I’ve been teaching ESL in Asia for nearly 3 years. 6 Months ago I started working at this buxiban. It is partly foriegn owned partly Taiwanese, though the forigner owners have gone back wither they came from. Out of the schools I’ve taught in, It has impressed me most. The students’ outgoing attitudes and even their English level was initially quite surprising. However after 6 months there, I have realised that there is really a big problem, a realisation shared by the only other concerned teacher (of 6). In her words, she reports getting the students at the highest level of our buxiban who are to start preparing for a big test (hah: ignorance! Is it the ‘GEP’?), after YEARS spent studying at our school, they apparently know NOTHING about English. For example the difference between past and present, or are at least unable to demonstrate that knowledge in practice. I believe this is because they do not possess the knowledge because they have not learnt it. Not an unreasonable assumption, I guess.
My question at our staff meeting was: what can we do about it? No one (even the concerned Taiwanese teacher - who really works hard) seemed interested in trying to do anything! Considering how significant they feel the turning off of lights, the arrangement of the desks in the classrooms, the filling in of forms, one would have thought that the effectiveness of the product we were being payed to provide, would figure pretty high on that list. The boss had nothing to say, though she seemed sursingly concerned (or was that embarrassed?) - but that’s ok she isn’t a teacher. The others were silent. From conversations following with the decent teacher, who said, ‘everyone has their own teaching style,’ in other words ‘some people don’t care,’ it seems as though its up to individual teachers to do what they can.
___Too many times we come to the end of a unit (mb 5 weeks of study) and the kids still seem to have no idea what the hell we are doing or why. They might have got the content but the grammar has got by unnoticed. Taking responsibility for this, I ask what can I do to improve the situation?