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Tuesday, 15 May 2007


Hello there,

What is SEL for short? It could short for a lot of stuff which you can image. Read on, please.

Vanessa who is from Taiwan asked me on the comment:’ Because we are situated in the same country, can you give me some suggestion about learning English?’ My answer is:’ It depends?’ It depends on your English level, your ability, and every resource that you can get. And your question reminded me of SEL.

Teacher Nick gave me a newspaper clipping last Saturday, the topic is: How do English learners teach us? It was published on Taipei Times, Friday, May 11, 2007, and it was written by Shih-Fan Kao who is an assistant professor at University. The paragraph began on a piece of news which was: A 14-years-old student who is non-English native speaker passed the highest level of the Cambridge ESOL, it means that her English is as good as a British college student who is an English native speaker. And her two favorite activities are watching English TV programs and movies and reading novels. What do I measure it? James is James, which means I am on my position to learn. If I can read Shakespeare, then I read, if I can’t, I’ll do something else. ……You know what I mean!!

When I say to you:” You know what I mean!!’, it always means that I cannot express my meaning well.

At last, I would like to tell you about SEL. According to the article, SEL is short for Successful English Learners, and a few common things of SEL are (summarily quote from the article):

1) They make their own opportunities by using English outside the classroom:
They try to create an English environment for themselves as much as possible. They try to use the English language every day.
2) They are risk-takers:
They are good guessers. They read by making educated guesses via contextual clues.
They are willing to make a great many mistakes and are not afraid of continuing to do so.
3) They often have intense interaction with native speakers or plentiful practice in writing.

The conclusion of the author is “By referring to the features of SELs, English learners will find their own ways forward and take charge of their learning.
The author call himself “A lifelong English learner”, and I think myself:’ Am I a lifelong English learner?

Hopefully, my friends, we all can enjoy ourselves in learning.

Love always,
Everybody need to know who you are!
James Zhih-Cheng Wu

Taipei Times


Hi James, what I really like about your blog is that I can feel your own way of thinking which is a refection of your individuality and your culture, so the way you are presenting your views is also a bit different – but I personally like it. It’s also great that you are not going to give us an encyclopedic knowledge about Taiwan, it’s good to get it from the context of your blog (but I always try to refresh my knowledge about student- or teacher- blogger’s country just to have some kind of background). That’s interesting what you wrote about SEL and necessity of creating an English environment and actually we have loads of opportunities – just choose the one that is a bit challenging. And to finish my comment a few words about ‘round table’. In Poland the round table enabled us to break the communism without gunshots or blood (it’s of course a simplification), but over the years the idea of the round table has been drastically abused and now we would rather say “table without edges” so as not to provoke any political quarrels. Have a nice day and thanks for interesting entries,

Hello James. I found your explanation about SEL very interesting. In fact, some students that I know who speaks English very well follow at least one of this attitudes that you mentioned in your blog today. Maybe we should do the same ;-). Best wishes, Ana Paula.

Hi James, glad you found the article informative - it contains a treasure trove of language-learning advice I thought, and it is great of you to pass it on. At our ages, it is thankful that we don't need to further our language learning for the sake of passing an exam, because good language learning habits shouldn't be followed just for the sake of attaining what a 14-year-old child prodigy achieved. It is a fun thing about learning a language that by watching T.V. or movies, listening to songs, or even reading comics in the target language you can expand your vocabulary and improve your comprehension. Plus, by simply chatting in the foreign language you are furthering your abilities. Thus, learning a language doesn't have to be all work and no play -in fact, play, play, play - but do it in English!

Thank you for your advices about learning english , I am from a country in which Inglish is rarly spoken , I found your article interresting for me to improve my English.

i won't to tink you for your advices , care and your intantion about some steps in learning english . i found you explanation and your advices very good ,clear and exciting. thanks james

Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.

May 2007

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