Integrated task : Professors


Professors are normally found in university classrooms, offices, and libraries doing research
and lecturing to their students. More and more, however, they also appear as guests on
television news programs, giving expert commentary on the latest events in the world. These
television appearances are of great benefit to the professors themselves as well as to their
universities and the general public.
Professors benefit from appearing on television because by doing so acquire reputations as
authorities in their academic fields among a much wider audience than they have on
campus. If a professor publishes views in an academic journal, only other scholars will learn
about and appreciate those views. But when a professor appears on TV, thousands of
people outside the narrow academic community become aware of the professor’s ideas. So
when professors share their ideas with a television audience, the professors’ importance as
scholars is enhanced.
Universities also benefit from such appearances. The universities receive positive publicity
when their professors appear on TV. When people see a knowledgeable faculty member of a
university on television, they think more highly of that university. That then leads to an
improved reputation for the university. And that improved reputation in turn leads to more
donations for the university and more applications from potential students.
Finally, the public gains from professors’ appearing on television. Most television viewers
normally have no contact with university professors. When professors appear on television,
viewers have a chance to learn from experts and to be exposed to views they might
otherwise never hear about. Television is generally a medium for commentary that tends to
be superficial, not deep or thoughtful. From professors on television, by contrast, viewers get
a taste of real expertise and insight.

Lately, we’ve been seeing some professors on television. Though it’s sometimes claimed to be a good thing, we should question whether anybody really benefits from it. First of all, it’s not good for the professors themselves—not from a professional standpoint. Rightly or wrongly, a professor who appears on TV tends to get the reputation among fellow professors of being someone who is not a serious scholar— someone who chooses to entertain rather than to educate. And for that reason, TV professors may not be invited to important conferences—important meetings to discuss their academic work. They may even have difficulty getting money to do research. So for professors, being a TV celebrity has important disadvantages. A second point is that being on TV can take a lot of a professor’s time—not just the time on TV but also time figuring out what to present and time spent rehearsing, travel time, even time getting made up to look good for the cameras. And all this time comes out of the time the professor can spend doing research, meeting with students, and attending to university business. So you can certainly see there are problems for the university and its students when professors are in the TV studio and not on campus. So who does benefit? The public? That’s not so clear either. Look, professors do have a lot of knowledge to offer, but TV networks don’t want really serious in-depth academic lectures for after-dinner viewing. What the networks want is the academic title, not the intellectual substance. The material that professors usually present on TV—such as background on current events, or some brief historical introduction to a new movie version of a great literary work—this material is not much different from what viewers would get from a TV reporter who had done a little homework.


The lecture and reading are both discussing television appearences of university professors. While the reading claims that the appearence of a professor is beneficial to both the professor and the society. The lecture contradicts it by saying that we should question such claim by dismissing each point made in the reading.
First of all, the reading states that the professors benefit themselves by appearing on television, as they gain reputation to a larger scale of public. The lecture however refutes this by pointing out that such appearences are not good for the professors professional career. The lecture explains that this makes the professor appear not as a serious scholar infront of his fellow professors, which leads to the loss of being invited to academic events such as conferences and meetings.
Next, the reading passage makes the point that universities can gain and benefit from these appearences as well. As they will be able to have better reputation and that they will gain publicity. The lecture however refutes that by pointing out that the professor is wasting his time. It gives the example of the professor being on campus teaching and meeting with students, as well as making research for the university rather than wasting time for the television.
Finally, the reading argues that public can learn from these television shows and that they can things that they never knew about before. On the other hand, the lecture refutes this argument by stating that television shows do not invite professors to talk about in depth knowledge, as this is not their aim. Rather, they invite them to talk about general issues and their main aim is to attract the public by the title of the professor and not by his knowledge.

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a student and a campus patrolman

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Hi Lastt, I thought you did a very good job with this essay. Your format is excellent. You did have some awkward sounding sentences, but for the integrated essay I think the content is the most important thing. You got all of the points from the lecture, but that one point could have been explained a little more clearly. Overall, I would rate this a 4.5 out of 5.

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