Qualified Englsih teachers are in high demand among Chinese parents who want their children to develop proper English language skills. (Photo: CGTN)
Foreign English teachers continue to be the preferred choice among Chinese parents who want their children to acquire native-level English language skills. These parents feel this goal can be achieved with a qualified foreign teacher.
Statistics have shown there are more than 40,000 foreign teachers in China, but only a third have teaching credentials and requisite experience, reported Qianjiang Evening News.
Many English language institutions designed for children falsely represent themselves, nor do they provide proper training for the teachers who do not have the right credentials or a background in education.
“Most institutions will have a trial class and it is usually taught by the best instructor at the institution. Parents sit with their kids only for the trial class and many of them decide to enroll after that,” said one mother, whose son Dou attended one of these schools.
She has since researched these institutions on her own and discovered a great deal.
Another mother sent her daughter Yi Yi to an English learning center so she could be better prepared for the admission she had to take so she could attend private school.
Yi Yi’s mother was told that he daughter’s English pronunciation skills were still hard to understand, even after three years of studying at the same English language center.
Yi-Yi's mom later learned that instructors at the training center are changing frequently. Some do not have a college degree while others aren’t native speakers. There are even some teachers whose accents are so thick that young students can’t understand what they’re saying.
The Chinese government has been tightening regulations on foreign teachers in recent years.
Today, for those who want to teach in China, a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) certification, and at least two years of work experience are required.
Applicants also need to pass a background check to ensure that they do not have a criminal history.
“The myth about foreign teachers reflects some parents’ superficial understanding about learning English,” said Xiong Bingqi, Vice President of 21st Century Education Research Institute.
Xiong also warned the public that there is a difference between “speaking English” and “teaching English.”
Xiong also said that parents need to be cautious when choosing an English language school because some teachers have never received proper training and may not be able to provide a basic level of English education.