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Teaching classes other than English

 
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:14 pm    Post subject: Teaching classes other than English Reply with quote

So another poster complained on here about a college asking him to teach non-English courses, and it got me thinking.

There's a time when the US required only a Baccalaureate to teach at college (and a high school education to teach high school for that matter), though of course the time is officially long past. Unofficially it's worth noting, grad students—even first-year grad students—often teach undergraduate courses, especially lower level ones, at many universities. This includes most of the "really good" ones that all the foreigners and many Americans want to go to.

It doesn't seem to me that different to teach a course on a subject you've studied without pursing a higher degree while doing so, though of course universities and grad-student unions are likely to disagree. (For my own part, that's why I went to small a liberal arts college where all classes were taught by professors. Not for the credentials, but for the grad-school and post-grad experience in research that those teachers had.)

And with that in mind, I'm wondering if anyone else has had experience being asked to teach non-English language courses at Chinese universities?

If it's much of a thing over there I might have to reconsider China, since frankly, I would love the opportunity to share my love and knowledge of any of the following (even with as little as one non-English class a semester):

- linguistics (intro, historical, syntax, language acquisition, and pragmatics)
- psychology
- neuroscience
- evolutionary biology
- economics
- history (world, economic, and US)

My degree is in psychology and linguistics and my knowledge of the remaining fields mainly comes from college courses and my own interests, meaning that even I wouldn't hire me to teach those things from a purely credential-oriented standpoint. (I certainly wouldn't be asked to teach intro to economics or US history if I were a linguistics grad student at an American uni.)

Also, has anybody with a major other than English been asked to teach courses in English literature or composition? In Turkey, at least, these are usually taught at unis by English majors, even though my knowledge of both is at least as good as your average English BA.

~Q
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2423
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it comes down to the language of instruction.
All very well to have the knowledge, but getting it across in English?
I'm assuming you're not fluent in the language of your host country.
Better leave the technical aspects to teachers who can do it in L1.
As an oral English teacher I would love to align my classes with what my students are studying elsewhere in their courses. English literature for example.
When I heard that my English majors were studying the Merchant in their Shakespeare unit, I asked if it would be helpful to highlight this in my oral work?
Predictably, not a whiff of interest.
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My level of Turkish proficiency isn't relevant, since I'm asking (here on the China forums) specifically about China, in a situation where English is already used as the language of instruction at uni level. I infer this is the situation in at least some universities for at least some subjects, as evidenced by the teacher with a non-business major who was asked to teach business, presumably in English.

~Q
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roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1459
Location: Ch

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

My level of Turkish proficiency isn't relevant, since I'm asking (here on the China forums) specifically about China, in a situation where English is already used as the language of instruction at uni level. I infer this is the situation in at least some universities for at least some subjects, as evidenced by the teacher with a non-business major who was asked to teach business, presumably in English.

You've been misinformed about the language of instruction in a Chinese university. The language of instruction is Mandarin. Even the English classes for English majors, when not taught by native speakers, are taught in Mandarin, with predictable results. Hence the need for native speakers to complement the instruction.

Many on your list are possible to teach in English in a Chinese university. Those classes with a specialized vocabulary, such as business or economics will often be slower than anticipated because of the vocabulary and more importantly, many of the students really struggle to understand what the instructor is saying. It can be a crap shoot, really. You could land in a situation where you are able to teach lessons that interest you, and a few students may really benefit. Perhaps more than a few. Or, for reasons mentioned by Non Sequitur, you may feel that your lessons are an outlier in a very disjointed education and therefore, you have nothing to connect your classes to, as far as making ideas stick or seem relevant.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2423
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP is right that there are universities in China that have English as the language of instruction for some courses.
Dalian Medical U is one such, but I suspect that this is because they target the profitable international student market.
Would be surprised if these universities would hire less than at doctorate level and the teaching would be in the hiree's specialist area.
Google around and if you get hits see if you can locate non-Chinese lecturing staff on the website.
I don't recall any non Chinese other than a few oral English teachers at Dalian Medical.
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doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 659
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would imagine that most Chinese students proficient enough in English to study another subject in that language would avail themselves of the opportunity to study abroad in a native speaking country. Then you also have the opportunity to get a degree more likely to be recognised internationally, and the opportunity to immerse yourself and further improve your English.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2423
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The medical degree taught (in English) at Dalian, is recognised by WHO.
Unsure though about the medical registration requirements, which would vary from home country to home country.
Lots of Indian students at Dalian so presumably they've got their post graduation Indian registration sorted.
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