慶應SFC 2009年 環境情報学部 英語 大問2 全文

 Ideally, competence and self-confidence will have developed from a child’s earliest days through interaction between the child and his environment. The child affects his environment and in turn the environment affects him; this transaction is a perpetual testing ground for a child, and he discovers a mirrorless endless stream of consequences for what he does.  From these experiences the child derives some degree of competence in dealing with his world. There are, however, certain periods or stages of development which present critical challenges to the growth of competence.

 One of the critical stages occurs at about the age of two years and can be very [31] (1. trying 2. satisfying 3. obliging) to a parent, tempting him to resolve the situation in a decisive manner which is not conducive to the growth of competence in the child. Most children go through a stage of experimentation and exploration of feeding, for example, in which the child [32] (1. frowns upon 2. insists upon 3. attempts to avoid) doing it himself and brooks no interference or suggestion from parents. Often the child’s activity seems inefficient and time-consuming to the parent, who in exasperation finally intervenes or [33](1. takes over 2. holds in 3. gives out, wrests the spoon from the child and shovels the mashed and scattered food in his mouth. Ideally, the parent would allow the child to gain coordination and competency through manipulating his utensils and feeding himself.  Similarly, the teacher may later discourage the autonomy strivings of the young child who is fumbling with words, trying to make a circuit with the batteries upside down, or [34] (1. technically 2. also 3. otherwise) engaged in awkward or inefficient behavior, by taking over and doing for the youngster what he wishes and should be allowed to do for himself.

 The time of school entrance is another of the critical stages in the growth of competence. Ideally, the home situation will have provided opportunities for the child to deal successfully with his environment. Thus, the child comes to school expecting further opportunities for new explorations and learning experiences. Erikson points out: “Many a child’s development is disrupted when family life may not have prepared him for school life, or when school life may fail to sustain the promises of earlier.” It is at this stage of school entrance that the child experiences, often for the first time, the full weight of the world outside his family.  The ideal situation will provide an initial confrontation that allows the child opportunities to succeed, thereby strengthening his skills and confirming his status in his own eyes as a worthy and competent individual. The [35] (1. implication 2. danger 3. conflict), as Erikson warns, lies in a sense of inadequacy and inferiority which the child may gain if his initial efforts in school result in consistent failure. It does not take long for the child who is not learning to read to recognize his failure and to develop feelings of inadequacy about his ability, feelings which often [36](1. come from 2. are caused by 3. result in) a failure syndrome. Failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The child fails, [37](1. leads 2. to lead 3. leading) him to expect failure which, in turn, produces further failure. Thus, early School experiences are crucial in the determination of competence or incompetence, and the teacher is a prime determinant of the child’s sense of accomplishment or defeat.

 In the ideal development of competence, the child tests his abilities in a range of areas and, by observing the results of his efforts, acquires an accurate [38] (1. figure 2. estimate. function) of his capabilities.  However, it is often the case that the misguided efforts of adults seriously interfere with growth in competence and cause lasting damage.  Adults often create competitive situations for children on the assumption that competition will act as a stimulus or perhaps [39](1. a goad 2. a wheel 3. a mirror) spurring the child on to greater efforts.  Competition, if channeled and controlled, may result in behavior which contributes to gaining mastery by inspiring the individual to exert that little extra something that makes a [40](1. usual 2. superior 3. competitive) performance possible. However, competitive situations also can result in the child’s acquiring a crippling feeling of inadequacy and despair if he continually loses, especially to his peers. The competition may in reality be unfair; that is, the child may be [41](1. pitted against 2. counted as 3. cooperative with) a larger, more mature, more popular, or more intelligent peer so that his defeat is almost assured from the beginning. Usually the child will not perceive the competition as unequal or realize that he may have made a good showing, all things considered. He may mutter that it isn’t fair,” but the anger, hurt, and discouragement [42](1. on 2. against 3. at) being a constant loser, always being chosen last, or being in the slow reading group may create attitudes and patterns of behavior that tend to enhance continued failure.  Failure in competition thus may discourage a child from additional attempts at mastering the environment. Persistent failure may lead to anxiety and failure avoidance patterns of effort in which the child simply refuses to try or else selects a task so difficult that no one will expect him to succeed and hence will not condemn him for failing.

 A teacher who sets a common standard of performance for the whole class will inevitably contribute to the failure of some children to develop competence. One fact of life that faces the teacher is that children enter school with varying degrees of competencies and proceed to develop at uneven rates, with the result that divergence increases with each [43](1. preceding 2. passing 3. follow-up) year. A teacher who grades the class on a sliding scale with A’s going to the children who complete the most problems correctly or write the most imaginative or sophisticated papers and B’s, C’s, and D’s awarded to the other children [44] (1. in 2. for 3. as) their work compares to that of the A children, is setting up a competitive situation that will defeat some children all of the time. A child whose mind is not as agile as that of the best student, or whose personality or approach is different from that which the teacher favors or ranks as most desirable, is doomed to spend six hours a day, week after week, in a failure situation. Interestingly, some of the children who appear as mediocre or even as slow in one setting may show too much greater advantage when placed in a different class or school. Thus, a child who is rated as a C student in an elite private school whose entrance exams have eliminated [45](1. all but 2. some of 3. none of) the brightest children may be rated as a B child or even as an A child in a school with a more normal distribution. A child who does not excel in this group might have been one of the pacesetters of the class [46](1. had 2. only if 3. unless) he just come along one year sooner or later and had lesser or different competition.  The child does not change; only the context in which he appears determines whether he is to be an A, B, or C child. Yet this child placed in a context where he is rated as C will think of himself as mediocre, and his further performances will probably reflect his attitude and his [47](1.degraded 2.heightend 3.defended) self-concept.

 What of the child who is in fact a slow or below average learner?  This child faces the continual discouragement of always finding himself at the bottom of the academic heap. The child is not developing competency according to the teachers judgment as [48] (1. opposed to 2. reflected in 3. compared with) his grades and feelings about his ability and his motivation to stand on his own feet. The first grade teacher, in an attempt to save some degree of self-respect for the low ability child, may have appointed him chief chalkboard eraser clapper, but such a distinction hardly balances the realization of academic no achievement and recognition of intellectual incompetency that the child sees in his marks. For this child, school is probably a maintenance situation at best and perhaps [49] (1. more of 2. less than 3. nothing against) a treadmill on which his in competencies and the resultant feelings of defeat increase as he marks time and stays in place.

 The process of competence training and growth is delicate and complex.  The task of setting adequate performance levels and healthy expectations for individual children is very difficult, and to do so the teacher must come to know each child well enough to encourage him and demand that he do [50](1. more than 2. as well as 3. rather than) he can, without imposing unrealistic expectations. The line between wasting a child’s potential through under expectancy and destroying self-confidence through over expectancy is a fine distinction indeed, one which can be drawn only by a teacher highly sensitive to the performance and confidence levels of the children in his classroom. Paradoxically, the criterion of ultimate success for the teacher is a child who is competent to direct his own learning with minimal guidance and help from the teacher.

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