Please listen to a short passage carefully and prepare to answer some questions.
Listen to the tape again. Then answer the following questions with your own experiences.
1. What problems do you have in trying to learn English in your middle school?
2. Why do you think the computer can help you in learning English?
3. What other things do you think we can gain through English language learning?
Learning a Foreign Language
Learning a foreign language was one of the most difficult yet most rewarding experiences of my life. Although at times, learning a language was frustrating, it was well worth the effort.
My experience with a foreign language began in junior middle school, when I took my first English class. I had a kind and patient teacher who often praised all of the students. Because of this positive method, I eagerly answered all the questions I could, never worrying much about making mistakes. I was at the top of my class for two years.
When I went to senior middle school, I was eager to continue studying English; however, my experience in senior school was very different from before. While my former teacher had been patient with all the students, my new teacher quickly punished those who gave incorrect answers. Whenever we answered incorrectly, she pointed a long stick at us and, shaking it up and down, shouted, "No! No! No!" It didn't take me long to lose my eagerness to answer questions. Not only did I lose my joy in answering questions, but also I totally lost my desire to say anything at all in English.
However, that state didn't last long. When I went to college, I learned that all students were required to take an English course. Unlike my senior middle school teacher, my college English teachers were patient and kind, and none of them carried long, pointed sticks! However, the situation was far from perfect. As our classes were very large, I was only able to answer a couple of questions in each class period. Also, after a few weeks of classes, I noticed there were many students who spoke much better than I did. I began to feel intimidated. So, once again, although for different reasons, I was afraid to speak. It seemed my English was going to stay at the same level forever.
That was the situation until a couple of years later, when I was offered an opportunity to study English through an online course. The communication medium was a computer, phone line, and modem. I soon got access to the necessary equipment, learned the technology from a friend and participated in the virtual classroom 5 to 7 days a week.
Online learning is not easier than regular classroom study; it requires much time, commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the course. I worked hard to meet the minimum standards set by the course and to complete assignments on time.
I practiced all the time. I carried a little dictionary with me everywhere I went, as well as a notebook in which I listed any new words I heard. I made many, sometimes embarrassing, mistakes. Once in a while I cried with frustration, and sometimes I felt like giving up. But I didn't feel intimidated by students who spoke faster than I did because I took all the time I needed to think out my ideas and wrote a reply before posting it on the screen. Then, one day I realized I could understand just about everything I came across, and most importantly, I could "say" anything I wanted to in English. Although I still made many mistakes and was continually learning, I had finally reaped the benefits of all that hard work.
Learning a foreign language has been a most trying experience for me, but one that I wouldn't trade for anything. Not only did learning another language teach me the value of hard work, but it also gave me insights into another culture, and my mind was opened to new ways of seeing things. The most wonderful result of having learned a foreign language was that I could communicate with many more people than before. Talking with people is one of my favorite activities, so being able to speak a new language lets me meet new people, participate in conversations, and form new, unforgettable friendships. Now that I speak a foreign language, instead of staring into space when English is being spoken, I can participate and make friends. I am able to reach out to others and bridge the gap between my language and culture and theirs.
vt. give sth. in return for good and valuable doings 报答，酬谢，奖励
n. 1. something as a return for good and valuable doings 报答，奖赏
2. some money given to someone for his good doings 报酬，酬金
vt. 1. cause sb. to have feelings of disappointment 使沮丧，使灰心
2. cause the failure of sth. 使挫败，使受挫折
n. 1. someone who is younger 年少者
2. someone of low or lower position 地位较低者，晚辈
a. 1. leading to a practical action 积极的，肯定的
2. sure, having no doubt 确实的，明确的
a. of an early period 在前的，以前的，旧时的
n. (the ～) the first of the two people or things just mentioned 前者
Prep.not like; being different from 不像；和……不同
vt. frighten by making threats 恐吓，威胁
n. a good moment or chance for doing sth. 机会，时机
a. & ad. 连线的，联网的；连线地，联网地
vi. send and exchange feelings, opinions or information 交流，交际
vt. make (opinions, feelings or information) known or understood by others 传达，传播
n. the action of sending and exchanging information 交流，交际；通信
n. a method for giving information 媒质，媒介物，传导体
a. of middle size, amount, quality 中等的，适中的
n. 1. [U] means or right of using, reaching 接近，进入
2. means of entering, or a way in 通道，入口
vi. (in) take part in 参与，参加
a. 1.［计］being produced by the computer but almost true to the reality 虚构的，虚拟的
2. almost what is stated 实质上的，事实上的，实际上的
n. 1. devotion to 信奉，献身
2. a promise to follow certain beliefs or actions 承诺，许诺，保证
n. 1. a state of order and control; self-control 纪律；控制
2. punishment 惩罚，处分
3. a btanch of learning 学科
a. the smallest 最低的，最小的
n. the smallest amount 最低限度，最少量
n. 1. [C] a piece of work given to a particular person（分派的）任务，（指定的）作业
2. [U] act of dividing assignments 分配，指派
vt. make someone feel upset esp. doing sth. not rightly 使窘迫，使尴尬，使不好意思
n. 1. 屏幕，银幕
a. 1. continuing without breaks 不间断的，不停的
2. repeated often and over a long period 多次重复的，频频的
ad. 1. 不间断地，不停地
ad. at last 最后，终于
vt. 1. have and enjoy the food or things that happen as a result of work 获得，得到
2. cut and gather a crop of grain 收割，收获
n. anything that brings help or profit 益处，好处
vt. be useful or helpful to 有益于
n. the power of using one's mind to see or understand the true nature of sth. 洞察力，洞悉，深刻的见解
a. most loved 特别受宠的
n. something or someone that is loved above all others 特别喜爱的人（或物）
n. something that is done or is being done 活动，行动
n. an empty space between two objects 缺口，裂口
PHRASES AND EXPRESSIONS
be well worth sth./ doing sth.
be rewarding enough (to do) for the time or effort 值得……的
not only...but also...
not ... at all; rather than 一点都不
a couple of
two or three 两三个
get access to
get the right of using or reaching sth. 可以使用，获得
keep up with
not to fall behind in; keep the same speed as 跟上，不落后
feel like sth./doing sth.
want to do sth. 想做，想要
stop having or doing 停止，放弃
meet with 偶然遇上
reap the benefits of
get sth. as a reward 获得益处，得到好处
take part in 参加
because (sth. has happened) 既然，由于
reach out to
communicate with; contact 接触，联系