In "Keeping it English in the classroom" (Letters, Dec. 25, page 8), Kao Shin-fan (
The research does not support this contention. Rather, the evidence is overwhelming that we acquire language not by producing it but by understanding it, by listening and reading.
Studies tell us, for example, that increased speaking and writing do not consistently result in more language development, but increased listening and reading do.
Also, there are many cases of substantial amounts of language acquisition taking place with very little and sometimes no production, but with lots of input. Finally, language is extremely complex: We don't talk enough, or write enough, to account for all the vocabulary and grammar that we acquire.
The best hypothesis is that the ability to speak is the result of language acquisition, not the cause. If this is true, forcing students to speak before they are ready is not only useless, but counterproductive. The best way to develop spoken fluency is to provide lots of interesting and comprehensible input. This means more pleasure reading and more listening (try www.eslpod.com for a free source of English input, designed for intermediate students of English as a foreign language).
Prof. Stephen Krashen
Los Angeles, California
Over the past few years, migrant workers’ rights have improved in Taiwan, but there has not been a comparable improvement in protections for employers, who are faced with a range of challenges, such as family nurses mistreating patients or workers threatening to change brokers or demanding that employers change their jobs. Then there is the decrease in work standards. Migrant workers too often find the lure of the underground jobs market irresistible, are unaware of employment laws and regulations, or have found that National Immigration Agency (NIA) checks are lax, and as a result abscond. If this happens, what protections or
The World Health Assembly (WHA) held its annual meeting this week; Taiwan was still not represented. Its journalists were also barred from covering the online-only proceedings, despite the nation’s clearly demonstrated pandemic expertise that has set an example for the world. When the SARS epidemic reached Taiwan from southern China in 2003, dozens of lives were lost, but its health experts learned the importance of general testing, masks, technology to locate infected persons, swift decisions and quarantines. The lessons were applied immediately across Taiwan when COVID-19 arrived this year. From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan participated as an observer in the assembly under
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has been giving daily COVID-19 updates for almost four months, and on several occasions when major developments have arisen, the news conferences have attracted large numbers of viewers. The entire nation is anxious about the pandemic, and interest in the latest news has become a part of daily life. Watching the center’s daily news conferences has become something of a national ritual. The pandemic has stabilized within Taiwan due to the admirable efforts of each person living in the nation conducting themselves with the utmost responsibility, and in certain cases making considerable sacrifices within their