May 4, 2005 - Meet Two More English Teachers
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AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on Wordmaster: meet two more English teachers.
RS: Qu Gang teaches in the world's biggest country, China. He is a member of the National Foreign Language Teaching and Research Association. Doug Kelly teaches in one of the world's smallest countries, the Federated States of Micronesia, or FSM.
AA: What do these two have in common? Both happened to stop by the VOA booth at the recent TESOL international English-teachers convention in Texas.
QU GANG: "There are many, many Chinese people who want to learn English, but most of the contents of the textbook are out of date, and so they don't the resources to 'feel' the fresh English. Another thing is that even with the very limited resources of the English, they don't know the background information of the English. So they know they are listening to the English, but they can't learn it because they don't know the background information. So they need more things to help them to learn English. The market is very huge, very huge."
AA: "Do you have any advice for anyone in China who might be listening -- a suggestion, an example, something that is a good way to learn English?"
QU GANG: "I feel learning English should be divided into two steps. The second part is listening, the practice, listen, speaking, and writing and reading. But before that part there is a very important part. This is the basic abilities to master a language. For example, how to speak in a standard American voice, the pronunciation, is hard for them to do this. And for native speakers, it is also hard for you to explain to us why do you speak like this? Why do you make this voice?
"So I hope more native speakers could explain the reason or the principles of the language to us. Then give us the materials to listen to it. We know so many, many English words. Chinese people are very hard-working students. They remember thousands and thousands of English vocabularies, but they don't know how to make a sentence."
DOUG KELLY: "Hi, I'm Doug Kelly and I'm an assistant professor and coordinator of the Media Studies Program at the College of Micronesia-FSM. I teach media studies including radio broadcasting and I'm the station manager for our station, V6CR COM-FM."
AA: "Tell me about your radio station."
DOUG KELLY: "Our radio station is a community radio station covering about a third of the island of Pohnpei, which is a Pacific island about six degrees north of the equator at about one-fifty-eight east latitude. We reach maybe a few thousand people, but that includes the national government at Palikir, on Pohnpei. When the broadcasting class is in session, it's run by students. When it's not, I take over it. We're on the air from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. And we try to keep it on 365 days a year."
AA: "What's your programming consist of?"
DOUG KELLY: "If it were up to the students, it would be a jukebox, but I do insist on a little more content. What we usually have is a mix of music, what the students prefer, a little bit of a broader selection of music -- and at least five minutes an hour of news and three times a day, 6 a.m. and noon and 6 p.m., we run VOA Special English."
AA: "So how much does this all cost?"
DOUG KELLY: "Well, the goal of the broadcasting class -- we're trying to develop a free and independent media in the FSM, that's the whole reason for the media studies program. So one of the goals I set for the program was to say, let's look at what financial resources a person could come up with. You can buy a used car on Pohnpei for about $2000. And so I said, 'OK, can we do this for under $2000?' And I did quite a bit of research, and we got the equipment together and we're on the air, the entire outlay for this 40 watt, FM broadcast commercial station is about $1850."
AA: "So for less than $2000, you created a radio station and you operate it 365 days a year?"
DOUG KELLY: "That's correct. The only thing we pay for is the electricity. And for about another $1500, you could go completely independent. Our equipment is all designed to run off 12 volts. So if you've got a solar panel and a set of car batteries, you can stay on the air essentially for free."
AA: "And what about the software you use. Did you have to buy that, or did you find some free stuff?"
DOUG KELLY: "That's all freeware. We're using WinAmp to run our playlist. For recording and editing software, we use Audacity which is another freeware program. And for scheduling which playlist starts when, we use the task scheduler which is built into the Windows operating system. So it's all free. And if you're interested in more information or to learn more about the college, our Web site is www.comfsm.fm."
RS: Doug Kelly from the College of Micronesia-FSM and Qu Gang from the National Foreign Language Teaching and Research Association in China.
AA: And that's Wordmaster this week. Our Web site is voanews.com/wordmaster. And our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.