Showing posts from May, 2012

The Man and the Little Girl Part 2

日本語版はこちらをクリック The Man and the Little Girl Part 2       The girl was exposed to actual listening, speaking and reading. That time, she had been attending a Philippine school for 2 years. The girl learned grammar through actual listening, speaking and reading a lot, that's why she was able to apply the grammar rules instinctively. She did not need to dissect the sentence to know which word would fit in the blank. The man, however, had to first study the form of the sentence and all its elements before he could figure out which word was the best answer. And may I please mention that the man started studying English in Junior High School. If we do our Math--- the man had more years of experience in learning English than the girl had, but the girl spoke English a lot more fluently than the man did, not to mention that she was a lot better in answering TOEIC questions.        The truth is, a lot of students spend so much time, money and effort memorizing grammar rules a

The Man and the Little Girl

日本語版はこちらをクリック The Man and the Little Girl                      Long time ago, when I was still working as a private tutor,  there was a foreign student ( NOT Japanese ) who asked me to teach him TOEIC. I answered in the affirmative, of course.  To determine his level, I gave  him a mock TOEIC exam. One of the questions was: Question: Customers who need ______lengthy documents over the Internet should have their network connection configured to optimize large data transfers. A.    receive    B.    to receive.    C.    receiving     D.   reception           The  student first asked  me to explain the meaning of the word configure. Next, he dissected the sentence:  he underlined the main subject, bracketed the relative clause, determined the verb for the relative pronoun, determined the main verb in the sentence,  dug through his brain cells for the functions of infinitives and he could recall that an infinitive can function as a noun and as a noun, it can functi

Grammar Rules...and More Grammar Rules

日本語版はこちらをクリック Grammar Rules...and More Grammar Rules      Another common practice that ACE World wants to break is the constant memorization of so many  grammar rules. This is a practice which is widely accepted by most students and teachers but sadly, this type of instruction has misled students. Let me make it clear that I don't oppose the explicit learning of grammar rules, as there is nothing wrong with the memorization of grammar rules per se.  In fact, learning grammar is a very good way to determine whether or not students are speaking in a standard way.      However, many language instructors have made the mistake of teaching detailed grammar rules to beginners and intermediate students. This has resulted to the student's hesitance to speak. First, the student recalls the grammar formula. Next, he constructs a sentence based on that formula. These students eventually  memorize rules without knowing how the words and phrases work together to form a sensi

Is Pronunciation Just A Trivial Matter?

日本語版はこちらをクリック What...did you say???!!! Learning a language is like cutting a path through a thick forest. The more often the path is traversed, the easier the journey becomes. But a literal cutting of a path through a forest poses a lot of challenges. In the same way, traversing the so-called English road poses a lot of challenges and hindrances. One thing that impedes a student's "English Journey" is the differences in pronunciation. We all use the same speech organs. It's just that, we use them differently. For some students, the sounds of R and L are the same, so this becomes a hindrance for them. It's common for them to say RACE when they really mean LACE. When their teacher dictates the word CLOUD, they write CROWD and vice versa. To deal with this, is it all right to ask students to identify and memorize the sound symbols? Or is it all right to show them pictures of the different speech organs such as the lungs, the larynx, the vocal f

Factors That Hinder A Student's Progress in Learning English

日本語版はこちらをクリック ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - Factors That Hinder A Student's Progress in Learning English "...  English...  is the  dominant language  or in some instances even the required  international language  of communications, science, information technology, business, seafaring, aviation,  entertainment, radio and diplomacy." - - Wikipedia Concise Oxford ENGLISH Dictionary defines language as the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.           Imagine this: A young man packed his suitcase. He double-checked the amount of money in his bank account. It's his hard earned money and he had been saving it for his future. He hailed a taxi to the airport, got on the plane and soon, the plane was soaring in the air, taking him to a country he had never visited before. O

English and the Philippines

“GlobalEnglish Corporation…announced the results of its annual Business English Index, the only index that measures the Business English Proficiency (of non-native English speakers) in the workplace.”               "Only the Philippines attained a score above 7.0, a BEI level within range of a high proficiency that indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex task.” The sentences quoted above are actually excerpts of a news article that circulated a few days ago. Yes, with a total of 108,000 test takers from 76 countries, the Philippines, with a score of 7.11, topped the exam and was thus declared as the best country in terms of Business English Proficiency. (The test, I would like to clarify, was given only to non-native English speakers.) One might wonder how the Philippines, a small Southeast Asian country often pictured as a dangerous and poor country, emerged as the champion in this field.