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Why Learn English?

Popularity 2Viewed 1118 times 2019-6-25 08:16 |Personal category:Education|System category:News

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” - Bruce Lee

English is like every other endeavor in life. If the English student does't actually take action in learning the language, then, it is useless for he/she to learn it at all.

I've often wondered why English is required in China. There are few who actually master the language and become fluent. There are many who hate learning it and others who find it infinitely frustrating.

For the student, the answer is easy. They learn English because their school requires them to learn it. Scores are the most important thing in China. Actually learning, being able to use and communicate in English, isn't important. Everyone knows this.

Right now, there are more than 350,000 Chinese who are in their late teens and early twenties who are studying at colleges and universities in America. Most of them are there because they want to be there. Some are there only because their parents required them to go abroad for college. 

When these students were in high school and perhaps even in middle school, they had a goal of studying abroad. They had exams that they needed to pass that required a high level of English proficiency than just studying for the zhongkao or gaokao exams. They had the TOEFL or IELTS exam that they needed to get a high score on. And, for those who aspired to go to top ranked U.S. colleges and universities, they had to prepare to take the SAT.

They also knew that they'd need the ability to sit in a classroom and listen to a professor teach them without any translation into Chinese. They knew that they had to master listening skills in order to be successful studying in America. Chinese students who study abroad must achieve a much higher level of English learning than those who will take the gaokao and never have to think about English again in their lives.

So, the mastery of English is not necessary for those who don't care if they master it or not because, after the exam, they can forget about it. They will never use it. They just need to get the score to get into the best Chinese college/university that they can.

The language of business and commerce around the world is English. Regardless of Trump's fight with China, globalization is going to continue to grow. Those who want to interact in international business must master English. Those who want to be valuable to whatever corporation they work for or whatever international business they start, must master English. And, the good news is, it is not as hard as most think. I'll talk more about that in an upcoming blog.

If you have a dream of going abroad for college/university and want to go to a native English speaking country, then, you need to take steps to master English now. If you only want a high score for gaokao, then, you still need to at least achieve the temporary goal of getting the high score.

As is often quoted recently, when you know 'why' you want to learn English, then, you can takes steps in finding out 'how' to acheive what you want.

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


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Reply Report Fred9 2019-6-29 18:23
Learn English to communicate in international arena.

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MichaelM

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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Recent comments

  • Why English Is So Hard 2019-7-15 22:39

    Yes, the serious exam system has made Chinese education go in a strange way which has wasted too much for the nation!  Our physical education program should make ordinary kids become healthier and stronger rather than prepare thousands of athletes for few champion gold medals! All subjects ought to train children to do independent thinking with their own head instead of repeating others' sayings without one-word-changing!
    (A long time ago, I posted one blog (or thread)titled ‘We should learn English as kids’ .)

  • Why Foreigners Can't Teach Gaokao English 2019-7-14 23:25

    "The school I work at tells me to concentrate on pronunciation and oral speaking skills only, the students will get grammar lessons from their respective State schools.  What's the use of proper pronunciation if they can't construct a correct sentence?"

    This, right here, is the reason I gave up after 11 years. I could not justify punishing myself and pulling out my own hair any longer. I was tired of hearing the excuse, "This is China. We do things differently, here". Just play games, sing songs, and get them to talk (in a university environment). Foreign teachers are a laughingstock, in China. Everyone knows they are only there to put a white face on the school, and to justify charging exorbitant fees to the parents. Those who WANT to learn, will. The majority however, are only there because they HAVE to be there. If they don't pass, they don't get their Bachelor's Degree. That's the only reason they are in that classroom. Yes, this sounds like a negative post ... but it's the TRUTH.

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