My hero

Flowers placed on the ground around the word 'imagine'

Listen to the speakers talking about their heroes and do the exercises to practise and improve your listening skills.

Instructions

Do the preparation exercise before you listen. Then do the other exercises to check your understanding.

Preparation

Do this exercise before you listen.

Remote audio URL

Transcript

A (Girl 1)

My hero isn’t very famous, but she ought to be. She’s Mary Anning, who was only 12 years old and from a poor family when she made an amazing discovery. She found the first dinosaur skeleton, that of an ichthyosaur, on the cliffs of Lyme Regis in the south of England. That was in 1811, and until then people had thought that it was impossible for an animal to become extinct. Because she was a woman and didn’t have enough money for a proper education, she wasn’t able to take part properly in the scientific community of the time. But she read as much scientific literature as she could and continued to search for fossils, often risking her own life to get them by climbing dangerous cliffs. She once nearly died in a landslide which killed her dog. Although she didn’t write famous books about fossils, her contribution to palaeontology, the study of fossils, is said to be enormous. I admire her because she kept on trying to make new discoveries at a time when usually only men, and men with money, were allowed to be scientists. After her death the writer Charles Dickens said that ‘the carpenter’s daughter has won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it’.

B (Boy 1)

My hero is Kailash Satyarthi, who has been campaigning against child slavery for years. He is from India and first became aware of the problem of children working when he was 6 and noticed that a boy younger than himself had to spend all day polishing shoes and was unable to go to school. When he was 11, he began to collect money to help buy textbooks for other children, and when he was 26 he gave up his job as an electrical engineer to fight child slavery in India, by doing things like raiding factories where children were forced to work, making rugs or glass bottles. He introduced a programme first called RugMark, now known as Goodweave, which puts tags on child-labour-free rugs made in factories. He has saved many thousands of children, over 80,000, from a terrible life of enforced labour in South Asia and helped them to get an education. He has often been physically attacked for helping children, for example for trying to free Nepalese children forced to work in a circus. He regularly risks his life to fight injustice; two of his colleagues have been murdered. I believe that the best thing he has done is to change how people think about child slavery and to make it an international issue.

C (Boy 2)

I’m really interested in ecology and my hero, or heroine, is Rachel Carson because she first got people thinking about the way we humans are causing permanent damage to the Earth’s ecosystems. She began as a biologist, specialising in writing about the sea, but she gradually became aware of the danger of  using pesticides like DDT and the way they can harm the whole of the food chain, from the worm to humans! She wrote her classic book Silent Spring in 1962 to explain this to the general public, to explain how humans and nature are interdependent. The title of Silent Spring refers to the fact that one day all the birds might be dead so they won’t be able to sing in the springtime. The agricultural and chemical industries reacted very badly to the book and said she was unprofessional. But further research by other scientists proved that she was right about the dangers of chemicals used to kill insects. Nowadays there is a growing movement for organic food production, but unfortunately things in general are still getting worse, rather than better. We still need to read Rachel Carson’s book and think about its message.

D (Girl 2)

My choice of hero isn’t very original, I’m afraid, but he’s the person I would most like to have met: John Lennon. He died a long time before I was born, and his most famous songs were written long before that, but when I listen to his music I really feel as if he’s speaking to me personally. I love the whole range of the Beatles’ music, from the early pop songs to the very experimental music at the end of their time as a group. John Lennon was the most innovative writer in the Beatles and he continued to create exciting music when he left and went solo. But although I love his music, what I admire about him is his dedication to universal peace. It’s amazing that the song Imagine, written in 1971, is still incredibly popular after all this time. It’s about a world where everyone can be equal, a world with no wars, no divisions between countries, no greed, no hunger, no material possessions ...  I’d like to meet him because he was a lifelong rebel, and although he could be a difficult person, he was original, clever and funny. It was awful that he was killed in 1980 when he was only 40. I wonder what he would be doing if he was alive now.

Discussion

Which of the heroes described in the listening were you most interested in? Why? Do you have a hero of your own? Tell us about them!

Language level
Average: 3.7 (14 votes)
Personal online tutoring
EnglishScore Tutors is the British Council’s one-to-one tutoring platform for 13- to 17-year-olds.

Comments

Submitted by Falconly on Mon, 05/13/2024 - 05:12

I hate slavery.

Submitted by pomelo on Mon, 04/03/2023 - 14:58

I don't have any hero

Submitted by GBGBGBGB on Thu, 08/25/2022 - 15:34

John Lennon, a person, a singer, a musician, my hero; for me John Lennon is a legend not only for his fantastic songs but also for his history and his lifestyle. But I have another hero, and this one is my brother, he is what I want to be in my future, he has a nice style and helps my dad at work, giving him advice in how brands buy.

Submitted by goksu on Thu, 06/02/2022 - 12:21

My heroes are my mother and father.

Submitted by 0english on Wed, 06/01/2022 - 08:25

My heroes are my parents. My parents have always brought happiness to the home. They have always supported me and my brothers. They have always been there for me in my most difficult moments. I remember when I had problems in my homework and my parents always helped me out.

Submitted by lucalvesilva on Thu, 05/26/2022 - 10:19

I got interested on Mary Anning's story. To be honest, I've never heard about her before. It's great to know how important she was for the science as a whole. Thanks to her, we are capable to know that animals can be extinct and loads of policies were created decades later to protect them.

Submitted by atolit0123 on Wed, 04/06/2022 - 02:15

I am probably more interested in Mary Anning because it sounds almost impossible what she did considering the circumstances and that someway gives me hope and makes me feel that you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do even if it is difficult. I don't think i have an hero yet, I admire some people but im not sure if I can call them heroes.

Submitted by HatziryVH on Wed, 03/16/2022 - 20:43

I am more interested in the story of Mary Anning, I liked it because she talks about how she turns the stereotypes or the division of social classes, showing what she can do, for the moment I don't have a hero.

Submitted by ThoughCleaner on Fri, 08/20/2021 - 16:57

I am very interesting in Kailash Satyarthi, all the deeds he did sounds significant and humanistic, and if we put child slavery in our modern age it would be a serious international issue, it needs a lot of bravery to against a regime. To the contrary, I think John Lennon shouldn't be considered as a hero because of his occupation, most of singers just care about how to entertain people by writing music and lyrics, they do nothing apart from that, just saying and that's what everyone also can do!
Profile picture for user Elpro202

Submitted by Elpro202 on Fri, 08/06/2021 - 00:55

No, regards.

Submitted by liz15 on Wed, 06/23/2021 - 21:10

I think a great hero is Kailash Satyarthi, is very interesting to know a person that is worried about the situacion's community when He was only a child He was afraid about other childs and he decided to do something for them, sometimes the people only judge but they don't do anything and He was a little child and He does amazyng things.

Submitted by Gymnastics100 on Tue, 06/01/2021 - 18:11

I would choose my own hero, well, I have three heros, God , my parents and Simone Biles, I like very much Simone Biles, she is a very good gymnast! And I´m very grateful with my parnts, they do a great job! God, is my principal Hero!
Profile picture for user Kostantinus

Submitted by Kostantinus on Thu, 02/25/2021 - 09:54

I would like to chose my own hero and it's my mother who makes big efforts taking care of me and my sister. She gives us the best and never think about herself. I would say she dedicates herself for being a perfect mother. Me and my sister see her care all the time and, of course, when I will grow up I will help her with everything what she needs. I realise it's hard for woman to rase the children without man's support. I know that not all parents are the same with my mother so I appreciate and value her very much.

Submitted by yare8p on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 21:07

I would choose Rachel Carson like my hero 'cause i think the environmental pollution nowadays is big problem for our planet. If we don´t treat the earth better, it won't exists future for us as a specie. For now, my hero is my mom, because she does everything for the welling of me and my brother, she is a single mom but we never have been lacked of nothing.

Submitted by freshta01 on Thu, 05/14/2020 - 03:40

It was a great audio containing content. I admire all of them for their services to education, animals, and human rights. I believe these people are true heroes. The bravery of Kailash Satyarthi is appreciatable, and the message John Lenon shared in his song "Imagine" is precious. There are children who still do not have formal education in the 21st century and war is occurring in third world countries. We need to raise our voice, show our support and work toward world peace, the way these heroes did in their own ways. I wish for world peace, yet try my best to have a part in bringing peace to this world. I also want to tell you about my hero in my life. My mom is my hero. She has gone through tough times in life just for us to have a better future and be in a better place. I wish I be able to fulfil her dreams by studying and become a person who cares for this world.

Submitted by Wilbert1 on Mon, 05/11/2020 - 02:29

It is a great story, in agreement that my heroes are my parents have supported me all my life making me achieve all my goals, dreams among other things. It made me change different thoughts.

Submitted by Aldenith on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 04:03

I am more interested in the story of Mary Anning, I liked it because she talks about how she turns the stereotypes or the division of social classes, showing what she can do, for the moment I do not have a hero

Submitted by Jasiel on Wed, 03/18/2020 - 16:11

My heroes are my parents. My parents have always brought happiness to the home. They have always supported me and my brothers. They have always been there for me in my most difficult moments. I remember when I had problems in my homework and my parents always helped me out.

Submitted by BK on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 05:21

I do not really have a hero yet...

Submitted by Askar100 on Sun, 03/03/2019 - 14:41

It was very interesting listening audio material! After listening this I liked Kailash and Rachell Carlsen most. Because they did important jobs for the whole world! Mary Anning is also good but her job related to the dinosaurs history. So because of this I think it is less important. As I understood John Lennon was great or legendary musician or singer. But I think you cant change world with music. As for me I dont have any hero at the moment. But I want hero for my country who can rule the whole country very well and decide all the main problems in order to live happy all people in my country!
Profile picture for user bilko

Submitted by bilko on Wed, 08/01/2018 - 10:25

In this listening part, I am mostly interested in Mary Anning. Because I believe equality before the law and the reason behind the all disputes are injustice.

Submitted by SAMkz on Sat, 05/12/2018 - 15:53

the track doesn't work. I can't open it ! Help please
Profile picture for user Jo - Coordinator

Submitted by Jo - Coordinator on Sun, 05/13/2018 - 09:49

Hi SAMkz! Sorry to hear you're having problems. I've just tested it and it works fine for me. Do the other listening pages work for you? Best wishes, Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

In reply to by SAMkz

English courses near you