Teaching English in China Survival Guide

Teaching English in China Survival Guide

Noise from any English language class is like seasoning a special food dish. Sometimes, it’s too much; sometimes, it’s not enough. But China’s distinctive social and cultural flare makes choosing the best degree of student involvement especially problematic for an international English language instructor. Getting a response from some pupils can be like getting little kids to clean their room due to a culturally-ingrained resistance toward making errors before others (known as “losing face”). Others, encouraged by a laid-back foreign teacher’s approach to study, go wild and cause chaos in the class. These issues are exacerbated by English textbooks geared toward Westerners, and take no consideration of Chinese culture. Don’t worry! Having access to the best assets and some knowledge of the outlook and attitude of Chinese students, a foreign English language teacher’s work in China doesn’t need to be so difficult. Teaching Resources Large-chain English language facilities in China today supply textbooks of their own brand, which helps ease a teacher’s difficulties in the classroom. Unfortunately, it’s not hard to become discouraged by the multitude of dull, uninspired textbooks in use, especially if you’re teaching at a smaller school. Should you be stuck with a fixed lesson plan and a frustratingly boring textbook, try enhancing your course with exercises and activities from somewhere else. Look online. Many sites provide help and information to the struggling English language instructor. These three websites below are an excellent place to start: 1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/ 2. http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/ 3. http://www.eslcafe.com/ Helpful Discussion Topics A planned curriculum is usually followed by course content if you are teaching at an exclusive, private school. Despite what you...
An Alien Living in China

An Alien Living in China

Living in China, at least everywhere outside of multicultural Shanghai or Beijing, is often like living on a different planet. Just visiting the supermarket or bank can turn into an adventure. Everybody’s China experience is different, but here are some things that you’ll probably face when you decide to you make your house on the metaphorical “moon.” You are going to be a star. China is very homogeneous, about 99.97% Han Chinese. If you end up in a middle-sized or smallish town in China (less than 15 million), you will stand out, especially if you are pale and blonde like myself. Everyone will want to take your photo. Sometimes you may not even notice since they can be quite sly. However, bold photographers will request to have their photo taken with you. Once a couple asked me to pose with their baby. You will be asked to answer loads of questions. Individuals are genuinely interested in foreigners. Therefore be ready to provide your views every conceivable topic such as: - Do all Americans possess a firearm? - Do all Americans have tatoos? - Have you been to Disney World? - Is the US like the TV show “Friends”? - How old were you when you got married? - Why aren’t your married yet? In China, you are an old maid. If you are older than 26 and single-by-choice, they’ll assume you’re defective. Despite the fact that the women there are intelligent, lovely and well educated, the biggest goal for most of them will be to get married and have an intelligent baby. My new boyfriend and I were repeatedly...
A Guide to Chinese Etiquette and Customs

A Guide to Chinese Etiquette and Customs

Foreign teachers and others interested in the topics of business and social etiquette in China should direct their attention to books dedicated solely to these subjects. Many excellent books are available for you to be prepared for living in China, including Chinese Business Etiquette by Scott D. Seligman. This article doesn’t intend to go over every feature of Chinese social etiquette and customs, but it will cover a few that foreigners will probably encounter in their first six months in China. Lucky and Unlucky Numbers Many Chinese believe success is the result of good fortune more than it is the result of hard work and self-sufficiency. Most people in China function from day-to-day with a view of an external locus of control (fate and fortune). In contrast, many people in Western countries function with an internal locus of control (success depends on our own hard work, talent, and determination). With this in mind, lucky and unlucky numbers hold even more importance in Chinese society. The Chinese believe the numbers six and eight (especially eight) are very lucky numbers. To get an idea of how lucky the number eight is, one phone number with a string of eights (138-8888-8888) was selling in a city for 50,000 yuan (that’s $7,000 in the United States)! Unlucky numbers include four and fourteen because in China the spoken words “to die” and these numbers sound very similar. In fact, the number fourteen is thought to be so unlucky that a floor number inside a recently built Guangzhou apartment complex was replaced with 13A. It’s not uncommon to see a multitude of fortune tellers alongside...