October 10, 2011

You Need to Speak Up!

To many general notions, SPEAKING is a difficult skill to master, yet many learners truly acknowledge its power as a dynamic instrument to communicate, interact, advise, educate, and more as the list goes on. If you spend one day just to count the values of being a good speaker, then I believe you would need a long stick of pencil and a dozen of
blank pieces of paper to jot down the advantages as your thoughts flow through the extent of your attention. The point is there are numerous positive effects from being a good speaker (I bet know them too clearly).
It upsets me every time my students come admitting the false facts that because they are not native English speakers, they then don’t have to be good at speaking. Some added that they have tried to their hardest, yet they couldn’t be consistent enough to be conscious of their own speaking, and subsequently produced explicit errors (undesirable). While people may come up with different views regarding good speaking, I would recommend my students to highlight EFFECTIVE speaking, more than just being good.

Understand the Silent Enemies
  1. Fear
Fear is the number ONE foe, intimidating you to give up on your speaking practice. Fear of people; Fear of making mistakes; Fear of being judged; Fear of being different; Fear of fears. They are parts of human. So, how to get rid of them? I suggest you to stand firm physically and psychologically, and believe that you can do because a thousand good speakers somewhere have won these same battles you are facing now. As a matter of fact, they are no different from you. They are humans like you, share common feelings, and have limitation like us. Yet they found their ways winning their fear. Here is what you need to bear in mind--Nothing is beyond your capability. The problem lies at the point whether you are willing to take a step in or not.
  1. Carelessness
I witnessed a friend of mine who was doing a graduate degree in TESOL with me in Phnom Penh. Tep Livina is a good speaker for any situations he was in. He was careful with his speech, and took every moment seriously (and enjoyably). He always read books from home, and came to class with awesome ideas and interesting questions. That’s how things work! We plan, and plan, and plan in order to be effective. On the opposite side, carelessness causes you to doubt your own capability and allow fear and discouragement to take control your thoughts. Carelessness lowers down the degree of your consciousness and awareness of situations, and it then allows pressure to besiege. Thus, I suggest you to prepare and predict what might happen up on stage.   
Be a Good Observer 
More problems arises because students do control their attention that would lead to producing right language. A good speaker is, too, a good listener and observer. Pick up a role model! A role model is someone whom you believe to possess skills and are able to perform good/attractive speech. For example, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Malcolm X., ...etc. Observe his/her verbal and behavioral qualities such as the following:
  1. Patterns: Stick your head to the melody of speech as the person speaks. Notice sentences, pauses, and accent.
  2. Pace: It’s the speed of speech operation.
  3. Intonation: The up and down of stress and tone
  4. Meaningful and musical pauses: It’s so important to understand the messages of pauses. Some pauses are used as silent communicative instruments to make the message loud and clear in listeners’ head.
  5. Rhythms: Key the attractive and interestingness in voice projection
  6. Voice Purity: A good speaker wouldn’t choose to adopt a fake voice. Voices are the human identity and they are unique and particular.
  7. Natural Voice Projection: Pretensions in voice are less acceptable by many, except for some explicit reasons.
  8. Pitch and Tempo: It’s the highness and lowness of your voice. Remember, circumstances and purposes determine your pitch and tempo.
  9. Voice Flexibility: A good speaker is not a robot. Voice and tone of a speaker need to vary to ensure readers’ full attention.
  10. Chunk Creation: If a speaker is well planned and well-reheased, he/she would know the catch-up phrase, and the important ideas s/he wish to hand on.
To communicate clear and expressive ideas, you need to consider physical emphasis feats, because they will help intensify your messages, put more weights to the speech rigors, and more interestingly they light up attractiveness and clarity. Consider the following:
  1. Postures
  2. Facial Expression
  3. Hand movements
  4. Body movements
Be a Consistent Practitioner
Knowing how to operate any tasks is not the end yet. There are more factors you need to strengthen and cooperate when you proceed the task in action. I suggest you to build unshakable passion regarding the issue of Speaking. Know that you are practicing your speech everywhere, and with everyone you meet. Call each time you talk to people an opportunity for your serious practice, yet do it naturally and enjoyably.
In sum, be consistent with the journey you are going to take, and believe that your success await you somewhere at the corner. For more, to engage the effective speaking skill, you should never undermine the key principles (as I call them central and dynamic for productive speech):
  • Sincerity: Be clear and natural to your points communicating; It’s not embarrassing to talk about your mistakes.
  • Friendliness: Establish positive and relaxed environment for speech.
  • , and Authority: Be clear of your expertise; Don’t try to cover things you are not good at.

October 6, 2011

Dictionary Effects

What is a dictionary? Answer: It is a rather special book filled with words and explanation. Most dictionaries are arranged by the order of the alphabets, known as "Alphabetic order." Some dictionaries are small, thin, and colorful, while some others are large, thick and heavy. A smaller size dictionary is called "Pocket Dictionary" for the reason that you can just put it in your pocket…very portable (easy to carry with you). A thick and large size dictionary is generally known as Reference dictionary, Corpus, and Encyclopedia. These books provide larger information about words, history of words, meaning and definition,…etc.

What Can I Learn?

A good dictionary for general English learners could only be defined by individual learners depending on their preferences. Personally, I particularly like Oxford English Pocket Dictionary because I find many interesting input features (language items) in there that other dictionary would fail to offer. So, back the question "What I can learn from a dictionary?", I am going to the explain the details in the following lines. First I wish to start with the objectives/goals/purposes of using or needing a dictionary. Many language users share similar experience and goals of using a dictionary as they believe a dictionary is objectively used to define any particular words that they are not familiar with. Without objections, I would like to add more things that you can do or can learn from a dictionary.

  • To define words
  • To learn correct spellings for words
  • To practice correct pronunciation (You can always find phonetic column in a dictionary)
  • To denote (show) the grammatical functions of words such as v.(verb), n.(noun), adj.(adjective)….so on
  • To understand the historical meaning or origin of the words (whether the words are rooted from Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, Sanskrit, Saxon or Hebrew)
  • To seek out synonymous and antonymous words (You get more choices of words for your writing or speaking)
  • To visually experience the words in the form of pictures, diagram, graphs, or other illustrations

How to be a fast dictionary opener?

This question takes me back to the starting point of the my journey in learning English. I remember that I treat my beloved dictionary like someone or something special that I can turn to when I have problems with language learning. I took my dictionary to the many places I went to including schools, markets, home, and more places where I went and when my pockets are available. Back to 1998 when I was at Siem Riep middle school, many people would remember me as the fastest dictionary opener. It means I could get to the words more quickly than other learners. In this blog, I wish to share my personal secrets to be a fast dictionary opener.
  • Buy a dictionary that you find the most useful (The one that meets your needs in using). Look for the one that have darken marks for the alphabet order on the side edge. Get the one that share two or three columns on one page.
  • Develop affective connection (emotional) with your dictionary. How? Simply just, play with it. Personalize your dictionary by adding colors, hand writing text, picture and more of your preferences.
  • Be familiar with location of the alphabetic order of words (follow the darken marks)
  • Before opening, you need to quickly memorize the first syllable of the word in your head
  • Do not use finger to run through lists of words.
  • Once in a while, challenge your classmates to open dictionary
  • Involve in the opening dictionary competitions or Spelling Bee.
  • Set aside 5 minutes each day to practice opening a dictionary (Make it fun and cheerful)

Final thought

 Words are like weapons. It's better to master words, than to have a city for your own. One who could master words could express ideas, thoughts, and secrets of mind better than those who couldn't. Brighten your days by learning one new word a day. Within two years, can you imagine how many words you might have learned?

Brain as a Lazy Machine

"Teacher, what is brain?" asked a young boy while scratching his head.

The teacher paused for a couple seconds and explained "It's simply a machine."

"I don't understand", the boy continued.

"Well little one, it is in everyone's head, ...and is like a machine that works non-stop", answered the teacher.

However, many times this machine gets lazy because the machine owner doesn't use it so often.

"So, you mean our brain is lazy if I don't do anything with it?", the boy confirmed.

"That's right boy! You can become the most intelligent young boy ever, if you keep using your brain", the teacher petted on the boy's head and told him to return to his seat.

Brain-based Learning

It is a simple truth that our brain is a machine. Yet, knowing this much would not yet lead to anywhere you wish to be. I believe that knowing how to use this flimsy machine matters most. The secret of a successful learner is Brain-based learning. Actually this learning approach is defined differently according to purposes and fields. Here, Brain-Based Learning is a way to encourage learners to actively use their thinking such as defining, comparing, comprehending, collecting, evaluating, and more as the list goes on. A good learner needs to regularly assign the brain to work on something. The goal is to keep your brain active, engaging and positive. You never know and understand the full power of the brain if you just sit back and be quiet as a passive learner. Confirm this statement to yourself "I am very poor at English." After a moment of pausing, ask another question "How can I be good at English?" Do you feel the difference? To the first statement, when you cite the fact about the matter, you brain will just approve and subsequently does nothing in response. Yet, if you ask questions as if assignments, your brain will double its speed and power which sooner or later you'll have your solutions to your problems. What can we learn from this experience? Answer: Our brain is a problem-solving enterprise.

Engaging Interaction/Performance in Learning

Learning by asking many questions at any appropriate times and any places will keep your brain active and focusing. And because the brain is the subject of your body, whatever the brain believes, the body will simply follow with enthusiasm, more or less. In English there are some expressions that truly describe the true nature of the brain such as the following:

Stay active with your brain.

Tease your brain.

Be alert!

Keep watching!

Stay tune!


There are many reasons you are not supposed to miss asking questions in and off class. Asking questions attracts your teacher to involve with you on any particular problems. Your teachers grow to be more positive and finds you a serious learner, and subsequently cherish to fulfill the your desire to learn. Asking questions occupies you from negative thoughts and day dreams. It advances you with more skills such as leadership, speech, management, debate, and more…

It's fun to be active!

Expressing your thoughts and insights

Fear of expressing what you believe to be true is the number one enemy to effective learning. There was a young boy who attended a primary school in Germany. He loved asking questions, and enjoyed contributing ideas around matters of discussions. Sometimes his friends had to stop him from sharing, not because his ideas were not useful, but because they were threatened by his insights and intellect. He was Albert Einstein (A boy of many questions).

There are many discoveries today and from the past which have been rooted from stupid ideas. Who knows what you can become? Learn to share ideas and thoughts meaningfully will change your days and the more days to come. I suggest you to paint your days with comments, ideas, thoughts, insights, advise, suggestion, and other verbal and written expressions to your classmates, friends, home mates, and especially to your teachers. The world wants to hear what you think and believe!

October 5, 2011

Vocabulary to Enrich Communicative Competence

A popular saying from the past says "Words are even sharper than a two edge sword." Words could pierce through people hearts and change their attitudes; they are capable of making someone tear and ending up turning to be negative. Words help a user to express himself/herself more clearly. Some words are weak, while some others are strong, potential, affective, and expressive. Thus, the knowledge of words truly determines our capability in performing thinking and carrying out a task.

Vocabulary to Learners 

How are words best learned? Dr. Steven Krashen in his Monitor Model regarding natural ways of learning  language (Acquisition) suggests that a learner must strive to learn many words that are suitable to his ability, which he calls "Comprehensible Input." I personally advise you to learn words, phrases, and any expressions naturally. What does it mean? The fact that students try to crab words by force such as by memorizing will ultimately result in the loss of words, confusion, frustration and time wasting. One could learn vocabulary more effectively and more efficiently by playing with them, making sentences in spoken and written modes, having conversation with friends by using those words you wish to learn, and etc. The below presentation will offer you 7 ideas to learn vocabulary. I hope that those tips could be useful to you.

Vocabulary to Teachers

I have been teaching English over ten years now, and it has been such fun to experience different methods of teaching. I believe that to teach vocabulary productively is to engage active approaches, i.e. Communicative Language Teaching, Task-Based Language Teaching, Content-Based Language Teaching, and Integration of tasks and activities. Allow students to be communicative, exploring, and expressive through performance. Every time students encounter new words, they need to highlight, underline, or circle around. Acting on words helps students to be enthusiastic and thus understand words unto their natures. Teachers need to pay extra attention on words, and spend sometime to explain students. When teaching vocabulary, a teacher should draw students' to the language elements such as:

1. Spelling
2. Pronunciation
3. Defintion
4. Grammatical elements
5. Collocation
6. Synonyms, Antonym, and hyponym
7. Word origin
8. Usage

These language features are to be considered according to the levels of learners. The presentation below will provide more guides and understanding regarding teaching vocabulary.


Research Design

Writing a research report is no easy, yet is highly valued by many academic societies. The world credits research articles even more than books and other referential sources. Research is more than just dozen pages of papers; they must hold credibility and researchers are required to undergo a particular procedure for pre-research, while-research, and post-research. The following guide by Prof. R.E. Khan provides the feasible ways to understand and to conduct research. The demonstration in this PowerPoint presentation will help pump awareness and deep thought into one's mind. Enjoy!

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Macys Printable Coupons