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Is it necessary for every Chinese to learn English


florazheng

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Hi all,

I would like to learn whether it is necessary for every Chinese to learn English or not. English is a compulsory course in secondary school in China. Some of kids even learn it in public grammar school. If you can’t pass the English exam, you will lose the opportunity to further your study after compulsory education in China.

I learnt a story before by a talk show of CCTV that impresses me. A professor of a famous fine arts academy has been failing to recruit any of his new graduate students because most of the students who though have cool talent in their major can’t pass the English entrance exam. He slams at this.

Personally, I think it is unfair to force every Chinese to learn English. I uphold that it will be better for just a optional course but not compulsory one. Why is it a must? Though most of Chinese have been learning English for years but I don’t think they can really express themselves basically in English.

I have a college-educated friend. He even doesn’t know how to write an English resume for himself.

I think this should blame on the crammed education system of China and on the hand we Chinese don’t need to use English everyday. It wastes the education resource, isn’t it? Anyway, China is still a developing country, most of Chinese can't go to the college. It’s not useful and possible for everyone to master a foreign language. :roll::roll::roll:

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I learnt a story before by a talk show of CCTV that impresses me. A professor of a famous fine arts academy has been failing to recruit any of his new graduate students because most of the students who though have cool talent in their major can’t pass the English entrance exam. He slams at this.

I can see how if you're training to be a classical Chinese painter or a dancer, English would be irrelevant to your qualification. This problem should be corrected by changing the school admission criteria rather than eliminating English education.

Personally, I think it is unfair to force every Chinese to learn English. I uphold that it will be better for just a optional course but not compulsory one. Why is it a must? Though most of Chinese have been learning English for years but I don’t think they can really express themselves basically in English.Anyway, China is still a developing country, most of Chinese can't go to the college. It’s not useful and possible for everyone to master a foreign language. :roll::roll::roll:

Setting the school curriculum is not about fairness. Is it fair to require every elementary students to learn algebra, Tang and Song dynasty poetry, or essays by Lu Xun? Those things aren't any more relevant to an average Chinese person's life than English is.

You learn English and those other things because it can broaden your mind and provide you with a foundation for learning other more interesting things, should you wish to or should you need to. China has been too closed and too arrogant about its own traditions in the past, so I think it's a great thing that more Chinese are learning English, the closest thing we have to an international language today. With six to eight of years of English, a Chinese high school graduate should be able to read and understand a wide range of English material. That potentially opens a whole another world to them. This plays as important a part in China's modernization as many other things. If they're as smart as you, they might even be able to post on chines-forums.com

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This has been a hot topic among school students for a while. I don't understand why the question is raised. Does English learning make you uncomfortable? :)

I agree that English is not necessary in Chinese daily life. But like gato said, this is education, just like poetry and geometry. You rarely use them but they make you smart. Trust me, foreign language learning will help you no less than geometry. For the people who want to enter college, they should at least prove a certain level of intelligence.

I think schools should offer other foreign language classes so students could make their own choices. But, perhaps they just don't have enough teachers and resources to do that.

Regarding the example of the art school you metioned: I happen to have some relatives who are in Beijing Film Academy. The entry line of the students in the school is extremely low. I guess that's the reason that many actors are so, sorry, stupid and lack of basic knowledge. Well, I actually wont' question that. Let them get whoever they like.

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I learnt a story before by a talk show of CCTV that impresses me. A professor of a famous fine arts academy has been failing to recruit any of his new graduate students because most of the students who though have cool talent in their major can’t pass the English entrance exam. He slams at this.

that was chen danqing, right? i have heard he has quit his job. the father of an ex-gf of mine who was once a president of an fine and performing arts academy in china during much of the 90s also had voiced concerns about the low level of students in foreign language, writing and critical thinking skills, etc.
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Although I'm an English teacher in China, I think English should be de-emphasized for the following reasons:

1) It's irrelevant to many majors. Of course, florazheng already mentioned the fine arts example, but we could expand it to forms of engineering and the sciences. At the highest levels of Chinese science, say, at Beida, grad students need to research in English to be on the cutting edge. But, for people who are not going to do a lot of foreign research, studying English seems like a waste of time.

2) I have a theory that success in learning a foreign language is ultimately determined by one factor only- motivation. Studying a language to“fluency”takes thousands of hours over many years. Students that are motivated because they have a deep interest in the cultures and histories of a language do much better than students who are only learning because they are forced to be there, by their pushy parents or by school administrators. Again and again, I have noticed that the factor that separates my high-level students from the lower level students isn't necessarily intelligence or raw aptitude, but intrinsic motivation.

As a teacher, I try best to feel that “everybody can learn”. I try my best to motivate and encourage every student, no matter how bored or asleep he is. But at the end of the day, the inquisitive and enthusiastic students progress past the point of mediocrity, but others don't.

3)The final reason is that the studying-English system perpetuates and widens China's growing class divide. A poor rural student in Sichuan or Henan can probably get a similar level of physics or math teaching in High School as a kid in Shanghai. However, good English teaching requires either foreign teachers (or very good Chinese teachers), or in the absence of that, the school would need lots of tapes, CD's, a variety of textbooks, movies, DVD players...etc. All of that is too expensive for schools on a budget. The kids from rural/poor areas are at a big disadvantage on standardized tests like the 高考 (China's college entrance exam). In the worst case scenario, a girl might miss testing into a university and might spend the rest of her life in some horrible job because her English couldn't compare to the "well-off" kids that get private, expensive lessons.

Of course, I do believe that English is needed for people entering the business sectors, service sectors, scientific research or for people who just want to learn more about the outside world. Also, I realize that the economic system is necessarily unfair, but it would be good to minimize some of the traits that Chinese society has gone overboard with. Perhaps examining whether every student must take English on the Gaokao would be a first step. Another possibility is to ask whether every major should take tests like the CET-4 and CET-6.

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Of course, I do believe that English is needed for people entering the business sectors, service sectors, scientific research or for people who just want to learn more about the outside world.

I've heard and read in numerous places that some of highest scorers on the college entrance exams are from rural areas. I think that is the case today, as it was the case in my parents' days in the 1960s. That makes sense because rural kids (1) have high motivation because education is their ticket "out" and (2) they potentially have less of distractions of the cities like video games and shopping. That is not to say that the average scores in rural areas are higher, just highly motivated rural kids tend to do better than highly motivated city kids. Education is the culturally-valued pursuit, and so poor kids pursue education. Sports is the culturally-valued pursuit in the U.S., and so poor Americans kids pursue sports.

Wushijiao, your (2) and (3) are related. You're certainly right that motivation is important for success in language learning. But testing for English on the college entrance exam helps to motivate people to take their English studies seriously. I agree that a gap can occur due to the difference in teachers' ability. But since the Chinese system stresses reading English (they don't test oral skills on the entrance exam), the teacher gap may not be as serious as you suggest.

A certain amount of teaching is needed for the basics, i.e. grammar, spelling, pronounciation. But after the first three, four years of basic training, a motivated student will improve his reading ability much more by reading and studying on his own than from a teacher. A more serious problem may be that there's a shortage of study materials like books and audio tapes in the poorer areas. A teacher's guidance is much more needed for writing. That is true. Do you know how much is writing emphasized on the entrance exam?

Extracurricular study also is necessary for success on the entrance exam in math and sciences. Motivated Chinese students spend a lot of time doing math and physics problems outside of the classroom.

I have a college-educated friend. He even doesn’t know how to write an English resume for himself.

I think one of flora's points is that there is too much material being taught in Chinese classrooms. Kids start learning calculus in 9th grade, physics and chemistry in 7th or 8th, Communist ideology (aka politics) in 5th, classical Chinese in 7th, English in 5th, and so on. There is too much prescribed material, leaving students little time to pursue their outside interests and cramping their creativity. School should provide young people with enough basic knowledge so that they learn things on their own outside the school, on the job or for their own interest. You can't possibly teach them everything they'll need to know for the rest of their lives. It seems that the education authorities in China haven't come to terms with that, yet. They are still working on the assumption that "more is better." Maybe it's because putting more stuff on the curriculum is an easy way for a bureaucrat to show his accomplishment.

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On the topic of college admissions, one of the most glaring inequities is preferential admissions given by major universities for students from their own cities. For schools like Beijing University and Qinghua, the difference in the test score needed to gain admissions can be as almost 100 points higher for residents of certain provinced compared to Beijing residents.

In 2004, QingHua University's minimum score required for science and engineering majors was 627 for Beijing residents, 684 for XinJiang, and 701 for ShanDong. Beijing University's minimum for science and engineering majors was 628 for Beijing residents, 630 for TianJin, 681 for XinJiang, and 699 for Shandong.

The reasons given by school officials are that these cities receiving preferential treatment produce better students despite their test scores, the cities providing some of the funding for the schools -- and that, anyway, a quota system is needed to ensure that every region is represented in the school. But that doesn't explain why the quota is used to over-represent Beijing and Shanghai?

Some discriminated-against students complain that some Beijing kids may brag that 30-40% of their class got into BeiDa or QingHua, but if Beijing's admission standard had applied to their province, their entire class would have gotten into BeiDa or QingHua.

A couple of articles about this admissions controversy:

http://edu.tom.com/1007/2005311-34624.html

http://info.edu.hc360.com/html/001/001/017/68484.htm

Here're the scores needed for the two schools for certain regions.

http://edu.sina.com.cn/l/2004-07-07/74954.html

北京大学2004年各地高招录取线及录取信息汇总

北京 理科628分、文科581分

新疆 理科681分、文科662分

山东 理科699分、文科666分

天津 理科630分、文科634分

贵州 理科637分、文科621分

内蒙古 理科680分、文科632分

重庆 理科675分、文科633分

浙江 理科689分、文科648分

河南 理科685分、文科648分

http://edu.sina.com.cn/l/2004-07-13/75705.html

清华大学2004年在各地录取情况及调档线一览

北京 理科627分、文科574分

新疆 684分

内蒙古 理科672、文科626

山东 理科统招701分、文科665分

重庆 670分

天津 636分

辽宁 665分

湖北 理科统招672分、文科统招609分

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You learn English and those other things because it can broaden your mind and provide you with a foundation for learning other more interesting things' date=' should you wish to or should you need to. China has been too closed and too arrogant about its own traditions in the past, so I think it's a great thing that more Chinese are learning English, the closest thing we have to an international language today. With six to eight of years of English, a Chinese high school graduate should be able to read and understand a wide range of English material. That potentially opens a whole another world to them. This plays as important a part in China's modernization as many other things. If they're as smart as you, they might even be able to post on chines-forums.com[/quote']

Hi Gato,

Thanks for your comments. I never doubt the learning English will broaden one's mind and I basically agree with what you said above.

English language is a very useful tool for Chinese to learn the outside world and I appreciate it because I enjoyed to communicate with ppl with different backgrounds from diferent countries/regions in English.It is the only bridge for me and my net pals because I don't speak their languages and so do they. Outside is interesting. On the other hand, the globizaton of ecomonics and others , we need to let outside learn China as well as China learn outside. China shouldn't be closed again. English is IMPORTANT but not necessary for EVERYONE.

But What I focused here is whether it is a MUST for EVERYONE to learn English or not. Because to the reality, most of Chinese students, specially rural students have their compulsory education only from grammar shcool to junior high school.Even I learn some of them have to drop out from school during their compulsory education because of poverty>

To other students they never show any interest in learning English eg i am nvr interested in math< and my math is a mess forever though i think i shoud learn math i would not like to discuss the important of math here because the post would be too long

If you dont use English everyday usually , you will forget it soon. so does it make sense for those ppl to learn english? I think it is not a piece of cake for most of Chinese ppl with compulsory-education level to communicate with native-english speakers temporarily if just for abt 3 years english learning with English textbook of China public school only.

We can learn outside world by other means. Such as professional translaors etc.

And What I concern most is to why Chia edu. dpt shuts out the ppl with great talent to the door of colleges if they fail to the english extrance exam and english is not necessity for their study or job in the further. It is UNFAIR.

When I learn the story of talent students were refused by the colleges I feel very very pity on this . maybe they would become great artists if...

Are you American forced to learn a foreign language in your compulsory education? :roll::roll::roll:

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But since the Chinese system stresses reading English (they don't test oral skills on the entrance exam), the teacher gap may not be as serious as you suggest.

Very true. The system usually tested isolated vocab, reading comprehension, and other fill-in-the blank-type things. But the times they are a' changin'. The Gaokao now has a listening section (if I'm not mistaken), and the CET-4 has listening and a new writing section.

Most of my evidence to support the idea that rich city kids have an English-language advantage over poor/rural kids comes from my own experience, and thus is not necessarily trustworthy. But, I have taught in Henan, Beijing, Shanghai and briefly in Heilongjiang. I would say that people from rural or non-costal areas generally have muddled pronounciation, mainly because many of their high school teachers couldn't speak English, or spoke it quite poorly. Imagine the worst laowai-accented Chinese you can think of. Then imagine learning from that person for 6 years. It would then be quite depressing to get into a native speaker's class in college and realize you can't understand anything, especially if some other students can. These problems can be overcome by diligent, bright students, but I'm talking about the average student population.

But after the first three, four years of basic training, a motivated student will improve his reading ability much more by reading and studying on his own than from a teacher.

I agree. However, the problem are a few problems:

1) Generally speaking, Chinese students are very teacher-centric. Chinese students aren't taught or encouraged to think freely, experiment, or try creative learning styles. In other words, perhaps in the Confucian tradition, students rely too much on the teacher, and generally haven't been taught how to learn on their own. Of course, there are exceptions.

2) Most students won't do much unassigned studying unless they have to. Let me give an example. Last year at my university that I teach at in Shanghai, I started an extracurricular “Literature Club”. I am a strong believer in the necessity of extensive reading when learning a language; thus, I wanted to not only improve students reading abilities and vocabs, but also to allow them to hopefully enlighten them a bit about Western literature and culture. With our current intelligence-insulting curriculum, many gifted students are bored senseless, so I wanted to reach out to them.

Out of my own pocket, I bought “literary” books by Hemingway, Faulkner, Salinger, Amy Tan, Ha Jin, Alice Munro, Vonnegut, Maya Angelu, Harper Lee, Kundera, Alan Paton, Lin Yutang...etc. I also bought some entertaining best-sellers like Elmore Leonard, John Grisham, Stephen King books...etc, which have the added bonus of mirroring the spoken language. Lastly, I bought many abridged and simplified books of about 40-80 pages. All of these can be checked out from me for free. I hoped to provide an alternative to the free public domain books students usually try to tackle (Henry James, Dickens…etc.)

Once a week we meet and discuss a short story, poem or essay. I, and a few other teachers, help to answer any questions they have about their books. No doubt, the Club has influenced a few people, but the attendance still hovers at just 15-20 people per time. My friend runs a similar club for current events. The university also has an English Corner. In all three cases, the same core of 15-30 motivated/geeky students goes to all of the activities. Why do hundreds of others students not attend these free activities? Reasons:

1) PC games.

2) Laziness

3) Not intrinsically interested in English or Western culture.

4) Chinese students spend amazing amounts of time in class per day, and thus need to rest, relax and do their homework.

In a nutshell, unless these activities are institutionalized into curriculum, the majority of students simply won't care or will not be able to spend a significant amount of time on the activities due to the opportunity costs of losing studying time towards something else. This coincides with gato's idea that by putting English into the Gaokao, students will take it seriously.

To bring this discussion back to the original topic, “is necessary for every Chinese to learn English or not", I would argue that in addition to given curriculum, in order to become proficient in any given language one must spend a lot of time “exploring” the language, by reading books, magazines, newspapers, watching movies and talking to people. One must learn new things in the language, get puzzled, seek answers, discover a favorite author, get emotionally moved by a movie, chat with locals. This process can't really be forced on someone. It can only be done by motivated people, like the hardcore students I talked about.

Sorry for writing too much. :oops:

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Hi Outofin,

Thank you for your comment too. There is other way to make us wise, isn't it? If a person shows no any interest in sth which is not important to his/her life ,how sad s/he would be to learn it? Interesting is the best teacher. Don't they have any other choice to make them clever?

At least, I don't think so.

As to me, I am interested in languages, dialects.So i would like to learn English. it is a pleasure for me.:):mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:

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And What I concern most is to why Chia edu. dpt shuts out the ppl with great talent to the door of colleges if they fail to the english extrance exam and english is not necessity for their study or job in the further. It is UNFAIR.

I understand what you're saying, but the same applies to quite a few other test subjects. An artist probably would have more use for English than calculus, for instance. The whole high school education and university admissions system need to be reformed to allow more room for students to pursue their own interests.

When I learn the story of talent students were refused by the colleges I feel very very pity on this . maybe they would become great artists if...

Are you American forced to learn a foreign language in your compulsory education? :roll::roll::roll:

Some American high schools require two years of a foreign language to graduate. Many don't. Since English is the international language, Americans (and most other native English speakers, for that matter) don't have to concern themselves with learning another language unless they want to. There's your unfairness.

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Very true. The system usually tested isolated vocab, reading comprehension, and other fill-in-the blank-type things. But the times they are a' changin'. The Gaokao now has a listening section (if I'm not mistaken), and the CET-4 has listening and a new writing section.

I guess that's both good news and bad news for the reasons we've discussed. What's the purpose of the CET?

2) Most students won't do much unassigned studying unless they have to.

My impression is that Chinese young people still read more on their own than their American counterparts, in this post-literacy MTV-age. What do you think? It was definitely true 20 years ago when I lived in China. We started reading newspapers (a national paper for school kids) in second grade. The main problem was that our libraries had a very limited inventory. We didn't have a TV in the house until I was in third grade (and most of my classmates still didn't at that point). TV stations only broadcasted about 2-3 hours a day then.

Out of my own pocket, I bought “literary” books by Hemingway, Faulkner, Salinger, Amy Tan, Ha Jin, Alice Munro, Vonnegut, Maya Angelu, Harper Lee, Kundera, Alan Paton, Lin Yutang...etc. I also bought some entertaining best-sellers like Elmore Leonard, John Grisham, Stephen King books...etc, which have the added bonus of mirroring the spoken language.

That's quite fantasic. They must have loved you.

No doubt, the Club has influenced a few people, but the attendance still hovers at just 15-20 people per time. My friend runs a similar club for current events. The university also has an English Corner. In all three cases, the same core of 15-30 motivated/geeky students goes to all of the activities.

Hey, 15-20 ain't bad. I joined some book clubs here in SF, and we only had 3-5 people. So which books did your students like the best?

Do you think college students in China have more free time than high school students? I know high school students have to obsess about the college entrance exam.

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Flora,

We both agree that English is important to some people and is a good way to educate, but is not necessary for everyone. Let’s discuss from these.

You don’t think it should be a compulsory course. On the contrary, if let me decide what subjects that school students should study and let me prioritize them, I would make a similar decision just like what we have now.

What’s the general purpose of school education? We’re educating the youth roughly from 11 to 19. I would not try to make them specialists. First, make their minds more complicated, second, broaden their views. Like most teachers emphasize, “Don’t focus on one course.” (偏科) Suppose there’s a smart girl who’s really good at physics and will be our future great scientist. Her score on physics is 147 out of 150 but English score is 120. What’s she gonna do? Balance her time. And that’s exactly what educators want, and that’s good. Is it possible that the student just is idiot on English? I really doubt it. The requirement of the course is not high at all. I don’t see many reasons that a smart student can’t do that. From my own experiences, I didn’t have any classmate who was smart but couldn’t handle the course. They might not be good but they didn’t lose advantage on it.

Speaking of artists, they’re really exceptions. As I understand, a talented artist could be very lazy and not necessarily smart. But I wouldn’t change the systems for the exceptions. We could make some exceptions for the exceptional people, right? Just like what I said in the previous post.

You asked “Don't they have any other choice to make them clever?” Honestly, I really don’t see too many choices as good as a foreign language. As a WeiQi fan, I certainly believe WeiQi is a unique way to make people clever. But, I can’t bring it to classrooms. History, geography, biology? I still feel English should be put into a higher position than those.

Let’s see Gaokao practically. I took it many years ago. It was consisted of literature, English, math, physics and chemistry. Do they have a similar setting now? I would suppose so. Some are not happy with this. But if, we take English out, don’t you see the problem? It’d be more problematic. More teachers, parents and students would be unhappy with that. So I think the current setting does have many good reasons to be like this. I mean, you’ll have to have a better proposal to persuade me. :D

(I also agree with others on the unfairness to rural children in the education system. But in this post I try to focus on the course setting.)

-------------------------------------------

added,

For those who dislike foreign language learning, I think some of them may have some good reasons. But before that, I'll check how their teachers teach. Language is a really interesting subject, isn't it? :-?

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My impression is that Chinese young people still read more on their own than their American counterparts, in this post-literacy MTV-age. What do you think?

I think the number of bookworms is fairly similar in any country, post-TV, post-Internet and post-video game era. It's interesting to hear about your experiences growing up. Yet, most of my students were in the mid to late-80's, so most grew up with TV's and even computers.

So which books did your students like the best?

I can't really say at this point. We do short stories a lot. I try to pick out things that are straight-forward, simple, and short. I would say we have had the best participation with Hemingway, because he uses a simple vocab, and the stories contain no BS. For the same reason I'm a big fan of Elmore Leonard, who, despite his "best-seller" label, is perhaps the best living American-dialouge writer. I've introduced many students to Hemingway's or Leonard's books in English, and once they get one novel under their belts, their confidence and joy of reading really increases. When they get better, they'll be able to read more complex and experimental literature.

Interestingly, about 95% of my literature club is made up of women. Are women, as some suggest, more prone to and talented at learning languages? Or do they simply come to my club to admire my rugged good looks? It's probably the latter. :wink: In any case, I am always searching for short stories or novels that might be appropriate to young Chinese women, and unfortunately and sexistly, I'm mainly familiar with male writers (PM me with suggestions).

Do you think college students in China have more free time than high school students? I know high school students have to obsess about the college entrance exam.

Well, I think Chinese college students do less work outside of class, but spend much more time in class per day compared to American students. When I was in college in the US, I'd spend about 2-4 hours in class, and 3-6 reading or writing. In China, those numbers are reversed, roughly speaking. Chinese students have much less control over their schedules. I think this limits how much they can study English in their free time, too.

By the way, I'm talking about averages. The best Chinese students give Americans every right to worry about America's role as a superpower. See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/13/opinion/13friedman.html?hp

But on the other hand, the other extreme is that Chinese students can't really fail. If, as a teacher, you need to fail someone (at a non-top tier university), you have to show tremendous amounts of paperwork. You have to prove that you warned the student during the semester. You have to sometimes have another teacher re-grade past tests. Even then, the administration will usually bump up the grade. Students know this. That's why students across China can often sleep in class, read magazines, and screw around during class. Last year Shanghai University kicked out 80 or so students for grade reasons, and it became a "hot" topic among lots of websites.

Thus, if you are teaching English in China, unlike the US, you can't use the carrot for beatings. GPA isn't a big deal either. Unmotivated students can slip through a decade and a half of English learning without knowing much more than a few set phrases.

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Thus, if you are teaching English in China, unlike the US, you can't use the carrot for beatings. GPA isn't a big deal either. Unmotivated students can slip through a decade and a half of English learning without knowing much more than a few set phrases.

In the US, employers all want to see your transcript for your grades. In China, they ask for your diploma. Why don't they care about grades? I thought that was weird. I've never been asked for my diploma in the US.

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If I'm not mistaken, grade inflation is so rampant that grades don't mean much. If great companies were hiring based on grades, my guess is that most colleges would give out high marks to increase reputation. From a Chinese employer's stanpoint, grades are almost meaningless. Perhaps that is why they emphasize standardized, unbiased exams so much.

In my wife's college, the Dean of English was known as a great teacher because all of his students had such high marks. Of course, he didn't show up to the finals or mid-terms and the TA encouraged cheating to save face. :D

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In the US, employers all want to see your transcript for your grades. In China, they ask for your diploma. Why don't they care about grades?

In the US, this is true if you have just graduated from college and is applying for a prestigious firm such as a Big 5 consulting firm or a company like Goldman Sachs.

But once you have gained extensive work experience, many employers in the US don't care about what grades you received five years ago in college. All that matters to them is your relevant work experience and the skills (interpersonal and technical) you acquired over the years.

Personally if I was an employer, I could care less about grades an applicant received in school, unless they never had previous work experience. Grades do not necessarily reflect an individual's work qualifications related to the job on hand. After all, a student could have cheated his or her way through college and earned high grades through some unscrupulous methods.

An applicant's professional references speak more about how he or she might perform in the next job. So grades are not really that important after you have gained significant experience.

For example in an interview, I might ask the applicant "Tell me a difficult work situation you encountered in the past that affected your work, and how did you handle that situation?" or "You have multiple project deliverables that are all due at the end of the week. How would you manage those tasks so they are all completed by the end of the week?" I think the applicant's response to those type of questions speak more about their qualifications for the job rather than grades.

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We might look at Taiwan for a preview of China's future. A new survey finds that Taiwanese employers would like to see their employees improve their English skills. They also don't think much of new college graduates' Chinese skills. China might move in that direction, too, as its economy gradually shifts from manufacturing to service, for which language skills are more important. That's a long process, I know, but you have to prepare ahead of time.

5.05.13  中時晚報

大學生中文程度…唉!

楊欣怡/台北報導

在企業主管心目中,大學生的中文竟然比英文還差!據調查,有5成5的企業都對大學畢業生的素質不滿,有3成8覺得大學生的外文不好,4成9覺得大學生中文程度很爛,還有5成9覺得大學生根本把大學當成遊樂場。

企業主看不慣大學生的中文,對他們的專業與外文能力也不滿意,42%都表示,不滿意大學生的專業能力,只有 32%表示滿意;至於大學畢業生的外文能力,38%的企業表示不滿意,覺得滿意的則有30%。企業主不滿意大學生外文能力的主要原因有57%都說大學生的「外文會話能力不好」,49%說他們「外文寫作能力不佳」,32%說大學生的「閱讀翻譯能力不佳」。

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