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Chinese Students Don't Need To Cheat

Viewed 3215 times 2017-5-17 07:03 |Personal category:English|System category:News| Chinese

I just heard another disturbing report of Chinese students cheating on the TOEFL exam in the USA. Of course, all were arrested and will face criminal charges because, by cheating, they defrauded the U.S. government by breaking visa procurement laws. This follows the recent news of a top government official's son in the U.K. who went to jail for attempting to bribe some of his professors for higher scores.

Here's what I know about Chinese students. I know because I've taught more than 3,000 of them since I arrived in China 6 years ago.


I know for a fact that Chinese students are already smart enough. There is absolutely no need for them to cheat.

From my research, I found that the cheating almost always involves testing for English. Why is this so? With an English training center on every corner in almost any city in China, why don't they learn English?

The problem lies in the way English is taught. In fact, English as a language, is largely not taught in China. There are grammar classes 'about English'. They will teach what you need to pass the gaokao or high school entrance exam, I suppose. They won't teach you what you need to take the SAT, ACT, TOEFL or IELTS.

In the West, English is taught as a language just as Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish and every other language. We don't teach Spanish grammar. We teach Spanish as a language. We don't teach German grammar. We teach German as a language. It includes grammar as only one part of the language. Students learn to master the language. That is how languages are taught in the USA.

Learning only grammar and how to take the gaokao is useful for one thing. That is, taking the exam. You'll never use English again after you finish the gaokao. All of the training that you spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of yuan on, isn't worth anything except to get you into the college that you want to go to. There is no practical goal for using the language.

The problem is that when students have trained for the gaokao and know how to answer questions on the English part of it, they haven't learned a language and they aren't prepared to take an English 'language' exam. So, they panic. They've not been prepared or trained. They seek the only other solution that they know. They find a way to try to cheat. They get caught not realizing that breaking laws in the West is a serious matter. You will be caught and you will have to face the consequences.

Chinese students don't need to cheat. They are too smart. They need to find a qualified teacher to teach them. When they do, they will learn the language and not a lot of useless grammar rules.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.


Recent comments

  • Encouraging Trends in Chinese Education 2018-6-26 15:08

    Well done Michael! you are still rocking here!

  • Brilliant Chinese Parents 2018-6-21 14:40

    parcher: i was asked to teach my collegues daughter english, because her teacher was doing such a poor job (his words ) i tried to put him straight that rome w ...
    You are wise.

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