Americans at work

A. Discussion

Discuss the following questions with your classmates:

• What is the name of the famous CEO (chief executive officer) in one of the photos?

• In which photo are the workers offering a service?

• Do you think U. S. workers are more, equally, or less productive than workers in other industrialized countries?

• How many weeks a year of vacation do you think the average U. S. worker has?

B. Vocabulary and Key Concepts

Read through the sentences, trying to imagine which words would fit in the blanks. Then listen to a dictation of the full sentences, and write the missing words in the blanks.

1. As we look at the changes over the last century, we’ll use a lot of to describe these changes.

2. While the number of people in these___________________

__________________ industries went down, the number of people

in the___________________ industries went up.

3. Over the years, child labor laws became much_________________

and by 1999, it was___________________ for anyone under sixteen

to work full-time in any of the fifty states.

4. In 1900 the average____________________________________

income was $4,200.

5. One of the important__________________ most workers received

later in the century was___________________

6. Whereas__________________ and salaries rose over the century,

the average__________________ dropped.

7. People often tend to__________________ the past and talk about

"the good old days."

8. According to a 2003__________________ released by the United

Nations International Labor Organization, U. S. workers are the most in the world.

9. Longer working horns in the United States is a________________

trend, whereas the trend in other industrialized countries is the

10. Workers in some European countries actually__________________

American workers per hour of work.

11. This higher rate of productivity might be because European work­ers are less than U. S. workers.

12. Between 1949 and 1974, increases in productivity were by increases in wages.

13. After 1974, productivity increased in manufacturing and services,

but real wages__________________ .

14. According to a recent book, the money goes for salaries to., to the stock market, and to corporate

15. Some people say that labor__________________ have lost power

since the beginning of the 1980s, and that the government has

passed laws that__________________ the rich and weaken the

rights of the workers.

Follow-up: Check the spelling of the dictated words with your teacher. Discuss the meaning of these words and any other unfamiliar words in the sentences.

C. Predictions

Using the photographs and the vocabulary exercise as a starting point, write three questions that you think will be answered in the lecture.

Examples: • How much money did U. S. workers make at the

beginning of the last century?



Follow-up: After you have written your questions, share them with your teacher and your classmates.

D. Notetaking Preparation

1. Abbreviations

To save time and get down more information when you listen to a lecture, it is helpful to abbreviate words. It is important to abbreviate them in a way that will allow you to remember what the full form is, of course. Another person’s abbreviation may not help you remember. Practice abbreviating the following terms you will hear in the lecture in a way that you will know what each abbreviation stands for a few days or a few weeks later. Look at the examples to see how some terms from the lecture have been abbreviated.

Examples: historical look at work: hist lk at wk

statistics: stats

Term Abbreviation

a. agriculture

b. mining, manufacturing, and construction ________

c. service industries

d. wages and salaries

e. average per capita income

f. health insurance

g. working conditions

h. increased productivity

i. stock market

j. labor unions

Follow-up: With a partner, take turns covering up the left column. Looking at the right column, practice saying the terms that your abbre­viations stand for. Your partner will check your accuracy.

Lecturers usually use rhetorical cues to help their listeners follow the lecture. A rhetorical cue is a word or even a sentence that lets us know that some important information is coming or that a new subtopic or point is being introduced. Look at these rhetorical cues, and decide in which order you will probably hear them in today’s lecture. Order them from first (1) to fourth (4).

___ a. Then we’ll look at how U. S. workers are doing today.

___ b. First, we’ll take an historical look at work in America.

___ c. First, let’s consider how the type of work people were

involved in changed over the last century.

___ d. Now let’s turn our attention to the current situation for U. S.


Follow-up: Discuss your answers as a class.

». LISTENING_______________________________________________

Q A First Listening

Listen for general ideas. In a brief introduction the lecturer makes a few remarks about how Americans look at work, and then goes on to mention his two main subtopics.




Follow-up: Now check your major subtopics with your teacher.

Q B. Further Listening

While listening again, write down necessary relevant details below the main subtopics to which they belong. Remember to use proper number notation and abbreviations to save time.

Follow-up: Check your notes. If you missed important information or have doubts about your notes, (1) verify them by asking a classmate questions to fill the gaps in your notes or (2) listen to the lecture a third time. When verifying your notes with a classmate, do not show each other your notes; ask specific questions to get the information you need.

Examples: • How many children were in the workforce in 1900?

• What is the name of the book the lecturer mentioned?

This is also a good time to check to see if the lecturer answered your Predictions questions about the lecture.

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