Random acts of kindness

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BBC Learning English 6 Minute English 3 January 2013

Random acts of kindness
Jennifer: Hello and a very warm and friendly welcome to the first 6 Minute English of 2013. My name is Jennifer and with me in the studio for today's programme is Callum. Happy New Year! Hi Jen – happy New Year! Have you made any New Year's resolutions this year? A resolution is something that you decide you aregoing to do for that year – my resolution is that I'm going to get fit and go to the gym at least twice a week. Well, I don't really believe in making resolutions, as I can never stick to them, but for the sake of the programme, I'll say that my resolution is to eat less junk food and to be a bit healthier in general. That's not a bad idea. But what would you think about becoming kinder in 2013? Don'tyou think I'm kind enough already? I do think you're quite a kind person, but maybe you could try harder? Now, hang on a second! Before you get cross, listen to today's story – it's all about a study in America, which has shown that performing a kind act every day can have lots of benefits for you in your work life and your social life. That sounds interesting… … but before we get to the story,I've got a question for you to answer. We've talked already about New Year's resolutions, so what is the most commonly broken resolution – what's the thing that people start out doing, but then don't continue? Is it: a) stopping smoking; b) losing weight and getting fit; c) travelling Callum: Jennifer: Well, I'm going to go with b) losing weight and getting fit; I think that's something that's verydifficult for people to actually do. We'll find out if you're right at the end of the programme. Now, let's take a closer look at today's story. It's about a study done on schoolchildren in

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6 Minute English

© British Broadcasting Corporation 2012 Page 1 of 4

bbclearningenglish.com America. They were asked to carry out three random acts of kindness each week. Callum: If something is random, it means it's unplanned. So, a random act of kindness means that you do something for someone that you haven't planned to do, just to be nice. It's a lovely idea. But what could a random act of kindness be? Listen to this first part of a report from BBC correspondent Victoria Gill. See ifyou can identify some of the random acts of kindness she mentions.


BBC correspondent Victoria Gill: This team of psychologists instructed classrooms of nine to eleven-year-old students to carry out three random acts of kindness per week. These could be anything from giving a stressed parent a hug to offering to share lunch with a friend. Jennifer: Callum: Jennifer: Callum: Jennifer:What random acts of kindness did she mention? The first example given was giving a stressed parent a hug. If you're stressed, you're worried and under pressure. So that's a random act of kindness that makes you feel good and doesn't cost anything to do. What other examples were given? Offering to share lunch with a friend. Would you be prepared to share your lunch with me? No! You said you wantedto lose weight for your New Year's resolution, so keep your hands off my lunch! Seriously, though, children between the ages of nine and eleven took part in this kindness study, so what effects did being kind have on the children? Listen to the second part of Victoria Gill's report: what positive effects did the study have?

BBC correspondent Victoria Gill: At the end of the four weeks, thesekind acts had boosted the children's wellbeing, but they'd also shifted the dynamics of the whole classroom. The short period of enforced kindness made children significantly more popular with their peers; something the researchers measured by asking every child to nominate classmates that they would most like to spend time with. Jennifer: We heard that the acts boosted the children's wellbeing –...
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