Thursday, December 3, 2009

Complusory for Foreigners to take English course for service staff. How about Lecturers?

Today I read about attempts to improve the service level of the staff by making it compulsory for foreigners to take the English course. But I think they have forgotten about 1 more area. How about lecturers?

In some schools, it's compulsory for students to take an English basic course if your English is not that good. However, someone forgot to make this compulsory for the lecturers too! For some reason, since many years ago, it is not compulsory for lecturers to speak proper English. To me, I find this extremely weird. Sometimes, you cannot even understand a word that the lecturer is saying. And guess what? Sometimes the lecturers also do not understand the questions pose to them.

So how do students pass their exams? It's called Internet and textbooks.

Luckily, this does not apply to all foreign lecturers but based on my "spies", it seems that the number of lecturers not being able to speak proper English is not decreasing. In fact, I do not even require them to speak proper English. Conversational English is enough.

The number one requirement for lecturers should be the ability for them to communicate to the students. Isn't that the point in learning?? I find this extremely ironic.


Anonymous said...

Which country are most of the lecturers from? What school?

chantc said...

My personal experience is more from China. I had a hard time understanding their English. However, having said that, there are some lecturers from China who does speak quite okay English (as in you can understand the meaning).

What school? I won't name a particular one but you may meet them when you're trying to get a degree.

Anonymous said...

Aiya, just tell the truth that the China lecturers in NUS speak horrible English and caused comprehensive problems for the students...! Why be so polite/"politically correct" about things?!

chantc said...

I think its not about being politically correct or polite. More like umm... being fair? I'm sure NUS is not the only institution that has this problem so it's not fair to only single them out.

Anyone wants to comment about the other institutions?

Anonymous said...

If NUS really has bad English speaking lecturers, then we are just speaking the truth, and that is fair. What is unfair is if NUS has no bad English speaking lecturers and we say it has.

We are not singling them out as we do not say only NUS has that problem while NTU/SMU/xxU are sparkling clean. We are singling them out only if we say that it's ok for NTU et. al. to have bad English speaking lecturers, but it's not ok for NUS to have them.

If we want S'pore to improve, then I think we need to be assertive (and fair) about things. So we should speak up when something needs changing. Just dropping a hint and hoping that someone up there who matters will pick it up, discover the real details and then change things is unlikely to produce any significant result.

chantc said...

Agree with what you said. However, there is a teeny weeny problem. My experience is based on what happened years ago and the news I have is based on my "spies" and I did not experience it myself.

I need people who are experiencing it now to comment. For me, to base my comments on what I heard has no factual basis because I'm writing based on the current context now.

Anyway, let's not detour away from the topic. :)

Anyone else from the other institutions having this problem? Is this a widespread problem?

Anonymous said...

Apparently NTU has similar problems. Like u, heard from friends there. But no smoke without fire, so I believe it has to be true (else why dun they say NTU lecturers speak very good English instead?). Anyway, in statistics, this is called sampling... :P

Yuuki said...


Then I don't have to spend the entire lecture trying to understand the words the lecturer is trying to say instead of trying to understand the content >_<

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