Sunday, October 13, 2013

Taipei Times 讀者的反饋

昨天登在 Taipei Times 的拙文 English requirement wastes time 有一些回應,但網路上的評論我一般不看,因為這種可不透露真實身份的意見發表園地,經常會淪為殺戮戰場,留言者動輒彼此謾罵、攻訐、扣帽子。

倒是有一位在台的外師給我寄了封電郵,以他親身的經歷支持我的論點,我轉貼如下。為顧及對方隱私,茲將其真實姓名隱去,僅以 A Foreign Teacher 署名。


Hi Dr. Tseng,

I read your article in the Taipei Times this morning.  I want to salute you for having the courage to directly confront this issue and the willingness to (re)start a public discussion about it.  In a smaller way, I have tried to do so in the past, with little to no success.

Earlier this summer, during a job interview at a Taiwanese university, I asked the interview committee a question along these lines.  My question related to how many of their students are unable to meet the English examination graduation requirements.  Those who are unable only have one remaining option -- use the "backdoor" approach to graduation of taking a couple of remedial classes, which never addresses English competency and so defeats the entire purpose of the requirement.  Although my teaching experience here told me to expect a large percentage, I was still shocked to learn their estimate was 80%.  And if they were willing to admit 80% to me, what is the real number?  90%?  More? 

The situation in that university, regarding English education, was so deplorable that I refused the offered position.  Since, I've wondered whether the situation in that school was an exception or the rule in Taiwanese English education.  Unfortunately, the more I learn, the more I suspect it is the latter.

Rather than deleting the graduation requirement, I would rather see the system of English teaching here be drastically improved.  However, if there is no real interest in doing so, either on the part of the administration or students, then your solution is best -- simply remove English as a graduation requirement.  Falsity in education is a disservice to all involved.

Again, thanks for showing some real leadership on this issue.  If more people in your position did so, we'd all be better off.

A Foreign Teacher








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