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CARTOON p.

4 , OPEN THE WINDOW 2


I./ Identify the document.
The document is a black and white cartoon published in the American weekly magazine Newsweek
on both Dec. 30, 1996 and Jan. 6, 1997. Newsweek is a quality ( as opposed to the popular and gutter
press )/ serious magazine.
II./ Give one or two words to describe your first impression.
Humorous/ quiet/ cosy
III./ Reading & analysing the blue boxes around the cartoon (locating elements in space).
IV./ Describe & analyse the cartoon.
Using the expressions in the blue boxes, describe the cartoon: who/what where when and
express probability.
Who/what: The cartoon shows a family of three: the father, on the left-hand side, who is sitting in
his armchair and reading the newspaper, on the right-hand side, the mother and her son, sitting next
to each other on the sofa. The mother is looking at her son who is reading a math book upside
down/ wrong side up. Both the mother and father are talking judging from the balloons in the top
left-hand and top right-hand corners.
Where: I can assume the scene takes place in the living-room since I can see an armchair, a
sofa/settee, a pedestal table next to the sofa, and a coffee table in the foreground. In the bottom lefthand corner I can also make out what appears to be a sideboard.
When: The scene could take place in the evening, right after dinner. Actually it seems that they are
having a quiet time enjoying a few drinks after dinner judging by the 3 glasses. They look relaxed,
cosy. The parents must be relaxing/unwinding/ winding down after a hard days work whereas their
son must be doing his homework. He might be preparing for a math test scheduled the following
day.
The scene might also take place in the morning after breakfast, as in the US the newspaper is
delivered to your door early in the morning, so the father could be reading the morning news
before heading to work and the son could be reviewing his math lesson while waiting for the
school bus to pick him up.
Concentrate on the balloons, rephrase and then analyse them.
The balloons read: Us students are below average in math. What can the schools do? and Teaching
them to read would help.
The father is obviously sharing a piece of news that he read in the paper.
What is the problem mentioned first?
The problem mentioned first is that American students are below average in math, in other words,
American students are weak / poor/ bad at/in math. They do not have good results in math.
Consequently, a question arises: what can the schools do about that?
What reason is suggested & by who?
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The mother suggests that the schools should teach students to read in the first place. She thinks that the
reason why US students cant read is that they havent learned to read properly/ if they have bad results
in math its because they are unable to read.
Say it differently, using If US students could read :
If US students could read, they would be good at math/ wouldnt be poor in math.
IF they were taught to read, they would have better results in math, etc.
How is that reason illustrated in the cartoon?
The reason is illustrated in the cartoon with the boy holding his math book upside down. It all goes to
prove that the newspaper is right/ the newspaper is proved right.
The little boy seemingly cannot read and therefore cannot be good at math.
Imagine what is wrong with the methods of teaching within the American school system.
(Imagine what is wrong with the American schools, as well as with teachers and students.)
Use: maybe/ might/ I imagine that/ it could be that/or/ another reason
Maybe the students dont have enough periods of English in their schedule or it could be that teachers
focus too much on oral work rather than on written work.
Teachers might be badly paid therefore they couldnt care less.
I imagine that teachers are not very demanding.
Another reason could be that the government grants to schools are insufficient therefore they lack
books, teaching equipment / aids and the teachers are badly trained/ or theres a lack of teachers
therefore the classes are crowded/ class sizes are too big/ theres no discipline / teachers dont impose
discipline on their classes/ theres too much truancy/ teachers have given up / thrown in the sponge for
lack of means/ etc.
What is humorous in this cartoon?
The father does not notice that his own son cannot read. On the other hand, the picture of the boy
holding his book upside down is a bit exaggerated but it is done on purpose.
V./ The cartoonists aim/purpose.
The cartoonists purpose is to denounce / the cartoonist aims at denouncing the American school
system, which he believes to be very poor and to this end/ with this aim in view/ for this purpose he
chose to picture a scene somewhat exaggerated. Actually, the little boy has no clue at all! By choosing
to paint/ depict the blackest possible picture of the situation, as well as by hanging/ putting a question
mark over the standards of the American school system, the cartoonist wants to alert people and
heighten public awareness of the problem of illiteracy/ make the public aware of the problem of
illiteracy/ make people sensitive / alive to the problem of schools in the US. He wants people to ask
themselves about/ ponder over/ wonder what course to follow. It is also a way to bring the problem to
the attention of authorities so that they take emergency action/ measures. He drops authorities a subtle
hint that they should take emergency action.
Since the cartoon came out in Newsweek, which is a quality magazine, and whats more two weeks
in a row, we can assume that the problem is real, that the American school system is actually lacking/
poor.
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VI./ Follow_up work


According to you, is it important to be able to read to be good in math, in other words, do you
agree with the woman in the picture?
I agree with her and strongly believe that you have to be able to read in order to understand maths.
Actually, to solve problems you must be able to read mathematical language, instructions, statements,
theorems, sums, etc., you must be able as well to explain your reasoning/ present a reasoned
argument, scan texts for information. If you cant read the questions, you cant find the solution, do
sums or solve a problem.
Imagine the childs future if he is unable to read/ if he doesnt become more literate.
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will feel at a disadvantage


wont get a well-paying job
you cant get a good job without a good education
the more literate you are, the less likely you are to depend on public welfare, food stamps, be in
prison, & the more likely to have a decent income
the economy is not kind to those without a job
the workplace of the 21st C has very few places for unskilled people
wont be able to read road signs
wont take his drivers license, etc.

(they can imagine tragic stories too, like:


he will do drugs, end up in prison, live on the street, be homeless, etc;)
Is the little boys situation redeemable considering the familys life & routine?
They obviously have a routine , quiet & cosy life. They must be used to gathering in the living-room in
the evening to read or maybe do board games, therefore we can assume that the parents will take time
to teach their son to read. There is no TV set to be seen anywhere in the room, so we can infer that they
are different from most American families in that they dont spend all their spare time glued to /
plonking themselves in front of the TV. They seem to prefer more intellectual activities. Thus, we can
assume that the boys situation is redeemable. Now that the mother is aware of the problem, things are
probably going to change for the best. She will sit with him to help him with his homework, give him
plenty of attention and even maybe go see his teacher.

ENGLISH TEST
I./ translate into English (6 points)
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

Il y a une table de salon au premier plan.


Le pre est gauche de limage.
Il y a une bulle sur le ct en haut gauche.
Le garon lit son livre de math lenvers.
Le dessin a t publi dansNewsweek, un magazine de qualit.
Le but du dessinateur est de dnoncer le systme scolaire amricain.

II./ Why are American students poor in math? (4 points)


Make two logical sentences using:
First, the reason why is that Then, if its because
III./ Do you think it is important to be able to read to be good at geography? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWER! (5
POINTS)
Correction de langlais: 1,5 pts, justifications: 1,5 pts, mots de liaison: 2 pts
III./ Imagine what is wrong with the American schools, as well as with teachers and students. Express
probability ( I think/ must + Verb/ might + Verb/ perhaps/ maybe/ It could be that/ probably /also ). (5
points)
Correction grammaticale: 1 pt, mots de liaisons: 1 pt, expression de la probabilit: 1 pt, ides: 2 pts

ENGLISH TEST
I./ translate into English (6 points)
7)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)

Il y a une table de salon au premier plan.


Le pre est gauche de limage.
Il y a une bulle sur le ct en haut gauche.
Le garon lit son livre de math lenvers.
Le dessin a t publi dans Newsweek, un magazine de qualit.
Le but du dessinateur est de dnoncer le systme scolaire amricain.

II./ Why are American students poor in math?(4 points)


Make two logical sentences using:
First, the reason why is that Then, if its because
III./ Do you think it is important to be able to read to be good at geography? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWER! (5
POINTS)
Correction de langlais: 1,5 pts, justifications: 1,5 pts, mots de liaison: 2 pts
III./ Imagine what is wrong with the American schools, as well as with teachers and students. Express
probability ( I think/ must + Verb/ might + Verb/ perhaps/ maybe/ It could be that/ probably /also ). (5
points)
Correction grammaticale: 1 pt, mots de liaisons: 1 pt, expression de la probabilit: 1 pt, ides: 2 pts

ENGLISH TEST
I./ translate into English (6 points)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)

Il y a une table de salon au premier plan.


Le pre est gauche de limage.
Il y a une bulle sur le ct en haut gauche.
Le garon lit son livre de math lenvers.
Le dessin a t publi dansNewsweek, un magazine de qualit.
Le but du dessinateur est de dnoncer le systme scolaire amricain.

II./ Why are American students poor in math? (4 points)


Make two logical sentences using:
First, the reason why is that Then, if its because
III./ Do you think it is important to be able to read to be good at geography? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWER! (5
POINTS)
Correction de langlais: 1,5 pts, justifications: 1,5 pts, mots de liaison: 2 pts
III./ Considering the fact that there is no TV set in the living-room, imagine what this familys life is like
and then what the parents will do to help the child now that they are aware of his problem.( I think/ must
+ Verb/ might + Verb/ perhaps/ maybe/ / probably /also ). (5 points)
Correction grammaticale: 1 pt, mots de liaisons: 1 pt, expression de la probabilit: 1 pt, ides: 2 pts

ENGLISH TEST
I./ translate into English (6 points)
19)
20)
21)
22)
23)
24)

Il y a une table de salon au premier plan.


Le pre est gauche de limage.
Il y a une bulle sur le ct en haut gauche.
Le garon lit son livre de math lenvers.
Le dessin a t publi dansNewsweek, un magazine de qualit.
Le but du dessinateur est de dnoncer le systme scolaire amricain.

II./ Why are American students poor in math? (4 points)


Make two logical sentences using:
First, the reason why is that Then, if its because
III./ Do you think it is important to be able to read to be good at geography? JUSTIFY YOUR ANSWER! (5
POINTS)
Correction de langlais: 1,5 pts, justifications: 1,5 pts, mots de liaison: 2 pts
III./ Considering the fact that there is no TV set in the living-room, imagine what this familys life is like
and then what the parents will do to help the child now that they are aware of his problem.( I think/ must
+ Verb/ might + Verb/ perhaps/ maybe/ / probably /also ). (5 points)
Correction grammaticale: 1 pt, mots de liaisons: 1 pt, expression de la probabilit: 1 pt, ides: 2 pts