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Q: A question for English Teachers in China...

So here's the deal...

 

I am not a real teacher (well, at least never taught adults). Now my company wants me to teach English to few managers and employees so they are more comfortable dealing with US clients. The problem is my grammar, intonations, word stress is all good, but the real problem is IPA (international phonetics alphabets). And since is Chinese is all about pronunciation, and it is drilled into their heads that pronunciation is the way to learn a language. But if I ask them what do they feel about which pronunciation is right English, American or British... the reaction is always a "Facepalm". 

 

How to set the expectations? or do I just learn the IPA myself? Is it really important? 

 

 

2 years 23 weeks ago in  Teaching & Learning - Suzhou

 
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Governor

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IPA is not some abstruse system thatnew initiates to a language-based profession spend decades mastering. We really are talking bare minimum effort, here--it takes maybe a day or two to understand. The IPA that they use here isn't even the 'real' one, it's just a handful of simplified symbols. I don't think that it is so critical to teaching, but it will give you your student's respect ( and a basic knowlegde of phonetics and phonics can only help you as a teacher).

I agree with others that Chinese employers are not worth any kind of dedication. I have lived and worked in many countries, and I consider every entity that I have worked for here to be the absolute picture of lazy, self-involved worthlessness. I can almost guarantee you that you owe your current employer zero effort (shoot, I work for one of the top ten unis in China...if I walk out on these idiots before the end of the semester, they would deserve it)...but what do you owe yourself? Just because this culture encourages people to be useless, does not mean you should let it turn you into an LBH.

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
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any help will be highly appreciated... 

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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IPA is useless for teaching. They just want to learn how to hold a conversation and some business related terms. 

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
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You are taking this way too seriously. This is China, not a meritocracy, do the minimum to get by and your boss will be satisfied. International schools here don't teach IPA, why would you bother to do so?

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
Posts: 449

Governor

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IPA is not some abstruse system thatnew initiates to a language-based profession spend decades mastering. We really are talking bare minimum effort, here--it takes maybe a day or two to understand. The IPA that they use here isn't even the 'real' one, it's just a handful of simplified symbols. I don't think that it is so critical to teaching, but it will give you your student's respect ( and a basic knowlegde of phonetics and phonics can only help you as a teacher).

I agree with others that Chinese employers are not worth any kind of dedication. I have lived and worked in many countries, and I consider every entity that I have worked for here to be the absolute picture of lazy, self-involved worthlessness. I can almost guarantee you that you owe your current employer zero effort (shoot, I work for one of the top ten unis in China...if I walk out on these idiots before the end of the semester, they would deserve it)...but what do you owe yourself? Just because this culture encourages people to be useless, does not mean you should let it turn you into an LBH.

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
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As others have said, just prepare your lessons with a few key words from the dictionary spelled out in phonetics...should work.

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2391

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Rachel's right, the IPA is not difficult to learn and if you have a class that knows it, it can be a very useful shortcut.

Vicky, if your teachers had no idea of the IPA then I suspect they were not really teachers, they were dancing monkeys playing a part.

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1891

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Use this site:

http://www.iciba.com/responsibility

British pronunciation on the left, American on the right

 

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
Posts: 96

General

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Yeah, I can concur with other users here that IPA is not that hard to learn and is quite easy once you start to use it a few times.  In the textbook I like to use, it helps a lot with words that are reduced (will try to add picture).  Also you can do a search on bing.com on "IPA chart".  Also almost all of my students have known what it is and for the most part can say the words better then if I actually wrote the real words.   Sorry if picture is gigantic.

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
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let me ask this to everyone (Specially Chinese people),.. you say native pronunciation is better then non native... lets take two of the major accents British and American (I am not saying they have a accent- It simply the way of speaking)... since both are native English speaking countries. Which is the right one? you know it better if you try to copy any of them, you will end up sounding weird, for example - Chinese have problems rolling their R and N (mostly "NO" is always a "LO")... why wouldn't Chinese try to just speak English as the way they are comfortable. Like Indians do (accent sounds funny but it still understandable by most)... End of the day if Americans are doing business with a foreigners, they expect you to speak differently.

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
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Chinese students who were taught English were also taught the IPA. It makes things much easier!!! However, there are some sounds that, even with IPA, they still won't be able to reproduce well unless you drill it. /zh/ of 'treasure' or 'usual' are 2 examples. (ever heard '/urali/??).

 

You should become familiar with IPA if they are familiar with it. Use examples (marry, Mary, merry is a good example! In most US accents, those 3 sound the same, in some British, 2 are the same, and the other different... in Australian English, all 3 words have a slightly different pronunciation).

 

Also, go with a whole stack of set phrases which we would actually use - not what locals think we say... eg, "hi, how you going?", not "Hi, how are you? I'm fine thank you, and you?"

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2 years 23 weeks ago
 
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Chinese schools sometimes use English Phonetics, which is just a fraction of IPA due to English's limited sounds and extra reduction for simplified learning. 44 symbols i believe. it's so easy, i could type phonetic symbols if there was a keyboard. it's of limited use to learners because of poor grasp of phonic sounds. can't explain why exactly, but it's definitely cultural. at least it helps people read pronunciation in dictionaries. for young kids, simple phonics starts them off, to get rid of those awful pinyin sounds.

as for American vs. London english, it takes a while to explain that people shouldn't go to MacD's in New York and ask for a hambuhguh, even though that's what English dictionaries dictate. i tell people that US (coastal) english is closer to neutral speech, and American is usually what they want to emulate anyway. it's cooluh (a pinyin error)

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2 years 22 weeks ago
 
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Shifu

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I'm not a real teacher either but I do have some handle on English.  I stress pronunciation and try to explain what constitutes Chinglish.  I dissuade memorization and encourage exposure to real English, by whatever means, as often as possible.  After 5 years I would say I've achieved virtually zero. 

 

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2 years 22 weeks ago
 
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I teach English and am currently teaching an adult class and honestly, when I'm lesson planning it's so stressful as I've never taught business it was just thrown at me by my school, write some key vocab, get them to make sentences or fill in blanks and then get an article related to it and have them read out loud! It works well with my class, choose a theme for each week, if you need a hand mail me

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2 years 22 weeks ago
 
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Chinglish, Texacan, if you can make yourself understood then you are communicating effectively. Most people in the world who learn English probably learn it not to communicate with 'native' speakers but to communicate with non 'native' speakers. German businessmen may learn it to communicate with their Chinese counterparts as each may not speak the other's language. English too, appears to be the lingua franca of tourism. In some countries  local warring factions may know one another 's local dialect but refuse to communicate in the 'other's' language but instead use 'English'. In England and Ireland there are multitudes of different accents and beautiful they are too as they define who and where people come from. Less so in Australia and the US. Chinglish, Texacan, Indian English and many more such as the spoken English of Indigenous people of Australia define who these people are. They have adopted and adapted 'English' and created their own version that is tied up with their own identity. If it (Chinglish etc) can be understood, celebrate diversity.  

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2 years 21 weeks ago
 
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I am not a real teacher (well, at least never taught adults). Now my company wants me to teach English to a few managers and employees so that they are more comfortable dealing with US clients. The problem is that my grammar, intonations and word stress are all good, but the real problem is IPA (international phonetic alphabet).  Chinese is all about pronunciation, and it is drilled into their heads that pronunciation is the way to learn a language.  However, if I ask them which pronunciation is correct English, American or British... the reaction is always a "dunno".

 

Please don't teach English if you can't write English.

 

P.S.  A facepalm is a reaction to an unbelievably stupid comment.  e.g. I facepalmed when I read your OP.

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2 years 21 weeks ago
 
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Dont give a shit about the question..

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2 years 20 weeks ago
 
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I have my students learn the phonics of all 26 English letter sounds - Heck, if they can learn and memorize thousands of more complex Chinese characters, why can't they master the mere 26 letters of the English alphabet? So, I encourage them NOT to rely on IPS if they really want to learn English; I tell them the substitution is a waste of time (unless we are trying to learn and pronounce other languages we cannot read, like perhaps Mongolian, Arabic or Thai, or other non-Romanized writing systems)!

Through practicing real English (via reading & speaking), they should become familiar with the varied combinations of English words to be close enough to pronounce on there own! As a foreign teacher, I do not do Chinese way to teach English. I've been at it for over ten years. by the way. My students actually appreciate it - Think about it. If you have an adult (business or college) student who has studied English for 7-10 years (since middle school), but still needs to rely on IPS to say words has not truly studied English, but has learned only a side-track method!

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2 years 19 weeks ago
 
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A: I'm prepared to give the guy some slack. He asked a few shifty questio
A:I'm prepared to give the guy some slack. He asked a few shifty questions in 2012 then went dormant for 5 years and suddenly appears asking newbie questions. A bit suss but who knows, he could just be a moron. Benefit of the doubt given.

This link should answer your questions: http://lawandborder.com/faq-new-china-visa-law/ -- iWolf