Fri, May 03, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Mayor welcomes teaching support from the Taipei American School

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

After Taipei City announced a new program to teach first graders English starting this fall, the Taipei American School (TAS) yesterday expressed its willingness to help.

English is currently taught to Taipei City schoolchildren beginning in the third grade.

Mark Ulfers, the superintendent of the TAS, yesterday visited Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to offer the school's help.

According to Ma, there are 140 public elementary schools in the city. With the institution of the new English curriculum, Ma pointed out that more qualified English teachers would be needed. He also said that current English teachers should take refresher courses to brush up on their skills.

After the meeting, Ma told reporters that the TAS is willing to provide its facilities and human resources when available, such as during summer vacations.

The city government, therefore, has decided to select 140 English teachers from the city's public schools and send them to a proposed TAS English tea-chers' workshop, to be held this summer.

According to Ulfers, the TAS now has 60 professional teachers who can help train local English teachers.

"The 140 selected teachers will shadow ours and work with them at the workshop," said Ulfers. "I believe they will inspire them with new methods of teaching."

In a bid to facilitate the city government's new program, examinations will be held by individual public schools to recruit a total of 200 to 300 qualified English teachers over the summer.

When President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on March 30 said he wanted to make English the nation's second official language, Ma was among the first to pour cold water on the idea.

Ma said on the very next day that "making English as the second official language is not only unnecessary but at the moment is also impossible."

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