Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Localize English teaching and learning

Halloween is a traditional festival when when many a Western country celebrates it to commemorate the dead the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed on 31 October. As “Westernization” has been rampant in this country, kids as well as adults also wear scaring makeup and put on exotic costumes “trick-or-treating” on this particular day. Many local English cram schools for children would seize this opportunity to propagandize their schools hoping to lure more to enroll. However, have you ever seen any local English isntitutes or kindergartens organizing their kids to celebrate the Zongyuan Festival, our ghost festival, on the fifteenth of lunar July every year?

Dr. Yen Yuan-su (1933-2012), former chair of the Department of English Language and Literature of National Taiwan University, advocated that English teaching here should be “localized,” because the main teaching objective should be for our students to acquire the linguistic skills to introduce Taiwan to foreigners. Our students should learn how to introduce the Zongyuan Festival to Westerners.


I know it would be fun for kids to dress up and to go around asking for treats; nevertheless, as far as the teaching goal is concerned, I tend to agree with Dr. Yen. 

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