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  The power of play

  游戏的力量

  Virtually every child, the world over, plays. The drive to play is so intense that children will do so in any circumstances, for instance when they have no real toys, or when parents do not actively encourage the behavior. In the eyes of a young child, running, pretending, and building are fun. Researchers and educators know that these playful activities benefit the development of the whole child across social, cognitive, physical, and emotional domains. Indeed, play is such an instrumental component to healthy child development that the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (1989) recognized play as a fundamental right of every child.

  实际上世界范围内每一位儿童都会游戏。游戏的动力如此强烈以至于孩子们会在任何情况下做游戏,比如在他们没有真实的玩具或者父母并不主动鼓励这种行为时。在儿童的眼中,奔跑、假扮和搭建都是乐趣。研究者和教育者认为这些游戏活动对儿童的社交、认知、身体和情感等领域的发展有好处。实际上,游戏对儿童的健康发展而言是一个重要的要素以至于联合国人权高级委员会(1989)将游戏作为每一位儿童的基本权利。

  Yet, while experts continue to expound a powerful argument for the importance of play in children’s lives, the actual time children spend playing continues to decrease. Today, children play eight hours less each week than their counterparts did two decades ago (Elkind 2008). Under pressure of rising academic standards, play is being replaced by test preparation in kindergartens and grade schools, and parents who aim to give their preschoolers a leg up are led to believe that flashcards and educational ‘toys’ are the path to success. Our society has created a false dichotomy between play and learning.

  然而,尽管专家们不断地极力阐明游戏在儿童生活中的重要性,但是儿童实际用来进行游戏的时间却在持续减少。如今,儿童每周用来游戏的时间比20年前少了8小时(Elkind 2008)。在不断提高的学业标准的压力下,游戏在幼儿园和小学中正被准备考试代替,那些希望帮助自己的学龄前孩子提高的家长们被引导相信,抽认卡和具有教育意义的“玩具”才是通向成功的路径。我们的社会在游戏和学习之间创造了一种错误的对立关系。

  Through play, children learn to regulate their behavior, lay the foundations for later learning in science and mathematics, figure out the complex negotiations of social relationships, build a repertoire of creative problem-solving skills, and so much more. There is also an important role for adults in guiding children through playful learning opportunities.

  通过游戏,儿童可以学习如何管理自己的行为,为之后学习科学和数学打下了基础,学会处理复杂的社交关系,培养创造性解决问题的能力以及更多其他能力。通过游戏化的学习机会,成年人同样在引导自己的孩子方面扮演着重要角色。

  Full consensus on a formal definition of play continues to elude the researchers and theorists who study it. Definitions range from discrete descriptions of various types of play such as physical, construction, language, or symbolic play (Miller & Almon 2009), to lists of broad criteria, based on observations and attitudes, that are meant to capture the essence of all play behaviors (e.g. Rubin et al. 1983).

  研究游戏的学者和理论家依然没有就游戏的正式定义达成完全一致的意见。这些定义从对各种游戏类型的独立描述,例如感觉运动、结构性、语言或象征性游戏(Miller&Almon 2009),到基于观察和态度的一系列宽泛标准,这些标准旨在抓住一切游戏行为的本质(如Rubin et al. 1983)。

  A majority of the contemporary definitions of play focus on several key criteria. The founder of the National Institute for Play, Stuart Brown, has described play as ‘anything that spontaneously is done for its own sake’. More specifically, he says it ‘appears purposeless, produces pleasure and joy, [and] leads one to the next stage of mastery’ (as quoted in Tippett 2008). Similarly, Miller and Almon (2009) say that play includes ‘activities that are freely chosen and directed by children and arise from intrinsic motivation’. Often, play is defined along a continuum as more or less playful using the following set of behavioral and dispositional criteria (e.g. Rubin et al. 1983):

  当前多数有关游戏的定义都集中在一些核心标准上。国家游戏协会的建立者Stuart Brown,将游戏描述为“只为其本身考虑的、自发进行的行为”。更具体地来说,他认为游戏“没有目的,产生快乐和愉悦,(并)引导一个人进入下一个掌握能力的阶段”(引用自Tippett 2008)。类似地,Miller和Almon(2009)认为游戏包括“由儿童自由选择和进行并由内在动机所引起的活动”。通常,游戏的定义伴随着一个有关游戏程度的连续体,并使用下面这一套“行为和意向的标准”(如Rubin et al 1983):

  Play is pleasurable: Children must enjoy the activity or it is not play. It is intrinsically motivated: Children engage in play simply for the satisfaction the behavior itself brings. It has no extrinsically motivated function or goal. Play is process oriented: When children play, the means are more important than the ends. It is freely chosen, spontaneous and voluntary. If a child is pressured, they will likely not think of the activity as play. Play is actively engaged: Players must be physically and/or mentally involved in the activity. Play is non-literal. It involves make-believe.

  游戏是令人愉快的:儿童必须享受这种活动,否则这就不是游戏。游戏是出于内在动机的:儿童进行游戏只是为了这种行为本身带来的满足感。游戏没有外部动机的功能或目标。游戏是过程导向的:当儿童游戏时,过程比结果更为重妥。游戏是自由选择、主动发生并且自愿的行为。如果儿童有压力,他们或许不会认为这种活动是游戏。游戏是主动参与的:游戏者必须在身体和/或心理上参与到活动中。游戏是非文字行为。游戏包含了伪装。

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