Teach English in YijiAdu Zhen - Changde Shi

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Summative Task-For ITTT TEFL Dr. Annette Padilla 10/8/19 This essay answers the question for number 10 “what are the main problems for learners in the country of China?” I am a professor at Jiangnan University in Wuxi, China and share my observations. Our students are in the North American College (NAC), with partners in Canada at Lambton College and Northwood University, USA. Three areas are most interesting to their learning challenges: college preparation, listening, and writing. Students enter NAC with a low score on the national gao kao entrance exam. The student body represents a culture where the system is much different than in the United States. In China, high school is most important for the national test. In Chinese colleges, there is a belief that the student has succeeded in high school and will successfully graduate the university. That is not the case in the USA, where undergraduates can be expelled for poor academics or ethics. Thus, the learners attitude is that sometimes they will do the minimum to pass, and eventually will be passed by teachers or administrators. Learning English is a difficult for students whose native language is Mandarin Chinese. Some of the issues include lack of English vocabulary for the content courses. Our English program is freshman year, yet most students do not come to the business content year two with skills and readiness to learn. For example, the majority would not understand business terms such as an “agenda” and “minutes” or “line.” What this means for faculty like myself as I am teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) vocabulary words and slowing down the course. This is why I call what the business faculty do ESL-infused curriculum. A second challenge, and the biggest issue, is the students are usually on their phones and struggle to pay attention and listen. The population, ages 18-24, has a low attention span, of about 10 minutes. To address, I break the class into segments of 10 to 20 minutes each. As a result of this course, I might think more critically of this time and call it Engage, Study, Activate (ESA). I suspect lack of engagement is due to the cell phone. This issue is related to verbal directions as most students do not listen to hear, thus I must write some information down in my presentation. This course has created the awareness to use the chalk board as a teaching tool. Typically I would use the board for students to give answers. Now, I am trying to write more using chalk. I may be speaking too fast, which is also an obstacle for listening. The students would not tell me to slow down, thus I must self-regulate. In Chinese culture, it is wrong to question a teacher. With the exception of a few, the majority won’t ask questions or speak in class. I often must repeat myself three or more times and be patient. The third problem is writing. Chinese people read from top to bottom and right to left is new. Most Chinese can read English, yet speaking, writing, and listening are gaps. As a result, indenting a paragraph and APA margins is a major step. They also must learn APA which is difficult for natives. Some of our students may come to class without the book, a folder, paper, pens, and pencils. Many bring their book, phone, and pen. It is very new to them to be organized. This impacts learning when I meet with teams on writing, the student won’t have a pen to correct mistakes. The editing and feedback is also new as is learning in a small group. Typical Chinese professors lecture from the front and are not trained in participatory methods. From this analysis of experience, I hope to have advanced your understanding of the challenges that Chinese college students have to learn English.