Related News

Home » Metro » Education

Fun teaching helps boost English over Chinese for primary students, expert says

LOCAL primary school students often prefer English classes to Chinese because of a more open and interesting style of teaching, an educational expert from Shanghai Normal University said at a seminar last week.

Hu Junjie, a professor with the university’s foreign language college, said that’s the feedback he got from students he spoke with a different schools in Xuhui District as well as from teachers.

Hu said they told him English teachers often introduce such activities as singing, speech contests and drama, as well as multimedia methodology to present the classes.

Teachers in Chinese classes tend to be more old-fashioned, with students asked to read texts and learn by rote to write characters that are highly complex and must be done in a precise order of strokes, he said.

The seminar, on the trends of English teaching after changes to the English test on the college entrance exam, provided advice for the Shanghai Education Commission in making plans and policies.

Hu’s observations are sure to add to the discussion over the importance of China’s mother tongue compared to the most widely used language in the world.

The controversy grew after the Ministry of Education said last month that the English test would be removed from the annual national college entrance exam as of 2020 and even earlier in pilot cities. Instead, a national unified English test would be held several times a year.

In Beijing, the total score of required for the English test on the college entrance exam will be lowered from 150 to 120 starting in 2016 while the score of Chinese will be raised from 150 to 180, the Beijing Education Commission announced in October.

Some experts say the move lowers the status of English while improving the importance of Chinese learning. But teachers in Shanghai interviewed recently said they thought English would still be important as it would still be required by many universities.

“Many students in my class said they are against the proposal to remove English from the college entrance exam or reduce the score of English,” said Gu Huiling, an English teacher at the high school affiliated with Shanghai Normal University.

“The students know English is important as a tool in competing with others in such a globalized environment no matter how the test mode changes,” Gu said.

Lu Pei, a Chinese teacher at Hongxin Primary School, said Chinese lessons can also be interesting but the teachers have little time to design such activities since they need to help students master the large number of Chinese words required for primary school.

Lu didn’t agree with the view that Chinese ought to be more important than English — she said children can learn both languages well as long as they hold their interest.

Lu, who has been teaching for more than 20 years, said Chinese was once more popular because children read a wide range of books in their leisure time. Now, as children are drawn to playing computer games or watching TV, they have tended to lose the habit of reading and their reading skills are not as good as before, resulting in a low interest in Chinese.

It is still unknown whether Shanghai will remove English from the city’s college entrance exam and how the unified English test will be carried out.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend