath the Christmas Tree.
Picture by Asdrubal Colombia

Christmas traditions in Colombia also have a lot to do with giving during this time of the year. We buy gifts and ask the children to help us wrap them to deliver them at corner streets where less fortunate children may be begging.

We let our children stay up late expecting to see baby Jesus delivering presents. The youngest ones fall asleep before midnight. The older ones stay up late and participate in games like finding the baby Jesus with money that one of the adults previously hid.

“La Nochebuena” One of the Top
Christmas Traditions in Colombia

In Colombia Christmas gives an opportunity to indulge in typical foods by enjoying a special “Cena de Navidad” or Christmas Eve dinner.

The main dish can be pork, ham or even Ajiaco Bogotano, a hearty chicken soup people from the capital cook. If you are celebrating Christmas in Colombia on a farm, which is what we call our second homes, the main dish is a roasted pig or an “asado” which includes a variety of grilled meats. We do the “asado” with coal not gas, and it is outdoors while we enjoy the wonderful weather.


Natilla” Colombian Style

Postres de Navidad

Postres de Navidad (Photo credit: Cris Valencia)

During Christmas in Colombia the entire country enjoys a dessert called “Natilla.” We make it with cinnamon, corn starch, milk, “panela” a hard sweetener from sugar cane, and cloves.

“Buñuelos” or cheesy fritters, “arepas” a thick corn mass, “empanadas,” “hojuelas” a fried dough pastry with sugar and jam are amongst the favorite munchies.

My mom used to make a multicolored gelatin dessert with “leche consensada” or condensed milk that always turned out to be delicious.

For dessert, people who live on the Atlantic coast prefer “arroz con coco” or coconut rice pudding, and people who live in the colder states close to the capital prefer “postre de natas,” which is made with milk and condensed milk cooked with sugar, cinnamon and raisins.

At midnight we toast with “aguardiente,” rum or champagne. We also have “ponche de frutas” or fruit punch, and “Micheladas” which are beers with salt and lemon.

Other Typical Christmas Traditions in Colombia

Many people “quema pólvora” or light fireworks during the month of December even though they are prohibited. Children always get sparklers.

“Voladores” a Type of Fireworks
Picture by Steve8642005

We also love to “elevar globos” which are paper globes that we light inside to let them fly freely in the sky. It is a nice tradition because requires many people to hold many corners of the “globo” while one person lights it.

And What Happens After “La Nochebuena?” “El Año Nuevo”

Many families after going to mass on the 24th and celebrating “La Nochebuena” continue partying the next day on the 25th. We typically wake up very late, eat leftovers, play more music, and have more fun.

On the 31st of December we say good bye to the old year and prepare ourselves to receive the New Year. In many areas of the country, people reunite on their “fincas” to make a human size rag doll stuffed with fireworks.

We call this doll “El A&natilde;o Viejo,” and at midnight we burn it after we walk around with it crying because it is going away forever. We toast with champagne and wish everybody a “feliz año nuevo.”

Christmas in Colombia follows many traditions or “agueros” to bring on good fortune in the new year, for example, we wear new clothes, we eat 12 grapes during the final 12 seconds of the old year, we wear something yellow, we broom our homes and clean them very well to take out all the bad energies, we do “saumerios” or cleansings of the homes with eucalyptus leaves, etc.

Last but not least we continue feasting with typical foods and partying with excellent dance music. Three Kings Day is not such a special event in Colombian Christmas like it is in Central America, even though we celebrate it.

Hispanic Christmas Decorations

Hispanic Christmas decorations are very important during the festivities. Many families take pride in adorning their homes for these special days.

The Christmas tree or el arbolito de navidad is a most as well as the nativity or pesebre. Lots or Christmas ornaments hand in beautiful decorated trees, and we specially value ornaments that reflect our artisans traditions and materials.

My parents loved ornaments that Andean artisans made using fibers, woods and materials that came from South America and that depicted typical nativity scenes from catholic traditions.

Gourd, cloth and ceramic ornaments have a special place in our hearts. I confess I have cloth and straw ornaments that are handmade that we hang in our tree every year.

Read more:

Inmersion Programs


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Inmersión (Photo credit: Jonathan Rubio)

What Is a Foreign Language Immersion Program?

Immersion is defined as a method of foreign language instruction in which the regular school curriculum is taught through the medium of the language. The foreign language is the vehicle for content instruction; it is not the subject of instruction. Total immersion is one program format among several that range on a continuum in terms of time spent in the foreign language. In total immersion, all schooling in the initial years is conducted in the foreign language, including reading and language arts. Partial immersion differs from total in that 50% of the school day is conducted in English right from the start. In partial immersion, reading and language arts are always taught in English. Beyond that, the choice of subjects taught in each language is a local decision.

What Are the Goals of an Immersion Program?

The long-range goals of an immersion program include: 1) developing a high level of proficiency in the foreign language; 2) developing positive attitudes toward those who speak the foreign language and toward their culture(s); 3) developing English language skills commensurate with expectations for student’s age and abilities; 4) gaining skills and knowledge in the content areas of the curriculum in keeping with stated objectives in these areas.

In Total Immersion, When Is English Language Arts Introduced? How Much Instruction Is Given in English?

Different schools phase English in at different grade levels. The original total immersion model, pioneered in Canada, introduced English language arts in Grade 2 with the ultimate goal of instruction being a 50-50 balance of languages in the upper elementary grades. Some schools do not introduce English language arts until Grade 5, which seems to be a growing trend. Increasingly, experienced immersion educators are changing to an 80-20 ratio (foreign language to English) due to insignificant differences in English language achievement whether the amount of instruction given in English constitutes 50% or 20% of the day; in contrast, there is a significant difference in students’ continued growth in the foreign language when the percentage of time spent in that language drops from 80% to 50%/

What Eventual Effect Do Immersion Programs Have on Verbal and Mathematical Skills in English?

Studies (Holobow et al., 1987; Swain & Lapkin, 1991) have consistently shown that immersion students do as well as, and may even surpass, comparable non-immersion students on measures of verbal and mathematics skills.

What Are the Keys to Successful Immersion Programs?

Successful immersion programs are characterized by: (1) administrative support; (2) community and parental support; (3) qualified teachers; (4) appropriate materials in the foreign language; (5) time for teachers to prepare instructional materials in the language; (6) and ongoing staff development.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Total and Partial Immersion?

Total immersion is the most effective way of developing foreign language proficiency. The intensity of the immersion experience coupled with the amount of exposure to the foreign language assures that students have the necessary language skills to deal with the curriculum in the upper elementary grades. Total immersion, however, is not for everyone. Not all parents or school personnel buy into the concept that students can learn just as much in a foreign language as in their own. Total immersion also requires a teacher for each immersion class. Not only are immersion teachers difficult to find, they may end up displacing staff because most elementary schools do not already have qualified immersion teachers on board.

In contrast, partial immersion needs fewer special teachers; one teacher can serve two immersion classes for one half day each. Partial immersion is easier to staff, and the potential effect on current staff is lessened. It is a more viable alternative for parents who feel uncomfortable with the idea of their children learning to read in a language other than English and seems to be more palatable to a wider range of parents and school personnel. Unfortunately, it is not nearly as effective as total immersion. Students do not develop the same level of foreign language proficiency as students in total immersion. A consequence of this is that students may have greater difficulty dealing with the school curriculum in subjects characterized by verbal abstractions.

In the long run, partial immersion does not produce better English language achievement than total immersion. However, the initial lag in English achievement associated with total immersion does not occur in partial immersion (Campbell et al., 1985).

At What Grade Level Is It Best to Begin an Immersion Program?

In the United States, most programs begin in prekindergarten, kindergarten, or Grade 1. Canadian educators report success with programs beginning with Grade 4 as well as in Grades 7-9. These programs, however, do not appear to serve the wide range of ability and achievement levels characteristic of pupils who enter immersion at the early grade levels.

What Kind of Commitment Should Be Required for Participants and Their Parents?

Many programs do not require a formal commitment from parents. Others ask parents to commit to keeping their child in the program for a minimum of six months or one year. Whether a formal commitment is required or not, extensive parent orientation prior to admitting students is important to ensure that parents and, where appropriate, students understand the nature of the program.

Periodically, opportunities should be provided to address parents’ questions and concerns that arise once their child is actually in the program. Frequent and close communication between school and parents helps to maintain the commitment parents made when choosing the program for their child.

How Are Immersion Programs Staffed?

Immersion requires teachers who are elementary trained and experienced in the grade level to be taught, who have near native proficiency in the oral and written forms of the language, and who have a knowledge of the culture. If current staff members meet these criteria, they are ideal candidates for the program. Usually, however, schools find it necessary to employ new staff. Unless new students come into the school to justify additional positions, a new program may result in the displacement of some staff members.

It is not easy to find qualified immersion teachers, but it is also not impossible. Some school systems have been successful in recruiting teachers from abroad. Others are located in areas where elementary trained teachers who are fluent in the language may be residing in the local community. Advertisements may be placed in newspapers of major cities where potential candidates may be found. Substitutes and replacements are not often readily available, making it important to identify potential substitutes or replacements well before they are actually needed.

Existing staff does not need to be supplanted if additional students are recruited. If half day kindergarten classes are expanded to full day, then additional kindergarten teachers will be needed. Though this will not solve staff displacement problems in the ensuing grades, it is possible that they may be minimized through an increase in the student population or through natural staff attrition.

Where Can One Get Materials for Use in an Immersion Program?

French materials are available from both Canadian and European sources, as well as from a number of American publishers. Spanish materials may be acquired from publishing firms that offer Spanish versions of basal programs in reading/language arts, science, mathematics, and social studies. Two resources (Curtain, 1993 and Curtain & Pesola, 1994) contain appendices of materials.

Parent-teacher interest groups and immersion materials resource centers are quickly gaining momentum in the field. Interested educators and parents may develop contacts by writing: Advocates for Language Learning, P.O. Box 32083, Kansas City, MO 64111, an advocacy group for parents and educators interested in language learning. An $8.00 membership includes a quarterly newsletter and conference announcements. A $12.00 membership to National Network for Early Language Learning, Center for Applied Linguistics, 4646 40th Street NW, Washington, DC 20016-1859 includes a subscription to FLES NEWS and participation in special interest sessions at language conferences. An additional source of information is the Canadian Association of Immersion Teachers, 1815 Promenade Alta, Suite 101, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 3Y6 Canada.

What Probable Effect Will an Immersion Program Have on an Existing Foreign Language Program?

Obviously, students in the immersion sequence are unlikely to profit from instruction in regular foreign language courses. Immersion students are fluent in the foreign language by Grade 2 or 3. Provision should be made for their continued growth in the foreign language in the later grades in the form of specially designed courses similar to the language arts courses students receive in English.

Non-immersion students may be motivated by the positive attitudes and the proficiency of immersion students. Learning a foreign language may be viewed as valuable by all students because of the immersion program’s popularity and success.

How Many Students Should a School Plan For?

The number of students in a given class is determined by the pupil/teacher ratio. Class sizes in public school immersion programs generally range from 20-35. Obviously, small classes are desirable.

In the course of the years there will naturally be attrition. Often, students who leave the program are not replaced. Therefore, it is important to determine the desired size of the cohort at the end of the program sequence and then project backwards to determine the appropriate size of the cohort upon program entry. For example, a school that wants to maintain a class of 20 fifth graders may begin with 40 kindergartners or first graders.

References and Resources

California State Dept. of Education, Bilingual Education Office. (1984). Studies on immersion education: A collection for United States educators. Los Angeles: California State University.

Campbell, R.N., Gray, T.C., Rhodes, N.C., Snow, M.A. (1985). Foreign language learning in the elementary schools: A comparison of three language programs. Modern Language Journal, 69(1), p 44-54.

Cummins, J. (1983). Research findings from immersion programs across Canada: A parent’s guide. Ottawa: Canadian Parents for French.

Curtain, H. (1993). An early start: A resource book for elementary school foreign language.Washington, DC: ERIC/CLL.

Curtain, H.A., & Pesola, C.A. (1994). Languages and childrenËMaking the match (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.

Genesee, F. (l985). Second language learning through immersion: A review of U.S. programs. Review of Educational Research (55), 541-61.

Genesee, F. (1987). Learning through two languages. Rowley, MA: Newbury.

Holobow, N., Genesee, F., Lambert, W., Gastright, J., & Met, M. (1987). Effectiveness of partial French immersion for children from different social class and ethnic backgrounds.Applied Psycholinguistics, 8, 137-152.

Lapkin, S., Swain, M., & Argue, V. (1983). French immersion: The trial balloon that flew. Toronto and Ottawa: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/Canadian Parents for French.

Lambert, W. E., & Tucker, G.R. (1972). Bilingual education of children: The St. Lambert experiment. Rowley, MA: Newbury.

Met, M. (1989). Learning language through content: Learning content through language. In K.E. Muller, (Ed.). Languages in elementary schools. New York: The American Forum.

Met, M., & Lorenz, E.B. (1993). Preparing global citizens: A foreign language program for all students. In J. Walter (Ed.). ASCD curriculum handbook. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Snow, M.A. (1990). Instructional methodology in immersion foreign language education. In Padilla, A.M., Fairchild, H.H., & Valadez, CM. (Eds.). Foreign language education: Issues and strategies. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Snow, M.A. (1990). Language immersion: An overview and comparison. In A.M. Padilla, H.H. Fairchild, & C.M. Valadez (Eds.). Foreign language education: Issues and strategies.Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Swain, M., Lapkin, S. (1985). Evaluating bilingual education: A Canadian case study. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Swain, M., & Lapkin, S. (1991). Additive bilingualism and French immersion education: The roles of language proficiency and literacy. In A. Reynolds (Ed.). Bilingualism, multiculturalism, and second language learning: The McGill conference in honour of Wallace E. Lambert. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Grand Funk Railroad


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English: Mel Schacher and Bruce Kulick of Gran...

English: Mel Schacher and Bruce Kulick of Grand Funk Railroad performing at Gulfstream Park in Hallendale, FL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grand Funk Railroad (also known as Grand Funk) is an American blues rock band that was highly popular during the 1970s. Grand Funk Railroad toured to packed arenas worldwide. A popular take on the band during its heyday was that, although the critics hated them, audiences loved them.[1] The band’s name is a play on words of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, a railroad line that ran through the band’s home town of Flint, Michigan.



Formation (1968)[edit]

Originally a trio, the band was formed in 1968 by Mark Farner (guitar, vocals) and Don Brewer (drums, vocals) from Terry Knight and the Pack, and Mel Schacher (bass) fromQuestion Mark & the Mysterians; Knight soon became the band’s manager. Knight named the band as a play on words for the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, a well-known rail line in Michigan. First achieving recognition at the 1969 Atlanta Pop Festival, the band was signed by Capitol Records. After a raucous, well-received set on the first day of the festival, the group was asked back to play two additional days. Patterned after hard rock power trios such as Cream, the band, with Terry Knight‘s marketing savvy, developed its own popular style. In 1969, the band released its first album titled On Time, which sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record in 1970.[2]

In the same year, a second album, Grand Funk (aka “The Red Album”), was awarded gold status.[2] The hit single “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)“, from the album Closer to Home, also released in 1970, was considered stylistically representative of Terry Knight and the Pack‘s recordings. The band spent $100,000 on a New York Times Square billboard to advertise Closer to Home.[3] In 1970, they sold more albums than any other American band and became a major concert attraction. By 1971, Grand Funk broke The BeatlesShea Stadium attendance record by selling out in just 72 hours.[4]

Despite critical pans and a lack of airplay, the group’s first six albums (five studio releases and one live album) were quite successful. In 1970, Knight launched an intensive advertising campaign to promote the album Closer To Home. That album was certified multi-platinum despite a lack of critical approval.[2] Following Closer To HomeLive Album was also released in 1970, and was another gold disc recipient.[2] Survival and E Pluribus Funk were both released in 1971. E Pluribus Funk celebrated the Shea Stadium show with an embossed depiction of the stadium on the album cover’s reverse.

Early 1970s[edit]

By late 1971, the band was concerned with Knight’s managerial style and fiscal responsibility. This growing dissatisfaction led Grand Funk Railroad to fire Knight in early 1972. Knight sued for breach of contract, which resulted in a protracted legal battle. At one point, Knight repossessed the band’s gear before a gig at Madison Square Garden. In VH1‘s “Behind the Music” Grand Funk Railroad episode, Knight stated that the original contract would have run out in about three months, and that the smart decision for the band would have been to just wait out the time.[5] However, the band felt they had no choice but to continue and fight for the rights to their career and name.

In 1972, Grand Funk Railroad added Craig Frost on keyboards full-time. Originally, Grand Funk attempted to attract Peter Frampton, late of Humble Pie; however, Frampton was not available due to signing a solo-record deal with A&M Records. The addition of Frost, however, a stylistic shift from Grand Funk’s original garage-band based rock & roll roots to a more rhythm & blues/pop-rock-oriented style. With the new lineup, Grand Funk released its sixth album of original music Phoenix in 1972.[6] The new combination worked.

To refine Grand Funk’s sound, the band secured veteran musician Todd Rundgren as a producer. Their two most successful albums and two No. 1 hit singles resulted: the Don Brewer penned “We’re an American Band” (from We’re an American Band) and “The Loco-Motion” (from Shinin’ On, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin and originally recorded by Little Eva). The album We’re an American Band topped out at No. 2 on the charts. “We’re an American Band” was Grand Funk’s first No. 1 hit, followed up with Don Brewer’s “Walk Like A Man”. “The Loco-Motion” followed in 1974 as Grand Funk’s second chart topping single, followed up with Don Brewer’s “Shinin’ On”. The band continued touring the U.S., Europe, and Japan.[7]

Mid 1970s[edit]

In 1975, Grand Funk switched to Jimmy Ienner as producer and reverted to using their full name: “Grand Funk Railroad”. The band released the album All the Girls in the World Beware!!!, which depicted the band member’s heads superimposed on the bodies ofArnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu. This album spawned the band’s last two top ten hits, “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Bad Time”.

Although highly successful in the mid-1970s, tensions mounted within the band due to personal issues, burn-out, and musical direction. Despite these issues, Grand Funk forged ahead. Needing two more albums to complete their record deal with Capitol, Grand Funk embarked on a major tour and decided to record a double live album, Caught in the Act.

The double album should have fulfilled the contract with Capitol; however, because it contained previously released material, Capitol requested an additional album to complete Grand Funk’s contractual obligation. While pressures between the band members still existed, the members agreed to move forward and complete one more album for Capitol to avoid legalities similar to the ones that they endured with Terry Knight in 1972. The band recorded Born to Die and agreed not to release any information regarding their impending breakup in 1976.[8]

TOEIC – Test of English for International Communication


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TOEIC 受験のしおり

TOEIC 受験のしおり (Photo credit:

The TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) by ETS is one of the most common English language tests in the world today. The aim of the TOEIC is to measure the ability to speak, read and understand basic business English. For this reason, the TOEIC has become the preferred exam for corporations, governmental agencies and many educational institutions to test learners’ English capabilities.

TOEIC – Overview

The TOEIC is an intermediate to advanced level exam. It is similar in structure to the TOEFL exam which is also administered by ETS. The TOEFL exam focuses on English used in an academic environment. The TOEIC, on the other hand, focuses on English as it is used in the global workplace.

There are four parts to the TOEIC test:


  • The TOEIC Listening Test
  • The TOEIC Reading Test
  • The TOEIC Speaking Test
  • The TOEIC writing Test


These four sections of the TOEIC test are given in two sections: The TOEIC Listening and Reading Test and the TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test. Each section is tested on different dates and last from about 90 minutes to two hours. It is possible to take only the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test, or the TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test.

TOEIC Listening and Reading

There are two different versions of the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test. The older version is offered in most institutions in North America. The newer version, created in 2006, is available in Japan and Korea and at official or open public TOEIC test sites. ETS states that both versions of the TOEIC listening and Reading Test are equally difficult. Both versions are paper and pencil tests and there is no computer-based version available.

TOEIC Speaking and Writing

As of 2006, ETS began offering the TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test. This test is delivered over the internet, as well as at various international testing sites.

Free TOEIC Study Resources

Here are some free TOEIC study resources available on the internet:

ETS – TOEIC - This is the home page from ETS the administrator of the TOEIC test. You can find a TOEIC Test general overview, test locations and dates and register online at this site.

Master the TOEIC - Master the TOEIC is a series of books focusing on helping learners to “master” the TOEIC. The books provide a lot of help and are well worth the investment. However, the site also provides MANY free resources as well. THere are quizzes, TOEIC strategies and more. - This site provides a huge selection of TOEIC preparation exercises. Certainly the best place on the internet to get free practice materials for the TOEIC. also offers a reasonably priced TOEIC test preparation package.

Good Luck TOEIC - This site provides a number of TOEIC study tips, as well as a detailed overview of each section of the TOEIC test.



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Cover of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway&...

Cover of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Play me old king cole
That I may join with you,
All your hearts now seem so far from me
It hardly seems to matter now.

And the nurse will tell you lies
Of a kingdom beyond the skies.
But I am lost within this half-world,
It hardly seems to matter now.

Play me my song.
Here it comes again.
Play me my song.
Here it comes again.

Just a little bit,
Just a little bit more time,
Time left to live out my life.

Play me my song.
Here it comes again.
Play me my song.
Here it comes again.

Old king cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
So he called for his pipe,
And he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

But the clock, tick-tock,
On the mantlepiece -
And I want, and I feel, and I know, and I touch,
Her warmth…

Shes a lady, she’s got time,
Brush back your hair, and let me get to know your face.
Shes a lady, she is mine.
Brush back your hair, and let me get to know your flesh.

Ive been waiting here for so long
And all this time has passed me by
It doesnt’t’t seem to matter now
You stand there with your fixed expression
Casting doubt on all I have to say.
Why don’t you touch me, touch me,
Why don’t you touch me, touch me,
Touch me now, now, now, now, now…





Genesis are a British rock band that formed in 1967. The band consist of their three longest-tenured members: founding members Tony Banks (keyboards) and Mike Rutherford (bass, guitar); and Phil Collins (vocals, drums), who joined in 1970. Former members Peter Gabriel (vocals, flute), Steve Hackett (guitar) and Anthony Phillips (guitar) also played major roles in the band in its early years. Genesis are among the highest-selling recording artists of all time, with approximately 150 million albums sold worldwide.[1][2]


In the late 1960s, with the release of their first album, Genesis’s music was initially regarded by the band and the fans as a pop experiment, referring to then-popular melodic pop.[3] Then, over the course of a year, (beginning with their second album in mid-1970) they quickly evolved into a progressive rock band with the incorporation of complex song structures and elaborate instrumentation. Their concerts became theatrical experiences with innovative stage design, pyrotechnics, extravagant costumes and on-stage stories. This second phase was characterised by lengthy performances such as the 23-minute “Supper’s Ready” and the 1974 concept albumThe Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. In the late ’70s and early ’80s the band’s musical direction changed once again, becoming more pop oriented and commercially accessible. This resulted in their first top 40 single in the US with “Follow You Follow Me“, their first number one album in the United Kingdom, Duke, and their only number one single in the United States, “Invisible Touch“.


Genesis have undergone several personnel changes throughout its history. Stage fright forced founding member Anthony Phillipsto leave the band in 1970. In 1975, Collins, then the band’s drummer, replaced Peter Gabriel as lead singer after a lengthy search for a replacement. To facilitate Collins’s move to lead vocals during concerts, Bill Bruford and Chester Thompson played drums for the band as they toured, with Collins joining in briefly during lengthy instrumental passages. In 1977, guitarist Steve Hackett left the band. After Phil Collins left the band in 1996, Genesis recruited Ray Wilson (formerly of Stiltskin). Wilson appeared on the 1997 album Calling All Stations, after which the band announced an indefinite hiatus. In 2007, Banks, Collins and Rutherford reunited for a 20-city tour of Europe and North America, which included a free concert at Rome’s Circo Massimo in front of 500,000 fans. Genesis were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. The future of the band remains uncertain, with Collins’s retirement from the music business and the other members’ solo work, but Banks indicated the band had come to an end in an interview in 2012.[4]




Genesis formed in 1967 when Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks were students at Charterhouse School in Godalming. Formed out of school bands Garden Wall and The Anon,[5] Genesis’s original line-up consisted of Peter Gabriel (vocals), Anthony Phillips (guitar), Tony Banks(keyboards), Mike Rutherford (bass & guitar) and Chris Stewart (drums).[6] The group (minus Stewart) originally formed as a songwriting partnership with no intention of performing, but with more and more bands writing their own songs, there was no demand for a team of young and inexperienced songwriters.[7]


Charterhouse School alumnus Jonathan King attended a concert at Charterhouse in 1968 while the band were still in school. Following the concert, another student gave King a tape of songs the band had recorded and King thought enough of them to sign them to a recording contract. King was a songwriter and record producer who had a hit single at the time, “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon”. King named the band Genesis (after previously suggesting the name Gabriel’s Angels[8]), recalling that he had “thought it was a good name… it suggested the beginning of a new sound and a new feeling.”






How do you learn English very fast?


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English: iPod 2G Photo by Jared C. Benedict mi...

English: iPod 2G Photo by Jared C. Benedict minus Background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you learn English very fast?

Every week, I get emails about this topic.   Typically, someone writes and wants to know how they can speak fluently in only 2 or 3 months.  Usually they are in a hurry because they have a test or an interview coming soon.

Of course, its best not to wait until 2 months before your interview to think about this!  icon wink How To Learn English Very Fast

But still, its an interesting question.   Is it possible to learn English very very fast?   Is it possible to make massive improvements in only 2-3 months?

The answer is yes.

But of course, to make massive improvements requires massive intensity and effort.

So, how can you do it?  How can you improve super-fast?  What do I recommend for this kind of goal?

1. Obsession

The first and most important thing you need to achieve this goal is incredible passion.  You must have tremendous emotional power to learn super-fast.   Why?  Because you must study English 8-14 hours a day…  and every hour you must be alert, interested, and energetic.

To improve that quickly, you must build emotion.  You must be obsessed with English.  You must be passionate and incredibly enthusiastic.  Remember, Emotion is 80% of success, method is only 20%.

To create passion, you need very compelling reasons to learn English.  Just doing well on a test is not a strong enough reason.  Just getting a new job is not a strong enough reason.  You need HUGE reasons for doing this.  Imagine all the incredible benefits you will have as a fluent English speaker.  Imagine how your life will change 5 years from now.  10 years from now.  20 years from now.

If you are motivated by money, imagine how English will make you amazingly rich.  Visualize your dream house, your dream car, your dream life.

If love motivates you, imagine how English will help you meet incredible people from other countries.  Imagine dating beautiful/handsome foreigners!  Imagine incredible love and passion– possible because you are a fluent English speaker.

You can also exaggerate the terrible things that will happen if you fail to speak English fluently.  Imagine all the jobs you will miss.  Imagine all the people you will never meet.  Imagine how bad your life will be because you can’t speak English.

Make your reasons bigger!  Bigger reasons = Bigger Passion.  Bigger Passion = Bigger Success.

Emotions is the key.  Make your emotion stronger!  Become obsessed with English!

2. Massive Input

The second key to super-fast learning and incredible intensity is to focus on English INPUT.  Do not waste time studying grammar or vocabulary.  Don’t waste time trying to speak.

You should spend all of your time either listening or reading.  This is the fastest and most efficient method for speaking English fluently.

Carry your iPod everywhere.  Always have a book with you.

Specifically, you should listen mostly to the Mini-Story Lessons, the Point of View Lessons, and the Main Audio Articles.  These are the most powerful lessons and will help you learn the fastest.

You should read easy English novels– starting with novels for children.   Absolutely do not waste time reading textbooks!

3. Massive Intensity

To be fluent in only 2-3 months, you must create massive intensity.  In other words, you have to listen and read 8-14 hours a day, every day.   You must listen constantly to English.   You must read constantly.

In fact, I recommend alternating the two activities.  Listen for an hour, then read a novel for an hour.  Then listen again for an hour.  Then another hour of novel reading.

If you are really focused on speaking well, do more listening.  But don’t worry, reading will also help your speaking ability.

So that’s it.  That’s my simple method for very fast English fluency.

Of course, most people do not need to improve so quickly.  For most people, two hours a day of listening and reading is enough.

But if you need or want to improve very quickly, follow this plan.

Good luck!



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