This book is a compilation of articles arising from the authors' seven years of personal experiences, study, research and analysis of EFL teaching in China between 2002 and 2008. It is an attempt to document deficiencies and suggest improvements for EFL teaching in China. The authors began with the assumption that identifying the existing problems, analysing them and suggesting corrective action, would be beneficial to bringing about much needed curriculum reform. In the past twenty years English language has reached fever pitch in some economic free zones of China and has spread across the vast continent of China impacting on primary schools, middle schools, universities and colleges of higher education. Everyone in China is being exposed to the English language in one form or another. At any given moment at least 600 million Chinese citizens are studying English, which is more than twice the number of people living in the United States of America. China produces college graduates who have learned English for 16 years and are able to pass the national English knowledge examinations, but are unable to produce comprehensible oral or written English.
They have memorised thousands of English words and set phrases. But when it comes to speaking or writing comprehensible English, they are like the parrot who can "talk" by saying "Poly want a cracker". China has invested heavily in its English language teaching programs that feature English learning to the exclusion of English acquisition. Famous Chinese professors write text books in conjunction with recognised foreign scholars. The State owned publishing houses, who have an exclusive monopoly on publishing in China, invest heavily in publishing these English learning texts to the exclusion of English acquisition texts. Chinese schools are not allowed to purchase texts on line or from western sources. There has been a quantum of second language acquisition knowledge discovered over the past twenty years by researchers in Europe and America. However, the resulting new teaching methodology and pedagogy currently dominating Western countries is facing resistance from the mainstream Chinese educational system. Whether this resistance is a forerunner to a 'clash of cultures' is yet to be realised.
It may be as simple as a case of economic protectionism by those with vested interests in the current EFL learning teaching methodology. This book includes an English acquisition program (Holistic English) which the authors developed, tested and proved successful at various levels within the Chinese higher education system. The Holistic English Program produces a higher pass rate on the national English knowledge exams and it produces speakers and writers of comprehensible English. Yet, this language acquisition program is met with apathy, indifference, incompetence, opposition and outright hostility. This compilation of articles makes a compelling case for the need for EFL curriculum reform.