Learning English the Chinese Way

It’s rather pathetic that our flip-flop government has been undecided about the implementation of teaching and learning of certain subjects in English.  I’m not in the position to comment on whether their decisions are politically motivated or not, but what I’m sure is that the ultimate victims are the students.

One of the hot issues is the teaching of Math and Science in English in order to improve the English language proficiency of our students. This idea was mooted by Dr. Mahathir, our former Prime Minister, and was implemented in stages from 2002. Scholars and some teachers were fine with this policy as they saw the benefits, but in 2009, the new administration decided to abolish the policy as they claimed that it has been unfruitful. This is indeed sad. On one hand, we have scholars who are with this policy. On the other hand, we have politicians and non-political organisations that believe the use of English would jeopardise our National Language. I’m not going to waste my time debating on this, but I’d like to show you how the Chinese in China learn English.

In the two video clips below, you’ll see how much resilience, determination, courage and patience the Chinese have in learning a second language which they’re not even accustomed to. The Chinese government had imposed a regulation that English must be used in preparation for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The result is what you see in the videos below:

Don’t you think that we should feel ashamed of ourselves for looking down on the importance of English when a country that has never been a British colony has taken the trouble to get its people to learn it, and successfully doing so? Take note that the Chinese in the video clips learnt English for a specific purpose – to be able to communicate with tourists; they’re not learning it to write business reports or seek corporate jobs. Therefore, the method is not suitable for academic purpose. Nevertheless, it clearly proves that English is important, and China has proven that with everyone’s participation, English can be learnt by all walks of life. Are we bold enough to make this change?


Posted on August 10, 2009, in Jottings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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