I think most schools, private buxibans and chain cram schools are not teaching enough reading skills from the get go. They teach the ABCs at a maddening slow pace, and the top ten pattern sentences, in the first 3 months in order to impress the parents, with their kids’ “English skills.”
I would first have the students do a focused course in classroom TPR, how to get about the classroom, and understand the teacher.
I would have the schools teach structured breakdown and translation of simple sentences, so that students know how to break down sentences in order to build up meaning when they put them back together. I would expect all students in the class to be to read and translate the sentences.
These two things along with a simple reader, Ladybird, for example, would build up a solid foundation of reading skills which would help the kids get through the following 6 months, of phonics and harder vocabulary and verbal expression of ideas and opinions.
If all this sounds too planned out, it isn’t. It’s what we do here with fantastic results. And my next three beginning level English books are about this very thing: building readers of English from the ground up.
bigotry blinds them. gov’t says can’t start learning english too soon as it might detract from the mother tongue.
throw away KK/pinyin. use standard alphabetic script.
any taiwanese TV programming in english yet? lotsa such in HK and s’pore. does the gov’t REALLY want xiao pang pang and li li to speak english? evidence suggests otherwise. as long as the gov’t doesn’t want its future assembly line workers to speak english such won’t happen.
i had pre-kindergarden kids reading…not “sight” reading but really “sounding” the words out. the boss told me to stop. lotsa lip service in taiwan but little elbow behind the grease.
I would think that if more schools provided 4-5 days a week classes, instead of 2-3 days a week, the results would be better. That would give teachers time to sing songs, story time, do art classes and such…you know? Have fun while learning.
no time for all that fun, jdsmith … gottta have time for the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly (hourly?) test.
and bushibans where students get only 3-4 hours weekly of classroom instruction, but don’t do anything else, well … what’s the point? there’s gotta be more time spent, not necessarily classroom time, but “english” time. without a test at the end.
public/private junior/senior highschools really should hire teachers who are comfortable and able to teach english. there are a number of studies done that show that teachers themselves don’t feel they are competent enough to really teach the language. students pick up on this. some english classes are 90% taught in chinese fer crying out loud!
But i do not think it is impossible to do this kind of fun program. We do, and we have fun. The evening classes are more normal, but that’s not where the main focus is anyway…the main target is the afternoon esl 4 times a week.
In the classroom:
1.)The use of EFL evaluation as a tool to determine a student’s academic performance and future scholastic potential. (Tracking & Placement)
2.)Deductive and Direct pedagogy.
3.)A lack of understanding of second(foreign) language acquisition and it’s implications for the teacher-centered classroom.
4.)The inability of institutional instructors to implement content-based instruction.
In the bushiban:
1.) An absence of pedagogical content knowledge.
2.) A complete lack of understanding of Vygotsky’s work and its implications in the Taiwanese EFL context.
3.) A misunderstanding of the task-based classroom.
4.) A fundamental ignorance of student learning styles, learning strategies and student skills.
1.)A complete misunderstanding of the purpose and scope of public education.
2.)The belief that the appearance of something is more important that what it really is.
First, the buxiban owners should get some ethics and morals and realise that getting into the “education” business means that education is the priority. Secondly, demand better qualifications from teachers and compensate those better-qualified teachers appropriately. Buxibans need to be more professional and thorough when it comes to curriculum, and also need to hire “Chinese assistants” with a better command of English so that their bad habits aren’t continually passed on to the students.
As for the public educations system … GET RID OF ALL THE DAMN TESTS!!! (and not just the English ones) :fume: