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Chinese Students Will Conquer English

Popularity 7Viewed 6445 times 2017-11-7 09:05 |System category:News

The ancient wisdom of Confucius is timeless. His thinking has led Chinese for thousands of years. I've embedded his sayings in my own life and let them shape my character.

English teaching/training seems to be one place where his wisdom is forgotten. Very few students are taught to use English. They know a lot 'about' English, but, they never master the language. They struggle. For many years they work so hard to learn, but never achieve their goal. I've met adult Chinese English learners who have struggled for decades with minimal success.
I came to China 6 years ago without serious intentions. I wanted to spend only one year here. I wanted the chance to experience the culture and the people and then return to my very comfortable life in America. I quickly saw the plight of so many students struggling to learn English. For 8 years, I'd been an international spokesperson for the number one language program in America. I had a deep interest in language learning. I wanted to help.

Understanding the problems that Chinese students face became my passion. I spent thousands of hours with them observing their struggles and needs. The solution was quite obvious. They needed and likely, never got, oral English training.

All effective language teaching/training in the world is built on the foundation of oral language. I saw most students learning far more grammar than students in Western cultures and almost no oral training. They were made to recite sentences and passages from their books. But, I saw no one creating an immersion experience in the classroom. Their teachers were spending 90% of the class talking to them 'about' English in Chinese. They weren't speaking English. They never learned to use the language.

I've taught more than 4,000 students. Students who excel in English are those that follow the wisdom of Confucius. They use the language. They use it primarily by speaking and listening. These two parts are eventually supplemented by reading and writing. Every language is taught by gaining speaking competency long before grammar, reading and writing are introduced.

I've heard many teachers who say, "I don't have time to teach speaking." The fact is, they don't have time because they are trying to build without a foundation. The building is constantly crumbling because there is nothing to support it. Think of spending years of trying to make a car go without wheels. You're going to spend a lot of time and always meeting with the same problem. It won't go anywhere.

If Chinese students spent half of the time learning English with correct spoken instruction and classroom practice, they would master English. They work so hard. I know. I see them every day. They would have the highest English scores (not just math scores) in the world and they'd conquer English.

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




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Reply Report Liononthehunt 2017-11-7 11:24
It's long been stressed that speaking competence is of utter importance in learning English, however, it seems nothing has changed over the years in the teaching of English in China. Really a pitiful situation.
Reply Report xiao_wo 2017-11-7 14:35
I understand what the English teacher said,they don‘t have time to teach speaking,when thousands of Chinese students to contend for extremely limited education resources,the intention of learning English will be changed
Reply Report Swifty55 2017-11-9 19:00
Any English teacher worth being considered a real teacher knows this is a fact. Nothing new written here.
Reply Report Canadianman12 2018-1-4 13:15
The fact is there is no requirement in Gaokao for oral English!  The goal of Chinese students is to get the highest mark they can to get into the better schools.  The Chinese English teachers do their best to facilitate this. I think the best idea is to start learning oral English in pre-school and primary school with little to no grammar being taught until the 5 or 6 grade.  Give the students the foundation and English becomes easier.
Reply Report jaseminsibo 2018-1-27 02:25
It is heart-warming to see a renewed passion for Chinese students wanting to excel in English. My mom taught me to appreciate this foreign language by listening to English songs and then reading the lyrics at the same time. Watching American films and reading the subtitles helped too. Of course, to truly master any language we have to understand the essence of it. I feel Mandarin is a language of the heart and humanity. English is a language of freedom, empowerment and justice. I wish everyone best of luck!!! :D
Reply Report Swifty55 2018-2-8 01:21
Until the Chinese change the methods used to teach English by Chinese teachers and get rid of 99% of the poor foreign teachers. Maybe 5% of the Chinese will master English.Maybe. Taliking how and actually doing it are very different.

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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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