TOEFL TV: "5 Tips for Learning English"

English is my second language and I went through that process. I definitely understand the struggles and the challenges our students face, because I am a teacher/educator. I am also a classroom teacher, teaching students how to learn English so I think the tips that I would like to give to students are...

First, be confident. Really be confident and believe in yourself and practice English trying to use the opportunities to communicate with native speakers, with your classmates, and with people you don't know. In that way, you can really build confidence and have more opportunities to practice.

The second strategy I would tell my students is trying to use the medias - listen to radios, watch TV programs - try to listen to those and train you ears. Once you have a good ear, you are a good listener, you can become a good speaker.

In terms of writing, I would say, start with a writing list - a shopping list and do memos and then go on to academic writings. And also don't be shy to ask your teachers, your instructors to give you feedback and then trying to revisions and then learning from others. And then you will be much, much better in your English skills.

For writing (that I talked about) and for reading, I think, in addition to reading the text books or materials that your instructors give you in the classroom, try to read newspapers. Don't be afraid of newspapers, actually they are fun to read. USA Today is a good one to start with and then maybe start with the weather report and then similar things and then you will enjoy reading. Because we all learn to read by reading.

And also English is the same thing. You are learning English by using English everyday.

Ok, I hope that helps. Thank you.

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Student News: June 2, 2009

(CNN Student News) -- June 2, 2009

1. What details are known about an Air France flight that went missing over the Atlantic Ocean Monday morning?
2. What actions is General Motors taking or planning to take in light of its bankruptcy filing?
3. According to the report: What impact did the opening of a GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee have on the town? What actions is GM considering taking with this plant? How are the town's residents responding to the situation, as seen in the report?
4. What challenges do you think that GM employees who lose their jobs will face in the near future? What, if anything, do you think should be done to help people who lose their jobs in the wake of GM's bankruptcy? Explain.*
5. What is the Junior Achievement (JA) Fellows Program? What are some of the items sold by the program's students, as mentioned in the segment?
6. According to the report: What challenges do some teens face in the current economy? What statements are made in the report regarding the benefits of the JA Fellows Program for its participants?
7. If you were to start your own business, what goods or services would you sell, and why?
8. What is The House, Inc.'s "Cinderella Ball"?
9. What do the people featured in the report say about the Cinderella Ball?
10. How do you think that the Cinderella Ball benefits the students who attend the event? Explain.

Click "read more" to read a transcript of this news cast.

Double-click on any word to see the meaning.

Today's show goes out to Mr. Gapusan's Ancient History classes at Challenger Middle School in San Diego, California. Thanks so much for watching. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Air France

AZUZ: We begin with tragic news today: the disappearance of a passenger plane. 228 people were onboard Air France flight 447 when it went off radar a little more than three hours into its eleven-hour flight. The plane took off Sunday night from an airport in Brazil. It was on its way to France. Yesterday, Air France's chief executive said the plane likely crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Planes and ships began searching about 225 miles off the Brazilian coast Monday. This story is developing. You can get the latest at

Town on Standby

AZUZ: Turning to the U.S. and an economic move we reported yesterday. As expected, General Motors filed for bankruptcy after years of losses. As part of this process, the company is making some drastic moves. GM is cutting loose more than a third of its U.S. dealerships by next year. If those dealers are forced to close, it could result in more than 100,000 job losses. A dozen GM facilities are being closed. They employ more than 20,000 workers, many of whom GM intends to lay off by the end of 2010. And three more plants are going on standby status, including one in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Sean Callebs reports on the impact of GM's bankruptcy on that town.


SEAN CALLEBS , CNN CORRESPONDENT: Little League and General Motors: American icons. But in the community of Spring Hill, about a 45-minute drive south of Nashville, one of these could be on the way out. GM could possibly shut down, phase out or sell off this factory in Spring Hill. Among the more than 3,000 anxious employees, Johnny Miranda, who left a GM job in Van Nuys, California 16 years ago to come work at this facility.

JOHNNY MIRANDA, GM AUTO WORKER: I want to think positive, 'cause it could bring you down. It can really mess you up if you be thinking they could close it and you are going to lose your job.

CALLEBS: For years and years, this plant made Saturn vehicles. It was supposed to be the car and the business plan that breathed new life into GM by taking sales away from fuel efficient Japanese cars. Saturn didn't revolutionize the industry, and two years ago, the Spring Hill plant stopped making the Saturn and began turning out Chevys. Sunday afternoon in the park is a welcome break, a chance to play with the kids and not think about the possibility of layoffs and mounting debts. Almost everyone in Spring Hill knows someone whose job is on the line.

WILL BARNES, SPRING HILL RESIDENT: My father in law works for GM. He's worked for GM ever since the day he graduated from college. He's cut his yard five times this week because this is the level of uncertainty for him. I hate to see him in that situation.

CALLEBS: Over the last two decades, subdivision after subdivision cropped up, and the town of Spring Hill blossomed in the shadow of the Saturn plant, now called GM-Spring Hill Manufacturing. But now that GM is filing for bankruptcy protection, this plant could be sold or closed in an effort to make GM leaner and keep the company in business.

MIRANDA: It's going to hurt. No question, it'll hurt.


Business Building

AZUZ: GM is certainly not the only company struggling in the current recession. But there are some businesses that are finding success, including several that were organized and run by people your age. Fredricka Whitfield tells us about a program that helps prepare students for their eventual entry into the workforce.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Despite the ailing economy, these high school students are highly optimistic about their future in the job market.

PERSON ON STREET #1: Take every opportunity that's given to you. Don't waste time.

WHITFIELD: They are a little bit more upbeat because they participated in a business-building program called the Junior Achievement Fellows, where the students are led by volunteers from various businesses.

AUDREY TREASURE, SENIOR DIRECTOR, JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT FELLOWS: The JA Fellows Program is an intensive, evening program for high school students, and we just finished our third year of the program.

WHITFIELD: Within four months, learning the "how to" of an upstart, these young men and women created business models, selling everything from jump-drive bracelets to save computer files on your wrist, to water bottles with built in filters.

TREASURE: The students had 16 weeks to run their companies. We had 15 companies, 220 students. During that time, which is arguably the worst economic climate in the United States or in the world, our students did over $30,000 in sales as a part of the program.

WHITFIELD: As summer approaches, with many retailers folding or scaling back, the once all-but-guaranteed summer jobs teenagers used to get at malls and amusement parks have dwindled. On top of that, they are now competing with adults for these coveted spots.

PERSON ON STREET #2: I think it will definitely be competitive, what with the economy as it is nowadays.

WHITFIELD: According to a recent poll, 33% of students said there seem to be fewer jobs available now. Eighteen percent of teens said they noticed they are working alongside more adults and retirees.

PERSON ON STREET #3: I think the problem today is that kids don't have business experience, and they are trying to go out in the workforce, and especially with the recession right now, it's hard to find jobs.

WHITFIELD: This group of students feels that their management skills have given them more economic responsibility for the future.

TREASURE: The students, I think, now feel like they're more equipped to understand what's going on. They feel like because they have the experience of starting their own business and being successful, that they have more advantages than other people have. And they also feel responsible for not letting something like this happen again in the future.

WHITFIELD: Fredricka Whitfield, CNN, Atlanta.


I.D. Me

TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: See if you can I.D. Me! I married into royalty after meeting my future husband at a dance. Many people recognize me by my famous glass footwear. I'm one of the world's most well-known princesses. I'm Cinderella, and the moral of my story is that dreams can come true.

Cinderella Ball

AZUZ: One organization's annual "Cinderella Ball" aims to make a specific dream come true for some young people: attending prom! You see, the dance is for disabled middle and high school students who often aren't able to participate in events at their own schools. But thanks to The House Inc., that dream is now a reality. Here's a look at this year's dance.


HELEN MCCORMICK, PRESIDENT, THE HOUSE INC.: It's The House Inc.'s 4th annual Cinderella Ball. And this is about students with disabilities that don't get invited at spring time to go to their own proms.

ALEX GONZALES, 13 YEARS OLD: It's exciting. I'm excited to be here. This is my first year, so I didn't know what to expect.

MCCORMICK: The children that will be coming tonight are various disabled, with kidney, children that are literally terminally ill, children that are having disabilities of cerebral palsey, Down syndrome, autism.

JORDIN SPARKS, SINGER: I do think it's sad that there are some kids who can't go to regular prom just because there might not be the facilities to help them to be able to do this. So this event, I just think that it is so amazing that somebody is taking the time out to give them that opportunity, to give them that experience.

VICTOR PADGET, FATHER: It's special, for one thing, because being a special needs father, she can't participate in all the other activities that other normal kids her age participate in. So, when you have something like this, you want to take full advantage of it, and she's really having a nice time.

You gonna dance with me?


PADGET: What are you gonna do? Shake your butt?


GONZALES: For other kids like me, coming to an event like this, I think it's a great experience.

SPARKS: Even if they are faced with challenges like that, I definitely think that for this one night, it's gonna be one of those times where they can just forget about it, and they can just be kids and they can be young and just have fun.



AZUZ: Excellent story. We only have a few shows left this school year, but you can keep up with us all summer long on Facebook. We'll be updating the official CNN Student News page while we're on break. Just search "CNN Student News official". We're even gonna have a new video up this week, which means I need to make one. So, check it out and keep checking back throughout the summer.

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, a graduation double feature from Florida. This is Chandler and Taylor. They're identical twins, and like many sisters, they do a lot of stuff together: play the same sports, they have the same friends, they graduate at the top of their class. That's right, they're both valedictorians, tying for the top spot with a GPA of 4.76. They really take that twin thing seriously. They're both heading to MIT in the fall.


AZUZ: Not surprising. With those grades, the twins' acceptance to a top school really shouldn't cause any double takes. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.

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I responded to everyone who commented on the voice thread. Thanks for participating! Click here to listen.

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Student News: June 1, 2009

I'm Carl Azuz and this is CNN Student News! It is the first day of June and our last week before summer break. Thank you very much for joining us.

First Up: A Look Back

AZUZ: First up, a major move for the country's largest automaker as General Motors is expected to file for bankruptcy today. This comes one month after Chrysler, another of the so-called "Big Three" U.S. car companies, did the very same thing. Under the terms of General Motors' bankruptcy, the company will be reorganized and essentially taken over by the government. Thirty years ago, GM made up more than 40 percent of U.S. auto sales. Today, that number is 19 percent. The company's reported more than $90 billion in losses since 2005. As the bankruptcy process begins, Christine Romans looks back at the history of GM and the American car.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Henry Ford started at the beginning of the last century with four wheels and a running board; 1908 was the birth of American car culture. That same year, General Motors was formed in Flint, Michigan. It wasn't until 1925 when the "Big Three" was complete with the formation of Chrysler Corporation.

JOHN DAVIS, HOST, MOTORWEEK: When the Big Three emerged, they not only emerged as rivals that really gave Americans much better automobiles at the time, but they also cemented the American automobile as a world standard.

ROMANS: "As goes General Motors, so goes the nation." That phrase defined America's economic power for much of the last century.

PETER MORICI, ECONOMIST, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: So many folks were either employed at General Motors or the other two major car makers, making steel and all the other components that go into cars. It just meant that if the automobile companies were prospering, the country was prospering, too.

ROMANS: Today, there are 74,000 rank-and-file GM workers in the U.S. But in its heyday, GM was the largest industrial company in the world; a technology leader. By 1979, 600,000 people worked for GM. Those good jobs helped build America's middle class.

DAVIS: It also allowed us to migrate out from the cities to have the quarter lot in a suburb, to basically get away from a lot of the congestion of the metropolitan areas.

ROMANS: General Moters was the company that revolutionized what we drove, how we thought about our cars, and how we paid for them. GM invented auto loans and the model year. It was the first to hire designers instead of engineers to create new car concepts; think big fins and chrome of the 1950s and 60s. And everything changed. Ford adopted flashy fins with the Ford Fairlane, as did Chrysler with the popular Desoto. Automobiles from the Big Three put their stamp on popular culture, from music to movies to television. What's considered to be the first rock and roll song ever recorded was "Rocket 88" by Ike Turner, about a GM product. The Pontiac GTO, considered by many to be the first true muscle car, was showcased in a song by Ronnie and the Daytonas.


ROMANS: The Corvette on Route 66. The 1948 Ford in the iconic movie "Grease."

FROM "GREASE": Go grease lighting, go grease lighting...

ROMANS: The TransAm in Smokey and the Bandit, and Archie Bunker's Old La Salle.

CARROLL O'CONNOR AND JEAN STAPLETON, "ALL IN THE FAMILY": Gee, our Old La Salle ran great. Those were the days...



GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Schultz's civics classes at David Brearley Middle School in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Where did the word "cyberspace" first appear? Was it in a: A)Movie, B) Book, C) Scientific paper or D) Magazine article? You've got three seconds -- GO! Author William Gibson is credited with creating the word in a science fiction novel. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Cybersecurity Concerns

AZUZ: It may have started as science fiction, but these days, practically all of us, including the government, spend time in cyberspace. But President Obama says we're not as prepared as we should be, as a government or a country, for cyber-attacks. That's why he's planning to create a new position: cybersecurity coordinator. Jeanne Meserve explains the new job.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hackers cut power to a skyscraper and then reprogram it to play Space Invaders in a spoof video on YouTube. But cybersecurity is not a laughing matter.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's now clear this cyberthreat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.

MESERVE: Americans use the Internet to bank and shop and talk to one another. Electricity, water, transportation all depend on it. But every day, there are attacks. The White House estimates in the past two years cybercrime has cost Americans more than $8 billion. And last year alone, hackers stole one trillion dollars worth of business secrets. Military and intelligence networks have been penetrated, and tests have shown a cyberattack can destroy critical infrastructure, like this generator. President Obama says the country is not prepared.

OBAMA: From now on, our digital infrastructure, the networks and computers we depend on every day, will be treated as they should be: as a strategic national asset. Protecting this infrastructure will be a national security priority.

MESERVE: The president will hand pick a cybersecurity coordinator to integrate policies across government, work closely with the private sector, and coordinate the federal response to attacks. Still unknown: who will get the job.

JAMES LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: If you get the wrong person, or you put them in an office that doesn't have very much power, you can have the best plan in the world and it still won't work.

MESERVE: The plan is short on specifics, though the president says government will not dictate security standards to private industry, and will not monitor private networks or Internet traffic. Security experts say they generally like the steps the administration is taking, but warn there are many more steps to take on the long road to securing the nation's cyber-infrastructure. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


Big Ben's Birthday!

AZUZ: Heading across the Atlantic now to celebrate a big British birthday. Big Ben, one of the world's most famous clocks, turned 150 years old yesterday. Recently voted as Britain's favorite monument, it's actually just the 14-ton bell that's named "Big Ben," although most people use it describe the tower and clock, too. Despite a couple disruptions over the years, Big Ben has helped keep London on time since 1859.

Extra, Extra Innings

AZUZ: This college baseball game didn't last quite 150 years, but it did go into extra innings; 16 of them! Texas and Boston College took the field at 7 p.m. and left it at 2 a.m. after playing the longest game in NCAA history: 25 innings, almost 3 full games. At one point, a relief pitcher threw 13 scoreless innings. In the end, an RBI single helped Texas triumph, 3-2.

Word to the Wise

RAMSAY: A Word to the Wise...

sustainable (adjective) capable of being maintained with minimal long-term effects on the environment


Reusable Lessons

AZUZ: Sustainability projects can be as simple as recycling paper and plastic and using recycled materials, or they can be as complex as altering the viscosity of waste oil to convert it into biodiesel fuel. There's one place in Atlanta, Georgia that's doing all of this: a school! Jacqui Jeras takes us on a tour of the campus's environmentally-friendly efforts.


JACQUI JERAS, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: The botany classroom is the great outdoors for students at the Lovett School in Atlanta.

ELLIOT MCCARTHY, THE LOVETT SCHOOL: This is something that we'll actually use later in life.

JERAS: They're digging in the dirt, getting lessons in environmental sustainability.

MCCARTHY: It's much healthier for you, it's less chemicals, it's completely natural and it costs less.

JERAS: The school's organic garden is just the beginning.

ALEX REYNOLDS, SCIENCE TEACHER: The idea that your labor can then nourish you is a life lesson, you know, and the fact that you take responsibility. If you do something wrong, you have to fix it.

JERAS: Food from the garden goes to the cafeteria. Menus change depending on what's fresh. The dining hall is also trayless, saving thousands of gallons of water used to wash them. The cafeteria does more than just cook with sustainability in mind. For example, all of the oil that is used for fried foods is ultimately turned into biodiesel. That biofuel is used to fill up the school's maintenance vehicles for half the cost of gas. There is even a wind turbine on campus creating electricity. But the key is keeping the students involved.

BILL DUNKEL, PRINCIPAL, THE LOVETT SCHOOL: It's really important for us to educate young people to be good citizens for the 21st century.

THOMAS MACDONALD, THE LOVETT SCHOOL: It's my earth and my water and my air, too, so I dont want anybody trashing it.

JERAS: Jacqui Jeras, CNN, Atlanta.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go: the answer to one of life's great mysteries. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get a donut! At least that's this bird brain's excuse. Alright, he's actually a rooster, but you get it. Every morning, he'd hear the opening bell at Scrumdiddilyumptious Donuts and dash across the street to get his complementary breakfast. Did heavy traffic ever scare him away from his risky run?


AZUZ: We already told you, this guy's no chicken. Well, we will be back tomorrow. You guys have a great one.

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The Winner!

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