By Phiona Stanley

Tens of hundreds of thousands of Western 'teachers', lots of whom wouldn't be thought of lecturers in different places, are hired to educate English in private and non-private schooling in China. Little has formerly been identified, other than anecdotally, approximately their stories, in regards to the impact they've got on schooling within the context, or on students' perceptions of 'the West' that outcome from this touch.

This ebook is an ethnographic learn of Westerners' lived stories instructing English in Shanghai, China. it really is in accordance with 3 years of groundbreaking learn into the pre-service education, school room practices, own identities and factors, and native socially developed roles of a bunch of 'backpacker teachers' from the united kingdom, the united states and Canada. it's a research that is going past the study room, addressing broader questions on the sociology, and politics, of transnational schooling and China's evolving dating with the surface global.

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Wette and Barkhuizen (2009) found that tertiary teachers struggled to reconcile these conflicting objectives and C. Yan (2012), researching Chinese high school teachers’ responses to recent ELT curriculum reforms, found that although most teachers were enthusiastic about the newly introduced communicative curriculum there was a significant implementation gap. While the rhetoric of ‘communicative’ teaching has been strengthened, and while more communicative teaching materials are now in use, teachers still face significant challenges including their own pedagogical preparation and backwash from still predominantly structural examinations.

Hofstede’s work has been strongly criticized, however. McSweeney (2002) cites Anderson’s (1991) work on nations as ‘imagined communities’ that are real only insofar as they are socially constructed. Within this, one cannot hope to describe homogeneous or static ‘national’ cultures (Kwek 2003; Myers and Tan 2002), and, as such, it is essentialist and deterministic to designate certain cultural traits and call them ‘Chinese culture’ at all. Fougère and Moulettes (2005) also critique Hofstede’s model, this time as a colonizing discourse: by classifying cultures and comparing cultural values, Hofstede’s study serves to legitimize cultural Othering and a postcolonial ‘third world’ discourse of cultural backwardness and linear stages of development.

Ellis (1996) describes potential points of conflict for Western teachers employing CLT in Asian settings, arguing that teachers should ‘mediate’ or filter the method to fit the local context. Similarly, Bjorning-Gyde and Doogan (2004) propose a fusion model of teaching for China, in which the strengths of Western and Chinese methodologies are blended. Perhaps, then, an answer lies in blending CLT with traditional Chinese approaches. This is the implicit theory behind some home-grown English-learning crazes in China, such as Li Yang’s ‘Crazy English’, which blends accuracy-focused drilling with confidence-enhancing learner output (Osnos 2008).

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