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What time is it

Page history last edited by Michael Griffin 12 years, 3 months ago


Thank you very much for coming to my speech. It seemed like you understood most of what I was saying, but I wanted to be sure to put the links and some comments on the internet for you to see. I hope that it was helpful for you and I also hope that you will continue to improve your English. This page is quite different from my speech, but I think that most of the important points are here.


Daisy and I both said that you need to practice, which is very true. I think that you should think of this as the beginning of your English study, rather than the end. You have made an incredible investment of time and money and now it would really be a shame if you were to waste that investment.


I think that the internet is a resource that many Korean students don’t use enough for improving their English. I think this is strange because Korea is such a wired country. There is a whole world out there in English and you can find anything you are interested in.


(My favorite website) Wikipedia is a great resource for learning English. (Notice I didn’t use the word study!) Just go to http://wikipedia.org/ and search for things that you are interested in. You could search for people or places that you are interested in. You will see natural English sentences and words the way they are usually used. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone so there might be mistakes, but there are mistakes everywhere.


I talked about social networking websites. The most popular one right now is Facebook. I won’t tell you my name on this site because there are some embarrassing pictures of me on there. The URL is http://www.facebook.com/. I think that this could be a good way to interact in English. I really like the idea of students meeting people from all around the world and using English to communicate. You will learn a lot by simply communicating with people. Other sites that are focused on learning English are http://www.englishbaby.com/ and http://www.livemocha.com/. I am really impressed with Livemocha’s system. There are courses and role plays that are helpful but even better is the system of practicing with people at a similar level from all around the world. It is a great site.


Another site that I talked about is Skype. It is a free online telephone service where you can talk to anyone in the world. There is an option that you can set (Skypeme) which means that random people can just call you. I think this is a fantastic way to practice spoken English because you can sit in the comfort of your home and practice speaking. You might be nervous the first time, but it can be lots of fun. I like that you get a chance to talk to many people, like in real life. Also, if you don’t like someone, you don’t have to talk to them. I don’t use Skype very often these days, but my name is migriff99.


A website that has been very useful for me is Englishtips.org (http://englishtips.org/) This site is probably a little illegal in Korea. It is a collection of 1,000’s of resources for learning English. You can download books and files absolutely free. You have to register, but it is very simple and easy. If you are bored of studying English a look around this site might change your feeling. It is a Russian site but you just have to click on the British flag if you want English. The search function is very helpful to find your way around.


I talked about ELLO which is the listening site that I think is the best in the world. Actually, my friend made it, but I would recommend it even if it wasn’t made by a friend. Just go to http://www.elllo.org/ to see what I mean. I really like the use of lots of non-native accents and he tries to make the listening interesting.


The most popular listening site is http://www.esl-lab.com/ which is pretty good as well. There are a lot of things to listen to on that site. Two websites that are good for listening to the news are http://www.simpleenglishnews.com/ and http://www.voanews.com/specialenglish/index.cfm

They might be a bit easy for some of you, but it is a good place to start if you want to practice listening to news.


Something that I didn’t mention in my speech is podcasts. These are radio shows made into MP3 files. This can be a great way to practice listening on the train. Some interesting sites related to podcasts are http://www.eslpod.com/website/, http://a4esl.org/podcasts/

and http://www.eslpodcards.com/. The final one is a combination of a postcard and a podcast, which is pretty cool.


A final podcast recommendation is a site that is not very active at the moment, but has great potential, Bomb English. This site is two (very well-educated) foreigners living in Korea. They are both fluent in Korean and Korean culture, but they are native speakers of English. They offer a perspective on Korea that might surprise you. They also swear a lot and talk naturally. They don’t write what they will say before they say it, so their speaking is the opposite of the boring dialogs you might find in textbooks. Please be careful with this site because you might be shocked. I recommend the episode called, “Why we hate Misuda.”


To improve writing I recommended the obvious: write a lot. Don’t worry about mistakes and just make a habit out of writing every day. You will make mistakes but you will find out what is difficult for you to write. Why not send emails to your soon-to-be former classmates? Reading is also a great way to improve your writing.


I mentioned that students should try to spend as much time reading as possible. Only read what you are interested in. What do you read in Korean? Try to read that in English. It is a great idea to follow one story in English. I mean, read the same story in different newspapers on different days and you will find that your understanding will improve. I strongly recommend reading the whole newspaper in English.


I think it is great if you read something and understand 80%. You don’t need to understand everything. I can certainly say that I don’t know every word that I read. That is natural. You need to see words in their natural context many times before you can really know it. This is why I told you to burn your “Voca” books.


I also recommended graded readers. They are classic or famous books made easier. The harder vocabulary words are taken out but the stories are the same. I think these are great, especially for lower level students. The key here is to make sure to read a little bit every day. You can find these books at most bookstores. Perhaps you could do a search on Englishtips for some suitable books.


Another general hint--Think in English as much as you can. Train yourself to see the world in English. When you do this, you will also discover what you don’t know how to say in English.


Remember Einstein’s quote, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  


All the best!

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