to sally

July 23, 2006


Dear Sally,


I have received your two emails and thanks for writing me. I am sorry that I haven’t been able to answer your questions promptly.


Of course I remember you well, very well indeed. In the UC English chat room there are not many high school students in fact. And when I was chatting with you on the public mike, your English and your pronunciation impressed me a great deal. I bet you have got a wonderful English teacher and that you are a good learner, too. I said that you could be one of my students because I teach the language in a high school in my city.


Now your question No. 1. I wouldn’t give you a long lecture here on how to learn English and how to prepare for the college entrance exam. Your teacher should know better. So my first tip is to follow your own English teacher closely in the coming term. Your English teacher is your guide, your dictionary and your grammar. I am sure that s/he will give you a detailed plan as to what to do and how to do it for the English study. It would be a dangerous idea to study completely on your own in the last year. I know some students do, but it is very costly. Your teacher’s experience will point you a shortcut to a higher score in the exam, if there is ever such a “shortcut”. In a word, trust your English teacher and turn to him/her when you are in need.


My second tip is to read some fresh materials all through the year. I think you sounded wise when you told me in the letter that reading newspapers is of great importance. It is. You are sure to study Senior English for China Book III. The reading passages are of a very high quality. Read them all with your teacher’s instructions. But a good learner should go beyond them. There are several English language coaching papers available in the country for high school students. Choose to read one of them. Read them for the purpose of learning about the world, people, your peers, etc. Learning this way, you will find that English is living, it is not a dead language learned only for choosing the best answer in the final exam. So, make a plan for your reading in the coming year.


Let’s come to your question No. 2. Is arts easier than science? Or do arts students have an easier time than science students in the last year? If your answer were YES, it would simply fit the popular belief, but it is a stereotype (do you still remember the word?). It would not be proper to put arts and science side by side and compare them on the same standard. Anyway they are different, requiring different learning skills and work in different aspects. Each of them has its own thorny points. One obvious difference is that arts students tend to be intuitional while science students rational. And a society needs chemists, physicists, doctors, and biologists. It needs as well lawyers, government officials, sociologists, psychologists, thinkers, writers, and educators. In my opinion, both disciplines are important. It is a good idea to follow your interest when you choose which to study. You have made your choice and stick to it, girl.


And now the third question. University A and University B offer the same major, say bioengineering. University A is a renowned institution while University B is a very ordinary college. The trouble is, University A’s bioengineering is not as good as University B’s. Which would you choose? Probably you would have to make the decision next year. It will be completely up to you. But if I were you, I would choose University B’s bioengineering for the simple reason that it is very strong and that I would benefit most from it. University A is famous but not all the students excel in those famous places, do they?


I wish my answers would help you a bit. This letter is also posted on my English blog as an entry. If you like, go to the following link and check it out.


You are welcome to write me more but please be patient with my reply. I promise I read your emails but I can’t promise I will reply to all.


It is a pity that you started your new term so early. My new term will start soon, on August 1.


Thanks again for writing, Sally, and good luck with your studies.


Yours ever,



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa
    Aug 01, 2006 @ 04:14:27

    Hi,Shengliver,I’m in your garden now,lestening to the beautiful music and reading yourarticle which the letter of your answering Sally.In fact,I never this state of mind.When I  read your letter,I’m very happy,I don’t fee bored and tired.It seemed you are in front of me and talking with me patiently.I can feel that you are really the best teacher for yout students.I’m so extremaly ashamed because I’m always satisfied with my teaching.I thought I worked hard enough and make my students gain the high score in the high school entrance exam…In fact that’s only a dumb English!Maybe because of I living in the small mountain area town ,i only learnt and tauht it by my teaching even though i’ve taught it for 15 years,my English level is still very limited.I’m so thankful the net,it made me know you—the perfect English teacher and your colorful garden.I know i’ m only a tiny teacher—just stay here—this unknown small town ‘s school,I’ll try my best to improve my English level in order to the children of the unknow town cam fly out here to achieve their dreams ,make more children can enter a good high school.It’s my dream.
          At last I  express my heartfelt gratitude for you again—-thank you for you leading me into your colorful garder which the English heaven.
        Give you all my best wishes!


  2. Shengliver
    Aug 01, 2006 @ 12:36:46

    Oh, Lisa. Thanks.


  3. Jan 17, 2007 @ 09:57:21

    hope to talk with you this is my msn address


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