Thu, Mar 21, 2019 - Page 15 News List

‘English-only’ policy not necessarily ideal: The Economist

A foreign teacher and some students are pictured during a science class at Tainan Municipal Simen Experimental Elementary School last year.

Photo courtesy of Office of English as the Second Official Language of the Tainan City Government

To promote the “bilingual country” policy, the Ministry of Education proposed late last year that certain subjects be taught in English only, to boost students’ English ability. According to a report recently published in the Economist, however, an “English-only” policy for all subjects may not necessarily benefit children’s learning, and may sometimes even be detrimental to it.

“Teaching children in English is fine if that is what they speak at home and their parents are fluent in it,” said the report. “But that is not the case in most public and low-cost private schools. Children are taught in a language they don’t understand by teachers whose English is poor. The children learn neither English nor anything else.”

The magazine reported that in a study conducted in 12 schools in Cameroon, those taught in their mother tongue did better than those taught in English in all subjects. As it suggested, English should indeed be seen as an important subject, but not necessarily the language of instruction at school.

(Eddy Chang, Taipei Times)






1. bilingual adj.

雙語 (shuang1 yu3)

2. subject n.

科目 (ke1 mu4)

3. benefit n.

利益 (li4 yi4)

4. detrimental adj.

有害的;不利的 (you3 hi4 de5; bu2 li4 de5)

5. mother tongue phr.

母語 (mu2 yu3)

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