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Local Teachers of English Language in State Schools
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How effective are local English language teachers in your region?
Excellent
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Pretty Good
30%
 30%  [ 6 ]
Just Fair
20%
 20%  [ 4 ]
Weak
35%
 35%  [ 7 ]
Total Waste of Time
15%
 15%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 20

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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kpjf wrote:

Why don't they look at what the nordic countries are doing and copy them? Or does this sound too naive and simplistic?


It's not just English they teach well.

Massive taxation + low defence spending + socialism = high quality public education.

I don't see many countries wanting to follow their example though.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9133
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are also some textbook examples of circular manufacturing in Scandinavia, in which each factory literally is fuelled by the waste from its neighbor....extremely clever stuff.

Part of the beauty of smaller countries; more innovation and easier changes are possible.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:
Glenski wrote:
I hope you took my answer into consideration, that it may not necessarily have anything to do with the teaching ability of the teachers at all.

But a sizeable proportion of JTEs like the system just the way it is, thank you very much. They like teaching to tests, and have little or no interest in real communication. Given a choice, the option to do things otherwise, they wouldn't actually take it.
But that doesn't justify the crappy system or its results, now does it? Those are the remarks of lazy teachers, IMO.

As for Asia having the top 4/5 education systems, the results from that link were:
Finland
South Korea
Hong Kong
Japan
Singapore

I disagree very strongly that Japan should have been put there, I'm not alone, and I'd like to see how they even arrived at that. I've taught in HS here and seen the crappy results and poor students. I've since gotten a uni job and see year after year the declining quality of students, not just in English, but in every subject.

Math, science, and literacy were measured. Balderdash that Japan ranks that high! Besides, the data is out of date by 3-4 years anyway, if you read the link:
These comparisons draw upon tests that are taken every three or four years, in areas such as maths, science and literacy - and so present a picture lagging by several years.

This other statement is also a falsehood in certain terms here in Japan:
The success of Asian countries in these rankings reflects the high value attached to education and the expectations of parents.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2560
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Glenski: I'm not sure if those JTEs are lazy, or feel as if nothing they do will be recognized or make a difference so why bother. As for that list, I can't take it seriously as it has the UK placed right after Singapore.

@kpjf: I'd like to concentrate on Asian languages, but as the requirement seems to be to offer one of Spanish, French or German (not say Japanese) in addition to Mandarin, I guess I'd do either Spanish or German. I have almost zero ability in any languages other than Chinese and Japanese however, as my FL schooling (French: D at O Level) was a joke and I haven't been interested since in much other than East Asian languages.
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:

@kpjf: I'd like to concentrate on Asian languages, but as the requirement seems to be to offer one of Spanish, French or German (not say Japanese) in addition to Mandarin, I guess I'd do either Spanish or German. I have almost zero ability in any languages other than Chinese and Japanese however, as my FL schooling (French: D at O Level) was a joke and I haven't been interested since in much other than East Asian languages.


I'm not sure of the exact ins and outs but have you seen this

http://www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/subjects-age-groups/teach-mfl ?

Quote:
The main languages taught in schools are French, German and Spanish. Others include Italian, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Urdu and Bengali. There is a shortage of teachers available in these priority subjects and there is demand for high-calibre talent to take on the challenge.


So, maybe there's a way for you? What alternative do you have? Learn Spanish or German from scratch? If I were you I would study Spanish over German any day. Spanish is more worthwhile: it is easier (grammatically speaking), plus the demand for Spanish in the world is much greater than that of German. However, maybe you wanted to learn both. For me it seems a kind of tall order to be honest and if you could find a way to put your Japanese/Mandarin to use that would be great!
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1082
Location: 17°48'N 97°46'W

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted weak, as that is the average.
There are some good teachers, but most are working under impossible conditions: classes of 30 to 70 students that meat twice a week for 45 minutes at a time. And they've got up to 10 such groups on their schedule for a total of 300 to 700 students a semester. Enjoy marking papers?

However there are others that go beyond a total waste of time, to ACTUALLY DETRIMENTAL. I would perfer if my students had not had English at all before arriving at the university then I wouldn't have to get them to unlearn the errors first.

Oh and I'm in southern Mexico.
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BocaNY



Joined: 24 Mar 2009
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted weak. In the countries I have taught in the majority of the local teachers teaching in state schools have a poor command of the English language. The only thing I can saw is that most have a better understanding and knowing of the grammar but that's it. I once taught a KET class in SOuth America to a room full of local English teachers.The majority of them had been teaching for over 20 years and they couldn't speak English to save their life. They weren't even ready to take the KET. I told this to my boss that they first needed to take a language course before taking the KET and she told me to start teaching the class in Spanish. I wouldn't and I found out that only 2 barely passed the KET with the majority of them coming in below A1. They were taking the class because the government had just changed the requirements for teaching stating that one must have a degree in the subject they were teaching. Most of the English teachers were teachers because that was the only option available to them when they started working.

The same was true for the country in Eastern Europe were I taught. Great understanding of grammar but could not communicate and became teachers because that was what was available to them. Sad thing in that country was that the gov't changed the official second language to English and Russian and other language teachers started teaching English to keep their jobs while only being one chapter ahead of the students. The main teaching style being read, memorize and produce. The gov't is trying to change things but with the changes they leave many people in a spot of lose your income or teach something you don't know for the oder teachers. They are offering programs to give ALL teachers new teaching methods and training but it will be slow.

I think alot of the reason for weak local English teachers is that they focus on grammar and not speaking and listening skills. Also they use such outdated methods.

I think many countries should take a page out of the Scandinavian teaching/education hand book.
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BocaNY wrote:


I think alot of the reason for weak local English teachers is that they focus on grammar and not speaking and listening skills. Also they use such outdated methods.

I think many countries should take a page out of the Scandinavian teaching/education hand book.


I agree, but, what do the Scandanavian countries actually do? I mean of course I know those countries have great levels of English in general, but i'd like to know what is it that's so different that they do that makes the average 20 year old have great English whereas a French person (who has been learning English for 10 years) still sucks at speaking the language. Do they focus more on speaking and listening skills? Maybe they just have a healthy balance between listening, reading, grammar, speaking etc. but it cannot be so simple.

Of course I understand the difficulty of learning a language depends on your mother tongue but is it really that much harder for a Spaniard to learn English than a Norwegian? Could it be in their genes like Brazilians always produce great footballers? Very Happy
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kpjf wrote:


I agree, but, what do the Scandanavian countries actually do?



I would also be interested to know.

German schools were also mentioned earlier in this thread, and having experience of German students myself I would suggest that it is only the students in the higher tier of the 3 tier school system that are the really capable English language learners. And even then they are still far too reliant on teacher-led classes with a focus on grammar translation tasks. The difference (I believe) is that these students typically come from upper-class / professional backgrounds with a strong cultural background of education and study etc. They know how to study, they are given opportunity to learn and often come from a social and economic background that provides certain advantages.

I wonder if Scandanvian schools have similar tiered systems, and/or similar values and investment in education to the German gymnasium schools?
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1202

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the big things I noticed living in the Netherlands was that there was UK TV, and even films shown on Dutch channels would be subtitled, rather than dubbed. Contrast that with Italy where everything is dubbed. Kids growing up hearing English spoken tend to have better listening skills, in my opinion.

Things are changing, slowly, in Italy, with CLIL becoming much more important, and the occasional TV show subtitled. But we're still a long way off from the almost immersion level of English you get in other countries.
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teacher in Rome wrote:
One of the big things I noticed living in the Netherlands was that there was UK TV, and even films shown on Dutch channels would be subtitled, rather than dubbed. Contrast that with Italy where everything is dubbed. Kids growing up hearing English spoken tend to have better listening skills, in my opinion.

Things are changing, slowly, in Italy, with CLIL becoming much more important, and the occasional TV show subtitled. But we're still a long way off from the almost immersion level of English you get in other countries.


France and Spain are like that in regards to dubbed movies/tv shows, but but but, i'm sure Germany is also like that; yet, Germans' English is quite good. Not as good as people from Nordic countries, but still quite good in comparison to Spain and France (maybe an exception?). It seems incredibly stupid if you're learning a language to watch the movie in the language you're learning dubbed! I can't stand dubbed movies, they absolutely destroy everything for me. The only thing I can take is something like The Simpsons (in Spanish for example), which, in fact, if you have a good level in the language you're learning can be really useful for slang and colloquial expressions.

I live with a French guy who speaks no English but wants to learn. I mentioned watching English spoken films with subtitles to get more used to hearing English instead of watching them dubbed and he looked at me like I was literally asking the impossible: "But I can't watch the movie and read at the same time!" he said. If he starts learning English due to this even after some time his listening skills will be very poor.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8640
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a post somewhere about how countries' politics and their dubbing habits are intimately linked...
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11720
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consider how badly foreign languages are now taught in the UKofGB&NI. How is that this country pretends to be a leader in teaching ANYTHING as a Foreign Language ???
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artemisia



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 867
Location: the world

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teacher in Rome wrote:
One of the big things I noticed living in the Netherlands was that there was UK TV, and even films shown on Dutch channels would be subtitled, rather than dubbed.


I think this is one of the reasons the Dutch have such a great level of spoken English. I don’t know if that happens in Norway and Sweden etc., but I suspect it does. One of the reasons is that subtitling is much cheaper than dubbing. All international movies and TV programmes are dubbed in Germany (or used to be). I remember having to wait much longer to see movies that had come out because of the whole dubbing business. Sometimes people I met there would compare Dutch and German levels of English and say that dubbing should be abandoned, but I’ve never had the impression that would be warmly received by the German public.

I’d say those Germans who attended Gymnasium and Realschule would be likely to have the most comprehensive introduction to English, judging by students I had as adults. Of course whatever they’d done after school would’ve been important, too. Many Germans do summer schools in Britain and Ireland, even during their school years. Germany has the money to heavily invest in education and the value system that believes it is worth investing in.

A lot has to do with education and similarity of native/ foreign language but I wonder how much of it is to do with attitude? What about the belief that someone should learn your language if they want to communicate with you and the widespread nature of the language spoken? Spanish is spoken in many countries, and the French are notorious for protecting their language at all costs and seen as reluctant to speak English. Both aspects can be applied when you look at native English speakers. English is seen as widespread and native speakers often seem affronted by the idea they might have to learn another language. This even extends to being in a foreign country and being outraged when you can’t have a conversation in English. I’ve had many people over the years comment to me on how annoyed they feel when foreign visitors open their mouths and speak English without even bothering to check if the person they're talking to speaks it. I think attitude - and perhaps the perception of how important &widespread one’s own language is - possibly has a lot to do with language learning.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 843
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
There's a post somewhere about how countries' politics and their dubbing habits are intimately linked...


Here in Canada, the Simpsons is dubbed in French. When famous people are mentioned in jokes, the names are often replaced by Céline Dion or her husband René Angélil. Confused Dubbing has gone TOO FAR out here Evil or Very Mad
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