Author: wchao37

A dressing-down of China's English language policy at the national level [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2004-10-18 08:40:32 |Display all floors

Have you noticed, machjo

..that someone is subconsciously calling you 'macho' or stud actually?

You might be "thestud" after all.   

I had been wondering who that might be.

As you know, there's only about fifteen people writing in this forum regularly.  

The rest are all ghosts.

Should that give you the creeps?  

No, enjoy the spirits of Halloween.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2004-10-18 09:07:19 |Display all floors

Other than karenb and machjo, Seneca, Xinyang, ubersuave, guando....

...are to be congratulated on giving us valuable insights or references to sites with rich veins of information.

This is an important issue, and we'd like to hear opinions from all sides, including but of course not limited to those who would argue that there is nothing wrong in the Shanghai school's policy to skip the teaching of math in the first three grades in order to better learn oral communication and other basics of the English language.  

Would Chairman Mao have turned over in his grave if he could see the state of the nation in terms of its English language policy?

Is that kind of coercive policy conscionable in our nation in which a majority of our youngsters aren't even doing that well in learning Chinese and yet a policy has been instituted in which a Chinese person can fetch higher social esteem if he demonstrates a certain level of English proficiency?

The Chinese proponents of such a policy should be able to come up and present his case to us in an open debate.

If his skills in using the English language is so poor that he does not dare confront us, why is he making such a momentous decision for our nation's kids?

I demand that such an authoritative person in the Chinese government come and debate with us.

Right here!  Right now!

I would not be kekeqiqi with you.  This issue is too important for our nation for me to be kekeqiqi with anyone.

You will be just one of us -- no worse and certainly no better -- and argue the case through reasoning on an equal basis, or else we'll assume you have no case at all, and that the present coercive English language policy is the decision of a flunky.


Regards,


wchao37

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2004-10-18 12:51:47 |Display all floors

Who DID make that decision??

Any Chinese historians in the know?

Was it Jiang?  I know he's pretty fluent in English -- enough to give speeches and chat with Western dignitaries.

Deng?  Wasn't he educated in the West?

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2004-10-18 13:48:43 |Display all floors

To wchao37...

As far as people with split personalities are concerned, I'm really not too concerned about that.  I'll just treat each personality on its own basis.  Althogh I don't see how I could benefit by having more than one name on this forum other than to agree with myself.

And as for the last reference I gave relating to Prof. Liu Haitao's works, I must admit that I've only read his works available in English or Esperanto, so I might not be familiar with his Chinese works.  Certainly if there is any information you come across in his works which you think might be of interest to us, I'd love to read it.

Thanks.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2004-10-18 14:07:31 |Display all floors

No formal policy

Actually, there is no formal English language policy document issued by the Chinese Mkinistry of Education or the CCP. Those in the know claim that the nationwide English policy has just been allowed to evolve.  "There is no single Ministry of Education document stating the Government policy on EFL/ESL in China."(He Qixin, (8/01)



==========================================
ENGLISH OR CHINGLISH?
By: Niu Qiang and Martin Wolff
======================================================
ABSTRACT:
A great deal has been written and said about various approaches to the successful methodology for teaching English as a foreign/second language in China. Entire professional Journals are devoted to the subject, such as Teaching English In China, and Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, to name a couple. But no matter how much is written, and no matter what teaching method is employed; the
bottom line is that the average Chinese student learns to orally communicate in Chinglish i.e. Mandarin sprinkled with English or English with Mandarin induced syntax.

The teaching of English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in China has become a nationwide endeavor pursued at all academic levels, from the kindergarten to the University. In the past ten years there has been an explosion in the development of public school English programs and private English language schools throughout China. EFL/ESL has become very big business in China (China Daily, HK Edition, October 9, 2002.) Reports show that EFL/ESL has become a 10-billion yuan business in China. Of the 37 billion yuan annual book sales, EFL/ESL takes up as much as 25% of the market share. And a few EFL/ESL teachers in Shanghai command an hourly rate of
1,000 yuan (US$120). Even on average, a student pays 10-20 yuan (US$1.2-2.4) for one hour of EFL/ESL training). Many of the private ESL schools are in some type of partnership relationship with one or more public schools (Delter Wuhan International Business Institute is partnered with the Wuhan Railroad Vocational Technical College;
Telfort Business Institute is partnered with the Shanghai Metallurgy College; the Sino-Canadian Joint Program is partnered with the Shanghai Television University; Delter Jinan is partnered with Jinan Railroad Polytechnic Institute; Delter Tianjin is partnered with the Xinhua shi gong da xue University; Jilin Telfort International Business Institute is partnered with the Jilin Railway School of Economics; Mount Royal; Business Institute is partnered with the Chengdu Hydro Electric Power
College; and Delter Beijing is partnered with the Beijing Electric Power College).

There appear to be certain implied or tacit assumptions underlying the nationwide EFL/ESL program in China (A. Everyone in China needs to learn EFL/ESL; B. There is one EFL/ESL teaching method suitable on a nationwide basis; C. All native English speakers with a college degree are qualified to be EFL/ESL teachers; D. Chinese EFL/ESL teachers without western cultural experience are capable of teaching EFL/ESL;
E. Chinese should 搈aster?English; F. Chinglish is unacceptable
or bad language). These assumptions, when superimposed upon the EFL/ESL teaching curriculum, may themselves doom the EFL/ESL student to becoming a mere technician of grammatical rules without any appreciable ability to effectively communicate in any form of oral English, other than 揅hinglish.?Each underlying implied or tacit assumption may be seriously flawed and should be thoroughly scrutinized by linguistic and other scholars throughout China. The instant cursory examination of each of the underlying assumptions causes concern that the assumptions have dubious origins, are not supported by any empirical study or other evidence, and are inappropriate foundations for a national EFL/ESL program.

ASSUMPTION 揂? Everyone in China needs to learn EFL/ESL
Beijing wants its 13 million residents to speak English to enhance its image as a cosmopolitan metropolis (China Daily, (10-05-02). China抯 Ministry of Education wants all young people of China to learn English due to China抯 WTO membership and China抯 hosting the 2008 Olympics (China Daily, (10-05-02). Certain municipal governments in China require all of their civil servants to learn some English (China
Daily, (10-05-02) These goals or objectives beg the question, WHY?

Market studies, market analysis and affirmative recommendations from experts in the fields of business, math and linguistics should support each of the forgoing propositions, but not appear to have been conducted. What is the mathematical probability that each of Beijing抯 residents will need to be able to speak English for an intended or even accidental encounter with a single English speaking foreigner during the 2008 Olympics? Not very high.

Does a market study support the proposition that Beijing抯 image will be enhanced in the eyes of foreigners if all the residents of Beijing can speak English? Further, would such image enhancement translate into increased economic benefit for Beijing? If so, how much economic benefit will accrue to Beijing and does it offset the social, cultural and political costs that must be paid along the way by the people of Beijing?
These questions do not appear to have been addressed by any formal study.

How many bilingual (Chinese-English) jobs will actually be created in China due to China抯 World Trade Organization (WTO) membership and hosting the 2008 Olympics? Does the number of new jobs requiring English support the need for all of China抯 young people to learn English? Answers to these questions are not readily available. Why should anyone spend three or four years in a University EFL/ESL
program for an Olympics job that will last only a matter of weeks? What happens after the Olympics?

What is the mathematical probability that all municipal government civil servants, in any particular Chinese municipality, will need to use English in their daily work? Very slim.

Is there any empirical study or evidence to support the current ESL revolution in China, which revolution may in fact have significant adverse social, cultural and political effects? (Qiang/Wolff, (4/03) It does not appear that the Chinese Central Government has issued any formal Resolution or Position Paper authorizing, condoning or supporting the current ESL revolution in China. Rather, it has been allowed and even encouraged to just evolve. Other than standardized testing for
College entrance, the Central Government seems to have no set educational policy or curriculum for EFL/ESL. There is no single Ministry of Education document stating the Government policy on EFL/ESL in China. (He Qixin, (8/01)

This rush to educate has spawned an industry run amuck, without appreciable government control or regulation. (Qiang/Wolff, 9/03)
Why the concerted effort to require 1.3 billion Mandarin speakers, 25% of the world抯 population, to learn English as a second language? Since Mandarin is one of the six working languages of the United Nations, does the world at large have a greater appreciation for the importance of Mandarin than China itself? Is the current EFL/ESL revolution in China a misguided, self-inflicted English colonialization, brought about tacitly, if not officially, by adopting EFL/ESL teaching as a national program? Will the West conquer China from within, without a single shot ever being fired?

ASSUMPTION 揃? There is one ESL teaching method suitable on a
nationwide basis.
With 1.3 billion potential EFL/ESL students, it is sheer folly to strive to develop one universal methodology for EFL/ESL teaching throughout China. In English there is a popular saying, 揹ifferent strokes for different folks.?The concept of a single EFL/ESL teaching methodology has been floated as a serious ideology in a recent poll undertaken by TEFL, although implicitly rejected by a majority of the respondents.
(TEFL is found at www.tefl.com and it polled ESL teachers on the following question:
Do you believe a 'fit-all' teaching method exists?
Yes, I've found it 6.93 %; Yes, but I haven't found it 4.95 %; No 88.12 %).
There may be some methodologies that will have a higher success rate than others, with any given group, but no methodology can be successful if the program itself is fatally flawed.

In China L2 acquisition is expected to occur within a two to six hour per week oral English class. For example, consider an ESL conversation class designed for three consecutive 45-minute periods, twice a week (Sino-Canadian Joint Program at Shanghai University of International Exchange). The actual class time is effectively 135 minutes each day 270 minutes per week. Or, consider an ESL conversation class
designed for two consecutive 45-minute periods, once a week (Xinyang Agricultural College, Henan Province), for a total of 90 minutes per week. Now further consider that this is the class where all of the learned grammatical rules, vocabulary and intensive reading are to be applied through oral practice where correction may be applied to inappropriate pronunciation, phraseology, word choice or syntax.

In the public Universities these conversation classes have an enrollment of up to 60 students. Now let us do the math. At Xinyang Agriculture College, assuming that each student needs absolutely no correction from the teacher, each student can pick-up and continue the conversation from the prior student without any lapse of time in between;
then each student has exactly 1.50 minutes during each class day to practice what he has learned and to become proficient in the oral use of English as a second language. IMPOSSIBLE! 1.50 minutes per day is not enough time to practice anything to a point of accomplishment or proficiency.

That is the totality of the acquisition effort throughout China抯 public education system. 揑mmersion?is one foreign word not found in the Chinese teaching of English as a second language. EFL/ESL is generally taught in a hostile environmenti, concentration upon vocabulary and grammatical rule memorization in preparation for various national proficiency tests in reading, writing and listening. Although Krashen抯 theory of second language acquisition is taught in the top tier universities, it is not put into practice in China. (Krashen, 1981.)

Even students who score very high on the national English proficiency tests are unable to orally communicate in little more than Chinglish. Or, they orally communicate in 揇D?English (English taught from a dictionary, which may be technically correct, but is without any sensitivity to the cultural or environmental context of actual use by a native speaker), which cannot be as easily understood by native English speakers as can the use of Chinglish. The quest to find the one EFL/ESL teaching methodology universally suitable for all students is not a worthy expenditure of effort or resources, particularly when the English curriculum needs so much corrective attention and Chinglish will still be the inevitable result.

ASSUMPTION 揅? All native English speakers with a college
degree are qualified to teach EFL/ESL.
China recruits approximately 100,000 native English teachers each year (source:
http://www.chinatefl.com) 揂ccording to a certain statistics about 100 thousand teachers will be needed every year in China.?. English teachers from Australia, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States of America are heavily recruited through the Internet
(http://www.chinatefl.com; http://www.tefl.com; http://www.eslcafe.com/jobinfo).
Generally speaking, in America, a University Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate Degree, in any discipline, merely qualifies a native speaker to enroll in a teacher training program where they will then receive a teaching certificate or Masters Degree, which amounts to a license to teach. Unfortunately, there is no universal recruitment standard for EFL/ESL teachers in China other than the requirement that they are native speakers and have a college degree, in some recognized discipline. There is no teacher-training requirement or even any teaching experience requirement to become an English teacher in China.
xinpai@china.com Xin Pai Foreign Language School Date: Monday, 20 January 2003, at 10:08 a.m. More Job Vacancies Four more teaching positions are now available at Xin Pai Foreign Language School ?but even those with no experience, who would like to try their hand at teaching, are welcome, as we can provide on-the-job training and assistance.
http://www.chinatefl.com/abroad.html; Frequently Asked Questions: 1. What qualifications should one have in teaching in China? The basic qualifications are: being a native speaker of English, having a minimum BA degree and commitment to teaching, loving China and its people. Clear, well-spoken English and a good knowledge of the fundamentals of English grammar. Teaching experience/certificate is
preferred but not a must.

Most ESL teachers are recruited to China with very attractive bait (Travel/Teach English:
揟he Global TESOL Institute, http://www.eslcafe.com/jobinfo/asia/sefer.cgi?China;
Looking for a well-paid job to explore China? Come to TDM! Posted By: TDM Language College woody@tdmlanguage.com Date: Thursday, 16 January 2003, at 10:04 a.m. But you are very well paid. Your salary will be more than enough for you to live comfortably, to explore the exciting China, its history, its nature, its people, its culture, its language and its food).?

The recruit is usually very young with no prior teaching experience, away from home for the first time, in their first cross-cultural experience, and under the belief that they are about to embark upon a China vacation, which of necessity, must be interrupted occasionally for a little work.
There is little or no advance training, preparation or indoctrination for teaching ESL in China. Far too many recruits never finish their one-year contract, some leaving within the first week, month or first several months. The reasons for disillusionment are almost as many and varied as the number of disillusioned (www.eslcafe.com). In a two
year period 113 FE抯 published over 400 complaints, mostly about Chinese owned and operated primary schools. (Qiang/Wolff, 9/03)

揟oo many people with no real interest in the job
come here (China) for a good time (very easy to do)
and leave the real teachers trying to clean up the
mess and repair their image. A white face and a
degree, even a fake one, land a job.?(Tamblyn, Andrew,
1/15/03,

揟he tragedy is that some folks come here not to
teach, but to travel, so they get all romantic and
misty eyed. They can抰 teach, don抰 want to teach, and
want to party like in the good old USA. This
devil-may-care, happy camper attitude unfortunately
leads them to make immature decisions and to be
placed in schools that cannot wait to capitalize on
these 揜age Against the Machine?look-a-likes. They
also give serious teachers a bad reputation.?(H.
Jones, 2/25/01)

There is no evidence that the native English teacher produces students any better equipped to speak English than their Chinese English teacher counterparts. This is partly due to poorly designed curriculum and partly due to the fact that too many native English speaking teachers are simply not trained to teach anything, let alone EFL/ESL. (Qiang/Wolff, 2004, 揅an You Obtain A First Class Education In A Third Tier College In China?Progress in Education, in press; http://www.esl-lounge.com/qiang-wolff-index.html)

Middle school and high school students of Chinese English teachers are subject to objective evaluation through the college entrance examination process. University
students of Chinese English teachers are subject to objective evaluation through the Band 4 and Band 6 testing program. However, private college or business institute students taught by native English speakers are not subject to any objective evaluation testing process. The effectiveness of these private educational programs is an unknown factor and hence their contribution to the Chinese society is also an unknown factor. The only thing really known for certain about these private English schools is that they are draining an appreciable amount of yuan from the local economy (China Daily, HK Edition, 10/9/02).

This situation cries out for and demands an empirical study of the real benefit of private English colleges and business institutes in relation to their economic profiteering. The 16th Communist Party Congress discussed the advisability and merits of allowing private educational institutions to begin engaging in business for profit, as if it was not a current reality. Acknowledgement that private educational enterprises are making a financial killing in China already is a prerequisite to
developing appropriate Governmental regulation and quality control standards for the private educational sector.

ASSUMPTION 揇? Chinese EFL/ESL speakers without western
cultural experience are capable of teaching ESL
Language and culture are inseparable; on this there is no apparent disagreement between linguists. How then can an L2 EFL/ESL speaker, without any actual immersion in, or exposure to, the L2 EFL/ESL culture, possibly expect to be an effective L2 EFL/ESL teacher? They are certainly capable of dissecting the grammatical rules, analyzing English writings, reading extensively, and memorizing vocabulary, but this will enable them to do nothing more than teach a 揇D?form of
English. Additionally, in far too many cases, (especially the primary school teachers) their own pronunciation is so atrocious that they cannot possibly correct a student抯 improper pronunciation and they are so steeped in Chinglish that it is impossible for them to recognize it and correct it in their students. (Yanping Dong, (2003)
The L2 students of L2 teachers will not have any appreciation for the cultural or environmental context in which the native speaker actually uses the language. The student will speak, if at all, in a 揇D?form of English that the native speaker will find very strange, bookish, stiff or formal, and unintelligible; or, the Chinese student will use a form of Chinglish which is universally understandable by other EFL/ESL
speakers and L1 English speakers alike.

Chinese English teachers at the middle school and high school levels are themselves so unaccomplished in proper English pronunciation that they discourage and even intimidate their students from attempting to speak in English (He Mei, 9/28/00) When these students reach the university level they have little or no practical speaking ability and have very poor pronunciation, making the university oral English teachers
job almost an impossibility. This situation has also been fostered by an English curriculum that is test result driven rather than driven by practical conversational ability. Middle school and high school students focus on learning only that which is required to pass the college entrance examination, which does not include oral English. A flawed L2 curriculum, taught by L2 speakers who themselves are deficient in their
L2 language understanding and production ability, constitutes an educational program doomed to less than stellar results. In fact, the results are so poor as to require a very lenient grading standard to avoid failing more than half of the Chinese English students in each class.
The following are examples of a dictionary definition (DD) conversation and a culturally insensitive textbook:
EXAMPLE #1: (Dictionary Definition, Chinese English Teacher talking to Foreign
Expert, Feb. 24, 2003)
CET ?揟omorrow you will 揻etch?your Temporary Residence Permit from the Public
Security Bureau.?
FE ?揥hy do you talk to me like that? I am not a dog!?
CET ?揥hat do you mean??
FE ?揑n America we command our dogs to 揻etch?when we want them to retrieve something for us.?
CET ?揃ut the dictionary says that 揻etch?is used to refer to going someplace and bringing something that is there back.?
FE ?揧es, but in actual daily usage we only tell our dogs to 揻etch?when we throw something and have them chase it and bring it back or when we are using dogs while hunting for birds. It is an insult to tell a person to 揻etch.?You insinuate that they are a dog.
EXAMPLE #2: (Cultural Ignorance, excerpts of inappropriate conversational English randomly taken from an English textbook published in 2001 and written by a Chinese
L2, 揑nteractive Speakers.?
It抯 time to say our farewells. P55
Could they make me known the exact time the plane takes off? P69
Have I got the go ahead to put out the fire? P119
I wonder if you抎 excuse me for a moment. P152
?I抦 afraid. P183
I抦 afraid ? P 24, 167, 182
Will it be convenient if I call upon you at seven this evening? P220
To be openhearted, your denial that you had witnessed the accident dumbfounded me.
P 249
He chooses to look into the matter till the truth is out. P264

Foreign Experts should be pressed into the service of teaching primary and middle school teachers how and what to teach in their EFL/ESL classes.

ASSUMPTION 揈? Chinese English students should 搈aster?
English
The 6th Edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner抯 Dictionary identifies no fewer than 7 separately identifiable forms of English language in the word today (American; Australian; British; Irish; Northern; New Zealand; and Scottish). When Chinese ESL teacher or ESLstudents remark that their goal is to 搈aster?English, the question should be: Which one?
If anyone did ever 搈aster?English, it is doubtful that anyone would understand him or her.

Within the separately identifiable English languages there are numerous regional variations. In New York City there are at least four such variations of English. Further, language is a fluid entity that is always in a state of change. That is why most dictionaries are updated and reprinted annually.

So, even if someone 搈astered?all English forms at any given moment in time, his or her 搈astery?would quickly become outdated. The emphasis should rather be on standardization of Chinglish or regional English.
Being worldly traveled and having communicated with people who speak Chinglish,
Singlish, Pidgin, Creole and other English variations, it is clear to us that many English
variation speakers are more understandable than many L1 English speakers from
Australia, Scotland, Ireland or Wales. The pronunciation of many of these so-called native
English speakers is so horrific that it is completely incomprehensible. In the summer of
2002, Chinese English students at a private business institute in Wuhan, China, regularly
shunned a native English teacher from Wales, because his pronunciation was so
incomprehensible.
If one of our Chinese English students makes a classroom presentation using standard
English, including correct word choice, sentence structure and syntax, but we are unable
to understand their pronunciation, then their English can only be described as "perfectly
incomprehensible" no matter how pedagogically correct. If a cow makes a clucking sound,
would it be safe to conclude that it is a chicken, none-the-less? If a word is not
pronounced correctly is it the same word conveying the correct meaning? Probably not,
as is evidenced by the various tones in mandarin.
We can teach a Standard English but they will learn Chinglish due to cultural differences
in thought patterns. This cultural difference in thought process stands as a permanent
impediment to all 2nd language acquisition, no matter what the L1 or L2 language may be.
The quest for 搈astery?of English seems a foolish waste of energy, time and resources,
which could be better utilized on other, more meaningful pursuits.

ASSUMPTION 揈? Chinglish is unacceptable or bad language
The purpose of all language is effective communication.
揚idgin?English is understood amongst the native Hawaiian people and it also
enables them to effectively communicate with the English-speaking foreigners who
are occupying their homeland.
揝inglish?is an effective form of English communication amongst the people of
Singapore and their English speaking world trading partners, business associates and
tourists.
In fact, almost every nation that has adopted English as a second language has
developed a form of English that can be readily used by the lowest common
denominator within its own people抯 abilities to communicate and to still have
effective communications with the native English speaker. Regional Englishes abound
worldwide.

There may be some purists who look down upon 揅hinglish?or anything less than 損erfect English?but of course their definition of what perfect English is will also depend upon which of the 7 standard English forms they consider to be their native form or 損ure English.?(Oxford Advanced Learner抯 Dictionary, 6th Edition.) China is a developing Nation and is well within its rights to develop a form of English or regional English that best suits its general population抯 need to communicate with each other as well as native English speakers, while insisting on a more refined English proper or standard English, (Jiang Yajun, (1995) only for its official translators and some groups of professionals such as lawyers, accountants, scientists, medical doctors, etc. is only required by certain professional groups in China (Shanghai Star 10-24-02).

Chinglish is not a bad thing! In point of fact, it is inevitable (Jiang Yajun, (1995) Certain Municipal Governments require all of their civil servants to have a minimum of 1,000 English words in their vocabulary (China Daily, 10-05-02) This official policy forces Chinese speakers of Mandarin to sprinkle a few English words in to give a little English flavor to their Mandarin. This is nothing less than an officially sanctioned and promulgated form of Chinglish.

CONCLUSION
The plethora of EFL/ESL programs throughout China may be producing a few English PhD scholars, but they are not producing graduates capable of communicating orally in everyday or Standard English (Deng Di, (6/9/00) However, Chinglish is developing as the second National language of China. As long as Chinglish serves as an effective means of internal and external communication with other L2 EFL/ESL
peoples and L1 English speakers, why should anyone complain?

i (Xinyang Agricultural College, Henan Province 2003) You are forced to trudge up three to five flights of cold concrete stairs to reach your assigned concrete cubicle where you are required to sit on a 17?high backless wooden stool with an 81/2?x 11?seat, in front of a 30?high wooden bench. The cold concrete floor is swept daily by merely pushing the dirt into a corner where it stacks up. Water is splashed on the floor to keep the dust down. There is no heat to ward off the freezing cold of winter nor air conditioning to provide relief from the sweltering heat of summer. The walls are dingy-yellowed with time, dirty and in disrepair.

The lighting is bare fluorescent tubes just like a sweatshop. In the front of the room is a Chinese language sign that roughly translated means [only speak mandarin in this room]. There is a second Chinese language sign on a sidewall that roughly translated says [no talking
in this room].

This cold, dank, concrete box is surrounded by construction noises on one side, and from another side the machine gun rapid-fire pops of hundreds of dribbled basketballs on the concrete exercise yard and the sound of popcorn popping as 50 ping pong balls are slapped with bare wooden paddles and bounced on concrete tables located under your windows; and from yet another side the sounds of people noisily clomping up and down the adjacent stairs or people in an adjacent concrete cubicle playing a Chinese movie on the television loud enough for the entire building to participate in the audio bombardment.

Inside the concrete cubicle you sit theater style facing the front of the room for nine hours each day. There are no English signs or notices posted on the walls, no decorations to instill any thoughts about the West, its culture, or its language. There are two Chinese signs on the front wall, one says, 揘o Talking In Class?and the other says, 揥hen You Speak Use Mandarin Only.?There are no maps or globe of the outside world. You are deprived of any and all English newspapers, magazines or periodicals. There is no western music or television. And worst of all, no one speaks to you in English, not even those sitting next to you, let alone any of the other forty plus occupants of the cubicle. You are forced to watch Chinese movies or be bored completely.

Suddenly, but on cue, an authority figure enters your cubicle and announces that you will now learn English as a second language and you are snapped into the reality that you are now in an environment where you are required to not only learn but to 搈aster?English as a second language. Your English teacher stands in front of the two Chinese signs that advise against talking in class or when you must, only use Mandarin.

No, this is not punishment, not a prison, not a concentration camp, not a re-education camp or some other type of detention facility. You are a free spirit! Free that is to 搈aster?English and do it within the next three years.
Outside your cubical you are constantly bombarded with Mandarin over the campus-wide loudspeaker system and in the written notices and bulletins posted on the public information boards around the campus, but nothing in English. Even the notice posted advising of an impending English Corner is written in Chinese characters. You note the absence of English reading materials in the College library; the absence of English DVD movies or television programs; the blaring Chinese movies in the cafeteria; the total absence of English signs or decoration anywhere on campus; and the lack of any inducement to speak English. When you go to the English department offices, all of the staff and students are
communicating in Mandarin. No staff in the college library, cafeteria or store speak English.

There is nothing special or attractive about being an English major and there is no inducement to acquire English as a foreign/second language, just learn it as it is taught to you by your Mandarin speaking teachers who predominantly speak and teach in their L1 using a
揷halk and talk?pedagogy. There is no English-speaking environment within the academic community or anywhere else in China. This hostile environment is found throughout China抯 universities and colleges and it violates every principle of second language acquisition through comprehensible input in a friendly environment. (Krashen, 1997).

REFERENCES
China Daily, (10-05-02), 揋overnment Encourages Public to Learn English?
Deng Di, (6/9/00), 揕anguage Education Should Be Reformed? ChinaDaily
H. Jones, 2/25/01, www.ESLcafe.com
He Mei, 9/28/00, 揈nglish Teaching Method Faces Challenge? China Daily
He Qixin, (8/01), Foreign Language and Teaching Research, 揈nglish Language
Education in China?
Jiang Yajun, 1995, 揅HINGLISH? English Today
Krashen, Stephen D., (1987), 揚rinciples and Practice in Second Language
Acquisition? Prentice-Hall International; http://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash.html
Krashen, Stephen D., (1981), 揝econd Language Acquisition and Second Language
Learning? http://www.sdkrashen.com/
Krashen, Stephen D. (1998), 揊oreign Language Education The Easy Way?
12
13
Oxford Advanced Learner抯 Dictionary, 6th Edition
Qiang/Wolff, 4/03), 揅hina and Chinese or Chingland and Chinglish??English Today;
http://www.esl-lounge.com/qiang-wolff-index.html
Qiang/Wolff, 9/03), 揅hina ESL: An Industry Run Amuck??Progress in Education
Vol. 12 Ch. 4;
http://www.esl-lounge.com/qiang-wolff-index.html
Tamblyn, Andrew, (1/15/03), www.ESLcafe.com
To Choy-ee, (10-24-02), Chinese University of Hong Kong, 揈nglish Dominance?
Shanghai Star
www.chinatefl.com/abroad.html;
www.eslcafe.com/jobinfo/asia/sefer.cgi?China
www.tefl.com
Yanping Dong, 2003, " Are we ready for ' an Early Start in Foreign Language
Learning?'--- A Survey of Primary School English Education in Guangdong
Province" in Modern Foreign Languages. (1)

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2004-10-18 14:22:16 |Display all floors

Interesting text from http://www.lingvo.org/

"Sobering results on the REAL levels of fluency in English


When researchers (in 1992) tested 4,500 Europeans for "perceived" versus "actual" English-language skills, the results were discouraging. First, the interviewees were asked to evaluate their English-language abilities, and then to translate a series of sample English phrases or sentences. The study produced "sobering" results: the number of people really fit for English-language communication turned out to be less than half expected! In countries such as France, Spain, and Italy, the study found, fewer than 3 percent had excellent command of English; only in Scandinavia and the Low Countries did the numbers even exceed 10 percent.

The first number below is the percentage of respondants claiming English fluency, while the corresponding second number is the percentage who could actually translate the presented test phrases: Belgium: 41 - 17 ; Denmark: 32 - 15; France: 20 - 3; Spain: 9 - 3; Italy: 9 - 1; Nederlands: 51 - 28.

Given the importance of language in the EU in relation to jobs, safety, discrimination, and so forth, the results are cause for concern. One wonders why so few studies (that objectively test fluency rather than naively relying on self evaluation), have been carried out in this area."

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2004-10-18 15:14:42 |Display all floors

karenb

I think Deng speaks only a splatter of French....

He was not truly pursuing an academic degree while he was working at the Renault Auto Company as a worker.

That's good, or else Chirac would be claiming a larger contribution that France had made to China, e.g claiming that all of Deng's ideas came during his stay in France.  

Jiang KNOWS he is good in everything under the Sun.   But if he did make a decision about China's English language policy, he is not receiving accolades from me, pardons messieur.

You don't have to regret about not bringing a good dictionary from Florida.

Our forumite Xinyang is your dictionary.

I asked for a shoelace for a toddler and he threw the entire Size-18 Yao Ming sneaker at us.

If anyone did finish reading the entire post uploaded here by our diligent forumite, I am going to reward him/her with five tons of ......(secret!)

Use magic tools Report

You can't reply post until you log in Log in | register

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.