Foreign teachers have their place
A recent case in which a Canadian teacher at a private school in Beijing was found to be a child molester might be the tip of the iceberg in China ( Hidden threats, September 8).
It seems that the salary of English teachers has risen a lot due to increasing needs in Beijing. I heard from an American friend who works as a teacher that some schools offer as much as 25,000 yuan ($3,828) a month. It is so high!
As a former English major in college, I cannot understand why Chinese parents and students chase after foreign teachers so much. For many parents, the top priority when choosing a school is whether they have foreign teachers and how many they have on staff. They do not care much whether the teachers are qualified or not, which can be dangerous.
Yesterday, a neighbor who drives me home after work told me that choosing an English language training school for her 4-year-old son is a big headache. She said many parents in our neighborhood send their children to an English institution that says it provides an English only learning environment with many foreign teachers and that she wants to send her son to that school.
I think foreign teachers are important for English learning, especially for practicing oral English, but parents do not need to rely heavily on them. Sometimes parents, friends or even neighbors with a good grasp of English are adequate “teachers.”
I did not attend any English language training schools when I was young, and we only had two foreign teachers in our department at college. Yet it did not affect my ability to learn English. Charlotte Xu, by e-mail