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Learn English: Immersion Classes

Viewed 3807 times 2017-10-30 05:27 |System category:News

There are some excellent English training centers in China. Most are focused only on 'the exam.' They teach you shortcuts and tricks to get high scores. Though English is quite useless for those who are only concerned about scores, getting high scores is a reality for advancing in education in China.

As a foreign, native English speaking teacher here, my focus is on those who want to get more than a high score. My work is with those who actually want to learn the language and use it in their life and career. They either want to travel abroad and be able to communicate with others or they want to do business with people in the West.

Carl Zhao is a 12 year old student of mine. He started learning English with me just 4 years ago. He started when most students start their formal English education in grade 3 of primary school. He learned the ABCs song and started out learning phonics from me. Carl excelled quickly and loved learning English. Today, Carl is in his first year of middle school and needs almost no translation to talk with me about nearly any subject. His class of middle school boys needs translation only for new words that I introduce in class. Usually those new words are depicted in our textbook by a picture and the picture is enough to let the students know what the meaning of the word is. By the time a student has studied English for 3-4 years, they shouldn't need much translation in the classroom.

Of course, with a foreign teacher who has limited Chinese language skills, my students are getting a near 'total immersion' experience for two classes every week. We study stories, new vocabulary words and pronunciation. Then, I drill them with questions of my own. Each lesson is thoroughly covered by the numerous questions I ask. We have VIP classes, so, our classes are small. They are concentrated on the needs of each student. Each student is required to give complete and detailed answers to my questions. Remarkably, most of the time, they have little problem doing what I require.

If your child's teacher is teaching them English using the Chinese language, they are not getting an immersion experience. They really aren't learning English. They are only learning 'about' English. They will know how to trick the exam and perhaps get a high score, but, what they should be 'learning' will be useless to them beyond the exam.

I have found that students who are in a total immersion classroom, excel higher and easier in learning the language and most often get the highest scores on their school's English exam. They learn English with the same method that Chinese is taught in classrooms throughout China. They learn English the same way that it is taught in most countries outside of China (including Western countries like the USA). We do teach grammar in the USA. But, we only teach it after a solid oral (speaking) foundation has been established in the student's learning. This is how language is learned no matter which country or what language a student is learning.

With the new requirements that are being put in place to promote and grow the 'Belt and Road Initiatives', the need for 'usable English' will be necessary. It will be a mandate for all Chinese students. The fulfillment of the Chinese dream will require it.

If your child is not getting a total immersion classroom experience in learning English, they are falling behind other students who are getting it. Find a teacher who understands how language works, how it is learned and how to teach it. Give your child the greatest advantage that they can get in learning English. Their future success depends upon it.

(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.


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