For­eign teach­ers have their place

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWOCENTS -

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

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