[quote=“Buttercup”]It’s utterly irrelevant to anyone, whether he has a PhD. It has no bearing on his learning in class, and if he’s older than 50, he is unlikely to get much from the class, especially if he argues with his teacher about religion.
It’s not challenging, it’s just rude. And if he’s preparing to emigrate to an English-speaking country, he’s going to have to learn to deal with different modes of discourse.[/quote]
For someone who likes to emphasize how much she knows about Taiwan and teaching there, you really dropped the ball on this answer, Buttercup. How is he supposed to magically learn this, if not from his teacher (assuming the problem lies with the student, which I do not entirely accept from this description)?
First of all, I doubt the student was arguing. That’s the word that would be used by a Chinese speaker in English, but it doesn’t mean “arguing” per se most of the time. Anyway, most teachers would be thrilled to have a student show enough functioning neurons in the middle of a conversation class to actually answer a question in a thoughtful way, instead of just parroting back the accepted answer (“I like sleeping”). It is not rude for a student to express an opinion that is not the same as that of the teacher – much less if the student is preparing to emigrate to a place where that is expected, unlike the situation in Taiwanese educational culture.
Further, if the teacher is any sort of language teacher at all, the main point is not what the student believes, but how well equipped he is to express it. If the student’s expression was inappropriate, it is the teacher’s role to help him understand why and to model correct interactions in the target culture. Talking about Islam is just as likely to improve the student’s grammar, vocabulary and ability to express himself as talking about something the teacher considers politically correct.
[quote=“jangmi”]To question your student further to continue the conversation is great, but the point is the questioner’s attitude, isn’t it?
Yes. I totally agree. It is hardly a mystery that teaching English conversation in Taiwan can, at times, be less than the intellectually-stimulating job it is touted to be on many recruiter emails. However, if you sign up to do a job, any job, you are obligated to act as a professional as long as you’re taking the money.
Repeating a student’s mispronunciations – except if you are contrasting the wrong sound with the correct sound and offering some means for the student to achieve the correct sound – is not appropriate nor professional teaching.
I would mention to the OP, though, that Chinese teachers do this too. It’s likely that the teacher – in addition to having attitude problems – doesn’t know anything about phonetics or how to correct pronunciation. I encountered the same thing a few years back in a “正音” class taught by a well-known broadcaster. Her “method” was simply to repeatedly yell the correct sound in the face of the student mispronouncing it, in front of the group. Very embarrassing for the students and not at all effective in helping them improve their accents in Chinese.
If you’re paying for a language class, you have the right to have the class taught to the best of the teacher’s ability, and you certainly have the right to expect even an untrained, inexperienced teacher to treat all the students in the class with respect. I would speak to the teacher privately, maybe emphasizing that you wonder if he was having a bad day that session, but if it continues, I’d go to the school. Most cram schools are more interested in keeping bodies in seats than in keeping one foreigner or another one – they are a dime a dozen, after all. Failing that, if I were you, I’d change classes or schools. I think English teachers tend to forget that taking a language class can be a considerable investment for a Taiwanese student.