Custom Search


[ Correct English | Common Errors | Words Differentiation | Sample Letters | Glossary of Correct Usage | Common Sentences | Q & A ]

[ English Compositions | Movie Reviews | High School Vocab | Advertisements ]

Sponsored Links


Reading  Comprehension


TOEFL Vocabulary
English Conversation
English Grammar
American Idioms
English Comprehension
English Summary
English News
Business Idioms
Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
At 7 p.m. on a Sunday in Hidden Springs, Idaho, the six members of the Starr family were sitting down to the highlight of their week; the family meeting. The Starrs are a typical American family, with their share of everyday family issues. David is a software engineer; his wife, Eleanor, takes care of their four children, ages 10 to 15. One of the children has Asperger syndrome, another Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); one tutors mathematics on the near side of town; one practices tennis on the far side. "We were living in complete chaos," Eleanor said.

Like many parents, the Starrs were trapped between the smooth-running household they aspired to have and the exhausting, ear-splitting one they actually lived in. "I was trying the whole 'love them and everything will work out' philosophy," she said, "but it wasn't working. `For the love of God', I finally said, 'I can't take this anymore'."

What the Starrs did next was surprising. Instead of consulting relatives or friends, they looked to David's workplace. They turned to a cutting-edge program called agile development that has rapidly spread from manufacturers in Japan to startups in Silicon Valley. It is a system of group dynamics in which workers are organized into small teams, hold daily progress sessions and weekly reviews.

As David explained, "Having weekly family meetings increased communication, improved productivity, lowered stress and made everyone much happier to be part of the family team." When my wife and I adopted the agile blueprint in our own home, weekly family meetings with our then-5-year-old twin daughters quickly became the centerpiece around which we organized our family. The meetings transformed our relationships with our children and each other. And they took up less than 20 minutes a week.

The past few years have seen a rapid erosion of the wall that once divided work and family. New technologies allow busy employees to check in with one another during "family time" and allow busy parents to interact with their children during "work time". But as close as the two worlds have grown, they have rarely exchanged ideas. Parents hoping to improve their families have been stuck with stale techniques from psychiatrists, self-help gurus and other "family experts". Meanwhile, in workplaces across America, breakthrough ideas have emerged to make teams run more smoothly.

A new generation of parents is now taking solutions from the workplace and transferring them home. From accountability checklists to family branding sessions, from time-shifting meals to more efficient conflict resolution, families are finally reaping the benefits of decades of groundbreaking research into group dynamics. The result is a bold new blueprint for happy families.

Surveys show that both parents and children list stress as their No. 1 concern. A chief source of that stress is change. Just as children stop teething, they start throwing tantrums; just as they stop needing us to give them a bath, they need our help dealing with online bullying. No wonder psychologist Salvador Minuchin said that the most important characteristic of families is being "rapidly adaptable". So has anyone figured out how?

In 1983, Jeff Sutherland was a technologist in New England when he began noticing how dysfunctional software development was. Companies followed the "waterfall model", in which executives issued ambitious orders that their overworked programmers struggled to meet. Most projects failed. Mr. Sutherland set out to design a more agile system, in which ideas would not just flow down from the top but also percolate up from the bottom. Today, agile development is used in 100 countries and is transforming management suites. At home, the Starrs, created a morning checklist of chores, which each child is responsible for ticking off. On the morning I visited, Eleanor drank coffee and inquired about the day, while the children fixed lunch, loaded the dishwasher and fed the dog. When I protested that my own girls would never be so compliant, she said, "That's what I thought. I told David, 'Leave your work out of my kitchen.' But I was wrong."

  1. We were living in complete chaos Eleanor expressed her opinion that
    (A) her house was in a complete mess
    (B) a total change was needed for her family
    (C) her family situation was beyond control
    (D) various issues disrupted her family meeting
  2. The phrase trapped between the smooth-running household they aspired to have and the exhausting, ear-splitting one they actually lived in shows that
    (A) the Starrs were unable to move to another house
    (B) there were constant arguments in the Starrs' family
    (C) the Starrs craved to live in a manageable household
    (D) the Starrs were in dilemma whether or not to transform their household
  3. Why did the Starrs turn to the programme known as agile development ?
    (A) It has been proven to work in Japan and Silicon Valley.
    (B) It permits the Starrs to have their meeting at David's workplace.
    (C) It promotes systematic scheduling of meetings to increase monitoring.
    (D) It encourages constant meetings for better communication and task completion.
  4. The following are the positive outcomes of using agile development in David's family except
    (A) the household environment was less stressful
    (B) everyone in his family was happier than before
    (C) his children have learned to communicate more
    (D) the twins became the focus of family gatherings
  5. The stale techniques are techniques that are
    (A) common
    (B) unsuitable
    (C) ineffective
    (D) out of date
  6. The writer refers to Salvador Minuchin in paragraph 7 to
    (A) find solutions to family problems
    (B) introduce the concept of "rapidly adaptable" family
    (C) reinforce the idea that adapting to change is necessary
    (D) emphasize that the main source of stress at home is change
  7. The writer's purpose in paragraph 8 is to
    (A) provide a brief background of the agile development model
    (B) show how Sutherland managed to solve the company's problem
    (C) introduce Sutherland as the developer of agile development model
    (D) explain the potential of agile development in transforming management
  8. Eleanor's response to the writer in the last paragraph shows that
    (A) David always brought his work home
    (B) she was pleased that her children were obedient
    (C) David's idea worked out better than she thought
    (D) she thought that the kitchen should not be used for office work
Sponsored Links
  Answers : Not provided

001    002    003    004    005    006    007    008    009    010    011    012    013    014    015    016    017    018    019    020    021    022    023    024    025    026    027    028    029    030    031    032    033    034    035    036    037    038    039    040    041    042    043    044    045    046    047    048    049    050    051    052    053    054    055    056    057    058    059    060    061    062    063    064    065    066    067    068    069    070    071    072    073    074    075    076    077    078    079    080    081    082    083    084    085    086    087    088    089    090    091    092    093    094    095    096    097    098    099    100    101    102    103    104    105    106    107    108    109    110    111    112    113    114    115    116    117    118    119    120    121    122    123    124    125    126    127    128    129    130    131    132    133    134    135    136    137    138    139    140    141    142    143    144    145    146    147    148    149    150    151    152    153    154    155    156    157    158    159    160    161    162    163    164    165    166    167    168    169    170    171    172    173    174    175    176    177    178    179    180    181    182    183    184    185    186    187    188    189    190    191    192    193    194    195    196    197    198    199    200    201    202    203    204


Sponsored Links


American Slang
English Proverbs
English Exercises
Common English mistakes
Ancient Chinese stories
Junior English essays
High School English essays
Lower Secondary English essays