A committed but controversial figure who has looked at this for years is Martin Wolff. You can find his ideas at China Holistic English
I have recently qualified as an English teacher and have also recently moved to Hong Kong to start teaching. The agent I work for has offered me the opportunity to give some 'lectures' on teaching English to delegations of Chinese English teachers. Having only recently moved to this part of the world, I have not experienced Chinese English teaching and have very little knowledge of what the standard of these teachers will be.
If you have experience teaching English in China, at any level, I'd really appreciate your thoughts on what these teachers will find interesting and useful from a lecture.
In my research so far, I have read that Chinese students often complain that, while they have a good knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary, they have very little confidence/skill in using this knowledge to communicate effectively. With this in mind I had thought about covering teaching both speaking and listening, including different methods/ideas for doing this more communicatively and examples of activities to help build confidence and 'freer' speech.
If you have any ideas on any other possible topics I could cover, I'd be very grateful indeed.
Thanks in advance,
Let me just say that I never taught in China. However, I taught English to Chinese students while I was living in New Zealand.
To me it sounds like you have a good plan. True, Chinese students are taught primarily grammar, whereas they have major difficulties with speaking and listening as well. I would cover reading too as you might get them to focus on sentence structures and also on developing skimming and scanning reading techniques. It would be great if you could make these activities fun for both the teachers and, as a result of your efforts with them, for their students too, though.
One tip. See if you can get a look at the classes these teaches teach before you start giving them advice on how to teach. If they are teaching 60 or more pupils at a time, sall eated in tiered rows, many of the ideas that you might come up with will be impossible for the Chinese teachers.
Thanks very much for all this sound advice. I really appreciate you all taking the time to respond to my plea. Tdol, the Holistic English site makes for very interesting reading and I'm sure I wouldn't have found it on my own. Thanks a lot.
Shannico, I will have a think about including reading skills too and endeavour to make anything I cover as fun and enjoyable as I can :)
5jj, I don't think I'm going to have a chance to see where these teachers teach due to time constraints. I do accept your idea about the appropriacy of what I teach them, though, and I'm going to 'assume' that most of their classrooms are packed full and laid out in tight rows. I will try and make sure that the majority of the activities I share will work in this environment.
Thanks once again guys and all the very best,
Last edited by Dave.Simpson; 08-Mar-2012 at 04:52. Reason: Correction
Forgot to wish you best of luck with this new adventure!
Perhaps you could offer them some ideas and tools for teaching pronunciation. This lecture by Adrian Underhill is a bit of a masterclass, for example.
I don't have any personal experience of Chinese teachers (I assume you're talking about teachers from the mainland), but I think it would be fairly safe to assume that, in most cases, their grammatical knowledge will be significantly better than their spoken ability. As such, it wouldn't be a massive surprise to see that they created students with a similar imbalance. Not that you can do much about that, of course. But the lecture above, for example, would assume that the teacher has good enough pronunciation to be able to produce an accurate model at least most of the time.
On a simpler note, remember you're dealing with the Confucian education philosophy, magister dixit, where one of the main problems is attempting rote learning, while excessively focussing on written English.