The Ministry of Education yesterday proposed a four-year plan to improve English proficiency among Taiwanese elementary and junior high school students, encouraging schools to test students on their listening and speaking abilities in monthly examinations.
Yang Chang-yu (楊昌裕), director of the ministry’s Department of Elementary Education, told reporters that between 50 and 60 percent of English teachers at elementary and junior high schools had introduced listening, writing and oral tests in midterms or finals.
“This is something we should encourage [every English teacher] to do,” Yang said.
Yang said the ministry would also put added focus on contextual learning in English education at the primary and junior-high levels, as education at those stages is meant to help students develop an interest in the language.
Yang said the plan also includes a proposal for students writing high school entrance examinations to undergo listening and writing tests.
At present, exam-takers are only required to answer multiple-choice questions.
Yang said the ministry also proposed giving junior high school graduates extra credits if they pass the General English Proficiency Test.
The four-year plan is expected to come into force at the beginning of next year’s academic year.
However, Minister of Education Wu Ching-chi (吳清基) later said the ministry had yet to decide whether to add listening and writing tests to high school entrance exams.
Wu said the ministry would first ask teachers to emphasize listening and speaking proficiency.
In related news, the ministry said that one out of five elementary school students in Taiwan could be an Internet addict.
A ministry study, conducted by National Chiao Tung University, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology and Shih Hsin University, among 53,636 elementary and junior high school students between November last year and April showed about 20 percent of respondents between fourth and sixth grades had Internet addictions.
The study found that users spent an average of 22 hours per week during the school year surfing the Internet, which rose to 42 hours during the summer and winter vacations. Most of that time was spent playing online games.
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