Teaching English as a foreign language for communication in China

  • Lu Rongji

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    China urgently needs a large number of interpreters, guides and teachers who are competent communicators in the English Language. One of the foreign language institutes that is attempting to satisfy this need is the Beijing Second Foreign Language Institute (or Erwai). It is argued that Erwai fails to produce competent communicators in English, a failure that is seen to be due to three interdependent factors: 1) the lack of teacher training, especially in the area of teaching methodology; 2) the resultant inability to select and effectively exploit teaching materials; and 3) the inappropriateness of currently-used teaching approaches to the perceived goals of the Institute. It is the third of these factors that receives particular attention in this paper. A survey is made of the merits and shortcomings of the three teaching approaches that have been used at Erwai, namely the 'grammar-translation,' 'audio-lingual' and 'cognitive' approaches. This serves as back-ground to the proposal that a 'communicative approach' to teaching be introduced at Erwai. It is claimed that the communicative approach is the most appropriate to the goals of Erwai students, the majority of whom will need to be communicatively competent in their future professions. The communicative approach is applied to the four basic skills of language and it is suggested that these skill areas be integrated in the classroom, rather than be taught in separate courses, as is presently the case at Erwai. Finally, the adoption of a communicative approach is seen to involve changes not only in classroom activities and materials, but also in the role of the student and the role of the teacher.
    Date of Award1983
    Original languageEnglish

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