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ablindwatchmaker

Does speaking fluent Chinese help people in the english teaching job market?

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XiaoXi
Do you have the statistics to back it up? 

I think that's beside the point? I think we could easily have a vote here and see how many people learnt French in their teen years was mainly taught in English. Just search youtube for 'learn chinese' and see how many videos are taught primarily in Chinese with very little English. You'll literally struggle to find any that aren't. Then search for '学英文‘ and see how many videos are primarily taught in Chinese.

That's not true. When I started to learn Chinese in my home country, we had two teachers: a Chinese native speaker and a local teacher. The local teacher carried out the classes (2x90 mins) in our native language,

 

Well what is your native language? Yes there are exceptions to the rule because Chinese can't typically speak languages other than English well. And yes I know if you learn in China they teach the whole class in Chinese, that's where I learnt. I'm talking about learning in your own country. The fact is languages are for the most part taught in your native language and not the target language. That's not how I think it should be but that's how it is.

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XiaoXi

Ok let's make a correction, I mean most of the native English speaking world that's how we are taught languages. Maybe its different in places where the main language is not English. So I'm referring to those from America, England, Canada, Australia etc are, correct me if I'm wrong taught French or whatever in school, the lessons are almost entirely taught in English. Private lessons in their home countries, certainly for beginners or elementary would also be taught primarily in English. That also includes the excess of language teaching videos on youtube too. Chinesepod etc. Also languages learning courses like Pimsleur....well in fact there's no point making a list. I think rosetta stone is one of the very few that actually doesn't.

 

So yes, people on the whole are very used to being taught a second language using their native language. Chinese people even learn English phonetics IN Chinese.....!

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Angelina

I think we could easily have a vote here and see how many people learnt French in their teen years was mainly taught in English. 

 

In my teen years I was learning: German- taught in German, English- taught in English, Italian- taught in Italian, Latin- taught in Macedonian. Now I am learning: Chinese- taught in Chinese, Sanskrit- taught in Chinese. 

 

Except for languages such as Latin and Sanskrit (where no one is trying to learn how to speak the language, duh), classes should be entirely in the target language. 

 

Yes there are exceptions to the rule because Chinese can't typically speak languages other than English well.

 

I wonder why. 

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Shelley

I think speaking fluent Chinese and teaching English is very helpful for the person doing the teaching but may make no difference to the Chinese students learning English, although you will be able to explain grammar, usage etc better if you can do it in Chinese.

 

My best Chinese teacher was bilingual in English and Chinese and this was the biggest help because I could ask questions in English and get answers I could understand.

 

But having said this you need to be very careful that the class doesn't descend into a class where the target language is not spoken unless necessary.

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Angelina

Amen Shelley 

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Lu

I learned English, German, French and Chinese initially in Dutch, some Spanish in English, and some Taiwanese in Mandarin. The only language class I ever had that was taught in that language was Chinese. Virtually all Dutch children learn their (many) foreign languages in Dutch, and yet we tend to speak our languages pretty well. Native speaking teachers can be great, speakers of the students' own language can be great because they can explain things in several ways, from the point of view of the students. I have had great native and non-native teachers and also some very mediocre native-speaking teachers. The worst language teacher I ever had was a native speaker of both the language he was teaching in and the language he was teaching us, and had to my knowledge never been a language student, which might explain most of what was wrong with his teaching methods. (He was a fine person otherwise, just a bad language teacher.) I don't think any of my experiences are weird outliers or exceptions, and I consider all these teachers together strong evidence that a combination of teaching skills and knowledge of the subject are much, much more important than the teacher's mother tongue.

 

But this discussion has been had before, if someone wants to repeat it perhaps they can do it in that earlier thread.

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ablindwatchmaker

I would say that based on my program and indirect knowledge from friends in about a dozen other programs in the United States, a large percentage of those Chinese language classes are a mixture of Chinese and English, but the objectives of the class largely determine that, not a disagreement as to whether teaching in the target language is preferable. For instance, my program starts off with a lot of English and slowly incorporates more Chinese. Once you have about 18 credits under your belt, they start using Chinese as the primary language. From this point, classes become specialized and that determines what language is used. In classical Chinese, the class is taught in English, and I think it makes sense given the fact that our class is practically a linguistics class. Our conversation class has a language pledge, our business Chinese is pretty much all Chinese, and we have some other classes that emphasize translation into English, so that class is about half and half.

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Zev

I'm a little surprised at the majority consensus that speaking the native language of your students isn't a major advantage in teaching the target language. I have used Chinese in all of my non-advanced classes, and the odd word in my advanced classes as well--it is a hugely useful way to avoid time-consuming detours around little grammar and vocabulary hang-ups, so that the lesson can focus on the intended activity or material. It also allows for interesting comparisons, and simply makes many students more comfortable. English, after all, is a guest language, not an invader language. Forbidding or ignoring the native language in class seems at some level like an affront on the part of a language teacher. Besides, even if you never breathe a word of Mandarin in the classroom, you will have a much better understanding of how your students apprehend English if you are familiar with the grammar/idiom/etc. that has wired their brains. As for me, I learned Chinese from a native speaker of Polish who used quite a bit of English in his first-third year lessons, and I doubt I could have found a better teacher.

 

I'm aware that there are a healthy range of opinions on this topic, but I do think we shouldn't be too hasty to write off Chinese proficiency as useless in the ESL classroom. I do agree that it is probably all but useless in the teaching job market, though.

 

OP, have you made headway in finding a financially viable work situation? If you haven't already, you might check out the international (and public) schools on http://chinajoblist.com/jobs-china-employer-type/ and the directory as well. I have just accepted a job at an international school for 13 thousand in a mid-sized city, without any special credentials beyond a few years of teaching experience.

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Silent

 

I'm aware that there are a healthy range of opinions on this topic, but I do think we shouldn't be too hasty to write off Chinese proficiency as useless in the ESL classroom.

This is a completely different question then the question of OP who was after more pay. Though I have only second hand info on the matter I hear virtually exclusively that Chinese has no added value salary wise. Reasons, foreign teachers are not allowed to use Chinese in class, foreign teacher are more appreciated as status symbol then as real educators and knowing Chinese foreign teachers might interfere with other things then their classes (pro-active input is not appreciated)

 

From an educational point of view use of a non target language may be useful depending on level and age of the students. Imho with the very young and the advanced students only the target language should be used. If you live in China as a teacher quality of live will of course be better if you know Chinese and are able to communicate with the locals.

 

So yes, Chinese is useful, but not to make more money, unless of course you use it to build a network through which you can find better opportunities.

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XiaoXi
In my teen years I was learning: German- taught in German, English- taught in English, Italian- taught in Italian, Latin- taught in Macedonian. Now I am learning: Chinese- taught in Chinese, Sanskrit- taught in Chinese. 

 

Ok but you're from Macedonia right?

 

I learned English, German, French and Chinese initially in Dutch, some Spanish in English, and some Taiwanese in Mandarin. The only language class I ever had that was taught in that language was Chinese. Virtually all Dutch children learn their (many) foreign languages in Dutch, and yet we tend to speak our languages pretty well.

 

OK so its similar for native speakers of Dutch too.

 

 

Quote

Yes there are exceptions to the rule because Chinese can't typically speak languages other than English well.

 

I wonder why. 

Because they all target English since its the most important language for them to learn. Only some choose to learn other languages.

 

The reason so many across the world learning languages have bad pronunciation is because the listening of the target language hours are too few due to the classes being taught primarily in their native language rather than the target language. That's why you can normally tell if someone is German speaking English, a Chinese person speaking English, Japanese speaking English etc. They all retain their accents because the input of the target language was too little - especially at the early stage where its needed most. So they get stuck into bad pronunciation habits and later when fluent can't get rid of them.

 

Private teachers of Chinese in the west wouldn't get very far at all if they couldn't speak English so it would seem strange if it wasn't at least some kind of advantage in China. There's countless Chinese, especially not in the big cities that really can't speak a word of English that would surely benefit from someone who could speak Fluent Chinese. English is expected in the west, why is China so different? The only possible reason

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Lu
The reason so many across the world learning languages have bad pronunciation is because the listening of the target language hours are too few due to the classes being taught primarily in their native language rather than the target language.
The reason most learners of a second language have an accent is that it can be hard to 100% copy unfamiliar sounds, not because they have the wrong teachers. I've known Germans who learned Dutch in the Netherlands and never lost their accent. Immigrants all over the world have accents. Foreign students of Chinese universities have accents. Dutch people listen to countless hours of English-language tv and music and they have accents.

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ablindwatchmaker

 

The reason most learners of a second language have an accent is that it can be hard to 100% copy unfamiliar sounds

 

I've never met anyone who learned English as a late teen or adult who didn't have an accent. I imagine this is true for other languages as well. As far as I can tell, it just isn't possible to completely eliminate it after a certain age, no matter how good you get. If anyone has any evidence or experience to the contrary, I'd like to hear about it.

 

 

OP, have you made headway in finding a financially viable work situation?

 

Right now I'm still stateside and will be for another year, so I'm not doing anything beyond research.

 

Also. I have another question. If one's university has name recognition, does that help with employment opportunities? Not an Ivy, just recognizable and respected.

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GotJack

"I've never met anyone who learned English as a late teen or adult who didn't have an accent. I imagine this is true for other languages as well. As far as I can tell, it just isn't possible to completely eliminate it after a certain age, no matter how good you get. If anyone has any evidence or experience to the contrary, I'd like to hear about it."

 

​Really interesting point and its something I think about from time to time. I always try to have an attitude that anything can be overcome, but not growing up multilingual seems to screw your changes of perfecting accent.

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Lu

I once met an American whose Dutch was impeccable, if you knew he wasn't a native speaker and listened closely you could kind of tell, but it was closer to native than some natives. He was part of an experimental singing group (or something like that, I forgot the details) and (thus) very interested in sounds and voice and experienced in how to produce various sounds, which had helped him a lot.

 

In general I think it's possible for many people to become entirely or virtually accent-free, but for most people this will take a lot of very hard work with a specialised teacher. The effort is usually not worth it, most language learners aim for being widely understood, not for perfect pronunciation.

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ablindwatchmaker

 

very hard work with a specialized teacher.

 

That's an interesting example, but I wonder if that has anything to do with the syllables being more similar than would be the case with Chinese. Regardless, that is extremely impressive.

 

I can't begin to imagine how hard achieving perfect pronunciation in the context of complete sentences would be. I've been told my pronunciation is excellent, and I can say certain syllables pretty native-like, but doing it consistently in complete sentences, as well as mastering the ebb and flow of natural intonation seems almost impossible.

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imron

Look at how Hugh Laurie speaks in House.  Now compare it to his native accent in something like Blackadder, or Fry and Laurie.  Granted, this comparison not exactly the same because he's still speaking English, however I imagine that through proper training people can assume a totally new and 'native' sounding accent.  It just takes the right training and dedication.  Not sure there are many language learners who make that effort though.

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Angelina

I ❤️ Blackadder

#OffTopic

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XiaoXi
The reason most learners of a second language have an accent is that it can be hard to 100% copy unfamiliar sounds, not because they have the wrong teachers. I've known Germans who learned Dutch in the Netherlands and never lost their accent. Immigrants all over the world have accents. Foreign students of Chinese universities have accents. Dutch people listen to countless hours of English-language tv and music and they have accents. 

 

Yes we've already established why, because they "learn" the language in their own country typically use their native language to learn. The average student typically only studies the language during the actual lessons so maybe just two hours a week perhaps. However there are many that move to another country at early teens and they will have native language abilities when they grow up. Simply because their exposure to the language is much, much higher than in usual learning of a lesson. Every class will be taught in the language of that country so will result in huge exposure to that language. Especially at an early age. The key point of 'early age' is not to speak of their actual chronological age but the point of time in their learning of that language. That's extremely important.

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XiaoXi
Look at how Hugh Laurie speaks in House.  Now compare it to his native accent in something like Blackadder, or Fry and Laurie.  Granted, this comparison not exactly the same because he's still speaking English, however I imagine that through proper training people can assume a totally new and 'native' sounding accent.  It just takes the right training and dedication.  Not sure there are many language learners who make that effort though.

 

Good point but regarding pronunciation and accent, its better to get it right right from the beginning rather than fixing it later on. Just like we learn as kids.

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Angelina

This is complicated. First of all, despite the whole movement with nation states, I am still not convinced what a language is.

Take Dutch and English for example, mutual intelligibility is relatively high. Then take two random 方言 from the PRC and you will struggle to understand what speakers of the other 'dialect' are saying. But everyone is learning 普通话 at school and things are getting even more complicated. Sinitic languages are changing, some of them are dying out, they are definitely influencing each other.

Therefore, there is much more to say on this topic than just the simple moving to a different country, native speakers, native language abilities, talk.

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