What are they doing wrong?

[quote=“Bassman”]If you had the chance to fix something, what would you fix first?

(not that it would do you any good, most bosses wouldn’t listen anyway)[/quote]

That’s what I’d fix if I had the chance. I’d get them to listen. Until then, it’s :wall:

Chewycorns, man, call it American arrogance, but I thought sure our neighbors to the north were familiar with this guy:

Respectfully woobwoobwoobwoobwoobwoob,

I think a two or three hour class twice a week is doable. There would be more time to do suplemental activities, play games, sing songs, do some tpr roll playing, as well as the more traditional reading, phonics, grammar.

two hours, twice a week, good homework habits. works well for my students. certainly more than “any” benefit :slight_smile:

Realistically students will need a break from two/three hour classes of at least five minutes. I was teaching mainly 75 minute classes and found that was way too long for students to sit/listen/participate without a break.
I’d change a lot of the teaching materials and try tomake progression much more sensible. Texts like the Let’s GO Books teach things like It is and They are for objects way too quickly and don’t emphasize the be-verb enough.

Anyone learning a foreign language outside where they hear it spoken regualrly is not going to make much progress. There’s no way I’d be able to speak much Mandarin if I’d learned it back home. My experience though comes form learning French two hours a week. All I really remember is Je Connais pas and Je Ne sais pas. Will all I remember in years to come from my time in Taiwan be “bu dong”?

A lot of the learning/teaching here is rote learning. There is a need to make the language much more practical. I’ve seen some really terrible native teachers and some equally terrible Chinese teachers.

I think there needs to be less emphasis on spelling tests which really prove nothing except memory ability. The tests are viewed by a lot of foreigners as nothing more than an exercise in futility or a money grabber. “We have a test. I can speak slowly and draw the time out. I have to mark the test too which will further prolong the time.”

Yes, full immersion is the way to go, although just from research I did for a thesis, starting at a young age had more of a positive effect on pronunciation than studying abroad…go figure. Having both an early start and a chance to study abroad made a signficant difference. I do know that my pronunciation improved greatly when I spent 3 months at a French-immersion school in France, but I also had learned from only non-native speakers for the seven years up to that point. Unfortunately, not all Taiwanese families can afford to send their kids abroad to be fully immersed in an Anglophonic country.

I think when many of the schools, teachers, and parents in Taiwan stop looking at teaching English purely for its monetary (and face-gaining) potential and start looking at it from a pedagological point of view, then we’ll see better results. You already see them in schools who do focus on their students learning and the parents are willing to listen to teachers and trust that they know what they are doing.

[quote=“ImaniOU”]Three-hour English classes? You’re kidding right? Not sure what the number is, but research shows that longer classes produce worse results in concentration. Now dealing with that and schoolwork on top of that, how on earth could one think that having only 2-3 sessions a week would be of any benefit? Supplemental? Maybe, but not as the only source of instruction. Especially for beginners.

Exactly, three hour English classes is not the way to go. Unless perhaps a kindy. Once the little ones get into primary school they don’t have time for three hour English classes. You can thank the 9-year Education Plan for that.

How long the classes are is not as important as how often.

[quote=“Durins Bane”][quote=“ImaniOU”]Three-hour English classes? You’re kidding right? Not sure what the number is, but research shows that longer classes produce worse results in concentration. Now dealing with that and schoolwork on top of that, how on earth could one think that having only 2-3 sessions a week would be of any benefit? Supplemental? Maybe, but not as the only source of instruction. Especially for beginners.

Exactly, three hour English classes is not the way to go. Unless perhaps a kindy. Once the little ones get into primary school they don’t have time for three hour English classes. You can thank the 9-year Education Plan for that.

How long the classes are is not as important as how often.[/quote]

That really depends. I teach my son’s kindergarten class once a week. TPR only. They remember pretty much everything from the week before and learn the new stuff more and more easily. The class is once a week, less than 45 minutes. About 15 kids. What is more important is what you’re teaching, how well it is received, and how damn good the teacher is at his/her job. Time can be an excuse for failure, but I do stand by my earlier comment that regular evening type classes, twice a week, 10 years olds…suck.

ps, why is my font so beeg?

Kids, at an early age, are not independant learners. Therefore, they can’t review well at home. Schools end up having to prepare workbooks to cover the same material that they learnt in class in order to have them actually review.

If I had an An chin ban I’d have classes going more than twice a week; sadly I don’t. When I think of what I’d have to charge to be able to do it, well, it makes me think that my student base would be gone very soon.

We were going to take over a failing An Ching Ban two doors down, but the boss let his math teacher take over. This meant that students are going to leave that school, sadly, many students that go to that an ching ban also study English at our buxiban and they are planning to change an chin ban classes and as a result may feel it inconvenient to continue with us. I have 32 more classes left to change their minds, and that I shall.

I was kind of looking forward to an An Chin Ban to give me a shot at more classes a week.

Instead of 3 hours once or twice a week, try a half hour every day. Regular daily practice in short bursts keeps learning in the memory much better than concentrating all the week’s lesson in one big marathon session.

Exactly! Our students journal for 10 minutes a day (everyday) and our teachers go over the journal in class. Of course we are only teaching 1on1 and to adults.

I for one, am thankful of the way alot of adult programs are set up. We are enjoying alot of our sales due to the ineptitude of most programs on this island. We do what they aren’t, or rather we do the opposite of what they do. It is working. :sunglasses:

What are they doing wrong?

Hiring Chinese teachers who have worse English than the kids.

If it’s an immersion program and the Chinese teacher tells the kids things like “You don’t have put those things away,” and “I tell you before…” how on earth can a child learn the correct way to speak English?

Hire staff that can speak English competently, and offer bonuses for those who take it upon themselves to take English lessons to improve. And discourage them from using Chinese at school unless absolutely necessary. You shoot yourself in the foot when your students witness the Taiwanese staff speaking to each other in Chinese because it’s like saying, “Learning English is pointless because we don’t even use it except to teach you.”

The worst part is that the Chinese teachers’ bad English habits rub off on you…I have to stop myself, plenty of times, from automatically speaking in Chinglish.

Didn’t Happy Marian or some other school try having two foreigner teachers per class instead of one foreign teacher and one Chinese teacher? I think that would work much better, because the terrible English ability of the “Chinese teachers” that I’ve seen at the “immersion” kindergartens really is a big problem.

Many English teachers seem to think that the kids should all be able to speak good English and if they can’t there is something wrong with the Taiwanese system. Some things to consider:

  1. There is a rather arrogant assumption on the part of many native English speakers that everyone wants to and should aquire their language. Maybe some of the kids are more interested or have more aptitude in music or sports or physics etc etc.

  2. Some of the posters have said that there should be more time for English lessons. Taiwanese kids time is already pretty full learning their own language as well as studing other subjects. There are other things in a child’s life apart from English.

  3. Speaking a foreign language very different from your own well is very difficult, as anyone who has tried to learn Chinese can tell you. I think its almost impossible if you don’t get real life practice- which most childern don’t (hardly the school’s fault).

What the schools should be doing is giving the students a grounding in English, so if they decide to pursue language study when they are older and actually learn to speak the language they have an advantage. In comparison with my own experiences learning French in the UK I think this is done fairly well.

Taipei sparks, we are not talking about one group of children, but why the whole system is lagging, especially when one considers how much the government is talking about making English an official language. We are all well aware of the implications that come with learning English as a foreign language and that Taiwanese children are very busy, but that is not what we are talking about in this thread. Many of us are also decent Chinese speakers and/or have studied another language before. We do not assume that kids speak perfect English, but based on our experiences, we are listing things that hinder their improvement in English in the way that English schools and/or classes are run in Taiwan now.

Please take the time to read the thread before chiming in with half-baked generalizations. Cheers.

In response to Taipei sparks:

I really don’t think that many English teachers expect their students to speak English well unless they have taught those students for a long period of time. We know that most of the time the only exposure those kids get to English is through us.

When a child is enrolled in a language school it is safe to assume that the child wants to learn something even if the parents are making him or her go. Kids are competitive and when they see their friends having fun and doing well they will try as well. Yes, all people aren’t interested or talented in the same areas. Does that mean that they should stop trying?

As for the native speakers assuming that everyone wants to learn their language, the moment someone finds out how long I have been here I am asked if I can speak Chinese yet.

We all know that the kids are busy. I was shocked when I first got here to see how busy they were. The point about there needing to be more time for English is that the goverment, the schools and the parents demand it. Yes, it is very difficult to learn a new language and that difficulty is increased when you are not in an environment where you can practise your newly found skills.

Learning a language when you are older is not easy. It takes longer for the average person. You are also assuming that at a later stage in their lives the responsibilities that they have will have diminished. The older you become the more you have to do.

As to the topic my suggestions are the following:

Get the Chinese staff to pay attention to pronounciation and not just KK and phonics. Pay them accordingly.
Create an all English environment for your students which includes the Chinese staff not speaking Chinese or Taiwanese. Of course that would be situational.
Invent ways to make sure that the students review and not just do homework that can be copied.
Stop doing telephone tests. Rather ask the kids random questions at school.
Do not make the foreign teachers feel like they are merely clowns. If you are going to call someone an English teacher allow them to be an English teacher.
Try and get the kids to be creative.
Educational games. Throwing a ball at a whiteboard is hardly educational. Some of the games that are played are just terrible and it is not helping the student learn English.

Back to flu land I go.

Its hardly arrogant to assume that if a person is sitting in your English class, someone – either the person or the person’s parents – is paying good money to acquire the language. :unamused:

Okay, sorry for the tone of my comments.
The other day I had to listen to a waiguoren moaning about the Taiwanese apparent lack of English ability. I was amazed when I was later buying some things with him in 7-11 and he didn’t understand wu shi yuan (after three years in Taiwan!). Hence my rather rash criticism of ‘arrogant’ English speakers.

I agree that of course any educational system can be improved. However, some of the suggestions - especially hiring more qualified Chinese or foreign teachers and rewarding them more would significantly add to costs and increase fees beyond the reach of many parents. As for an all-English speaking enviroment, this is a good idea. However my buxiban only has two Chinese English teachers, but there are many other staff who don’t speak English who deal with other aspects of the students’ school work. I don’t think an English speaking enviroment would be feasible at my school, although others have different set ups. As for less tests etc, I agree but other approaches are significantly more difficult to implement and will require better staff and more resources.

I still think the main thing holding back English language aquisition in Taiwan is not the education system but the fact that English is very different to Chinese, and that Taiwan unlike Singapore, HK, or India etc has no experience being colonised by an English speaking power.

No, the main thing holding them back is the insisting on doing it their way.

So don’t. I don’t and they love me for it. :slight_smile:

Ah Bartleby, ah progress!