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>By Jeff Kruse

A teacher wrote: “While teaching in China I found that the schools often make strange or extraordinary requests that don’t make much sense.”

I tend to agree I think it is important to point out though, this is very dependent on where you teach. (There are exceptions thankfully.)

Often one might be teaching English in a program that has no coherence or direction, except that provided by oneself and maybe some largely useless book chosen by apparent chance.

Previously other teachers have remarked on the freedom this allows and I certainly see how this may be an advantage for the teacher. However, on the downside, it means that the students could be subject to the whims of the (newly arrived?) foreign teacher that have no relationship to the English teaching program conducted by Chinese staff nor what might be reasonably seen as the needs of students.

Two especially terrible examples of this “freedom”:

1) an Australian MA who exhorted the virtues of his religion

2) an American who regularly taught USA slang.

The students hated the first and loved the second classes but I think both were equally inappropriate for these university students needs and should not have been allowed in a considered syllabus.

It is also important to note that a syllabus may define required language functions and outcomes but need not impinge upon the individual’s teaching style.

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