Saturday, May 26, 2007

Test-oriented policy of English learning suffocates the learners' creativity by Frances Huang

Name: Frances Huang Mei-Tzu

Address: 7F, No. 221, Zhong-Dong St. Xin-Xing Area, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

Phone No. 0987376668


Test-oriented policy of English learning suffocates the learners' creativity


The education system in Taiwan is famous for its test-oriented policy, where students must go on an arduous journey of entrance exams to approach to a higher level of schooling. Inevitably, this rationale has been imposed upon evaluating students' English proficiency level and gradually suffocates their creative linguistic production. Many of the students become well-trained test-takers who don't really enjoy the process of leaning English, let alone appreciate the beauty of language itself. Alas, that is indeed a tragedy to me, a lover of English.


The "testing" phenomenon becomes worse when the government officially promotes GEPT – general English proficiency test. The ideal purpose of GEPT was to recognize the importance of English in Taiwan and encourage folks to learn it well. However, the reality turns into putting the cart before the horse. Most parents in Taiwan have this fear that their children might not be competitive with others, so eagerly, they send their children to the test-training courses where numerous test examples are provided, answering skills are cleverly taught, and the students are effectively trained.


The test results might be satisfactory, but the competence to master and use the language would be limited. The weakness comes to the surface when learners encounter the moments that they need to use English in reality. Students who study abroad are evident examples. Many of them, with the help of test-training courses, are able to pass the required tests. Later, they find themselves grapple with their academic and social lives overseas because everything goes beyond the materials that they are familiar with in the tests. Language creativity is much more important than the results shown in scores. Learning English actively with intrinsic motivation enhances language creativity. There are efficient ways to learn English well other than taking proficiency tests as ultimate goals. Let the horse lead the cart and it will be able to take us to the destination where we are able to freely express ourselves.

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