English Teachers in Taiwan
Today, after 2 days off, I would like to talk about English Teachers in Taiwan. And it concerns about English Learning in Taiwan.
Knowing is one thing, and teaching is totally a different thing from various angles.
I didn’t know the true meaning of it until I taught math to a junior high student when I was a college sophomore boy. It was a one by one class, somebody call it is a one to one class or a private class. I was very surprised that at that time why I can’t tell or explain all I know to the student well? I want to, but I just can’t! I am very impressed on it even till now.
When I was 13 years old, I learnt English with 2 westerners who are priests. It’s my first time to meet foreigners, one is German, other is American, as I recall. In Taiwan, in 1960’s, we learnt English since 12 years old, that the year we enter into junior high, it’s 13th grade of western system. Nowadays, people here learnt English since 5 years old when they are in the kindergarten. It is critical here, and somebody said:’ It is still older than westerner.’ And it is just a saying.
As my two daughters, elder one learnt English from 9, and the younger learnt English from 5, and who learnt better, all I can say is ’ Learning is one thing, knowing could be something other’.
In the old time of Taiwan, like my school ages, a few westerners came to Taiwan to teach English, that is about 1960s’, There were some westerners taught English in urban city like Taipei city with two and half million people, At that time, if you speak English, and you are a foreigner, then you can taught English, no matter your mother language is English, no matter your education is high or low, no matter your major is English teacher or other fields, it’s all right, as you are a foreigner and you can speak English that even say ‘good morning ’’hello’ only, thus, you can be a qualified English teacher in Taiwan, furthermore, you would got a high paycheck. And there were no foreigner except priests taught English in my hometown Yilan County with four hundred and fifty thousand populations.
There are many Cram Schools in Taiwan, what is cram school, we call it ‘bu xi ban” (bu3 xi2 ban1). It is a after school courses that train students to master important courses, like English. They are popular in East Asia like Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Mainland China. Cram is derived from the slang term “cramming’ which means to study a large of material in a short period of time. Cram schools are usually privately owned.
Since about 1989, Taiwanese was allowed to travel abroad, and more westerner came to Taiwan to teach English, more English cram School was set also. And more qualified westerner teachers have been coming to Taiwan nowadays.
Tell you a scenario in Taiwan ：
A westerner English Teacher came into the class of the cram school in Taiwan. It is the first class.
(In cram school, the students don’t need to do the procedure ‘Rise, Attention, Bow, sit’),
Then, teacher opened his/her mouth and said:” Hello, victims, I will torture you.”
(All students opened their mouth up widely, and could not close it for a while)
Oops, Teacher thought that students might misunderstand his/her meaning, oops…..
Fortunately, after a moment, the teacher reminded of something, then said to the students:” victim is v-i-c-t-i-m” “ torture is t-o-r-t-u-r-e”
Then, all students closed their mouth and picked their dictionary up to check those two words, and murmured to each other:’ Why didn’t teacher say ‘hello student’ or ‘good morning student’ instead of telling us those two vocabularies that we didn’t understand? Why the first class has been so tough that the students needed to check the dictionary just at the first two words.”
After that first class, all the students rushed to the service center of cram school, asking the clerks to protect them from the teacher’s torture. The clerks all explained at once:’ The teacher’s meaning is that he/she wants to be strict with he/her student, so he/she said “torture”, and the student who was tortured is the victim. It is good for you to have a strict teacher. In other words, the teacher would teach you seriously.’
What did those victims who had being tortured say after listening to the clerks’ explanation?
Oops, I forgot it. I am too old to remember something. but I’ll tell you guys only I recall it some other day,
My blog tomorrow will be a record of my blog. Let's wait and see.
Knowing is one thing, teaching is something else.
James Zhih-Cheng Wu
(Correction by James,on 2007/5/8):
Joey is right,quot her/his comment as follow:
Hello, James. As you mentioned, "the year we enter into junior high , it’s 13th grade of western system. " I think it should be 7th grade of the western system, not 13th. Just a reminding, not trying to challenge you. ^_^
posted by Joey from Taiwan
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