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2. Now listen to the interview. Take notes about the answers to the questions in Step 1.

Note-taking: using symbols and abbreviations

When you are taking notes while listening, you have to write down a lot of information very quickly. Instead of writing out each word separately, you should develop the habit of using symbols and abbreviations.

You may want to change some of the symbols and abbreviations below to ones that are easier for you to remember and use. You will probably also want to invent some of your own, depending on the content of the listening text. When you invent symbols and abbreviations, it is important to review your notes as soon as possible after the listening while their meanings are still fresh in your mind.


Here are some symbols that are commonly used in English. Many of them come from the field of mathematics.

& (and) ... (and so on, etc.)

@ (at) + (plus, in addition to)

# (number) $ (dollars)

= (is the same as) (is different from, doesn’t mean)

‹ (is less than) (is more than)

″ (ditto, as said before, similarly) (causes, leads to, results in)

% (percent)

♂ (boy, man, male)

♀ (girl, woman, female)


In addition to using symbols, good note-takers abbreviate long words or words that are frequently used. Here are a few standard abbreviations that are commonly used in English. Notice that some are based on Latin words.

Ex. or e.g. (for example; “e.g.” is from the Latin exempli gratia)

w/ (with)

etc. (and other similar things, from the Latin etcetera)

a.m. (before noon, from the Latin ante meridiem)

p.m. (after noon, from the Latin post meridiem)

gov’t (government)

ed. (education)

Prof. (Professor)

Dr. (Doctor)

usu. (usually)

pro (for, a Latin prefix meaning “in favour of”)

con (against, an abbreviation of the Latin contra)

ben(s) (benefit(s))

opps (opportunities)

diff (different)

3. Work with a partner. Take turns telling each other your answers. (You can review your notes first, but don't look at them while you are speaking.) Then share your answers as a class.

3. Listening 2 interview with amy: The prison experience

Here are some words and phrases from the interview with Amy printed in bold and given in the context in which you will hear them. They are followed by definitions.

what really works - not for hardened criminals, but for first-time offenders: people who commit a crime for the first time

The first step is deterrence: stopping people from committing crime

Criminals are not being rehabilitated: taught how to have a socially acceptable way of life

You end up having a lot of people in prisons who are not the kingpins of drug deals: most important people

There need to be programs that have a psychological and an educational component: part

We need to make prison a less repressive experience: cruel and severe

We need bridge programs: programs that help released prisoners adjust to society

Most criminals are recidivists: repeat criminals

so that society doesn't look at released prisoners in such a disdainful way: disrespectful, critical

so that no stigma is attached: shame

1. Amy does not believe that the current prison system is very effective. She describes the experience of a person before being convicted of a crime, while in prison, and after being released. Listen to the interview with Amy and fill in the chart with the main ideas that she discusses.

What Amy thinks should happen

The present situation

Before a person is convicted of a crime and sent to prison

There should be more jobs and more social support systems.

The economy and the social structure don’t help prevent crime.

While a convicted criminal is in prison

After a person is released from prison

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