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NinjaTurtle

China ranked 47th in English proficiency,

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NinjaTurtle

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811120058.html

 

Ranking of major countries and regions in English proficiency

1 Sweden
2 Netherlands
3 Singapore
4 Norway
5 Denmark
6 South Africa
7 Luxembourg
8 Finland
9 Slovenia
10 Germany
30 Hong Kong
31 South Korea
32 Spain
34 Italy
35 France
42 Russia
47 China
48 Taiwan
49 Japan
53 Brazil
87 Iraq
88 Libya

 

(cont.)

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NinjaTurtle
2 hours ago, mungouk said:

we discussed this at length

 

Actually, this present thread is about how badly things are going in China whereas the previous thread is about how well things are going in Singapore.

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XiaoXi
6 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

Actually, this present thread is about how badly things are going in China whereas the previous thread is about how well things are going in Singapore.

Yes good point. Russia are somewhat awful too considering. I'd expect them to be better. China did better than Taiwan and Japan though. I guess it's not surprising about Japan though but I often feel I could improve the whole country's English by having a nationwide announcement made: "When you see an L, it's NOT it's an R! And when you see an R, it's NOT, it's an L!". That would do it. :P

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LaoDing

If I showed this list in class, they'd scream BUT TAIWAN AND HONG KONG ARE CHINA!!!

In realpoltik that would be correct, but...try explaining that one calmly...

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NinjaTurtle
11 hours ago, LaoDing said:

If I showed this list in class...

 

Then don't bring it up. And don't let students bring it up. I do not allow political discussions in my class. Whenever a student brings up a political topic or asks a political question, I look them squarely in the eye and say, "I do not have political discussions with Chinese people." But to be fair, it seems my students tend to avoid political discussions in class.

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Lu
12 hours ago, LaoDing said:

In realpoltik that would be correct, but...try explaining that one calmly...

Huh, I thought realpolitik means dealing with the situation as it is instead of how it ideally would be. Tibet is a part of China even though many people think it shouldn't be. Taiwan is not a part of China even though many people think it should be.

 

I'm not surprised Russia is low on the list. As far as I've seen, and heard from Russian friends, most (almost all) Russians don't know any English at all. Although one would think that people who seek out an internet test know at least a little bit of English.

 

And again, since this is tests only a self-selected group of people who went and took an internet test, the numbers are not all that meaningful. Chinese people don't speak English as well as Swedes do - I don't think we needed a newspaper article to point that out.

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陳德聰

We should expect to see countries where languages with a small linguistic distance from English are spoken to float to the top and those more distant from English to settle further down the list, so the only thing surprising to me about this list are the placements of Brazil and South Korea.

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DavyJonesLocker
On 11/14/2018 at 9:24 AM, XiaoXi said:

China did better than Taiwan and Japan though. I guess it's not surprising about Japan though

 

 

Really? I though Japan would be a lot higher than China. I'm in Japan at the moment. I've been here a few times and they generally seem to have better English than Chinese. That's in average middle class areas not the tourist areas 

 

However that's just my limited interaction .... so basically worth  nothing 

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XiaoXi
On 11/15/2018 at 8:51 AM, DavyJonesLocker said:

Really? I though Japan would be a lot higher than China. I'm in Japan at the moment. I've been here a few times and they generally seem to have better English than Chinese.

That's not surprising, I don't think Chinese is as popular as English in Japan. But like I said with the LR thing, or even the VB thing, if pronunciation enters into it at all, they're gonna have a tough time beating anyone lol.

 

On 11/14/2018 at 1:22 PM, LaoDing said:

If I showed this list in class, they'd scream BUT TAIWAN AND HONG KONG ARE CHINA!!!

In realpoltik that would be correct, but...try explaining that one calmly...

Haha the next time someone from the mainland claims they're part of China, ask them to GO THERE. "Come along with me to Hong Kong and we'll have a laugh for a month or two....oh what's that you need a visa to enter a town in your own country? You can only stay for two weeks even WITH a visa?? Hong Kong used to be 'part of' Britain so I can stay there for 6 months with no visa...doesn't quite seem to be the same for you." :P

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LaoDing
33 minutes ago, XiaoXi said:

Haha the next time someone from the mainland claims they're part of China, ask them to GO THERE. "Come along with me to Hong Kong and we'll have a laugh for a month or two....oh what's that you need a visa to enter a town in your own country? You can only stay for two weeks even WITH a visa?? Hong Kong used to be 'part of' Britain so I can stay there for 6 months with no visa...doesn't quite seem to be the same for you." 

Ha ha  yes, that is true. But hard to talk to a total stranger who suddenly yells at you on the street or on the bus (both have happened to me and I wasn't EVEN talking about sovereignty!). It's propaganda of the worst sort and a rallying cry for the war which we all pray will never happen. I mean, how else to explain it?

And all this bickering over tiny islands and even destroying fragile marine ecosystems just for the sake of chest thumping? Pretty dangerous game...

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LaoDing
On 11/15/2018 at 1:28 AM, Lu said:

Huh, I thought realpolitik means dealing with the situation as it is instead of how it ideally would be. Tibet is a part of China even though many people think it shouldn't be. Taiwan is not a part of China even though many people think it should be. 

Quite right. And reality, as it is, is that both governments claim to represent and head the state of China- all of China. The claim has never been resolved and Taiwan, of course, has never declared independence as a sovereign nation separate from the PRC.

For US/PRC relations, refer to the Shanghai Communique of 1972. Taiwan is clearly acknowledged to be an 'internal matter' for China. Since the end of WWII, it always has been kind of, sort of, like a 38th parallel that's never talked about. So the official Taiwanese position is still (popular or not) that Taiwan is that not only is a part of China, but it's true government. Those are realities in official state policy, in treaties, and in the U.N.- in practice, of course, Taiwan acts as an independent state-economic entity.

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NinjaTurtle

Check your English ability with 'notorious' Korean college entrance exam

 

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2018/11/177_258803.html

 

"The English test of Korea's College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) is notoriously difficult ― so much so that many native English speakers (well-educated adults) have called it a "CRAZY" test after looking through some of the texts and questions put on test takers' desks.

 

"This year's test, conducted on Thursday, is said to be "tougher to answer" compared with previous years.

 

"Here are sample texts and questions from the 2018 CSAT English test.

 

"Check your English ability with them ― and imagine how hard it is to live in Korea as high school students studying for the CSAT.

 

"Don't cheat!

 

"(You can download all texts, questions and answers here [link])

 

"PS: Test takers were given 45 questions that needed to be answered in 70 minutes.

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

"Q21. What does "refining ignorance" mean?"

 

(cont.)

 

 

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NewEnglander

China's over-emphasis of vocabulary and grammar at the expense of other skills is misguided. It's no surprise a vast majority of the young people can't engage in a simple English conversation despite years of instruction and testing.

 

Frankly, achieving high standardized test scores is utterly meaningless in the absence of effective oral communication. Unfortunately, the government created a system that rewards compliance not real-world performance and innovation.  And the current crop of English schools do nothing more than remain compliant...churning out millions of kids who are unable to communicate well in English.  Breaking this cycle isn't going to be easy...but I've set my sights on doing exactly that.

 

 

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suMMit

I would would hate it if their Engrish level was like Singapore. Yuck

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NinjaTurtle
21 hours ago, NewEnglander said:

I've set my sights on doing exactly that.

 

This can only happen if you have very good conversation study materials that you can distribute to the students. (I have yet to see such materials/textbooks in China.) Do you have these?

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NewEnglander
6 minutes ago, NinjaTurtle said:

This can only happen if you have very good conversation study materials that you can distribute to the students. (I have yet to see such materials/textbooks in China.) Do you have these?

 

I have to disagree with you, at least in part. I've already begun, and with no materials.

 

Ask yourself how you learned to converse in your native language. Did mom and dad provide you with study materials? Did you select from a list of pre-defined topics prior to each conversation? Did mom say "Son, today we're going to discuss X....open your study guide to page six." Throughout our childhoods, we engaged in native language conversations and learned through the single most effective method...practice. No study materials, no vocabulary lists, no grammar exercises. 

 

That's simply not the way conversation or conversational proficiency works.  The flow and nuance of conversation in any language doesn't fit neatly into a process diagram or guide.

 

What I do is get people to listen and to speak in natural flowing conversations that neither begin nor end on any pre-determined topic. Discussions about family, friends, culture, careers, hobbies, school, dreams, etc. Along the way the participants certainly learn new vocabulary, phrases, idioms, cultural differences and similarities and much more.  

 

I will say it's a bit of a shock to participants who are accustomed to typical English coursework in China....until it dawns on them that they learned their own language in exactly the same manner.  My two greatest challenges to-date have been 1) to help participants to understand that effective English communication isn't about absolute perfection (they tend to get caught up on rules) and 2) to help parents understand that conversational excellence isn't about grades, it's about experience. 

 

Now, in this context and out of curiosity I have to ask...what sort of study materials and textbooks do you envision that you believe would provide a result that is superior to simple, daily conversational practice? I ask because, frankly, I can't think of any....nothing that I would prepare in advance anyway.

 

 

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roddy
6 hours ago, NewEnglander said:

what sort of study materials and textbooks do you envision that you believe would provide a result that is superior to simple, daily conversational practice?

I'd ask if my students are likely to ever need to have a simple daily conversation. Many students of English in China are preparing for exams and have little concern about anything else. If that's what you've been hired to do, and that's what the students want...

 

6 hours ago, NewEnglander said:

Ask yourself how you learned to converse in your native language.

This is a very old chestnut. If you've found yourself teaching a roomful of Chinese toddlers, go for it. If not,  bear in mind your students do have valuable skills three-year-olds don't, but they don't have a decade of brain-plasticity to work with. 

 

The way you're approaching it *might* work, in the right hands. It also looks suspiciously like what many unqualified teachers end up doing because they have no idea of how to approach the job systematically. 

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NewEnglander
6 hours ago, roddy said:

I'd ask if my students are likely to ever need to have a simple daily conversation. Many students of English in China are preparing for exams and have little concern about anything else. If that's what you've been hired to do, and that's what the students want...

Hi Roddy,

The ability to speak effectively directly influences the ability to read, write, listen and think in the language. If the individual cannot speak a language well enough to engage in simple conversations, then chances are excellent that his written, listening and reading comprehension skills aren't anything to write home about either. It's what I view as a four-legged stool of communicative skill.

 

There's no doubt these kids and their parents are hyper-focused on exams.  It's the unfortunate by-product of a system that encourages academic excellence at the expense of practical application.  IMHO, the two go hand-in-hand. My background reads like a who's who of Fortune 100 tech companies and I can tell you with absolute certainty that the number one gripe with non-native English speaking colleagues continues to be their lack of conversational English skills. Poor oral skills hinder collaboration and productivity no matter how well they write. 

 

It should come as no surprise that the Chinese government has now mandated oral skills testing for domestic college entrance exams beginning in 2020....though I suspect emphasis will be placed on transactional conversation skills, and not the more effective interactional variety.  Time will tell if this course correction has any impact at all on the country's English proficiency ranking.

 

6 hours ago, roddy said:

This is a very old chestnut. If you've found yourself teaching a roomful of Chinese toddlers, go for it. If not,  bear in mind your students do have valuable skills three-year-olds don't, but they don't have a decade of brain-plasticity to work with. 

Old though it may be, I'd argue it's more relevant than ever before. I understand what you're saying. For now I'm focused on age 13-and-up. Ideally, eventually I'd like to focus on 17/18+ with special emphasis on those who wish to pursue--or already find themselves in--business and technical careers.

 

6 hours ago, roddy said:

The way you're approaching it *might* work, in the right hands. It also looks suspiciously like what many unqualified teachers end up doing because they have no idea of how to approach the job systematically. 

FWIW, by current requirements I'd be classified as an "unqualified teacher"....after all, I'm merely a former engineer, marketing consultant and tech analyst/writer...yet my ability to communicate is well above average, even in comparison to those considered qualified to teach.  😉

 

Frankly, I'd rather have an army of charismatic skilled conversationalists with infectious personalities showing kids how to engage in meaningful discussions/conversations/debates than a roomful of "qualified teachers" who systematically...well, I leave it at that. I don't think I have to tell you which group of students would consistently outperform their peers.

 

 

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NewEnglander

I really should learn to give my comments a once-over before clicking submit, especially in the absence of an ability to edit them.  I see an apostrophe I'd like to zap. C'est la vie, right?  In any case, China has some catching up to do and I enjoy the challenge.

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