I read this article on Taipei Times website. The headline reads, "Ma wants kids to concentrate on Mandarin education".
Mayor Ma stressed that "Getting kids to learn English earlier doesn’t guarantee that their English will be better" This is to repond the suggestions of establishing public bilingual schools to improve student’s English. According to the news, primary school kids start to learn English from 1st grade, two sessions a week in Taipei city. The policy was started 2 yrs ago.
Well, I don’t know how the capital managed to supply enough qualified English teachers for every grades in every primary schools. But I do know how the things go in my county. While it is obvious that the number of existing qualified teachers can’t meet the need from primary schools here (English class starts from 2nd graders), what happened in the teaching scene doesn’t always follow with the policy. Teachers with NO professional training and whatsoever are appointed to teach kids. Qualified English teachers are forced to teach social study, P.E. to meet the required hours. This is NOT an issue of whether the English teachers should be evaluated as special cases in campus. This is an issue of whether the English education in Taiwan can really start teaching instead of reciting.
The article also mentions the problemetic foreign teachers in bilingual kindergartens. Due to the recent arrest of John Karr( the self-acclaimed killer of a 6 year old beauty queen in 1996), some Australian newspapers raised an old issue again-English teaching has become the perfect disguise for white males in most Asian countries. John Karr’s experiences including private tutoring and as a homeroom teacher for kids under 10 in Asia.
Scary and sad, isn’t it?