PPSMI Helps Too..I found these articles today:
Teaching English, not as easy as ABC
By ZHANG YUE
BEIJING: “Morning! Morning! Morning!” repeats a group of third-graders loudly after their teacher, first in English and then in Chinese.
This is followed by other words from their vocabulary list, taking up half the 45-minute English class at Wangji School in Dongxiang county, Northwest China's Gansu province.
Although the class of 47 third graders of Wangji take three English classes a week, few can respond to their teacher trying to initiate a simple conversation with a new face at school.
“Kids here are very smart,” teacher Ma Yanhong, 24, says.
“But they are very shy. Encouraging them to speak out is the hardest part for me.
In the presence of strangers, very few kids are brave enough to raise their hands and answer my questions in English.”
More than 90% of the teachers and students here belong to the Dongxiang ethnic group, which has its own language and whose members are Muslim.
Most are fluent in the Dongxiang language, but find it hard to communicate in Mandarin.
Ma began teaching in Dongxiang county in 2010. She says when she first started, she sometimes had to explain an English word first in the Dongxiang language and then in Mandarin to make sure that every student understood.
Wangji School has just two English teachers teaching eight classes from the third to the sixth grade.
“We face a serious shortage of English teachers,” says Yang Junwei, head of the education department of Dongxiang county.
Attracting university graduates to take teaching positions in the county has always been difficult.
“The place is poor and isolated and some graduates find it almost impossible to communicate with the locals,” Yang says.
“In many primary schools, majors in other disciplines often double as English teachers. They have no training in English teaching and just know some simple words and sentences,” Yang says.
Even Ma, who graduated with an English major in 2009, finds her proficiency in the language wanting after teaching for one year.
“Every time I participate in a teaching seminar in Lanzhou and see students from urban areas responding quickly to their teachers and hear their clear pronunciation, I feel sad.
“I feel I'm not capable of teaching students well with what I learned in college. I am trying to improve by learning English online every evening after class.”
Both of the school's English teachers graduated from the Gansu Normal University of Nationalities in Gannan Tibet autonomous prefecture.
Ma says she has never visited any place outside Gansu.
Poor knowledge of the outside world is a common problem for teachers in Dongxiang, no matter what subjects they teach.
At Zhongbao Hope Elementary School, a school founded by China Daily in 1999, some teachers find it hard to introduce topics they themselves are unfamiliar with, to their students.
Ma Xiaojun, 25, has been teaching English in Zhongbao for four years.
“Here, we use books that are common to all primary schools across China, and the teaching material is decided by China's education department,” he says.
“But for many topics in the books, we have no idea how to explain them to the kids.”
One example he gives is of an English lesson that deals with traffic rules.
“The book explains that in China, cars keep to the right side of the road, while in many other countries, such as Britain and Australia, cars keep to the left,” he says.
“But most children have no idea where Australia is, or even about traffic. Many of them walk seven to eight kilometres of mountainous roads from home to school.”
While teachers grapple with providing context to their lessons, what Wangji student Zhao Rui, 11, misses most is the one class taught by a teacher from Beijing.
Last year, a group of students from Peking University went to Dongxiang to spend some time teaching the students of Wangji School.
“Our teacher was called Tom. He was tall, and spoke beautiful English,” Zhao recalls.
“He explained things very clearly. I remember how he taught us about colours. He said yellow is a coward and purple is shy.”
These are the only names of colours the girl remembers clearly to this day.- China Daily/ Asia News Network
Who says China is not serious about learning ENGLISH?
That doesn't make them less Chinese.....
Our Prime Minister, Mr. Najib Razak said it again yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Prime Minister Cup's Debate competition for higher institutions of learning - that learning English doesn't make someone less Malaysian!!
See the report here:
‘Learning English doesn’t make one less Malaysian’PUTRAJAYA: The Prime Minister told undergraduates that strengthening their English Language skills would not adversely affect their identity as Malaysians.
“The identity of a Malaysian will not be affected if he or she is well-versed in the English language. With mastery of English, we can compete on the international stage and still maintain our identity,” he said at a tea reception for 400 participants of the Prime Minister's Debate Cup 2011 between institutions of higher learning at Sri Perdana yesterday.
A total of 46 teams will take part in the Prime Minister's Debate Trophy which offers a cash prize of RM25,000 for the champions in the English and Bahasa Malaysia categories.
The Prime Minister said mastery of two languages was important so they could compete in a globalised world. Learning three languages would be even better.- Bernama
Have a nice day, Malaysians !!!