Libmonster ID: U.S.-1396
Author(s) of the publication: I. V. SMERDOV

HOW CHINESE UNIVERSITIES USE FOREIGN TEACHERS

Key words: China, private and public universities

I. V. SMERDOV

PhD (Philosophy)

Chinese private educational institutions been in the process developing and initially gaining credibility since the first private university in the new China in 1982.1 Most private colleges have opened in the last 10 to 15 years and are gradually being developed. The rules for private and public colleges hiring foreign teachers are the same, as the requirements state and provincial ministries education are unified across China. But the differences in details are sometimes so significant that we can talk about a complete gap in the principles of teaching and organizing academic practices in private and public universities.

This article will focus on two universities - Jiayin State University in Meizhou, more precisely, its Faculty of Foreign Languages, and Xingjian College (Nanning), a private university associated with the leading provincial university of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (southwest China). Externally, the goals and objectives of both universities are the same: a standard, commercially profitable educational project is being implemented-teaching a foreign language, culture of English-speaking countries, information technologies, etc. Jiayin University (existing since 1913.2) has been at the forefront of university positioning in advertising for domestic consumers (Chinese students and their parents, since, as a rule, it is the latter who pay for tuition) its statehood, standardization, and traditions are emerging.

In a private college that is "particularly close" to a leading university, a completely different factor comes to the fore, more professional and, to some extent, commercial. Xingjian College is located on the campus of Guangxi University (a key university in the province of the same name), and most subjects are taught by foreigners in English. As a result, commercial factors begin to dominate the learning process. It is almost impossible to exclude a student based on poor (or even terrible) academic performance.

Chinese universities are increasingly positioning themselves as modern educational institutions. At Xingjian College, English is taught exclusively by native speakers who work strictly under contracts and have a special status. The Chinese are polite and considerate towards Westerners. But if, for example, there are no foreigners in an educational institution, there are more free rules.

ENGLISH-SPEAKING GUEST WORKERS

The need for foreign teachers is growing. After all, colleges like Xingjian are growing like mushrooms. At the same time, the salary of a foreign teacher is not so high that Americans, Canadians or Englishmen simply rush to China. In economic terms, this is called the "seller's market". The" buyer " of teaching services, a Chinese college, has a limited choice.

Not all educational institutions have the right to hire foreigners (a certain material base, financial support, housing conditions, a certain number of students are required. However, both private and public universities can easily circumvent these requirements, consciously or unconsciously ignore them, so any Chinese college with minimal access to the opportunity to hire foreigners is willing to position itself as such an institution. Advertising usually indicates even the exact number of foreign teachers and universities with whom at least some kind of exchange or dialogue is conducted.3

If it were not for this irrational, in our opinion, but exclusively imitative factor of attracting foreigners at all costs, Chinese administrators would prefer a less expensive contingent. Students ' academic performance and achievements could have been no worse than if they had invited foreigners, if the contingent of Chinese teachers at the college had been qualified, with international experience and daily life skills in Western countries. You can pay your" friends " less. The salary of a Chinese and foreign teacher with a PhD degree (in our understanding - a candidate of science) at the same Jiaying University is 3000 and 5000 yuan per month, respectively 4. A Chinese PhD student, even with very high qualifications, lives in a rented apartment on campus and pays some money for rent; for a foreigner, everything must be provided free of charge (Xinjiang College) or with minimal payment for water and electricity (Jiaying University). Chinese teachers do not need to be provided with everything they need and better housing. So Chinese colleges could hire one or two foreigners for several weeks for block lectures and seminars, so to speak, to create an image of internationality. And it would be limited to this, as is often the case in Russia.-

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in the CIS and Eastern Europe, even in language universities.

Obviously, this is not enough for the Chinese administrations. The super - rational factor of the command system of Chinese higher education, the accelerated modernization of the PRC, comes to the fore, followed by private factors-attracting the best (at a private college in Xinjiang) and richer students and their parents. This is achieved through advertising - so many foreigners study at the college, the university is positioned as more advanced, where there is a certain "international" community.

Keeping in mind how powerful a protest force the students were in the 1960s and 1980s, administrators do their best to appease students. Colleges go along with students, hiring foreign native speakers, sometimes just for conversational practice. Conversational English (traditionally the weak point of Asian students in all English-speaking countries) should be a priority of the college, even if the state itself does not consider it such.

And here lies one of the challenges for colleges that expand and diversify the disciplines taught by foreigners. After all, it is one thing to teach spoken English, and quite another to teach subjects such as culture, history, and literature of English-speaking countries. All these subjects require special training and qualifications that many foreign teachers do not possess.

HIRING CATS IN A BAG

The recruitment process is the prerogative of the college administration, but much depends on whether foreign teachers at the university have an authoritative formal leader or intermediary permanently residing in English-speaking countries. At Jiayin University, the group leader of foreign teachers, who interviewed candidates by phone in 2002-2008, explained the basic rules and talked about working and living conditions, played an important role in hiring. After that, the candidate made the final decision - whether to come or not to come, and then the university decided whether to invite him or not. In the end, the decision was left to the administration. But if the recommendation came from a group leader, the Chinese administration almost always followed his advice.

Pitfalls also exist in such a seemingly perfect and harmonious cooperation. For several years, the Kansas City-based group leader invited his friends and acquaintances from the church community in his hometown. Eventually, the university administration found out about this and became more picky about hiring people, particularly from Kansas.

In 2004, the provincial authorities established a rule: teaching experience - at least 2 years for foreign candidates for teachers. This immediately cut off the Kansas amateurs - seekers of easy earnings. A similar requirement was introduced in many other regions of China, but not everywhere. Even after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Guangxi University and Xingjian College, for example, employ a few people with zero experience.

At Xingjian College, recruitment is conducted through the college's website for 5 students in China who have already worked in the country for some time. Fortunately, the salary - from 7,000 yuan and above-allows you to simply poach people.

Some teachers are also recruited through an official representative of the college in London, British citizens of Chinese origin. In theory, this method of recruiting should prevent obvious failures and hiring absolutely unsuitable people for teaching. In fact, people who come by reference from London often do not have any teaching experience.

As a result, this method of recruitment becomes a "pig in a poke" purchase, despite the requirements for a resume, teaching experience, and recommendations from previous jobs. The "foreign college" system is completely unstable due to its permanent expansion.

A foreign teacher is often considered a priori competent in all areas of teaching (the native speaker factor is sometimes overshadowed by the native speaker factor).,

page 66

professional approach and analysis). It does not take into account the candidate's frequent job changes in adulthood. The college, for example, requires a teacher in the discipline "Country Studies of English-speaking countries", as well as a teacher of spoken English who worked in one of the private language schools in China.

Sometimes there are scandalous situations when foreign teachers "fraternally" share exam questions with students, which they would never do in their own country. But such mentors received the status of a university teacher, in general, only due to the factor of being born in an English-speaking country.

Since the demand for teachers from English-speaking countries is such that the supply barely keeps up with it, people who are not very successful in their homeland, or even outright losers, go to teach in China from rich English-speaking countries. However, it happens that some of them do not renew their contract. But if there is a desire, then losers get a job in semi-legal schools or engage in tutoring, since the market for English teaching services in China is huge and not yet fully saturated.6

I DON'T WANT TO LEARN, I WANT TO TEACH

I interviewed several teachers at Shinzian College. One of them is just over 20 years old, this is his first serious job in his life. Coming to China is due not only to the interest in the country and the presence of a relative who already teaches here, but also to the ease of this job for a graduate of a western university. The young man only needed to complete a university course. Somehow, my uncle had arranged it, and if my uncle had been in India, my nephew would have gone too.

Chinese students who, for a similar start (teaching outside of China), need to be a very successful student, have at least a master's degree and work experience, and preferably study at a prestigious Chinese university that has exchange programs. And maybe then there will be a chance. A person with a reputation for "low achievement" teaches people who need to be a very "lucky achievement" for a similar step in life.

The main problem of this young man is visible to the naked eye. The teacher is no smarter or more educated than the student; simply by the fact and privilege of being born in Canada, he is superior to his Chinese peer and is a living example for him that you can achieve high status without lifting a finger.

In an interview, this teacher admitted that his uncle in China "arranged everything". In China, such care for a relative is called Guangxi-personal connections 7. The Western teacher is inscribed in the cultural area of the Chinese student not as a Western carrier of clear principles, as a model of behavior and a role model, but as his boyfriend, who achieves success through connections and relatives.

My other interlocutor is a mature man in his 60s. He said that he once studied in the specialty " teaching English as a second language "(ESL), about his relationship with a university professor in his homeland.

His teaching motivation is much more serious. This is both a desire to help Chinese students, and to somehow repay the Chinese professor for her innovative approaches to working with him in America as a future ESL teacher. He clearly understands the huge difference between teaching English to immigrants and potential students in America and teaching English as a foreign language in China.

It is alarming that the teacher did not work in his specialty in his youth and returned to it only after 25 years of working as a gardener, when he felt that old age is not a joy. In this case, we see, at least, the fact of delayed self-realization. In other words, in China, after 3 decades, a person realized the dream of his youth. He wanted to complete a master's degree program in the United States, but he was limited to only a certificate for teaching ESL in China.

This person has the motivation of a "high achiever", but at least twice slipped, according to him, from this trajectory to the easier path of "low achiever" and ordinary earnings. In any case, this type of teacher is better than a young inexperienced klutz who has no idea what he is doing in the classroom.

page 67

My interlocutor often got into disputes with the administration, because of which he had to change his place of work. But Chinese administrators do not pay attention to flying from corner to corner. This does not spoil the resume of a foreigner.

REPETITION IS THE MOTHER OF LEARNING

The schedule at the Faculty of Foreign Languages of Jiayin University and at Xingjian College varies significantly in the number of teaching hours given to foreigners. On average, the first class consists of 2 subjects and 4-6 hours per week (mainly spoken English and essays). In the second - about 20 hours a week. In fact, Chinese teachers only take compulsory humanities courses. Everything else related to the English language, history and culture of English-speaking countries is given to foreigners.

This is a completely different education, much more expensive, although it falls under the same educational standard. Openness to other cultures, rotation of teachers from different countries of the world expand the horizons of consciousness of Chinese students, whether they want it or not, even if they are taught by an American loser and a womanizer. Students can at least compare teaching methods and compare it to an Australian or Canadian loser.

What is striking is the huge number of repetitions in the schedule and, consequently, in the entire curriculum. At the same time, the same courses are repeated in the schedule of any group of students. The question involuntarily arises: what do students do in these classes, how do they practice reading, grammar, writing essays, and spoken English? You might think that the more, the better. The administration thinks so, increasing the number of similar subjects taught by different people.

The language groups are very large - up to 30 people in Xinjiang, which is very small by Chinese standards. And in a state university, such as Jiayin, groups can be 40 or even 50 people, and in other faculties even more - 60-70. Another disadvantage: teachers hired as English teachers can't offer anything else, since many of them are engineers, librarians, long - distance drivers, etc. by profession.

The main weakness of English education in Chinese colleges like Xinjiang is that there is a permanent repetition of similar educational situations (even with different teachers from different countries of the world), and students are repeated the same thing in different ways-grammar, syntax, spoken language, reading texts designed for easy understanding, rather than relying on different interpretive strategies.

It turns out that a Chinese college of elite and expensive education, due to the poor training of teachers and, accordingly, students, functions as a karaoke bar, where only songs and music change, and the way to learn and interact with this music and lyrics is still the same-repeat after teletext. In this case, the student's talent, individual abilities and skills do not develop, but stagnate. It is impossible to surpass the original in karaoke, you can only improve the repetition of teletext (by the teacher), and ideally, the student should try to surpass the original.

SOME CONCLUSIONS

Russian universities and schools also hire (or intend to hire) foreigners to teach the language. Since the Chinese experience is clearly ahead of the Russian experience in this matter, it is worth considering the mistakes of our neighbor. There are practically no universities in Russia where foreign students teach mainly in English, but the range of courses in English is constantly expanding. At the same time, the principle professed in China: the more English, the better - should not be adopted. It should be: the more education in English, the better.

Foreign teachers should be loaded not only with English and similar courses, but also try to diversify the entire educational palette as much as possible, creating new, but no less necessary courses in accordance with the real qualifications of the guest - computer technology, Internet, business practices, business environment in multinational corporations, in-depth history of individual countries.

The "college-teacher" system needs greater stability, stability, and predictability of curricula for 2-3 years ahead, so that teachers have time to prepare for new courses, as is done in Western universities. It would also be good to give the visiting master the opportunity to do research, or at least help students do it on a regular basis. It will be quite similar to an average European university.

It seems that the current economic crisis will lead to an increase in the number of native speakers who want to teach English in non-English-speaking countries. Therefore, the choice in the next two or three years will be somewhat larger, and this can be used not only in China, but also in Russia.


Yuan Sh 1 Chastnoe vysshee obrazovanie v Kitae: evolyutsiya, osobennosti i problemy [Private higher education in China: Evolution, Features and Problems]. Zhurnal "Universitetskoe upravlenie: Praktika i analiz", 2004, No. 3 www.umj.ru/index.php/pub/inside/443

2 There are several English-language sites about the university, such as Jiayin: www.admis-sions.cn/jyu; www.davidson.edu/academic/anthropology/erlozada/papers/jiada/jdeng.htm; www.study-in-china.org/school/guang-dong/jyu/majors.asp; www.4icu.org/reviews/819.htm

3 The Best University for Hakkas all Over the World / / Website promoting education in China and, in particular, in Jiaying University - www.study-in-china.org/school/guangdong/jyu/

4 1 US dollars - about 8 yuan.

5 Xinjiang College Website www.gxu.edu.cn/administration/gjc/eng/Recruitment.htm

6 English Language Training Profitable Industry in China // Xinhua News Agency, January 22, 2002 - http://www.china.org. cn/english/SO-e/25691.htm

7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guangxi


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