Not For All The Tea In China

A blog describing the idiosyncracies of working and teaching in China and life on a day to day basis. With stories of unbelievable stupidity and outright ripping off of foreigners.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"How can I improve my blah blah blah"

As an Esl teacher I can't tell you how many times whislt I've been in China that I have been asked the same question by Chinese students: "How can I improve my English quickly?". Now, don't get me wrong, this is a completely valid question, that of course, is my job and responsibility to answer. But.......

.....The thing is, it's so often the lazy student that asks this question, the very same student who for the past two hours in my Oral English class hasn't said a word, but then chooses the time when the class has finished and I want to go home, to ask me this question.

To be honest it never seems to occur to many students that this question should be a 'no brainer', I mean, if you want to improve at anything then the least requirement is, obviously, practice. But does the penny drop? No it certainly doesn't! Even when I use the analogy of 'how to improve your swimming skill' ie. 'swim!', not spend endless hours studying books about swimming but never getting into the pool. But no, this logical awnswer is always met with disappointed faces, the idea that actually 'working' to develop a skill is not a 'happy thought' in China.

To be honest there are other ways a student can improve their English and I have explained this to students, but, it's the rare student that actually implements the techniques. I remember in one class being asked this very same question and then telling the students, with a straight face, that a new magic pill had been invented that helped with learning English quickly; they were all delighted with this and asked where they could buy it, they were sooooo disappointed when I told them not to be so silly and actually do some work practicing.


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