By Steve Kelman

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The Lectern: China and The Voice of America

I don't know if this blog has any readers who work for the Voice of America, but I heard a story recently that I think should make Voice of America employees, and probably Americans in general, pretty proud.

A Chinese student recently told me that when she was studying English, her teachers recommended that students listen to the Voice of America to practice their English. What a sign of changes in China (and credit to VOA)! In an era not so long ago, the Chinese government jammed Voice of America broadcasts to prevent people from listening. Now, teachers are encouraging students to listen. And, in improving their English through VOA, Chinese listeners are also learning about American culture, society and values.

This student also told me that there is a Voice of America broadcast that is especially popular among beginning students. The station does some broadcasts in English that is spoken very slowly and uses a simple vocabulary. It is a good chance for these students to hear good English, but spoken in a way that is easier for them to understand. I wonder who the creative person was at the Voice of America who came up with this interesting, innovative idea in the first place.

Any Chinese readers who want to comment on listening (or not) to the Voice of America — or VOA employees?

Posted by Steve Kelman on Jan 15, 2009 at 12:08 PM


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