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English is English, Chinese is Chinese...
I AM writing about the use of the English language during Chinese lessons.
I used to be a primary-school Chinese-language teacher but I have become a secondary-school English teacher after completing a bachelor's degree in English in Britain.
As a Chinese teacher, I did not use English in my classes because it did not help my pupils to learn better.
For instance, if they were stronger in English, they tended to make sentences in Chinese using English sentence structure.
My pupils found it hard to learn the language purely through the Chinese medium, but this is the only way to truly understand and master it.
The more you try to avoid the Chinese language, the more you reliant you will become on another language and your learning of Chinese will never get easier.
You simply cannot explain Chinese grammar the way you would explain English grammar.
There is also no need to try to do so.
For instance, instead of telling students in English that dong ci is a 'verb', the teacher can simply say in Mandarin: 'Examples of dong ci are zou (walk) and chi.'
We need to teach Standard English and Standard Chinese. Singaporeans' grasp of both languages will never improve if we mix the two.
We should always try to speak pure Mandarin or pure English, especially in the classroom.
Each language has unique features; they should not be put together in a mixing bowl. I hope other language educators feel the way I do about this issue.
WONG LING FONG (Madam)