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Author Topic: Non-native speakers  (Read 3144 times)

Lotus Eater

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Non-native speakers
« on: January 29, 2009, 07:09:51 PM »
I have some fabulous friends here who teach different subjects - ie software etc. However they are non-native English speakers, and their English to put it politely is 'dodgy'. But in this area it is not essential that they have perfect English. I also have non-native speakers mates who teach English - and their English leaves a LOT to be desired. I would not want my child taught by them, no matter how charming and wonderful a person they are.

So what would you do if one of these really, really nice, but NOT good English/whatever speakers was to teach your child??  Or if you were paying extra money to have your child ostensibly taught by a native speaker and find out it was actually someone who 'thought' they had good xxxx language skills??

What are you looking for in a teacher for YOUR child - and by extension - what are Chinese parents looking for in a foreign language process and teacher??

Foscolo

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2009, 09:19:55 PM »
I think this area can be a real minefield. There are ESL teachers whose English is not great, but they take the jobs seriously and give proper, productive lessons. And of course there are plenty of lazy fools among native-speaker teachers. And then there are lazy fools among the non-native speakers....

I think when assessing the quality of a language teacher, there are many factors to be considered, and the quality of that teacher's command of the language is one of those factors.

My command of English is superb (I mean, look at my posts, baby! They rock! Well, maybe). But I honestly have to say that on average, my students probably give my lessons about 7 out of 10. I'm not fantastic at connecting in a real way with a large group of people - I kind of withdraw into the role of teacher. Stuff like that, which is hard to quantify, can be all part of the equation.
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wOZfromOZ

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009, 11:37:30 PM »
Hi everybody - hope the crackers didn't wake you up to early this morning as they did me!

An interesting and relevant topic for me Lotus. There certainly are some 'interesting' people here in China doing ESL teaching - no doubt.
Lotus, you ask, "What are you looking for in a teacher for YOUR child - and by extension - what are Chinese parents looking for in a foreign language process and teacher??"

My wife and I are very satisfied with both the school facilities and the professionalism of the teachers where our son is being taught. This is a Chinese Public School.  He's in Grade one and now over these holidays I'm seeing and hearing just how far his Chinese is coming on!  He'll go past me before the end of this school year.  That gives me a window of opportunity I guess to try and see that it doesn't happen but I know how busy I am at school and how slack I am with my Chinese study so he will take over as the no. 1 CSL ( Chinese as a Second Language) exponent in our household.

Back to your original question - My biggest teacher criteria qualities would be the ability to engage my kids with professionalism, warmth and commitment.

I think most parents that I engage with are ostensibly looking for the same but also want that special individualized attention that comes with us being Lao Wai here in China.

Cheer
wOZfromOZinSHANGHAI

Stil

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2009, 02:52:28 AM »
There are like all these like foreigners? You know? And their like English and stuff is like really like bru-tal. I dunno why the schools and stuff like always give them jobs. One time? I waz like talkin to this like African or sumpting guy, you know? So I says, 'Hey wazzup? And you know, He like didn't get it at all you know? I'm all like, if you don't understand right English, how can you like teach and stuff. But whatever.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2009, 03:12:23 AM »
Bottom line for me is the ability to communicate adequately in the language of instruction to convey one's subject, including that subject's terminology. If you can't do that, no amount of personal quality is going to carry you over. (This applies to students too, as many of us who have taught non-language subjects know all too well...)

If you can do that, and you have the personal/professional qualities mentioned above, you're probably going to be OK.

If you're teaching trigonometry or history or wallaby-skinning or whatever, a few English peccadilloes are not too big a deal as long as students are getting good instruction in the subject. Bring on the non-native speakers!

If you teach English in any form, you'd damn well better know how to spell and drive an apostrophe and solve the to/too/two conundrum (can you find the lapse in a post above?) and generally know how to use the language correctly.
And the number of native-speaking English teachers I've seen who can't do that makes me weep. llllllllll

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George

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 03:19:19 AM »
Quote
And the number of native-speaking English teachers I've seen who can't do that makes me weep.
And they are the very ones who whinge and moan when you correct them!
I think we can put Woz down for a "typo"!
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2009, 03:35:31 AM »
And they are the very ones who whinge and moan when you correct them!

Word. Loudly. bibibibibi
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we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

ericthered

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2009, 12:00:47 PM »
To put it simply, I would expect any English teacher teaching a hypothetical child of mine to be able to speak English fluently, be able to explain grammar and ensure that my child would be able to communicate in that language without having a deplorable accent. Teaching English is just like any other profession. You wouldn't want a surgeon operating on your child with only a dodgy knowledge of anatomy, a mechanic working on your car with a dodgy knowledge of automobiles, a lawyer defending you with a dodgy knowledge of law etc.
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George

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2009, 12:05:37 PM »
Quote
my child would be able to communicate in that language without having a deplorable accent.
All well and good, but try teaching an acceptablee accent in a class of 50 or 60! Even Henry Higgins would give up on that one! ahahahahah
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ericthered

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2009, 12:23:27 PM »
"To be read out loud in highfalutin RP": No, my dear chap, how on earth is that a problem? One merely has to communicate with the students and making absolutely sure not to drop haitches and pronounce the vowels correctly. The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, instead of the rayn in Spayn falls maynly on the playn".
"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination." Oscar Wilde.

"It's all oojah cum spiffy". Bertie Wooster.
"The stars are God's daisy chain" Madeleine Bassett.

George

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2009, 12:27:05 PM »
Quote
One merely has to communicate with the students and making absolutely sure not to drop haitches and pronounce the vowels correctly
Yeah. Right! bibibibibi
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2009, 12:37:21 PM »
The rain in Psain falls a lot in the montaignes too.

Anyhoo...

several illegitimate bastards for who I care deeply--legitimate bastards I'll have not a bar off--will be adequately treated as far as my humble dollar and steely scrutiny are concerned if the teacher they suffer under knows a shitload of appropriate teaching methodology and can make it work given that she's capable herself of maybe only a little more than the relevant course outline dictates the students eventually master.

If she's capable of a lot more than the syllabus strictly requires, then said bastardos will probably get a lot more out of the course, and the teacher is likely worth a lot more than she is paid.


» now with New and Endlessly Improving CV 4U  ٩( ᐛ )و

cheekygal

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2009, 09:37:27 AM »
I don't mind non-native speakers teaching my child if they have a good rapport of the language/subject. May be because I am not a native English speaker myself and I have a much more open mind in this regard  afafafafaf I care for the quality of teaching.

Schnerby

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2009, 11:11:22 PM »
It might be helpful for us to think of our foreign language teachers. I learned Chinese at school from two teachers. Neither was a native speaker. Years 7-10 I was taught by an Italian man who had an incredible ability to learn language. He spoke 6 languages fluently and taught 3 at high school level. He was an excellent Chinese teacher, and his langauge skills were more than adequate.

In years 11 and 12 I was taught by an English woman who had learned Chinese at university and spoke Chinese at home with her husband. I suspect her language skills were lower, she spoke with a heavier accent, and she focussed less on writing in the correct stroke order in favour of emphasising communication.

Their Chinese was more than adequate for my needs. One clearly spoke better Chinese than the other (and knew more obscure vocabulary), but neither gave me reason for concern.

I could teach year 7 Chinese, but there is no way I could teach year 12 level. I guess the level you are teaching is also a relevant concern.

Lotus Eater

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Re: Non-native speakers
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2009, 12:50:58 AM »
My OP was about non-native speakers working here with POOR English, working as English teachers.  Clearly if you are a non-native speaker with good English there is no problem.  There are also some native speakers of English that I would NOT want my children taught by if I was savvy enough to realise how poor their English is.

Here the employing authorities are uncertain of standards that are acceptable, and therefore employ those they think are OK.