TOEFLtv: How to Learn a Language (in 2 Minutes)

Learn a language in two minutes? You can't! What do you think this is? The Matrix??? I can't just upload it into your brain!

But in the next two minutes, I can upload into your brain the four applications you'll need to upload the rest when you are practicing.

Hi this is Joel from and I'm going to talk to you about complete language training. When I talk about lesson plans there are four aspects I keep in mind. The first is input, the second is output, third is language focus, and the fourth is fluency.

A couple of them are pretty obvious. Input is just reading and listening. You need to get tons of reading practice, tons of listening practice and you need to understand everything that you are reading and listening so you need to use a dictionary or be working online so you can look things up.

The second one is output. So as much as you listen and read you need to be talking with people. You also need to be writing, giving presentations--so, output.

The third one is language focus. So this is basically your grammar skills; so you are studying specific grammar points. Also, pronunciation points. And even, social aspects: how to get into a conversation, how to get out of a conversation...

The fourth one --that a lot of people miss-- is fluency. This is basically taking what you already know, so you are not doing anything new, and just making it faster. This might be in some sort of a presentation situation. The first time you do it, it takes you 5 minutes. Then you speed it up a little bit to where you can get it down to 4 minutes...maybe down to 3 minutes. So the things you already know and just making them faster.

I should also mention that this model comes from Paul Nation. I think that he's at the University of Wellington in New Zealand. This is a model that he came up with based on all the latest research.

So input, output, language focus, and fluency. If you do about 25% of each of them, you'll have a very balanced training, and you'll be able to do everything you need to do in English.

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Wednesday's News


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Just 16 shows left before we break for the summer, so you better enjoy 'em while you can. Here with today's edition, I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Detainee Photos

AZUZ: First up, President Obama reverses his decision about releasing photographs that show alleged prisoner abuse. These pictures are from prison facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Civil Liberties Union says the president's decision not to release them "makes a mockery" of his promise for transparency and accountability.

Here's a little history for you: Back in 2006, images of detainees being abused and humiliated at the Abu Ghraib military prison in Iraq sparked widespread outrage. Several prison guards were convicted, the prison commander was fired and the facility was shut down. It re-opened this year under Iraqi control.

The pictures showing military personnel allegedly abusing detainees were scheduled to be released later this month. These photos are from investigations between 2001 and 2006. The Pentagon says it is taking these allegations very seriously. At first, it wanted to keep these pictures from the public, but it agreed to release them after losing two court cases. Last month, the White House said it had no problem releasing the photos, but last week, President Obama met with his legal team because he "didn't feel comfortable" with the idea. Yesterday, he announced his decision to stop the release and offered his explanation.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals. In fact, the most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.


GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What country is considered the world's largest democracy? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) China, B) United States, C) Russia or D) India? You've got three seconds -- GO! With more than a billion people, India is considered the world's largest democracy. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

AZUZ: That's why India's general election lasts for a month! The country has more than 700 million voters; that is more than double the entire population of the United States. When the votes are tallied up this weekend, they won't include anyone from the village of Niwari, because everyone there refused to take part. Sara Sidner explains the reason behind the town's political protest.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the end of this dusty crumbling road, there's a political firestorm brewing. "What is the reason you hate politicians so much," village leader Munni Devi asks the group of women gathered. It's a loaded question with a simple answer. Everyone here agrees: Not one politician -- local, state or national -- has done a thing to fix the only road that connects this village with the rest of civilization. The road is so bad it doesn't matter if you're in a bullock cart or in a car, you're almost forced to go the same speed. The villagers here are so upset about the condition of the road they've formed a committee. The women have taken the lead, with Munni Devi as their leader.

MUNNI DEVI, VILLAGE LEADER (HINDI TRANSLATION): No politician has ever done anything for our village. This is why we made our committee here, and have decided that nobody will vote.

SIDNER: So, instead of the colorful political flags touting their favorite parties this election year, this village is flying black flags, signifying the will to vote is dead here.

BEGWATI TYAGI (TRANSLATION): I won't go to vote because of the road. The children travel on it; they are getting hurt by the vehicles. Everyone's worried. We will vote when the road is fixed.

SIDNER: This road has stirred up a political dust storm. Two months after its construction, it failed, and it's been deteriorating for five years now, even deterring students from attending this college. And more importantly, ambulances and some buses refuse to take this 7-kilometer stretch. Residents say it's also a killer, as vehicles try to navigate the pits and potholes.

ARUN TYAGI, VILLAGER (TRANSLATION): At least 6 young people have died here. Our pregnant women have had babies midway while being taken to the hospital. We face all these problems.

SIDNER: Political leaders have promised to fix the road. But until something's done, village life will have to continue as is. Munni Devi is just hoping she can create enough heat to get the politicians to smooth things over, literally. Sara Sidner, CNN, Niwari, India.


Shoutout Extra Credit

RAMSAY: Time for a Shoutout Extra Credit! When did NASA launch the first space shuttle? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it in: A) 1979, B) 1981, C) 1983 or D) 1985? Countdown at 3..2..1.. GO! The first space shuttle reached orbit in 1981; the program's final flight is scheduled for next year. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout Extra Credit!

Repair Mission

AZUZ: Before that final flight, the space shuttle program still has some work to do, starting with its current mission to upgrade the Hubble Telescope. Atlantis caught up to the Hubble in orbit yesterday about 350 miles above your head, and used its robotic arm to bring the device into the shuttle's cargo bay. Astronauts are scheduled to make five space walks during this final repair mission to the telescope. All-told, the trip, which launched on Monday, is scheduled to last 11 days. A post-launch survey showed some dings in four of the shuttle's tiles, but NASA's flight director said they looked to be minor.

Summer Job Squeeze

AZUZ: Back on the ground, some of you who are searching for summer jobs might not be having much a lot of luck. The unemployment rate among teens is around 22 percent; that's the worst it's been in decades! Part of the reason: You're not the only age group applying for these positions. Sandra Endo examines the competition for seasonal employment.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Virginia's Merritt Academy announced it was looking for summer camp counselors, camp director Amanda Sperling says she never expected what happened the next day.

AMANDA SPERLING, CAMP DIRECTOR, MERRITT ACADEMY: 55 emails and a full voicemail box.

ENDO: Another surprise? The ages of job seekers and their qualifications, some of them engineers or teachers like Hallie Rasmussen. Out of about 150 candidates, she's one of 25 that made the cut.

HALLIE RASMUSSEN, TEACHER, MERRITT ACADEMY: I had no idea how many people had applied, but that's very exciting that I did get it.

ENDO: In these economic tough times, the traditional summer jobs typically sought after by teens are also coveted by more experienced adults, many of them out of work or looking to change careers. Officials at Six Flags amusement parks say they've seen a lot of that lately.

MARK SHAPIRO, PRES./CEO, SIX FLAGS: We have almost American Idol lines at our job fairs. It's moms looking for jobs, teachers in the off season looking for jobs. It's grandparents looking to do something in the summer. It's fathers that are potentially looking for a second job.

ENDO: Good news for companies looking for workers with experience. Bad news for teens hoping to get some.

JACK KOSAKOWSKI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT & COO, JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT: Our research shows that it's going to be very difficult for teens to actually get jobs. It's the toughest job market for teens since World War II.

ENDO: Experts say teens can increase their chances by applying for jobs in person, showing off their skills and keeping in mind experience isn't always everything.

SPERLING: Even though you're really well qualified, we want to make sure you still know how to have fun.

ENDO: Sandra Endo, CNN, Washington.


Blog Report

AZUZ: Some of you say texting is so much fun, it's impossible to stop, even while driving. On our blog, Mr. K's civics class asked if I text while I drive. No. No texts, no e-mail. I just tell people later I was driving. But that wouldn't work for Aimee, Scott and Jordan. They all noted that people get mad at you if you don't text them back. Frannie says, "I think people are just so used to texting that it's hard for them to stop, even just to get somewhere." A lot of you agree with Jack: "I don't think anyone really thinks they will crash or be pulled over for texting, so they just keep doing it." From Jen: "When I ride a bike, I send text messages and make a call with only one hand gripping the handle. I almost got hit by a car once by doing that, but I still do it." And from Marshall: "We can't disconnect because some people are just obsessed and don't care what happens. The benefit-to-risk factor is definitely not worth it."

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, prepare for one of nature's most terrifying tales. Aahh! Okay, maybe this doesn't look that scary, but just wait for the description: headless, zombie ants. They're not coming to take over the Earth; they're already here! Attacked by vicious parasites that take over their bodies and turn them into walking zombies. Actually, scientists say this kind of thing happens more often than we know. How about that headless part? Well, the parasite larvae hatch inside the ants, eat their brains, and then their heads fall off. You know, the usual.


AZUZ: That's the kind of thing that'll really make you lose your head. I mean, it's zombie-lievable! We'll be back tomorrow to close out the week. We'll see you then.
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CNN Student News (with transcript)

Double click on any word to see the meaning...

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Space Shuttle Atlantis, taking off on its mission to the Hubble telescope. CNN Student News is also ready to take flight. This is your captain, Carl Azuz.

First Up: Easier Said than Done?

AZUZ: President Obama says the medical industry is on board with his plan to overhaul the country's health care system. He needs that support, because they're the ones who will have to make the changes. Some Republicans say the president hasn't explained how he'll pay for this new plan Obama says without it, the country's budget could end up on a "disastrous path."


AZUZ: The Obama administration says health care costs are out of control, and they're only going to get higher if nothing is done. So, the president's trying to slow those cost increases by proposing a new health care system, and that's why he met with some leaders of the health care industry on Monday. They say they're committed to reducing the growth in national health care spending. For example, if everything goes as planned, a family of four could save $2,500 five years from now. The president liked what he heard.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We are on an unsustainable course that threatens the financial stability of families, businesses and government itself.

AZUZ: But medical organizations have another reason to work with the president: They don't want Congress to make any laws determining medical prices. So, they're hoping that by promising to cut costs themselves, they'll keep the government from doing it. And the Obama administration says it doesn't have a way to enforce the companies' cost-cutting commitment other than saying who's kept their promise and who hasn't. So, the road to reform is anything but paved smoothly.

AZUZ: Checking out a couple other headlines now, starting in Iran. Roxana Saberi, whom you see in this file video, is free. The Iranian-American journalist was being held in prison in Iran after being sentenced to eight years on charges of espionage, or spying. Saberi denied the charges. Her release came one day after the country's court of appeals heard her case and changed the sentence. White House officials say President Obama, who had called for Saberi's release, was "relieved" at the news.

Staying in the Middle East, but moving to Israel. Pope Benedict the XVI visited the nation yesterday, the first time any Pope has been there in nine years. During his visit, Pope Benedict urged Israelis and Palestinians to end their long-running conflict, and he called for understanding and cooperation between all religions. The pope also visited Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, where he paid tribute to the millions of Jewish victims of Nazi Germany and prayed that "humanity will never again witness a crime of such magnitude."

Word to the Wise


epicenter (noun) the location on the earth's surface directly above where an earthquake begins

source: U.S. Geological Survey

Rebuilding Yaojin

AZUZ: In China's Sichuan Province, many residents are still rebuilding after a deadly earthquake that hit one year ago today. The 7.9-magnitude tremor claimed nearly 70,000 lives, with almost 18,000 more people still missing. But in a city just 17 miles from the quake's epicenter, residents are leading a relatively normal life. John Vause explains how volunteers from half a world away helped this town recover from the devastation.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What happened here in the small village of Yaojin is about more than bricks and mortar, of houses and buildings now standing where once there was rubble. This is where a community has been rebuilt, where confidence and hope, shattered as easily as concrete turned to powder, have been reborn.

"From the bathrooms to the kitchen, it's just like living in the city," the village leader told me. We're just 17 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, and life has returned to Yaojin. It's ordinary, everyday life, and in this place, that seems extraordinary.

DAVID DARG, OPERATION BLESSING: We were able to go in and erase the fact that an earthquake wiped out their hope, wiped away their lives and their houses. And now they're living in a new village.

VAUSE: David Darg and a small team from Operation Blessing, a U.S.-based charity, arrived in Sichuan three days after the earth shook, bringing destruction across an area about the size of Spain. More than 69,000 dead, hundreds of thousands hurt, and millions were left homeless. Everywhere they looked, there was overwhelming need. So, they made a difficult choice.

DARG: We wanted to focus our efforts and make an impact on one location, rather than spread ourselves thin and try and help as many people as possible.

VAUSE: They chose Yaojin because here, they say, the villagers had shown a gritty determination to help themselves. And over the next year, men and women, old and young, more than two hundred people worked together to rebuild their homes .

DARG: They don't really care how tiring it is, they're just going to do it.

VAUSE: David and his wife Naomi spent the first eight months of marriage in Yaojin.

WOMAN: Merry Christmas!

VAUSE: Her father, an engineer, visited from Australia and designed the buildings with extra steel, enough to survive another quake.

PAUL KEVIN, CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER: So, if a building is being shaken, the walls won't crack in a horizontal line.

VAUSE: So, 11 months after they began...

DARG: We're finally moving them out of their temporary shelters.

VAUSE: ...And into their new homes. Never had a bathroom before, indoor plumbing. Mr. Chen proudly showed me around his 2-story, 5-bedroom home.

"We didn't have anything after the earthquake," he says. "How can we think this could happen?" 253 people live here in Yaojin. The village, they say, is bigger and better built than before the earthquake. But across the quake zone, they're the fortunate ones. Many are still living in temporary housing, unsure when they, too, will have a real home of their own. John Vause, CNN, Yaojin, China.



TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! What is the name of this song? Is it: A) Pomp and Circumstance, B) Rhapsody in Blue, C) Canon in D Major or D) Fanfare for the Common Man? You've got three seconds -- GO! Pomp and Circumstance has been played at graduations for around a century. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Katrina Class

AZUZ: In the next few weeks, many of you seniors will be walking to that traditional tune. Wrapping up an education and getting your diploma is always a major milestone. But for some college students in New Orleans, this spring's ceremonies carry special meaning because of how their college lives began. Maya Rodriguez of affiliate WWL explains why.


MAYA RODRIGUEZ, WWL REPORTER: The pomp and circumstance may seem typical of any graduation, yet these graduates are anything but.

ALCINA WALTERS, DILLARD UNIVERSITY GRADUATE: We came back, and we did what we had to do.


RODRIGUEZ: The times were the days surrounding Hurricane Katrina. This marks some of the first graduation ceremonies of the so-called "Katrina Class," the students who started college in New Orleans just days before Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, (R) LOUISIANA: I certainly would be remiss if I didn't note that this is a class of students who are nothing if not determined.

RODRIGUEZ: Determined because the storm temporarily shut down all of their campuses and severely damaged others. At Dillard University, floodwaters swamped their Gentilly campus.

WALTERS: Two weeks we had here at Dillard before Hurricane Katrina.

RODRIGUEZ: Alcina Walters evacuated to Shreveport, then Austin, Texas, and eventually San Antonio. She temporarily enrolled at the University of Texas in San Antonio before returning to Dillard months later. During the storm, her dorm room flooded and then burned down in a fire. She lost everything. Despite that, she emerged as the top graduate of Dillard's class of 2009. But she says she shares her success with her fellow graduates.

WALTERS: We all did an amazing job together.

RODRIGUEZ: It's a story repeated across town at Xavier University's ceremony, where students reflected on how the storm damaged their campus and disrupted their education.

GONZALES: It's definitely hard to live in a hotel room for quite a long time, so it's definitely not the most ideal living situation, for sure.

KAYLAN DENNIS, XAVIER UNIVERSITY GRADUATE: It affected it very much. Out of school for six months, didn't know where some of our family members were, either. So, that was very hard, but we got through it.

RODRIGUEZ: And now, they share a connection across campuses here, bound together by a natural disaster at the start, and ending with a new beginning.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, all those times your mom told you to make the bed, maybe it was secret training for this! Actually, these guys have a lot better motivation than avoiding punishment: they're getting cash! It's Gainesville, Florida's annual bed-making contest, where winners can take home a couple hundred bucks. They're judged on neatness, speed and making crisp corners. If you're into cleanliness and competition, a bed-making contest is probably right up your alley.

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