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LE SUJET

Snowball effect for America' disabled

I applied for a job the other day - or rather, almost applied. It sounded ideal : a part-time lectureship in English at a well-known British University, with small classes, competitive pay, and a pleasant campus. Before I sent in my application, I checked the location, as I always do, for accessibility. And I found it as surely closed to me as if I had been a Black South African under apartheid, facing a "Whites Only" sign. This time, the sign would have read : "Able-Bodied Only". But the segregation was just as rigid.
The heavy double doors, the flights of rickety stairs and the lack of disabled parking meant that, for me, this job remained out of reach. For I suffer from severe arthritis in my hips and legs as a result of a car accident, and consequently have to use a walking stick or crutches in order to get around. On bad days the pain might necessitate the use of a wheelchair. But, once sitting down, I am pain-free and able to teach effectively, as my doctorate and twenty years experience as a college lecturer in America demonstrate.
In Atlanta, where I taught at Georgia State University, the situation was quite different. I would drive to the campus, park in one of the ten disabled spaces next to the security guards and take the lift to the sixth floor. Inside each building, a system of ramps ensured that no stairs need be negotiated, while doors could be opened by pushing a button, easily reached by those in wheelchairs.
Similar considerations were given to people with other disabilities. One year, I taught a blind student who was able to write with the aid of a special computer and who found his way around campus quite easily with the help of Braille signs and markers ; deaf students had the right to a sign language interpreter. The American Disabilities Act changed life for many. Under its provisions, all new public buildings must be thoroughly accessible, while old buildings must be adapted with the help of generous grants.
In Roswell, Georgia, when a new town hall was being designed, the architects invited a team of disabled residents to list their needs. The group included wheelchair users and blind and deaf citizens. The architects were surprised at some of the modifications proposed, such as the inclusion of Braille signs and the most desirable gradients for ramps, but the town council happily accepted the cost, in the name of fairness. Because wheelchair users and other disabled people are visible everywhere in America, there is a snowball effect : the more they are accepted, the more acceptable they become.

Liz MANGAN, The Guardian, April 1995.



GENERAL COMPREHENSION :


Tick the right statement(s) :

 

The writer explains why disabled people are looked after better in the United States than in Britain.

 

She tells us about a British university where she works.

 

She tells us about aspects of her own life.

 

She is disabled

 

She criticises an American university.



DETAILED COMPREHENSION :

1 - True or false ? Justify by quoting precisely from the text.

a. The writer is a Black South African.

b. There was a sign with "Able-Bodied Only" on it at the university.

c. There was a place to park her car at the British university.

d. The writer has been disabled since birth.

e. The writer uses three different pieces of equipment to help her to move about.

f. The writer has spent most of her career outside Britain.


2 - The writer explains that the university in Atlanta was designed with certain facilities so that disabled people would be able to work there easily.

a. How many concrete examples of these facilities does she give, in the third paragraph ?
1 2 3 4 5 6

b. Quote them precisely and separately.


3 - In the fourth paragraph, what is "the American Disabilities Act" ?

-
a piece of legislation
- a film
- a book
- a club
- none of these


4 - True or false ? Justify by quoting precisely from the text

a. Some handicapped people were asked to contribute to the plans for a new public building.

b. The local authority agreed to pay for the changes.


5 - Find the text equivalents of these expressions :

1) site (§1) :
2) absence (§2) :
3) not suffering (§2) :
4) teacher (§2) :
5) unable to see (§4) :
6) unable to hear (§4) :
7) completely (§4) :
8) justice (§5) :


EXPRESSION :

Write a letter to your Member of Parliament (depute) in which you explain what could be done to make the lives of disabled people better (80 words).

Do you think discrimination against disabled people can be compared to other forms of discrimination ?

LE CORRIGÉ

SNOWBALL EFFECT FOR AMERICA'S DISABLED

I applied for a job the other day - or rather, almost applied. It sounded ideal : a part-time lectureship in English at a well-known British University, with small classes, competitive pay, and a pleasant campus. Before I sent in my application, I checked the location, as I always do, for accessibility. And I found it as surely closed to me as if I had been a Black South African under apartheid, facing a "Whites Only" sign. This time, the sign would have read : "Able-Bobied Only". But the segregation was just as rigid.

The heavy double doors, the fights of rickety stairs and the lack of disabled parking meant that, for me, this job remained out of reach. For I suffer from severe arthritis in my hips and legs as a result of a car accident, and consequently have to use a walking stick or crutches in order to get around. On bad days the pain might necessitate the use of a wheelchair. But, once sitting down, I am pain-free and able to teach effectively, as my doctorate and twenty years experience as a college lecturer in America demonstrate.

In Atlanta, where I taught At Georgia State University, the situation was quite different. I would drive to the campus, park in one of the ten disabled spaces next to the security guards and take the lift to the sixth floor. Inside each building, a system of ramps ensured that no stairs need be negotiated, while doors could be opened by pushing a button, easily reached by those in wheelchairs.

Similar considerations were given to people with other disabilities. One year, I taught a blind student who was able to write with the aid of a special computer and who found his way around campus quite easily with the help of Braille signs and markers ; deaf studentys had the right to a sign language interpreter. The American Disabilities Act changed life for many. Under its provisions, all new public buildings must be throughly accessible, while old buildings must be adapted with the help of generous grnats.

In Roswell, Georgia, when a new town hall was being designed, the architects invited a team of disabled residents to list their needs. The group included wheelchair users blind and deaf citizens. The architects were surprised at some of the modifications proposed, such as the inclusion of Braille signs and the most desirable gradients for ramps, but the town council happily accepted the cost, in the name of fairness. Because wheelchair users and other disbled people are visible everywhere in America, there is a snowball effect : the more they are accepted, the more acceptable they become.

Liz MANGAN, The Guardian, April 1995.



GENERAL COMPREHENSION


Tick the right statement(s)

 X

The writer explains why disabled people are looked after better in the United States than in Britain.

 

She tells us about a British university where she works.

 X

She tells us about aspects of her own life.

 X

She is disabled

 

She criticizes an American university.



DETAILED COMPREHENSION

1. True or false ? (justify by quoting precisely from the text).

a. The writer is a Black South African.
False, I found it as surely closed to me as if I had been Black South African.

b. There was a sign with "Able-Bodied Only" on it at the university.
False, The sign would have read "Able-Bolied Only".

c. There was a place to park her car at the Britsh university.
False, The lack of disbaled parking.

d. The writer has been disabled since birth.
False, As a result of car accident.

e. The writer uses three different pieces of equipment to help her to move about.
Right, A walking stick - crutches - a weelchair.

f. The writer has spent most of her career outside Britain.
Right, Twenty years as a college lecturer in America.


2. The writer explains that the university in Atlanta was designed with certain facilities so that disabled people would be able to work there easily.

a. How many concrete examples of these facilities does she give, in the third paragraph ?
1 2 3 4 5 6

b. Quote them precisely and separately.

1. Park in one of the ten disabled spaces
2. The lift
3. A system of ramps
4. Doors could be opened by pushing a button


3. In the fourth paragraph, what is "the American Disabilities Act" ?
A piece of legislation


4. True or false ? Justify by quoting precisely from the text

a. Some handicapped people were asked to contribute to the plans for a new public building.
The architects invited a team of disabled residents to list their needs.

b. The local authority agreed to pay for the changes.
The town council happily accepted the cost.


5. Find the text equivalents of these expressions :

1) site (§1) : location
2) absence (§2) : lack (of)
3) not suffering (§2) : pain-free
4) teacher (§2) : lecturer
5) unable to see (§4) : blind
6) unable to hear (§4) : deaf
7) completely (§4) : thoroughly
8) justice (§5) : fairness


EXPRESSION

Write a letter to your Member of Parliament (député) in which you explain what could be done to make the lives of disabled people better (80 words).

Do you think discrimination against people can be compared to other forms of discrimination ?

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