Date
19 August 2017
Many English teachers in China are chosen for their appearance rather than their ability. Photo: baidu.com
Many English teachers in China are chosen for their appearance rather than their ability. Photo: baidu.com

English cram schools and the myth of the rounder moon

The Chinese saying goes that the moon always looks rounder abroad than at home.

The phrase reflects the belief among many Chinese that other countries are superior in quality, whether it’s people or products.

That myth is also well and alive in the mainland’s English-language cram schools, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday.

The schools aim to prepare students for study overseas or improve their English ability in general, drawing students in with “billboard teachers”, foreigners selected for their appearance than their teaching ability.

The teachers can earn more than 100 yuan (US$16.11) per hour, while students can be charged in the hundreds of thousands of yuan for courses.

A survey by the newspaper found that many of the non-Chinese faces in cram schools are not certified and hired only because of their Western appearance.

One Italian working as an English teacher on the mainland said many schools in China only care whether teachers are foreigners because they enhance the school’s prestige in the eyes of parents.

The newspaper found that many foreign English teachers in China did not have an understanding of teaching methods or a sense of responsibility. And in some cases, students end up speaking English with a strong accent.

Cheng Xiao, associate professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Law, was quoted as saying that a foreign national who works in China without work permit violates the law. He called on the authorities to find a way monitor those teachers and their performance.

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TL/SK

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