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anonymous
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Q: Why do Chinese parents create 'strange' English speaking sessions for their kids?

As a non native speaker of English, I know how it feels to be able to communicate in a new language, in this case English. It also makes parents happy & proud of their children if they can speak English. So I understand Chinese parents when they try different ways of helping their children learn the language. However, when I happen to visit Chinese families I always find  it awkward when parents fish out their kids from their bedrooms so that they can practice their English on me. Not that the idea is bad, no, but the manner in which it is done is what I find outrageously awkward. In most cases, the parents will be there ' hey, laoshi, speak English with our kids. Hey, you, speak English with the foreigner here!' After that everybody - dad, mum, grannies, aunties, uncles,cousins, nieces - comes around, spectators, waiting to witness the 'most special moment in the history of the home'. I find the children and myself dragged to a stage where everybody has to watch us perform. To make it even more ridiculous for me, the parents will shout an instruction: Now start! At this point, the child is dead tensed up! Breaking his/her fingers! Face down! This makes me wonder: Do parents here realise that language practice works effectively in a context? I have always had to fight the temptation to tell such parents to allow us - the children & me - to be in a 'natural' setting, where we can have meaningful conversations. I don't do this, though, as I fear it may be misinterpreted as rudeness. Do other foreigners find themselves in such situations? Do you feel the same way I do or my feeling about this is  unfounded? Maybe I am just a 'brainless' foreigner with a strange way of looking at this but this is my real feeling.

8 years 21 weeks ago in  Teaching & Learning - China

 
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Governor

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Are the parents sitting in your class and shouting out these commands? If they are you should give them instructions first like watch and observe. Afterwards you and the parents can brainstorm and try to work together what is the best for their kid. You are afterall a teacher and they are the parents which they learn from the parents first and then you as a teacher. Just brainstorm together and see what you can work out. 

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8 years 21 weeks ago
 
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Emperor

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Not only that, but  they will even resort to "dirty tricks".

A few months ago, when my GF had just broken up with me on her fathers orders, one of my colleagues said that she was sorry and that she  wanted me to me to meet this special girl that she knew, who was unmarried. After a while and under her insistence, I finally agreed.  That "special girl" turned out to be her six year old daughter! She wanted me to teach her English since I now had no girlfriend I had free time.

Another blind date disaster: A  young girl who was already married who showed up with her husband to try to hire me to teach their kid.

By the way, I did not take either "job".

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8 years 21 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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i am well over 96th percentile  in English  for speaking and understanding so i would just f*** with the kid so he did not have any idea what i was saying,  you know use old English and higher forms of speaking. then act like the parent miss lead me and that there kid does not speak any English at all and shame whole family for wasting my time.

PS i do not care what happens to that kid when i leave the roomdevil

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8 years 21 weeks ago
 
Posts: 36

Governor

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I am here in China getting stupid by the day with the help of the Chinese people. As I read your question, I just burst out with laughter because I have always experience this and in the same pattern.Is every one and everything in china just the same as made -in- china?

we  might all return home with the tag (lol) .

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8 years 8 weeks ago
 
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I have a young (13) student who I coach in conversational English on a one to one basis. This is usually at his home for one hour a time and he is getting better, he just really needs the confidence to use it with strangers. Every time though when the hour is over and we join the rest of the family his father always pushes him into speaking English. this puts him immediately on the spot trying to think of a suitable conversation. I do try and help him out but it is not always easy. I have spoken to his father, explaining that learning to read and write in English as they do at school is not the same as being able to launch into any random conversation any time they see a foreigner. His father tends to think that just because you can read you are automatically a fluent linguist. I see too many parents having this unreasonable explanation, and of course most of the parents can barely put a four word sentence together in English at best.

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8 years 8 weeks ago
 
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I can't tell you how many times I've been "shanghaied" at dinners or meetings by parents who seat their children next to me wanting them to practice their English. Usually the dinner ends with the parents wanting to me to teach their "little precious," whose level of English is so dismal it would take years to get the kid up to par. As if I have nothing else to do in my life expect work all the time.

 

I do tutor, but it is mainly for students who are venturing overseas, and whose parents have already invested a lot of time and energy into the future of their offspring. These lessons work out fine as the student progresses rapidly from daily exposure with real practice.

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8 years 7 weeks ago
 
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