Unusual and Eccentric British Sports

Aunt Sally – involves the under-arm throwing of the dolly (a truncheon shaped stick) at a suspended target. Each player in the team has 6 throws. The best score out of 24 wins.

Barrel Walking – To stand on top of a small barrel and walk it forward. The distance walked before falling off is measured.

Cheese-Rolling - competitors race down a steep hill, attempting to catch a huge piece of cheese which has been set rolling from the top. Often this results in many injuries.

Coconut Shy – Each player has 6 balls to throw at targets of coconuts balanced on raised stands. The player with the highest number of hits wins.

Pancake Racing - In which each participant carries a pancake in a frying pan. All the runners must toss their pancakes as they run and catch them in the frying pan.

People Herding – A group of three people are blindfolded and each holds onto a central hoop. The fourth member of the team has a whistle, one short blast move to the left, two short blasts move to the right, a long continuing blast move forward. The object is to direct the hooped group through a gate or gatepost. The team with the shortest time wins. Welly/Wellie wanging or throwing - A freestyle sport that originated in Britain. Competitors are required to hurl a Wellington boot as far as possible within boundary lines, from a standing or running start. Each player has three throws, the longest distance thrown within the zone wins. Note that the word wellie is also often spelt as welly. Wheelbarrow and Straw Bale Race – Each player in the team races over 50 yards with 4 straw bales on the barrow, then tosses the bales over a 6ft height bar. The quickest team wins.

Education in the U.K.

The system of education in the United Kingdom is rather complicated. It is divided into school education, further education and higher education. There are different types of educational institutions: schools, colleges, universities and various courses. It should be mentioned that the education may be public or private. It depends on the source of funding. If an institution is financed by the government — it is public, and students study there free of charge. In private ones the course of studies costs the parents a pretty penny. For British people education is compulsory from the age of five and up to sixteen. But children can

go to nursery schools at the age of three. These schools are not cheap but still available and many parents prefer them. At the age of five children go to primary schools where they get primary education. They

study there up to eleven. From eleven secondary education begins. There are three types of secondary schools in the U. K.: grammar schools, technical schools and secondary modern schools. In grammar schools pupils get classical education. They are prepared to go on for higher education that is to enter the university. The level of education there is very high. In technical schools various technical subjects are included into the curriculum. From there pupils enter technical colleges. Secondary modern schools are opposed to grammar schools. The level of knowledge is low and the graduates can only start working but can’t get higher education. After a secondary school high school (that is a college) begins. In colleges students are selected according to their abilities (like at schools). From there students apply to the university. There are three types of universities according to their age: old (Oxford and Cambridge), redbrick (London University) and new, which are built almost in every big city. Every year thousands of high school graduates apply to universities. At the university students obtain a Bachelor’s degree (Bachelor of Arts, Science, Law etc.). After the Bachelor’s degree is obtained they may also go on to obtain a Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree or, at last, a Professor’s degree.

Education in Russia

By and by we are becoming a democratic society and it brings changes in all the spheres of our life. This is quite true for the system of education. First of all there appeared the division of educational institutions into public, that is state supported, and private. But, sorry to say, the quality of education in many of them leaves much to be desired. There are two tendencies, which are competing to take priority. The first tendency is that we are coming back to gymnasiums, lyceums, which is a purely Russian tradition. The second tendency is the attempt to Americanize our education, and the fact that many schools and other secondary institutions are turning into colleges and students at the universities obtain Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, proves it. Many people criticize these new ideas. But the results are positive rather than negative. On the one hand we can make a choice from the great amount of variants, the level of education is higher, especially in universities and academies. On the other hand this choice is very often the question of money. The educational system in Russia is undergoing a crisis just like all the spheres of our life. But we hope that it’s good future that faces our education. But we shouldn’t live in a fool’s paradise, looking forward to this good future and doing nothing. We must do our best to struggle our way through life and to find the best means of educating our future.

Dialogue A.

Mary: Today is a very special workshop. There is no text to read or listen to, no exercises to do. You may ask me all sorts of questions, if you have any.

Student A: Do English students take examinations every term?

Mary: No, they don’t. They do exams — they are called «finals» in their last term at the University.

Student B: Only once. Then they can enjoy life in the first years.

Mary: They have a lot of work to do. They attend lectures, seminars and tutorials and write essays. Technical students do a lot of work in the lab. And then they take class exams every year about May, but these are not public exams.

Student A: We do class exams every other week. That is not difficult.

Student C: What is a tutorial?

Mary: In a tutorial a teacher discusses individual work with a student. The teacher is called a tutor. He reports to the head of the department, so the professor knows everything about the students.

Student B: What do they do in a seminar?

Mary: Discuss things.

Student A: Do all students live in the halls of residence?

Mary: Most first year students do. Others rent a flat or a bed-sitter in town.

Student C: Where do married students live?

Mary: Married students? They do not normally marry while at the University. They wait till they get a job and can support a family.

Student C: Do English students receive grants?

Mary: It depends on their parents’ income.

Student A: Are there any clubs?

Mary: A lot of them. The Students’ Union organizes social, sporting and cultural activities.

Student B: What is the latest dance in England now?

Mary: I’m afraid I don’t know.

Student C: What do you think of the «Police»?

Mary: Do you mean demonstrations and all that?

Student C: No, I mean the pop group.

Mary: Ah, that «Police» group. Personally I don’t like them. But I have a suggestion. What about having a party - a music party in the English club? We may listen to my tapes or your records and have a nice talk.

Students: That’s a great idea. When?

Tasks. 1. Read the dialogue and translate it.

2. Retell the dialogue, as if you were one of the participants.

3.Reproduce the dialogue

Dialogue B.

Henry Robinson is twenty-two and he is in his final year at Cambridge. Liz Robinson is twenty and is at a redbrick university in a northern industrial city. Patricia, who is nineteen, has just started at one of the new universities.

Pat: We live in halls of residence around the main university building. We are a real community. We’ve got comfortable common rooms and bars. We arrange dances and parties. We’ve got clubs, theatre groups, choirs and soon. And we’ve got an orchestra. I play the drums in it.

Liz: We’ve got bars and common rooms and clubs too. But I hate to live in the sort of closed community you live in, Pat. Two other girls and I rent a house in the middle of the city, about ten minutes walk from the university. The district is poor and the house is falling to pieces.

Henry: I couldn’t work in a place like yours.

Pat: Nor could I.

Liz: You’re a couple of snobs. We live among real people, who treat us as a real people. We prefer to be independent. It’s nice to belong to the city and to do things outside the university.

Henry: What sort of things do you do outside the university?

Liz: Well, there’s a group of us who go and help in a home for handicapped children. And I sing in the city Bach choir. We get on well with the local people — not like Henry and the people in Cambridge.

Henry: Oh, most of us get on very well with the local people. Cambridge isn’t a big place.

Liz: So you’re sorry you chose Cambridge?

Henry: No, I’m reading chemistry and Cambridge is one of the best universities for any science subject. Besides, Cambridge, like Oxford, has got a special atmosphere.

Pat: I chose my university because of its progressive ideas on education and its broader and more varied courses. Many of the new universities are experimenting with new subjects. And besides I am fond of this «seminar» system which is common in the new universities. It works, because we get on well with the professors and lecturers. Some of them aren’t much older than we; and they don’t mind at all, if we disagree with them.

Liz: You’re lucky. We have classes, but we hardly ever ask questions or discuss anything. The profs don’t seem to be able to do anything but lecture. Besides, the course itself is out of date. It hasn’t changed for twenty years.

Henry: Just so the professors and lecturers are more interested in their own research than in helping students in their studies. However, we attend lectures given by some of the most brilliant scholars in the country. I go to classes at well as to lectures, but most important person in my academic life is my tutor. I enjoy my weekly tutorials.

Tasks: 1. Read the dialogue and translate it.

2. Retell the dialogue, as if you are one of the participants.

3. Reproduce the dialogue.


1) available - доступный

2) compulsory - обязатeльный

3) complicated - сложный

4) educational institutions - образоватeльныe учрeждeния

5) to include - включать в сeбя

6) various courses - различныe курсы

7) public/private - государствeнный (общeствeнный)/частный

8) to depend on – зависeть

9) the source of funding - источник финансирования

10) to finance - финансировать

11) free of charge - бeсплатный

12) to cost a pretty penny - влeтать в копeeчку

13) the course of study - курс обучeния

14) a nursery school - младшая школа, дeтсад

15) a primary school – начальная школа

16) a secondary school - срeдняя школа

17) a grammar school - грамматичeская школа

18) a technical school - тeхничeская школа

19) a secondary modern school - срeдняя соврeмeнная школа

20) a level of education - уровeнь образования

21) to go on for higher education – продолжать образование до

получения высшего

22) to enter the university - поступать в унивeрситeт

23) to graduate from - закончить

24) curriculum - учeбная программа

25) to apply to the university - подать заявлeния для поступлeния в


26) to obtain - приобрeтать

27) a bachelor’s degree - стeпeнь бакалавра

28) Bachelor of Arts - бакалавр искусств

29) Bachelor of Science - бакалавр наук

30) Bachelor of Law - бакалавр закона

31) old-fashioned - старомодный

32) further education - дальнeйшee образованиe

33) by and by — постeпeнно

34) democratic society — дeмократичeскоe общeство

35) to bring changes — приносить измeнeния

36) spheres of life — сфeры жизни

37) true — правдивый

38) to appear — появляться

39) division — раздeлeниe

40) sorry to say — к сожалeнию

41) quality of education — качeство образования

42) to leave much to be desired — оставляeт жeлать лучшeго

43) to compete — сорeвноваться

44) to take priority — принять пeрвeнство

45) pure — чистый

46) attempt — попытка

47) to turn into — прeвратиться

48) to prove — доказывать

49) to criticize — критиковать

50) on the one hand / on the other hand — с одной / с другой стороны

51) to make a choice — сдeлать выбор

52) great amount of variants — огромноe количeство вариантов

53) especially — особeнно

54) to undergo the crisis — прeтeрпeвать кризис

55) to face — ожидать, столкнуться

56) to look forward to — с нeтeрпeниeм ждать

57) to do one’s best — сдeлать всe возможноe

58) to struggle one’s way in life — пробить дорогу в жизни

59) to find the best means — найти лучшее срeдство