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December 11, 2013

China | Education

Job-oriented foreign languages teaching

The People's Daily speculates on the recent policy shift to de-emphasise the importance of English for young children and in college entrance exams in China.

A sea change is on horizon in the way Chinese people learn English. And along with it, a debate is growing among teachers and parents as to how foreign languages are to be taught and learned in this country.

In October, the Beijing municipal education authorities decided to lessen both the importance and proportion of foreign languages in the college entrance examination, or gaokao, of the municipality, starting 2016. Similar moves were reportedly being planned in Shanghai and a number of coastal provinces.

Since then, the policies on foreign language teaching in schools have been revised by the education authorities of one province after another. Children are no longer encouraged to start learning English at a very young age, say in their first and second years in primary school, or in kindergartens.

In the latest move, the Ministry of Education proposed that foreign language tests should no longer be part of the once-a-year college entrance examination. Instead, they should be offered as a social service, and be held multiple times in a year.

All these moves, both plans and suggestions - and presumably more will come - should not be seen as only a nationalistic whim. Nor should they be independent from the overall endeavor to reform the system and the ways in which many subjects, not just foreign languages, are being taught to Chinese students.

Read the full article from The People's Daily.

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November 22, 2013

China | Primary Level

Mixed reactions over cutting English classes

primary-school-students-china.jpg A decision to push back English-language classes for Beijing primary school students to the third grade has received mixed reviews from city teachers, parents and experts.

The Beijing Commission of Education decided on Tuesday that primary school students in the capital will not begin learning English until the third grade.

The decision will take effect in next year's fall semester. Currently, English classes begin in the first grade.

It is the commission's second major change to the city's education system in recent months. In October, it reduced the total score of the English-language portion of the gaokao, or China's college entrance exam, from 150 to 100. This change takes effect in 2016.

While some parents, teachers and experts said starting English classes in the third grade will add to an already heavy homework load, others said first- and second-graders are currently having a tough time learning both Chinese and English simultaneously.

"I think it's better for children to learn a language - including English - earlier," said Zhao Xingli, mother of a 9-year-old girl in Beijing.

Read the full article from Chinese news site

Photo: An English teacher helps Chongwen Elementary School first graders take an exam in Beijing last year. Liu Ping/For China Daily

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September 19, 2013

China | Education

Modern English class inspires rural Chinese pupils

Teach-English-in-ChinaA look at the role of ELT within the Hope Project, which aims to bring schools to poverty-stricken rural areas of China.

Zhao Minghui, 11, is picking up English words through making faces. As a fourth grader of a rural primary school in Laiyuan County, north China's Hebei Province, Zhao, together with her classmates, is having a unique English class.

This was the scene on Monday, when a special language-learning program saw visiting volunteer teacher Liu Wei, a former member of a national English research group, use an avant-garde story-based approach to attract kids from Dongtuanbu Central Primary School (DCPS) to actively participate in the class.

Some 160 kilometres from Beijing, Laiyuan is officially classed as one of China's most poverty-stricken counties. With many people struggling for daily necessities, education in such rural areas is far less developed than in cities.

That is why the Hope Project continues to work to improve the situation. Initiated in 1989 by the China Youth Development Foundation and the Communist Youth League Central Committee, it aims to bring schools to poverty-stricken rural areas of China, to help children of poor families complete elementary school education. DCPS is covered in the project.

Read the full article from

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September 12, 2013


Call to reduce English lessons to ‘save’ Chinese

chinese-child-studying.jpgWhile urban China is rapidly internationalizing, one former official thinks teaching kids English is doing more harm than good.

A former senior education official has triggered heated debate after he publicly denounced the teaching of English to young children and called for more classes on Chinese traditional culture.

Wang Xuming, a former spokesman of the Education Ministry and now president of Language and Culture Press, wrote on his verified Sina microblog account that China should abolish English classes in primary schools and commercial English schools for children. Instead, it should increase the number of classes on guoxue, or national study, which refers to the study of Chinese traditional culture.

"[We should] free the children and save the Chinese language," he wrote.

In 2002, the Ministry of Education ordered primary schools across the country to teach English classes, starting from the age of nine in the third grade, but it is now common for first-graders to have English classes.

Wang, who boasts more than 1.8 million followers of his microblog, said he proposed more lessons on guoxue because the quality of Chinese-language textbooks and examination results were so weak, while English-language teaching materials and performance results were strong.

Read the full article from The South China Morning Post.

Photo: Reuters

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August 31, 2013


Foreign teacher dances with students

english-teacher-china.jpgWhile I'm sure this program was enjoyable and beneficial for all involved, the post by the Chinese State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs reads as much like propaganda as news. The headline is just so...understated.

The 2nd international English summer camp was hosted in Xiuwen international academy, at the city of Zibo, Shandong province, with support from the city’s human resources and social security bureau and the foreign expert affairs office.

There were 500 primary and secondary school students and 22 foreign teachers from Britain, Canada and Australia taking part in the 14-day camp, which started July 11, with a curriculum based on foreign teaching, which was flexible, humorous and interactive.

There were many activities held by the students, such as an English song program, evening campfire parties and dance parties, which helped the young people improve their English proficiency and their sense of self and practical skills, and gave the Chinese students a taste of foreign culture and history.

One international teacher, who was really impressed by the people of Zibo’s beauty and hospitality, commented, “The locals are very enthusiastic and their specialties taste delicious,” then added, “The students are quite smart, lovely and polite, and say ‘Hello’ to me in English every time I see them.”

Original article from State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs.

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August 14, 2013

China | Crime

Shenzhen arrests visa-dodging English teachers

teach-English-in-China.jpgThe Shenzen Daily reports on a crackdown on English teachers working in the southern Chinese city without a visa.

Several foreigners who do not possess valid teaching certificates or working permits were arrested at English training centers in Nanshan District recently.

They were suspected of illegal employment and were taken away by the exit-entry management department of the Nanshan District’s Public Security Sub-bureau for further investigation, Shenzhen Economic Daily reported yesterday.

The bureau did not reveal how many foreigners had been arrested or give further details as investigations into the cases are still continuing.

At present, there are about 13,000 foreign residents living in Nanshan District, accounting for 42 percent of the expatriate population in the city.

Read the full article from Shenzen Daily.

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August 08, 2013

China | Business

STS signs English training deal in China

sts-china.jpgTravel company STS is to bring native English teachers from the UK to China for a pilot program at a Beijing language school, reports The PIE News.

Sweden-based study travel giant, STS, has agreed the terms of a pilot project to deliver English language training in China, to 720 students at Chaoyang Foreign Language School in Beijing.

The deal will see STS teach Chinese students for a seasonal summer course, delivered in a state-run institution, with the backing of China’s local educational authority.

It marks a new departure for the firm that operates language schools, offers high school placements, au pair and college studies. Once the course, delivered this summer, is over, STS will also help train the Chinese English teachers to improve their own skills.

James Crimp, Director for STS Language Schools, explained, “Our goal is not purely to educate, but to help provide confidence in speaking English. Once the course has finished, we will teach the Chinese English teachers how to further improve the students’ English skills and their ability to speak the language with confidence.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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July 10, 2013

China | ELT People

Foreign teacher's different approach gets results

English-Teaching-in-ChinaA Chinese news website reports on an Oxford University graduate who is achieving great success as a high school teacher in the city of Foshan with his "different approach".

XINHUANET: Under China's college entrance exam system that is widely believed destiny-shaping, English teacher and form tutor Neil Porteous has amazed others with the excellent scores his students achieved in the test in June.

All 45 students in his class in Shimen High School in the city of Foshan, south China's Guangdong Province, passed with good enough results to access the country's key universities.

Six of them ranked among the top 100 in the province, where 727,000 students took the exam, also known as gaokao.

The 31-year-old Brit said the students were smart, while his pupils and colleagues said his teaching and tutoring methods were the reason for the success.

Read the full article from Xinhuanet.

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June 27, 2013

UK | China | Teacher Development | Business

TEFL Scotland seals China training deal

tefl-scotland-logo.jpgThe BBC reports on a Scottish company which "began life in a garden shed" and has won a million-pound contract to develop training courses for English teachers in China.

Under the deal, TEFL Scotland will partner Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co - a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Website for Primary and Middle School Teachers' Further Education.

It is one of China's largest online training providers for teachers.

The deal is worth an estimated £1m over three years.

TEFL Scotland and Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co, which operates as, will jointly develop and promote TEFL distance and classroom training and international culture exchanges to English teachers across China.

Read the full story from the BBC.

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June 24, 2013

China | ELT People

Famed English teacher's ex demands money

Teaching-English-in-ChinaThe high profile divorce dispute in China between "Crazy English" founder Li Yang and his American ex-wife, whose marriage was ended several months ago on the grounds of domestic abuse, is back in the news.

The former wife of a famous Chinese English teacher has asked him to give her the money he owes her according to the conditions of their divorce.

Kim Lee, ex-wife of "Crazy English" teacher Li Yang, submitted her application to the Beijing Chaoyang District Court on Thursday, demanding Li pay her 11.75 million yuan (about $1.9 million).

According to Lee, Li has paid 150,000 yuan in child support from July 2012 to December 2013, as well as 300,000 yuan in property distribution money.

On February 3, the court granted a divorce to the couple on the grounds of domestic abuse. According to the verdict, Li was ordered to pay Lee 50,000 yuan in compensation for her psychological trauma and a one-off sum of 12 million yuan in consideration of the property the couple shared, as well as an annual child support payment of 100,000 yuan for each of their three daughters until they reach 18 years of age.

Read the full story from China Daily.

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June 17, 2013

China | ELT People

ESF teacher's quest to visit every province in China

Teaching-English-in-ChinaThe South China Morning Post today reports the story of one English teacher's quest to travel largely unseen parts of China and the 600-page book that resulted from the journey.

The strangeness of English Schools Foundation teacher Chris Taylor's quest to visit every mainland province dawned on him as he sat down on a bench in a town square in Ningxia - an obscure northwestern chunk of China most foreigners have never heard of, let alone considered visiting.

Alone and nearly 2,000 kilometres away from his family in Hong Kong and his job as head of senior school at Sha Tin College, the 43-year-old suddenly found himself surrounded by a throng of locals. "They just sat really close to me and stared and stared," he recalls.

"As soon as I did anything like get my notebook out, everyone would be really interested and lean over and stare. I distinctly remember just wanting to be left alone and sitting there doing nothing until people finally dispersed and gave me a bit of space."

Read the full story from the South China Morning Post.

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June 05, 2013

China | Publishing

New edition of English-language textbooks unveiled

Teaching-English-in-China"The People's Daily Online recently reported on a new version of a popular series for primary and secondary learners of English in China.

A new edition and a larger-print version of Good English, a famous series of English-language textbooks from the United Kingdom, was unveiled at a news conference in Beijing on May 29.

The books, originally called Oxford Reading Tree and published by Oxford University Press, are English-language teaching materials for native speakers in the United Kingdom, and are used in over 80 percent of primary schools in the UK.

They are also used as English-language textbooks by more than 133 countries around the world, and were welcomed by teachers, parents and children after they were first introduced to and reprinted in China in 2008.

To better meet the needs of young Chinese English-language learners, China Youth Publishing Group, publisher of the books in China, said it decided to release the new edition and the larger-print version on the eve of International Children's Day, which is June 1.

Read the full article from People's Daily Online.

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June 03, 2013


Pop culture helps students learn English

Teaching-English-in-China"An article today about Hong Kong teachers who are using pop culture to help students from less privileged backgrounds learn English as a second language

We are learning A, B, Cs
A, B, Cs are not easy
Our class name is 5D
5D also means "fai dee"

Composing bilingual rap with puns like these has helped students in a Band Three school in a working-class area build bridges between their Chinese mother tongue and English. By identifying more closely with hip hop and rap artists as role models for their own language learning, students develop identities as English-speakers, says Angel Lin, associate dean at the HKU faculty of education.

A pioneer of innovative interdisciplinary approaches to second language education, particularly for young people, she advocates entry points like these to create a fun, meaningful context for the use of English among students.

Read the full article from the South China Morning Post.

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May 29, 2013

China | India | Nepal | Pakistan

1,000s of English teachers from Britain to teach in Asia

Teaching-English-in-US"Malaysia's The Star reports today on a plan to bring teachers from Britain to teach English in Asia.

Business conglomerate Melewar Group has joined forces with a British education recruitment specialist to send out native speaking English teachers from Britain to 14 countries in Asia to teach the language.

The first batch of teachers are expected to arrive in these countries in the third quarter of this year under an agreement signed between English Learning Group Ltd, a member of the Melewar Group, and STC Consortium Ltd here yesterday.

The teachers would be sent to South-East Asia as well as to Bangaladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Read the full story from The Star Online

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April 30, 2013

China | US | France | Crime

English teachers in sex scandals

crimewatch-english-teacher.jpgWhen English teachers make the news, it's not always for good reasons. And when the students are underage, the stories range from borderline consensual to downright predatory. Just the last few days have seen several stories reported from around the world.

Foreign English teachers in China face tighter supervision in the wake of two child sex scandals in Beijing and Nanjing. The government has issued an "urgent notice" on regulating teachers' "daily activities" after two foreigners, one with a criminal record for child pornography and the other on the run from child-sex charges, were able to get jobs as English teachers.

One of the men, a 63-year-old American twice convicted of child pornography offenses in the US, is believed to have already left China. The other is 46-year-old Briton Neil Robinson (show on the BBC's "Crimewatch" website), who is wanted for questioning by British police in connection with child sex offenses. He has been detained by Chinese police for overstaying his visa. Both men worked as English teachers for several years without their past records being exposed. Sources cite poor enforcement of regulations restricting which schools could hire foreign teachers and rigorous background checks before registration as "a foreign expert" and receipt of a work permit.

Read the full story at the South China Morning Post.

In the US, a 27-year-old married English teacher in Virginia has been arrested after having an inappropriate relationship with her 17-year-old student. She has been charged with several offenses, including use of a mobile phone to send lewd photos, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and taking indecent liberties with a minor.

Read the full story at

Reports suggest a slightly more lenient approach in the case of an English teacher in the French city of Lille who had a "consensual" relationship with her 14-year-old female pupil. The girl's parents became suspicious of their daughter’s behaviour, and found hidden letters, emails and text messages of an erotic and romantic nature. They consulted medical and school authorities before the case was brought to the police. The teacher, who is 34 and unmarried, had already been transferred to a different school by the time the affair was revealed and is due to appear in court in June.

Read the full story at The Local.

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About China

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to ELT News in the China category. They are listed from newest to oldes.

Cambodia is the previous category.

India is the next category.

Many more can be found by looking through the archives.

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