Taiwan’s High School Education: High School Students’ Performances in Their Study Plans and Interviews淺談台灣高中教育─以高中生申請入學的讀書計畫與口試為例 Cecilia H. C. Liu 劉雪珍 English Department, Fu Jen University 輔仁大學英文系
Outline • To share a few reflections from reviewing the application materials submitted to the Fu Jen English Department and my impression from conducting interviews with high school students. Students’ performances in their study plans and oral interviews reflect • Thepractices, attitudes and interests ofteachers at the high school education • Parental attitudes toward their children • Students’ attitudes toward learning, school, and the education system at large • Suggestions
Education System • A nation’s education system involves a general structure handed down from a national education agency, the organizational particulars of a local or municipal education bureaucracy and the administration and curriculum of individual schools. • Cultureimplies common belief systems, common practices and a shared world-view within a society. Thus, analysing education culture takes us beyond the political and municipal to a study of teachers, students, parents, government logic and institutional logic as they impact the process and function of education in Taiwan.
Examination system • The examination system in Taiwan controls the curriculum in lower education by defining what is important to study by what is to be examined. In addition, the MOE provides compulsory textbooks based on the requirements of the examination system. The examination system in Taiwan promotes an education culture devoted to rote memorization that requires harsh discipline and a rigid routine.
Study Plan • The purpose and value of studying in the university • The purpose and value of majoring in English language and literature • Specific reasons for choosing the FJED • Specific courses the applicant is interested in • Future plans • Any questions the applicant may have
Purpose and value of studying in the university • “..to increase my ability that can help me qualified for my work in the future. Meanwhile, it can also enrich my experiences, because I will meet kinds of people and join many activities in the university. The value of studying in the university is to be a useful person and to contribute my ability to the society, by using my professional ability to help people who need assistance.” • “Nowadays in junior and senior high school, students just learn basic knowledge for daily lives. On this ground, I have to study in the university to become more informed and gifted. That is, I will have more job opportunities than others who don’t study in university.” ”
Purpose and value of studying in the university • “During the university days, I should leave home for my studies. Therefore, I must learn to be independent, take the responsibility of everything by myself, and even face the difficulties alone.” • “I hope what I learn in university is not only the acquisition of knowledge but the skills to develop better human relationships and a broad view of the world. I want to join several clubs; of course, the premise is that it would not affect my academic work.”
“Motivation”--the purpose and value of majoring in English language and literature • “I have a great interest in learning English. Undeniably, English is an international language. Through English, I can acquire and exchange information and experience with people from other countries, and above all, understand the cultural differences of every country.” • “English has been an international contact vernacular. I hope to master it.”
“Motivation” • “We can learn to appreciate a lot of good works through majoring in English literature. As to my purpose of learning English is to deeply understand English literature and be professional in English.” • “In my senior high school, Father sent me to a one-to-one English class to learn from foreigners. That really stimulates my further interests in the English language.”
Specific Reasons for choosing the FJED • “..if I really have the chance to study in Fu Jen English Department, I want to explore all fields of English, and literature in particular.” • “I know that English Department in Fu Jen University focuses especially on the listening, speaking, reading, and writing ability, so I am convinced that it is the best choice for me.” • “I like Fu Jen and I’ve been dreaming of how brilliant my college life will be if I am lucky enough to be one of your students.”
Specific Reasons for choosing the FJED • “I have always placed Fu Jen English Department as my first goal, not only because my uncle and aunt were graduated from there, who have always praised and recommended it, but also because it enjoys great international reputation.” • “I have heard about the good reputation of Fu Jen English Department, and my English teacher is a graduate of the Fu Jen, who I think is really good at English.”
Specific Reasons for choosing the FJED • “I have looked up in your website about the introduction of your department. Your equipment and resources of learning English are very adequate. I know most of your class use English instead of Chinese. I feel it’s really a practical and basic way to improve English. ” • “I have a liking for English and I am fond of talking to foreigners, too. I know that you have a lot of foreign teachers in your department. I would like to choose a wonderful, well-known and the most suitable university for me.”
Future plans • “I will study deeper about English language and understand the Western culture through its literature. Learning how to use computer will also be my subject, because computer knowledge is very helpful to my study in the future.” • “In my future, I plan to go abroad to study English if my economy allowed. If not, I will find an international restaurant in which I can use English all the time and meet many foreigners to work in.”
Future plans • “My first choice is to go abroad. I believe it can broaden my horizon, and I also can experience different cultures and customs. I want to major in translating, and become a translator some day, using my professional abilities to serve Taiwan.” • “I will learn another foreign language, which may be Japanese because one foreign language is not enough now. I want to have a career that needs English after I graduate from the university.”
Future plans • Going abroad 25% • Interpreter/translator 20% • English teacher 15% • Mass Media 15% • Correspondent/reporter 10% • Other 15%
Students’ performance in oral interviews • Traveling experiences • Many talents in languages, arts, music … • Busy with senior high subjects & exams • No clear motivation • General statements • No clear idea about the dept.
My reflections on senior high education: • First, the examination system in Taiwan controls the curriculum in lower education by defining what is important to study by what is to be examined. • Rote memorization is still very much practiced in the senior high. • The educational methods embedded in the Taiwanese examination system limits students’ cognitive development of creative thought. • High school teachers are forced to develop a teaching style dependant on the examination culture.
My reflections on senior high education: • This administrative logic rooted in the examination system robs most teachers of creativity and active, dynamic interactive teaching methods. Moreover, the examination culture places the onus of success or failure in the lap of the students rather than the teachers or in the education system itself. • The Diversified College Enrollment Scheme requires teachers to teach a more diversified curriculum designed to prepare students to enter universities. But with the introduction of new teaching methods, high school teachers’ responsibility and burden increased. Students also expect more from their teachers.
My reflections on senior high education: 7.Students do not really know what they study or why they study a certain subject. There is a lack of general knowledge related to even Taiwan itself. They had learned certain things once but have since forgotten them, a consequence it seems of the technique of rote cramming for tests.
Parental attitudes • Parents compel their children to study hard and make it clear that they are willing to make great sacrifices to support their children’s education. Thus, the student must make sacrifices such as long hours of study, limited or no extra-curricular activities, no dating and enrollment in cram schools to prepare for the exams that determine their future success. • As most students have already invested much of their academic history in the previous system, it is natural that parents, who have also invested time, effort and money, expect their children to benefit from those past efforts.
Students’ attitudes toward learning, school, and the education system at large • Most of students claimed that they had to go to cram schools because the education reforms have failed to release academic pressure. • Students in Taiwan feel powerless against the various interests that create their education culture. Students’ response to the pressure of education in Taiwan is a passive adherence to the education culture. This passive adherence results in a diminished respect for learning, a study strategy focused on performance on multiple choice examinations, a diminished retention of knowledge and a diminished ability for creative thinking and problem solving.
Oral interviews: Five tips • Your motivation/Specific Reasons for choosing the Department : 認識自己要甄試的科系特色及教學研究內容，瞭解自己為什麼進入這個學系？及將來如果有機會進入此科系，你的讀書計畫是什麼？ • Good reading habit:平時多閱讀書報雜誌和此科系相關書籍，並蒐集資料，好好充實學科專業知能及背景知識。 • To know the department well:最好多蒐集此學系的資料--可以收集學校系所簡介，或上網蒐集系所概況，從這些收集的資料中你可以發現系所師資與發展重點，做週全的準備。
Oral interviews: Five tips 4. Be pertinent:要清楚面試委員問的是什麼，言簡意賅，切合題旨，答如所問，避免漫無邊際的打高空。 5. No show-off:要知道面試委員很可能會根據你回答的內容，再進一步追問。因此，談話的內容要環繞在你所熟悉的事項，讓面試委員對準你所專長的部分發問，不用賣弄自己不懂或不會的。
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