Human resources

More resources needed to teach English, according to school staff

PROBLEM SOLVING:
At an NPP meeting on bilingualism, participants said teachers need better training and students need environments that encourage the use of English.

  • By Yang Cheng-yu and William Hetherington / Journalist, with editor

The government should reduce the frequency of English lessons and increase the amount of resources available to schools, participants said at a meeting on bilingualism hosted by the New Power Party (NPP) on Saturday.

Teachers and principals were invited to provide feedback on the progress made on the government’s goal of becoming a bilingual Mandarin-English nation by 2030.

At the meeting in Taipei, participants said the lack of English teaching resources was the main factor hampering progress, adding that the government should focus on creating language environments that better facilitate the use of English. English by students.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

“Students need an environment where the English they are learning is used, or it just seems pretentious,” said Chiang Hui-chen (江 惠 真), director of Taipei Municipal High School Zhong Zheng. “We also need better training to produce qualified bilingual teachers and a roadmap for student progress.

The government must clearly define what it means by “bilingualism” and must establish a clear ratio between the importance given to language and the importance given to subjects, said the principal of Dongxin Municipal Primary School in Taipei, Cheng Sheng-yuan (鄭 盛 元). .

Very few qualified bilingual teachers hold positions in Taipei, and schools lack bilingual programs tailored to the local education system, he said.

“Teachers are doing their best to meet parents’ expectations, but they are getting burned out,” he said.

Liu Ya-hsin (柳雅馨), an English teacher at Jianguo Municipal High School in Taipei, said there was broad consensus among those she asked in Taipei that the English-Mandarin bilingualism program is unpopular.

The problem is, most students who study English know some aspect of the language, but cannot speak, read or write full sentences, she said.

In a class of 40 students, at most 10 could be considered “fluent,” she said.

“One of the biggest problems is that the administration of K-12 education does not have phased annual plans in place for this bilingualism policy,” she said. “They don’t see the results they’re looking for, so the wages don’t go up and the number of classes doesn’t go down.”

If foreign teachers are employed, the school should also have bilingual teachers who can answer questions in Mandarin, she said.

Deputy Canada Representative Po Chan-yu (柏 單于), who also attended the event, cited Canada’s experience with English and French bilingualism, and said resources should be distributed fairly to avoid unfair public policy.

“In Canada, the public has the right to decide which of the two official languages ​​they want services in. Taiwan should ensure that its own bilingualism policy leaves no one behind, ”he said.

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