Thursday, June 7, 2007

English teaching problems in China

By Wu Jun - Luoyang Foreign Languages University, Henan

Why can't Chinese speak fabulous English? Well, in the past I think some of Chinese did speak good English in church sponsored schools. But these schools were wiped out after Communist Party took power. Then Chinese people learned Russian for over ten years and no English was taught in most schools. After 1978, English was found to be so important as to so many people undertook the task of teaching English even though they used to teach Russian.

As a great nation, China has also produced many many English language experts, or professors or doctors with linguistic, literature or translation degree. They thrive in this country because there is the need to teach so many people. I suspect that they are quite happy with the status quo because more people will spend more time and money on English learning. Some of them just don't care about how to teach students to learn English, just teach them English: whether their approach is good or not.

I often tell my adult students that they are victims of this Chinese characteristic English language teaching. And in most cases, they agreed.

Personally I don't want to teach English any more. When there are so many tests that students must take and so many books or experts claiming that they can help them pass the tests, I don't think I can teach students anything.

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