1- People and relationships

CD1 Track 01

I’ve learned a lot from so many people, but I suppose the person that stands out is my colleague Lin. When I started working at the firm, my employer didn’t give me a lot of formal training so I had to learn on the job. I was given the desk next to Lin and she explained everything to me. She was incredibly efficient. She knew the job so well, and she made it look so easy.

The person I admire the most is probably my boss. She really knows what she wants to achieve with the organization, but at the same time she is so flexible and open to new ideas. She really takes an interest not only in her clients but also in her employees. She really listens to what they have to say.

I suppose the relationship I’ve found most difficult – but ultimately most rewarding – has been my relationship with my younger brother. He’s different from me in almost every way you can imagine. I’m the kind of person who likes to get things done, but he is a real dreamer – so idealistic. It used to drive me crazy, but over the years, I’ve come to really admire him for following his dreams.


CD1 Track 02

I’m going to begin this section of my talk by saying something about only children, that is children without siblings. Historically, only children were relatively uncommon. However, these days, as families are becoming smaller, being an only child has become relatively more common. There are many reasons for this trend – social, economic, and political, which I won’t go into at this point. However, I will say that having an only child generally means that parental resources can be concentrated on the one child. And I would add that, by parental resources I mean not just money but also care and attention.

Only children have frequently been seen as different from children with siblings and subjected to negative stereotype. They are often considered to be less tolerant of others – i.e. less able to accept differences, to allow those with different points of view to say and do as they like. Not surprisingly, they are sometimes said to be less co-operative than other children – in other words, less able to work effectively with others. On the other hand, only children are often highly regarded for their autonomy, that is to say, their ability to make their own decisions without being unduly influenced by others. In short, the picture that’s emerging is of children who are rather unconventional, that is not quite ‘normal’ in social terms.

I think it’s important to say here that many of these views have been challenged. In fact, more recent research has found that only children are in fact very similar to children with siblings…


CD1 Track 03

The subject of my talk today is the relationship between birth order and personality. By birth order I mean whether an individual is the firstborn child in the family, a middle child, an only child, and so on.

The belief that birth order has a lasting impact on personality is widespread and frequently referred to in popular psychology literature. Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychotherapist, was one of the first to suggest that there was a connection between birth order and personality. He noticed that firstborn children experienced a loss of status with the birth of siblings. According to Adler, this made eldest children more likely to be anxious than other children. However, on the positive side, they also tend to be conscientious and achievement-oriented, perhaps because they want to regain a position of primacy within the family.

Since Adler, there have been many attempts to establish links between birth order and a range of personality traits. Some studies have found that last-born children tend to be more extrovert and agreeable, that is, they not only seek out the company of others but also tend to get along well with other people. Middle children, on the other hand, are more likely to be rebellious, perhaps in an attempt to define themselves as special’ in relation to their more conscientious elder siblings and agreeable younger siblings. Some studies, for example, have found that middle children are more likely to choose unconventional careers and hobbies.

However, whilst these views are widely held among the public, scholars have more recently cast doubt on their validity. Many studies have been found to employ a flawed methodology, for instance failing to adequately consider variables such as the family’s socio-economic status. Large-scale meta-analyses of studies have proved inconclusive with no single trait consistently associated with a given position within the family. Nevertheless, most people are intuitively drawn to the idea that birth order has an effect on the sort of people we become.


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Reference: Collins Vocabulary for IELTS

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