Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Importance Of Our Daily Use Of Informative Listening

Much of our learning comes from informative listening. For example, we listen to lectures or instructions from teachers - and what we learn depends on how well we listen. Careful informative listening is a necessity because sometimes, careless listening can cause misunderstanding among people.

There are 3 important things included in informative listening which can improve our skills.

  1. Vocabulary. It has been proven that inreasing your vocabulary will increase your potential for better understanding and it's never too late to improve your vocabulary. You can always start by increasing your reading activities whether it involves picking up a new book or reading the morning paper.
  2. Concentration. Concentration is difficult. You can remember times when another person was not concentrating on what you were saying - and you probably can remember times when you were not concentrating on something that someone was asying to you. Whether you are occupied at the moment the speaker is talking, the lacck of curiosity and itnerest or lack of motivation to accept responsibility for good listening, try to push those distractions aside because you might just miss out on important information.
  3. Memory. Meomory plays an important part of our daily lives. It could be either remembering the road home or to work, where this particular store is located in the shopping mall. Overall, memory helps your informative listening in 2 ways.
  • It allows you to recall experiences and information necessary to function in the world around you. In other words, without memory you would have no knowledge bank.
  • It allows you to understand what others say. Without simple memory of the meaning of words, you caould not communicate with anyone else. Without memory concepts and ideas, you ccould not understand the meaning of messages.

As we all know, we probably will still be studying for another year or so. Therefore being fully equipped with these informative listening skills is important as it can help us learn and absorb information easier.

Kline, John A 1996. "Types Of Listening". Listening Effectively. Web. May 31st 2009.

Yang Su Ying

The Whats Of Phonological Rules In English

In the complicating world of languages, phonetic environment influences how a sound is pronounced. In most times, non-native speakers of English can be rather sensitive to such deviations from the expected pronunciation.

Phonological rules can be divided into 4 groups
  1. Assimilation. Rules of this kind describe processes where a sound becomes more similar to a neighboring sound. This is the kind of rule that occurs in the English plural rule described above - the -s becomes voiced or voiceless depending on whether or not the preceding consonant is voiced.
  2. Dissimilation. When a sound changes one of its features to become less similar to an adjacent sound, usually to make the two sounds more distinguishable. This type of rule is often seen among people speaking a language that is not their native language, where the sound contrasts may be difficult.
  3. Insertion. When an extra sound is added between two other. For example, when we pronounce the word 'hamster' at a regular speed, most of us will say and hear 'hampster' with a 'p'. This also occurs in the English plural rule: when the plural morpheme -s is added to "bus", "bus-s" would be unpronounceable, so a short vowel is inserted between the two 's's.
  4. Deletion. When a sound, such as a stressless syllable or a weak consonant, is not pronounced. For example, most American English speakers do not pronounce the 'd' in 'handbag'. Also, when pronouncing the word 'police', the word often sounds like 'pleace' and may be confused with please if one is not used to hearing voiced 's'.

Phonological rules are very versatile. Speakers apply these rules without being aware of it and they acquire the rules early in life without any explicit teaching. The rules give speakers intuitions about what words are 'well-formed' or 'acceptable'. If a speaker hears a word that does not conform to the language's phonological rules, the word will sound foreign or ill-formed.

"Phonological Rules Introduction To Linguistics" 2001. Andreas Schramm and Hamline University. Web. May 31st 2009.
"Phonological Rule" 2009. Wikipedia. Web. May 31st 2009.

Yang Su Ying

Who first?

Friends are the closest people around me, it's cause I'm the only child. They are the ones whom I share my joy, problems and so on. They are the ones I turn to whenever I need advice or just lend me their ears. Same goes to me, when friends need me to listen to their problems, I'll give them my 100% attention. I may not be able to give good advice, but I believe that if you tell someone about your problems, you'll feel much better. At least that's how I feel. 

When you talk to someone, for sure you'll want them to listen. How would you feel if you talk, and your friend is texting on her phone. The sound tap tap tap tap annoys you in a way, aint it? You'll begin to wonder, are you listening to me? Perhaps you'll think that the person is not interested in what you have to say and you'll stop talking. In the end, you'll still have that problem stucked in you. Most of the time, we're interrupted by others when we're talking. It may not because we want to, but maybe something related to the topic strucked our mind. This had occured many times to me, it goes like..

A: "... I was having dinner the other day there and..."
B: " Oh ya, that reminded me, I was eating at Nando's the other day and the family beside me was.. (and the story goes on)" 

She goes on and on and person A actually forgot what she wanted to say in the end.

B: " So that was the story, what were you saying just now?"
A: "I forgot. It's okay."

When we're talking, we should also think about what the other person will feel when being interrupted. What if it was something that might affect his/her life that he/she wanted to advice for? Are we able to bare the consequences if anything happens? Listen to others like how you want others to listen to you. 

Chew Seok Yeng

Friday, May 29, 2009

Questioning and Prompting

I heard someone crying from a corner in the school. I followed the sound of crying and found out that's one of my best friend. She was crying sorely and she was unwillingly to talking to anyone. I went nearer and try to speak to her using low tone. At first, she does not seems want to talk to me, she even ignore my presence. After awhile, she trying to speak to me softly.

I started to ask her questions,

"What happened ?" I asked.
"My family is going to break, my parents wanted to divorce and they don't want to live together. And I can't help in anyway..." She spoke softly.
"Do they quarrel everyday?"I asked again.
"Yes, and sometimes they even throwing things to each other. Then, my brother cried everyday when they have a fight. But they don't even bother of my brother. I was so sad." She cried.
"Is OK if they fell unhappy living with each other and divorce. If they live together everyday but not happy, it is no point to live together right? and they might even fell happier after they divorce." I told her.

After have a conversation with her, she started to calm down and not crying anymore. The bell rang and we went to class together.

Choi Hui Lei

How good am I as a listener

Often, I consider myself as a poor listener. I always looked like I'm listening to someone's taking, actually, I often daydreaming and did not pay any attention when people is taking to me. I don't know why. Where there is people taking to me for too long period, I will lose my attention to it. For me, I think that I am too lazy enough to listen to people's talking.

Nevertheless, even if someone tell me that something that is very important, I will also think of another thing in the middle of the conversation. It is hardly for me to pay attention in listening for more than one hour. Therefore, I often fell boring when people is talking. By the time when the person finished talking, my mind was empty and I cannot accept too many information at one time. That makes me headache and turning out for everything.

I was trying to improve myself so that I can listen to people's talking but not only hearing. During my lecture, I try not to daydream, focus and put more effort to take down importance note. In order to listening effectively, staying focus is not enough. Listening carefully and understand the speech is also play an important role to improve my listening skill. From now on, I will train myself and try to become a good listener.

Choi Hui Lei

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Different Ways Of How Men And Women Communicate

Men and women have such different ways of communicating that at some point it may seem as though they might come from different planets. There are several facts that point out the general differences between how they communicate with each other.

Firstly, men and women communicate for different reasons. According to Deborah Tannen, men communicate to maintain independence, while women talk to maintain intimacy. In often situations, men talk to build status from others. Women talk to express emotions, feelings, or build rapport.

Secondly, research has shown that men tend to talk more in public than compared to women who talk more in private. Once the different communication styles of men and women is understood, it can be clearly seen that men talk in public to, again, establish their status while women talk in private to establish intimacy.

Thirdly, the body language portrayed by men and women are different as well. Often in conversations, women tend to use nonverbal communication directly, men use it indirectly. Women tend to maintain eye contact, stand in close proximity, and gesture more frequently. Men, however, are the exact opposite.

Fourthly, when conflicts are brought to women's faces, they tend to avoid them in order to insure closeness of relationships. As for men, they use conflicts to gain status.

Fifthly, men and women also express themselves differently in means of the content, style, and structure of their conversation. Men often talk about sports, money, and business. On the other hand, women discuss about their feelings, people, and relationships. Men mostly communicate to solve problems and converse for competition. Women most often communicate to understand, converse to support, and talk to connect. As they talk, men tend to use precise words, to the point, without descriptive details, while women are more detailed, apologetic, and vague.

After reading this, it seems like it's pretty tough for men and women to truly communicate. However, if one is properly equipped with the knowledge of understanding these 2 different communication styles, he or she can improve their communications in means of content, connecting with each other, and many more.

Kelley, Rhonda H. "Communication Between Men And Women In The Context Of The Christian Community". The Council On Biblical Manhood And Womanhood. N.d. Web. May 24th 2009.

Yang Su Ying

How To Determine Your Self-Concept

As most of us know, our individual self-concept is very important mainly due to these 2 factors: Social Perception and Attribution.

Social Perception is the process by which we perceive impressions of others. Whereas Attribution is how we interpret behaviors of our own and others as it is particularly influenced by our self-concept. There are 2 ways of determining your self-concept and self-esteem.

The first way to determine yourself concept is through realization.
1. List down all of your characteristics, focus on your strengths
2. Along with creating your list of characteristics, include your beliefs and values
3. Recognize the strengths that you have listed down
4. Think of ways of improving yourself by learning to accept and love yourself
5. Learn to praise yourself
6. Develop a strong and positive attitude
7. Surround yourself with supportive people such as friends and families

The second way is carried out after you have realized your own potential and have made efforts to improve your self-concept.
Here is a self-esteem test from Queendom to see where your self-esteem stands. This test is made up of 79 questions, yes, that many but it is worth the time and effort to know about your self-esteem so you could improve them. Besides, it would only take less than 20 minutes. :) For the reason that an individual's self-concept and self-esteem changes, sometimes creating just a minor change may result to a surprising change in your life.

Valencia, Carla. "Self-Concept and Self-Esteem". Self-Esteem Awareness. N.d. Web. May 24th 2009.
"Self-Esteem Test". Queendom, The Land of Tests. N.d. Web. May 24th 2009.

Yang Su Ying

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No One Listen To Me

When the first time I become group leader for our assignment, I was so excited. I feel that I had the power and thought that I can give command to others. I hope that I can be a good leader and trying to become one. At the beginning, I was tried to be polite and ask them some questions like: " I think we can do it in this way, want to try it out?", " Uh, can you add more details in this part?", "If you all had free time, can you all email the data to me?". After throwing a lot of command and works to them, I was happy and thought that I am a good leader. I thought that I have the power to order what was their responsibilities.

Until the end, none of them did what I said. I realized that they did not even respect me as a leader or a friend. I trying to be good and thought that this way is better for our cooperation. I were wrong. This way is not always works to every one. For some of those stubborn, not willing to listen to others, being politeness was ineffective. I was so frustrated, the dead line is coming soon and we had not complete any thing yet. All of them just counted on me to finish the assignment. Then I were too angry and shout at them like this: "You must finish this part by today and hand it to be by tomorrow." , "I will report to teacher if you all didn't cooperate.", "I will not accept anything excuses for the delay." On the next day, all my group member finish the whole assignment already I were so happy. From that day onwards, I know that if you lack of confident and sometimes be polite, eventually will leads to powerless speech where no people will listen and respect to you. In order to leads or to persuade, we must believe in ourselves and is better to have powerful speech for those who are not mature and not willing to listen to us.

Choi Hui Lei

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Respecting everyone using language

Orders, come from my father :"Take that newspaper come!" using a high tone of his voice. He is speaking in a way that giving order that makes me feel uncomfortable. I rather if he add a "Please" or "Help me" in front of it will makes me feel better. As I know that he is my father and everything he said, I must follow his orders. I will be willing to help him happily with my heart if he ask politely because I would feel he is respecting me. I would feel like he treat me like I'm his maid. After that, I knew that I need to use some words that makes people around me will be friends with me with their own heart and not just pretending to be another person when they are with me.

Body language is also important. I found this last week, when I saw my sister chatting in MSN and talking with me about some important things. She was chatting and talking to me at the same time she is looking at the monitor and not me. In the MSN, the person she was chatting to cannot saw her while I was sitting beside her and tell her to look the case seriously. I was angry when she showed her disrespectful expression to me and when I told her to look at me. I told her to look at me and she asked me why. Then, I was totally fustrated since she does not respect me by her body languague. I found out that we have some misunderstanding because lack of communication. I told her that what her action was totally impolite to me. She changed after we discuss about our arguement. After have some verbal and nonverbal communication between us.

Choi Hui Lei

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Communication Barriers Between People

Communicating is something that we do everyday. Regardless of what we do, we have to communicate with each other. It could be verbal or non verbal communication. Our gestures, tone of voice, eye contact, movement of our body transmits a lot of information to the other person. In order to understand what the person you're talking to is saying, you both need to have similar gestures, tone of voice and so on. However, although the both of you know what's the topic about, you might not have the same perception of it. 

When you come across a scent that is familiar to you, it reminds you of something. Perhaps the smell of your perfume, but the other person may think that it's the smell of a cleaned toilet. Who knows? I was in the cyber cafe one day and I smelled a very familiar scent. I started smelling my shirt cause it smell like my perfume! And I thought maybe it is. Slowly I realised that it's the air freshener and not my perfume. This is just an example that I encountered. The both of you may be talking about the same thing, but may not have identical image about it. This is when you want to express your ideas to others because you look at it in a different way. 

Background is another barrier in communication. Age, gender, economic status, social status, cultural background, religion and many more could be a barrier when communicating. We wouldn't want to send the wrong message to the other party. To overcome this barrier, we will need to clarify and understand different backgrounds. We also have to avoid projecting our own backgrounds into others to avoid conflicts. Besides, many of us may have similar gestures when doing something but it may not mean the same to everyone. Don't assume that similar gestures or behaviours transmits the same message. 

Thus, in order to communicate and avoid conflicts, we should look at things in the person's point of view. Or be in their shoes when speaking about certain topics. All of us come from different backgrounds and cultures, we all don't have identical perception about things. Communicating is something that shows a lot about us, be it our personality or background. 

Chew Seok Yeng

The Whats Of Self-Concept

Self-concept is an important element to everyone as to how we perceive ourselves. It can actually affect a person's development and achievement in life.

Self-concept is made up of 3 components: the Perceived Self, Desired Self, and Presenting Self.

Firstly, the Perceived Self is the person you belief yourself to be. This task of determining your identities begins at an early age. However, once the identity is decided it is very difficult to change.

Secondly, the Desired Self is the person that you wish you were. We often compare ourselves to others and would sometimes wish that we could acquire that particular quality the person has. For example, if I've always wanted this I-Pod Classic, and I'm surrounded by people who have one each, I begin to suffer by comparison and the image that I hold for myself would be negatively affected. This sense of belonging is an essential need to achieving a healthy self-concept which can also be seen as the 3rd tier in Maslow's Hierarchy.

Thirdly, there is the Presenting Self. The Presenting Self is a role that we, as actors, take on and play on the stage of life. That explains how people can be so aggressive and some have control over their behaviors.

An individual's self-concept can be easily diminished through several factors. The first one is having obsolete information. This usually happens when a person refuses to admit his or her current physical conditions. For example, James used to be the fastest runner for his school about 30 years back and is now a potato couch but still thinks that he's the all-star athlete he was. A healthy self-concept should be focused on the present.

Secondly, giving distorted feed backs could hurt a person's self-esteem and self-concept crucially. There are people out there who are cruel and are constantly compelled criticize and belittle others. It could actually take awhile to build up the person's self-concept depending on how he or she took the criticism and how harsh it was.

Thirdly, there is a social expectation that exists in most society. The reinforced modesty created by our society makes us feel compelled toward humility no matter what the cost is. In truth, it is actually considered arrogant to desire a positive image of ourselves.

Our individual self-concept is partly determined by how we seek from others to find out who we are. This discovery process under the watchful eyes of others can make or break our self-concept with their opinions. However, we have to learn the ways of dealing with opinions from others once we receive them. We can either accept or reject it. Understand and discovering your self-concept is very important as it can affect many sides of our development. Hence, for my next post I shall be talking about How To Determine Your Self-Concept.

Gaddis, Susan (Ph.D). "Prescriptions for Improving a Poor Self Concept". The Communications Doctor. N.d. Web. May 17th 2009.

Yang Su Ying

Believe and Listen to others

In this world, nothing is impossible. First and foremost, we need to believe in ourselves in everything. For example, in olden days people never thought that human can travel to the moon, but now, with the improvement in science and technology, we are able to travel to the moon or even outer space. It is because of scientists believe in themselves and have self-fulfilling prophecies. Without their hard work and believe, we may still can’t explore the milky galaxy. With self-fulfilling prophecies, we can do things out of our expectation and our dreams may come true.

In our normal daily lifestyle, communication is unavoidable; none of us can survive healthy without communication. Hence, communication will affect our believes, thinking and behavior. For instance, our parents, friends or teacher will tell us what is our weakness and so that we can improve our thinking and behave. Without communicating with them, we may become worst or dull in life. We need communication to have self-fulfilling prophecies and increase our self-esteem. Those who live with us from childhood to adult, play an important role in our life. They are the one who communicate with us and will affect us when we growing older. If they told us positive things, we might have a brighter future compare to those who surrounded by people who teach them negative aspect of life.


Choi Hui Lei

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Importance of impressions

Interviewing for jobs, when we come to interviewing for a job, the first things that we need to do is giving a good impression on the employers. By having a good impression, it can really help us to find a good job. The first thing that we need for our impression is our manner. That is how we speak or how we act in front of the employers. We must speak politely and gently. We must also get used to it since we need that for our daily life. Not only speak politely and gently with our employers, and also our friends and family. We can give many people good impressions and we can make many friends. Friends can help us when we need them help. A good manner can help us to get along with others very well. For example, we can cooperate well with each other since we have a good manner and reduce a lot of argument. If we do not have a good manner, when we talk to each other, it can create a lot of misunderstanding because we speak so loudly and make them feel irritating.

Appearance will also affect our impression on people. Although English Idioms said that ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, still, in reality many people will judge a person, by its outlook appearance. For example, most of the schools, had taught that we must wear a uniform. Besides, even we in college, we must wear a formal shirt when we have a presentation. It means that everyone is judging a person by its outlook. Whereby, we need to have a tidy hair, shirt and shoes. The person will seem like neater and friendly. We will feel it is safe to make friends with a good outlook appearance person. So, we need to wear a neat and tidy cloth, with a good personal hygiene to have friends and can communicate with many people very well. Others will also feel comfortable if they are talking to a person like this.


Choi Hui Lei

The Empathetic Ability In Infants and Children

Many of us often think that infants and children are well, just the way they are, incapable of feeling or knowing much about their daily experiences. However, we'll be surprised to find out how empathetic they can be when they're connected to their true inner feelings. Children's empathetic ability grow as they mature.

Based on a pedagogical documentation by Valerie Quann and Carol Anne Wien, they have identified three types of visible empathy of infants and children. The three are Proximal Empathy, Altruistic Empathy, and Self-Corrective Empathy.

One of the three is known as Proximal Empathy. In a distress situation, when a child notices another child nearby who's hurt, will take action by showing kindness both verbally (comforting words) and non-verbally (touch). These responses could factor from several reasons such as their relationship with the upset child or perhaps out of shared knowledge of what it feels like to be upset. For example, an inexperienced child is trying to grab hold of a pair of scissors but accidentally bent her index finger backwards and begins to cry. Another child near her says 'ouch' and touches her hand as a sign of comfort.

For a deeper insight of how empathetic children can be:


This video had actually made me realize how deep children's thoughts can be, even though they're only 10 years old. They are, in fact, capable of understanding what's happening around them mainly because they have experienced it.

The second visible empathy among infants and children is Altruistic Empathy. Children with this type of empathy would interrupt their own activities as they have a desire to alleviate the distress that others are feeling. For example, a child in a nursery has been unhappy for the whole day, refusing to conform with class activities until one of the teacher succesfully guided him to a puzzle. Another child, busy with his own activities notices the happening. To assuage the unhappy child, he picked up a toy as an offering to make her happy and then returns back to his own activity, smiling.

Lastly, the final visible empathy is known as Self-Corrective Empathy. This feeling of empathy usually occurs when an infant or child happen to be the cause of another child's hurt feelings or injury. For example, a boy is painting in class and another child came over and she wants to have a dab at his painting, he shouted at her to go away. When he sees her crying, he feels a small sense of guilt and hence, invites her to paint along with him. This shows that the boy had actually thought of his actions and switched his thought from exclusion to inclusion.

All in all, I think the empathetic ability in us has always been there since we were infants and the ability to empathize increases as we experience many events throughout our lives.

Quann, Valerie (MEd, ECEC) and Wien, Carol Anne (Ph.D in Education). "The Visible Empathy of Infants and Toddlers,". The Journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Web. July 2006.

Yang Su Ying

Politeness in Relationships

How often do we say 'Thank you', 'Please' to our family members? Are you counting? I would say rarely. And why do I say that? It's simply because they are our family members and we take them for granted in a way or two. We think that they wouldn't care about little little details like that. Have you ever wonder how a simple 'thank you' can brighten up a person's day? Perhaps your parents, brother or sister. Imagine, you bought this really nice gift for your mother on Mother's Day, but she was too busy doing house chores and literally ignored you after taking the gift. How would you feel then? A simple 'thank you' simply means she appreciates the things you did for her. It's the thought that counts and not the price of the gift. 

Anyway, back to politeness. When we come across someone that we just got to know, we tend to say please and thank you more than usual. For example, when having dinner with your course mates and wanted he/she to pass you something, pepper perhaps? You'd say, "Would you please pass me the pepper?" and you'd also say "Thank you" when your request is granted. But does that happen when it's your family members? 

It's not supricing when we say our level of politeness depends on the relationship stage with the person. 

Aside from that, we also tend to ignore or neglect a lot of things that happens in our life. As for me, I love seeing people smile. I may be greedy because I want everyone around me to be happy. To me, a smile brightens up a person's day as well. Ever come across people who don't smile back when you do? How do you feel? Perhaps the two of you haven't come to the stage whereby you'll say 'hello'. It could be a person you walk pass along the corridor in college. A simple smile shows the politeness in you. Who wants to be classified into the arrogant and unfriendly category? Not me, definately. It's really satisfying when you're able to make people smile. Really satisfying. It doesn't matter how, it could be something really simple like giving a compliment or giving a balloon to a child. 

So, lit a smile on someone's face today! Don't take anyone for granted just because they're your family members. You don't lose anything if you give a compliment, say please and thank you. In fact, you gain something, which is satisfaction. 

Chew Seok Yeng (yen)