Wed, Oct 16, 2013 - Page 8

Wiretaps a breach of ethics

Although I am not familiar with Taiwanese law or its nuances, I do question both the legality and the ethics of Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Mistakenly wiretapping anyone without a court order could or should be considered criminal activity. The discussion of material generated during an investigation, especially by the president of the country, constitutes a gross breach of ethics and possibly compromises the entire investigation due to undue influence.

If what Huang says is true about his discussions with the president, I would think that at the least a charge of breach of ethics is in order.

An apology? Seems to me to be a little too late.

Tom Kuleck

Greater Taichung

A better way to English

Hugo Tseng (曾泰元) notes that the level of English among college students in Taiwan is unsatisfactory, and feels that the cause is ineffective instruction using “formalistic methods” (“English requirement wastes time,” Oct. 12, page 8). This complaint is heard in many countries around the world.

There is a method of

dramatically improving the situation that costs little and that students nearly always enjoy: pleasure-reading in English.

English students who are given some time to read English books and magazines (and comic books) that they really want to read without having to answer comprehension questions make better progress in all aspects of the language than students in traditional “formalistic” classes: They acquire more vocabulary and grammar, they write and spell better.

In addition, studies show that the amount of self-selected reading done is a consistent predictor of TOEFL test performance. Also, the academic literature contains case histories of those who have made progress in English from pleasure-reading alone.

Moreover, pleasure-reading is something English acquirers can easily do on their own and continue after they finish their studies.

Some of the best research in this area has, in fact, been done in Taiwan, by Lee Sy-ying (李思穎), a professor at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and her associates Wang Fei-yu (王費瑜) and Hsieh Ming-yi (謝明義), and Kenneth Smith of the Wenzao Ursuline College of Language.

Stephen Krashen

Los Angeles, California