Prof d’anglais à Taïwan, ouf…

30 mars 2008

Il semblerait que ce soit toujours la galère pour les profs d’anglais étrangers à Taïwan, et ce, malgré l’annonce en grande pompe de nouvelles mesures pour s’assurer que tout un chacun – « profs » (je mets ici ce terme entre guillemets parce que la plupart des « profs » n’ont de prof que le titre, très rarement la formation) comme employeurs – travaille dans la légalité il y a quelques années. Voici ce qu’écrit Andy, un Américain qui a enseigné là-bas pendant plus de cinq ans écrivait dans son journal il y a quelques mois :

For English cram schools, white Westerners are a commodity. Since the consumer desires a young (preferably American) white face attached to the school, most schools will take the blond haired, blue-eyed broken-English speaking Estonian chick over the fluent-English speaking Ghanaian with a master’s degree in education every time (true story). To say nothing of the scores of highly educated English-speaking Filipinos doing menial work in this country…

Ce qu’il dit ici est aussi fort instructif et rejoint mes propres observations (voir mon livre) :

The turnover rate for foreign English teachers is extremely high. I’d say the average stint for a teacher at each job would have to be a year at most (the length of the work contract needed for an ARC). This is generally because so many bosses here are conniving, bullying puds who continually try to figure out ways of making you do unpaid work and if there’s no work to be done, they make it up because culturally, Taiwanese believe in shunning on shortcuts (correct me if I’m wrong).I worked for over two years at one job, but that was because I was working for a feisty woman named Linda Mommy who had lived for twelve years in Canada and learned all of her English from watching Jerry Springer. She didn’t believe in those petty Confucian-boss control methods. She also pushed her teachers to come up with creative lessons that would challenge students to think critically. This was like squeezing blood from a stone since by the time most of them reach junior high, the average Taiwanese student has become conditioned to just open up and have information crammed down their throats with a feeding tube, keeping it down just long enough to can pass the next exam, then the standardized test to get into a good high school and finally the big exam for university.The pressure to succeed for young people in Taiwan is tremendous, especially given that standardized tests are everything. “Your scores aren’t high enough to get into the top high school? Well, good luck getting into a decent university.”

Et pour ceux qui seraient toujours intéressés à aller enseigner là-bas après ça, il en rajoute :

If you choose to teach ESL in Taiwan, there are basically two options. You can try teaching a bunch of surly elementary and junior high punks who have spent the last five hours in a school that aims to sap all of their creative spirit and drill them through rout memorization (forget about after school clubs and sports). Or you can teach babies like I do. For most parents in Taiwan, the goal is not for their kids be well-rounded, but to “keep up with the Wangs” because the Wangs know their kid will only succeed if he follows the formula: bilingual kindergarten + public school + after-school cram school + prestigious public high school + prestigious university/study abroad = doctor/rich businessman.“Their kid goes to piano lessons? Well my kid goes to piano lessons AND violin lessons.” “Their kid goes to English cram school? Well my kid goes to a cram school where all of the teachers mercilessly beat him with bamboo sticks until he has a perfect American accent and flawless intonation.”

Toujours prêt à tenter l’aventure ? 

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  • Répondre An Zhu 19 avril 2008 - 22 h 50 min

    It always amazes me the way so many people here think that the Asian model of education is so superior to the Western methods. Ours may be in the toilet, but theirs is in the sewer.
    Here’s my political campaign speech:

    “Ladies and gentleman, we have come to a time in our history when the old pedagogy of Western education, the “thinking outside the box” and “critical thinking” methodologies, are just not preparing our children to compete in the global job market of the 21st century. It’s time to face the painful fact that our children just isn’t learning. We need to make our teachers accountable. We need to push them to administer hours and hours of daily standardized multiple choice exams. We need to bring in private sector entrepreneurs with their innovative educational expertise to reinforce the learning material, “cram” if you will. These methods have worked splendidly in other nations. For instance, in Taiwan…”

    Check out this article on the subject:

  • Répondre An Zhu 19 avril 2008 - 22 h 59 min

    It always amazes me the way so many people here think that the Asian model of education is so superior to the Western methods. Ours may be in the toilet, but theirs is in the sewer. At least we try to discourage plagiarism. But hey, they score well on standardized tests, so who cares whether they actually know how to think?

    Check out this article on the subject:

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