Poor English, poor men

October 28, 2008
By xiaoquan weng, Culver, IN

Four years ago, in China, at 9 P.M, a 13-year-old boy, Xiaoquan, studied in his English grammar book until midnight, night after night. This continued until thankfully the final exam came and he could stop his intense study of English grammar and focus on a subject he enjoyed.
It maybe exaggerates the situation in China, but sometimes reality is ruthless. In China, we study English not to use the language to communicate with others, but rather as a requirement at school.
In Chinese elementary schools, three major subjects, English, Chinese, and Mathematics, are equally weighted in the class schedule. Most Chinese students don’t even know their sakes of learning English because to them, the only benefit of studying English is receiving a perfect grade in the exam. The teacher is the inevitable factor that leads to the ridiculous perception of students about English.
The most absurd portion of what teachers teach at school is grammar. I am not devaluing the importance of grammar in English. But, teachers spend 90% of class time in teaching grammar and 10% in reading and 0% in speaking and writing. Moreover, the English speech of teacher is pompous, verbose, and tedious. Everything related to English at school is memorizing clauses, remembering words, and diagnosing grammar rules. How boring the class is while teachers teach grammar.
The outcome is miserable. I have met many Chinese students who have studied English for more than 15 years at schools but can’t even talk about weather conditions.

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