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GAO KAO (University Entrance Exam)
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The Great Wall of Whiner



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 4934
Location: Blabbing

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:44 am    Post subject: GAO KAO (University Entrance Exam) Reply with quote

Do any of you prepare the kids for this exam? If so, what challenges have you faced?

Seems a tough market to crack.
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Miles Smiles



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1294
Location: Heebee Jeebee

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always thought that everything that the pre-college/university level students were taught was geared toward the gao kao.
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therock



Joined: 31 Jul 2005
Posts: 1266
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's certainly a lucrative market for Chinese teachers, although there's not much demand for foreigners to teach it. English is only part of the exam and it's all wriitng and reading.

If you are looking to teach exam preparation, IELTS and TOEFL are the main options for foreigners.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont know if it is just a lack of demand for foreigners to teach it, but I can see that Chinese teachers would 'educate' students to the idea that only Chinese teachers can prepare Chinese students for a Chinese English exam.

The biggest difficulty I would imagine would be in the actual prep work. The students taking the exams are children who have spent their entire English education under the impression that they need to know 10,000 words to be able to do the reading, and to be able to recite New Concept 1, 2 and 3 in order to be able to do the writing.

Test prep is pretty much trying to teach them the skills required and this goes against everything they have ever been educated in. Thats the toughest nut to crack in this scenario I think.
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The Great Wall of Whiner



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 4934
Location: Blabbing

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therock is right: Chinese teachers explicitly make sure their customers--er, pupils, know that foreigners cannot teach anything in the gao kao.

I have been teaching high school kids preparing for their gao kao for a few years now, but have had little success getting anywhere near the amount of students that I get with the primary and middle school age groups. Lately however, I have seen a sharp increase in the number of kids wanting me to each them and I'm not sure why.

Just wondering if there is anyone else doing it; I feel like I'm in a lonely club here.
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Voldermort



Joined: 14 Apr 2004
Posts: 597

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Great Wall of Whiner wrote:
Therock is right: Chinese teachers explicitly make sure their customers--er, pupils, know that foreigners cannot teach anything in the gao kao.

I have been teaching high school kids preparing for their gao kao for a few years now, but have had little success getting anywhere near the amount of students that I get with the primary and middle school age groups. Lately however, I have seen a sharp increase in the number of kids wanting me to each them and I'm not sure why.

Just wondering if there is anyone else doing it; I feel like I'm in a lonely club here.


You're not alone.

Previously, I spent 5 years teaching high school but, mainly due to the students thinking my class was a waste of time, I decided to go private where I could put my teaching abilities to actual use.

Like you, most of my students are from primary/middle schools. Recently, I have also had some interest from high school students. Not from the students themselves but rather from their parents. Either their English tests have not been so good or they are looking to get more practice with a foreigner.

As a rule I always assess their level of English before agreeing to teach. I've found that they may know a lot of words but their grammar is seriously lacking. The students will always disagree with this.

Here's an example. Just last month I introduced them to Simple Present vs Present Continuous. After that class I had endless complaints from their parents saying that they already know this and wanted me to teach "later content". Being the teacher I put my foot down and stated that if they can't understand the basics there is no way they are going to be able to understand any of the more difficult concepts.

I decided to give them a pop quiz on said content and guess what, only one of them managed to get a score above half.

This has come from their Chinese teachers telling them that foreigners know nothing about the Gaokao and that the book I'm using is too easy compared to their school books. Having looked at their books, barring the vocabulary differences, the content is exactly the same.
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Guerciotti



Joined: 13 Feb 2009
Posts: 692
Location: In a sleazy bar killing all the bad guys.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As noted before, Chinese teachers promote the idea that only Chinese teachers are suitable tutors for the GaoKao. It's a business. People pay good money - I heard one paid 200K RMB - for high school teaching jobs and they pay not so much for the job as the additional income opportunities.

In China, high school education is a business and they're defending their business. Follow the money.

I think native speakers who already know or are willing to learn the 'other' verb tenses, prepositions et al are well suited to teach the GaoKao.

I think you could do the students a great service and I wish you the best of everything in this endeavor.
Cool
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Opiate



Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 630
Location: Qingdao

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I avoid gaokao prep like the plague now. It's almost impossible to walk out of it smelling like a rose or feeling like you accomplished anything worthwhile. Most kids do not know basic grammar but both they and their parents believe they do simply because they have studied it for so long and not been given failing grades. If you try to teach them grammar, most students tune you out since grammar *is* boring. Most are not ready for anything more advanced. All the while you'll be cut down by the teachers and parents and if you try to teach them grammar...the students will also complain.

Too much head pain for little monies. I want many money. No want head pain.

Good luck.
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Miles Smiles



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1294
Location: Heebee Jeebee

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I may be misinformed about the gao kao. I thought that Chinese students' schooling is geared toward their taking the gao kao. Are we discussing another educational system altogether or are we discussing tutoring students who are lagging in some subjects?

If one tutors gao kao prep, how does he know what to teach other than basic skills?

I'd think that "teaching" for the gao kao would be a lot like SAT (the most common pre-college academic assessment in the U.S.) coaching. If the student can't read or perform basic mathematical functions by the time college is on the horizon, there's really little that one can do for him.

However, if the student needs help in preparing for testing procedures and preparing himself for the rigors of taking the test and preparing him to use his powers of recall, then there ARE methods that can be employed.

Somebody enlighten me. I really want to know what I'm missing because I've never heard of anyone coaching for the gao kao. (Maybe I know it by another test name?).

Help me out here.
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igorG



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
Posts: 1473
Location: asia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me try.

If you so badly want to compare an American college entry exam to the local one, it would probably not be the SAT as much as the ACT because the first one, in my professional opinion, requires more of a common sense than the second one which is a bit "easier to memorize".

My observation is that this debate about gao kao is related to FTs who would like to help locals pass it. But forgive me if i am wrong.

To establish techniques for teaching the Chinese uni entry exam, a FT would have to know the local environment, its culture and the way of communication. The English language test is prepared by locals who have a marginal knowledge of the language. This means the FT ought to have similar attributes to cope with the communication challenges and/or expectations of the test.

I hope this has been of some help.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Voldermort

I think I have a handle on the Chinese students approach to grammar and learning it.

Imagine wanting to learn to play football. You decide to buy the most comprehensive book on the history of the sport and combine it with with the latest FIFA rules and regulation book. For a period of 3 - 5 years you study it intensely, practising to recite it aloud in public places like parks. You also memorise the procedure behind all the training drills, and chapters like how to take penalties too.

Finally, after several years, you buy a football and insist on playing in 11 a side, full sized pitch matches. At this point you refuse to take part in any conditioning, training drills, or practise sessions as you have already learnt these things and wish to play in competitive matches only.

As crazy as that sounds...I find this does in some way mirror my students attitude to language learning. I have adult students who have completed their grammar education (in their eyes) and they can often be very resistant to CLT which includes any TL or grammar point, as they 'learnt this years ago'.
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Miles Smiles



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1294
Location: Heebee Jeebee

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

igorG wrote:
Let me try.

If you so badly want to compare an American college entry exam to the local one, it would probably not be the SAT as much as the ACT because the first one, in my professional opinion, requires more of a common sense than the second one which is a bit "easier to memorize".

My observation is that this debate about gao kao is related to FTs who would like to help locals pass it. But forgive me if i am wrong.

To establish techniques for teaching the Chinese uni entry exam, a FT would have to know the local environment, its culture and the way of communication. The English language test is prepared by locals who have a marginal knowledge of the language. This means the FT ought to have similar attributes to cope with the communication challenges and/or expectations of the test.

I hope this has been of some help.


IGor,

This is my impression too. Thanks for helping me to get a handle on this.
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The Great Wall of Whiner



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 4934
Location: Blabbing

PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is only one Gao Kao.

The only two things I deal with in dealing with Gao Kao is writing and vocabulary. Everything else I stay away from, although I do touch on grammar from time to time. I'm teaching high school-level grammar and vocab. to middle school kids anyways-- just thought I'd try to make a bit more money.
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dakelei



Joined: 17 May 2009
Posts: 318
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is my understanding that a Spoken English component has been added to the gaokao. At my last high school teaching job here we were given examples of how to prepare students for it. This would have been the 09-10 academic year. It was still in the planning and experimental stage at that point but I believe that now every student sitting for the gaokao must take the speaking part. It's done in front of a computer. If there is a market for FT's that is where it will be. The Chinese teachers can drill the grammar and vocab but most still can't teach speaking.
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xiguagua



Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 768

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dakelei wrote:
It is my understanding that a Spoken English component has been added to the gaokao. At my last high school teaching job here we were given examples of how to prepare students for it. This would have been the 09-10 academic year. It was still in the planning and experimental stage at that point but I believe that now every student sitting for the gaokao must take the speaking part. It's done in front of a computer. If there is a market for FT's that is where it will be. The Chinese teachers can drill the grammar and vocab but most still can't teach speaking.


That's all they need is 200 million high school students across the country clamoring into computer rooms to take the oral English segment. Seems like a very high cost to set up and organize for just one exam......
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