English proverb of the day

"The negative side of the American Dream comes when people pursue success at any cost, which in turn destroys the vision and the dream "

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  • Topic of this Week: "RAISING CHILDREN IN THE 4.0 ERA (Novemver 28, 2021)"

    Please refer to the steps below to join the discussion:
    1. Download the Discord app either on a mobile phone or laptop https://discordapp.com
    2. Register an account
    3. Join the room chat https://discord.gg/dDPbMZa
    The online discussion will start at 3.00pm and close at 5.00pm on the same day.
    It is obvious that the Internet and social media have become a part of 4.0 technologies. In a survey of 2019 by the Management Development Institute (MSD) and Save the Children in Vietnam, 66.1% of children had access to an Internet-connected device of which 43,4% had an average use of 1-3 hours per day.
    There is no denying that smart devices have brought plenty of benefits in our daily life. Smartphones or tablets are considered as crucial tools for parents in feeding children, teaching and entertaining them. However, many people are concerning the impact of 4.0 technology on children’s lives. Without smartphones, children will not eat and keep crying. The question is that “Do parents need to have the courage to put their phone down or learn to live with technology especially in educating your children?
    Questions to ponder:
    How long do you let your children/ cousins/ nieces use social media? Why do you let them use media?
    What are the pros and cons of allowing children to approach the Internet at a very young age?
    In your opinion, at which ages can children use mobile phones? Can you share some tips to raise children effectively in the 4.0 era?
    Case 1: You are so busy with an urgent task but your child is crying, what will you do, will you give him/her a mobile phone/TV or do something else?
    Case 2: Anytime you do not pay attention, your child will take your phone to play games or watch YouTube, etc. what will you do?
    Thank Hà Ngô for your topic




    Enjoy and have a fruitful discussion! 

    See you on Sunday at 3:30 P.M.!


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    (09:55:39 AM 17/03/2014)


    A funny story

    Back when I was a middle school English teacher in Japan, one day there was a big standardized English test. All of the Grade 3 students had to take it. I was asked to sit in on the test and help administer it by passing out papers and making sure that no one was cheating.

    After a writing section, it was time for the listening test. The students were supposed to listen to a recorded conversation between two people and then answer multiple choice questions about it. The recordings would be played over the school intercom, so all the students taking the test in the whole building heard the same thing at the same time.

    When the first conversation started to play, I almost laughed out loud. The. People. On. The. Recording. Were. Speaking. Like. This. They spoke slowly and pronounced every single syllable of every word. It sounded very strange. The strangest thing was that I couldn't follow what the speakers were saying! It was too hard to concentrate on the meaning when the pronunciation was so wrong. I looked over the shoulders of some students to read the test questions, and I had trouble picking the correct answers. (This made me wonder what the purpose of the test was, if native English speakers had more trouble with it than Japanese middle school students.)

    Connected Speech

    To speak and understand natural English, you have to know the difference between "correct" pronunciation and what's called "connected speech". Connected speech is the way that people talk when they're speaking normally in sentences. For example, listen to this sentence:

    Did you see what happened?


    What do you hear? Listen to the word "did": does it end with a clear "d" sound? No! The words "did" and "you" combine to form a "j" sound: "Diju". How about the word "what"? Can you hear the "t" sound at the end of the word? Not really. You can also hear that the "d" at the end of "happened" sounds almost like a "t" sound. Listen again:


    Almost none of the speaker's individual words match the "correct" pronunciation for those words. Even so, the sentence sounds completely correct. He's not mispronouncing anything. He doesn't have a strange accent. To someone who speaks English well, he sounds perfectly clear and natural. 

    If you ask the speaker to slow down and repeat what he said, he won't just speak more slowly. He'll also pronounce each word more carefully. It's normal to do this. In fact, it's almost impossible to speak slowly without also speaking more carefully. 

    The right kind of listening practice

    English teachers, and the actors on most audio recordings for learners, slow their speech down to make it easier for learners to understand. That can be helpful. But while they're making it slower, they're also changing how the words sound. This is one reason that English learners sometimes complain, "I've been studying English for so long, but when I hear real native English speakers talking to each other, I can't understand them!" It's because they've been listening to careful and correct speech. They haven't gotten used to hearing connected speech.

    Instead of listening to slowed-down, careful English, I suggest listening to normal-speed English, but broken into pieces that are short enough for you to understand. For example, you can watch a YouTube video and hit "pause" after every sentence to stop and think about what the speakers are saying. That will get you used to hearing English the way that it's really spoken.

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