How do other countries teach English?

DJ   Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:18 am GMT
After reading the articles about how the authors of this website learned English, I became curious about how other countries teach English. Obviously, English teaching in Poland is not an effective way of teaching English, but I've seen other guys from other European countries speak good English only with school education.

So there must be some differences in their ways of teaching English, right? I teach English in Korea, and I must say the Korean way of teaching English is tremendously ineffective, and I want to know what better ways there are to effectively teach kids (or adults) English within a few years.

Can anyone help?
Guest   Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:55 am GMT
Actually I'm wondering how do the Northern Europeans and the Dutch teach English in their schools. They are excellent English speakers and sometimes mistaken for Native English speakers from England.

Asian countries (and other Non Indo-European nations) due to a number of obvious factors to me are the ones that would have the most problem learning English.

I myself found it a problem when deciding to take Japanese as a subject - not only you had to learn the language but also how to write in their character system.
kaipin   Sun Aug 06, 2006 3:56 am GMT
I know Chinese English enducation system is the worst way in the world of learning English.that may due to our culure,or ralating to our language.

Chinese is such a language that mainly supported by optical impression.
So we learn English as a see-language ranther than a voice-language,so after accostomed to our own writing character,it is pretty hard for us to distinguish the words without much difficulty.For instance,intercity and intrecity .

After all,the biggest problem we are facing is conquering the silent-English-learning system!
Guest   Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:15 am GMT
"Intrecity" isn't a word.
robin   Mon Aug 07, 2006 1:28 am GMT
maybe "intracity"
tyrion   Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:28 pm GMT
The biggest problem with any English-teaching system is that children don't care enough. The Dutchs travel a lot and realise quit young how big experience the communicataion with people from other countries can be.
Once somebody really(!) wants to learn a foreign language, it almost goes automaticly, becouse you start to be interested in reading, listening, and talking it. The biggest chalenge to an English teacher should be to open the students' eyes, and show how importent and even enjoyable it can be.

Also those 'northern countries' broadcast movies with subtitles, or even without it, and not dubbed.
kawaii   Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:08 am GMT
Generally Chinese, japanese and koreans will find it difficult to master
English in a few years.
As I know, a Chinese English teacher, named Li Yang, find an effective way to master a language in a few months, a very crazy way.

He emphasises "speaking" over other capabilities: reading, writing and listening. In his words, all other three capabilities are not key for learning a language, people don't really master a sentence until they can easily speak it out.

more information on his method, refer to

and if you can read chinese, his website is at:

Hope it can help.
Guest   Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:07 pm GMT
Not able to open the method website...
Tur├žanka   Mon Aug 21, 2006 6:59 am GMT
In Turkey, English is taught well if you get your education at an Anatolian High School.At this kind of schools there is a year in which you only learn English and no other lessons.35 lessons per week.These schools enlists students via an exam called OKS.But in other kind of schools you cannot learn even 20 words a year.
larklake   Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:38 am GMT
Maybe english education in Chinese is not so bad as you think.
I don't like the way of school learning,also don't encourage Li Yang's approach.but I believe you would know the name of "LIU XIAO TING" in a few years.
"Truth international"
S. Axe   Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:31 am GMT
I believe that the biggest problem about teaching and learning non-mother languages is accepting a different way of thinking that is required. I tried learning Japanese too and it was completely another world.
motormetallica   Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:13 am GMT
I do not agree that is a hard thing to learn or improve english speaking for chinese, the key is how far do you want to go, and how great is the work you are paying?
Miguel   Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:10 am GMT
Spanish way of learning english is also horrible, you start learning english since you are a kid and you still in contact with it until your last year education and despite that period of time you never get it.
first of all: all english teacher are spanish
therea are too many people for classroom
your teacher never speak english
you never speak english

It will take years to change this way of learning. to give you and example I have been learning english for many years and I don't think I will unless I go to england or to a english speaking country.
I'm Flemish   Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:16 pm GMT
I'm from the northern, Dutch speaking part of Belgium and appreciate the compliment given earlier about our ability to speak English fluently. We start learning English in the 8th grade and a lot of focus is aimed at the theoretic part of the language. We have two 50-minute periods in a week and are encouraged to write some papers and participate in debates held in class. I think the most important influence comes from outside of the scholar system and is to be found in entertainment. As mentioned earlier, none of the American (or British) movies, sitcoms or series are dubbed; rather they are subtitled. I think that gives us an advantage over other countries, such as Germany or France. Plus, over the course of history, Belgians have been dominated by an impressive amount of people. This makes for a potential to copy accents of other languages (Roman languages too) in an effective way and explains the difference in pronounciation between the Dutch and the Flemish (had you noticed...).
Mirror   Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:56 pm GMT
English is a language influenced by it's neighbouring countries throughout history. Hence, it's much easier for Europeans to learn English. It's the same thing for a Chinese to learn Japanese. It's at least much easier for them to learn the characters because Kanji (1 of 3 types of Japanese) is derived from Chinese. AND big cultural gap is another important key. E.g. When Japanese says "yes", American takes it as "agree" and actually it means "I see". Also, accessibility to English culture.

When we are babies, all kinds of stimulants flushed into our quite empty brains. We have parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, TV, commercials, books, newspaper ... to maintain our language learning. That's why it is easier to learn a new language by dating a person who speaks that language and/or hanging out with people who speaks that language. Best, you'll be forced to listen, read, write and speak when you're actually in that country.

Teaching English in Korea is difficult because they may have different logic, not easy access to English environment to practise, cultural differences hinder the understanding, the lack of knowledge on the Korean language hence can't pin-point the mistakes with reason, no motivation to learn English well ...

It is pointless to learn English if one will never use it. Teach something more practical and has higher probability to be used like talking on the phone, giving directions, dinning out ... will make students eager to learn and practise among themselves.
Learn their language so as to understand the difference from English. It is not enough to know that it is wrong, but also how and why it's wrong.
Do drama, debate, story/joke-telling and crazy presentation is another interesting way to explore expressions in English. E.g. an English version of a Korean old folklores, crazy invention commercial advertisement, ghost stories, murder cases or crazy case in court... young kids go wild in these.
Learn lots of vocabularies. It's stupid to teach grammar when kids don't even know the words of the examples. And it's hard to do the exercises too.
Always starts with verbal, like mother tongue, it's always the sound first. A very old crazy silly method -- for kids or adults. Make them repeat new words with you like soldiers! For several times. That will break the glass of shyness. Everybody says it right or everybody says it wrong. It's fun without the embarrassment. Then give them some sentences with the new word and have them shout it out. E.g. "embarrass" is the new word. My sentence is "I mistakenly hold the hand of a girl as my girlfriend. It is so ____." Let them shout the word out "embarrassing"!
When school starts, have them write down what they want to do in English class, in what area they want to do more and set goals with them so they have a sense of direction. That will also help... I hope.