22. Hidden Boundaries – A Joint-Venture Education Program in China

This review is a post-mortem of an edu­ca­tion joint-ven­ture between an Aus­tralian col­lege and a Chi­nese col­lege in cen­tral China at the three year mark*. It has lessons for pol­icy, man­age­ment, teach­ing and learn­ing. The focus is on for­eign lan­guage teach­ing, but most of the ele­ments also apply to other fields of study. 

[* The Aus­tralian writer was leav­ing China due to an inco­her­ent Pub­lic Secu­rity Bureau reg­u­la­tion that a work visa could not be extended beyond 65 years of age, regard­less of real fit­ness].

Scene I: The Joint-Ven­ture Busi­ness Model

The for­eign partner’s busi­ness model was designed to move grad­u­at­ing stu­dents to Aus­tralia for fur­ther study. Such stu­dents would there­fore have to meet cer­tain aca­d­e­mic and Eng­lish lan­guage stan­dards. The Chi­nese college’s busi­ness model had a pub­lic ver­sion and an implicit ver­sion, the actual one, which only grad­u­ally became clear to the for­eign part­ner over time. 

Admis­sion to the nor­mal col­lege pro­gram was cheap in Chi­nese terms, but was cemented to a cer­tain admis­sion level by the national Gaokao (高考) exam­i­na­tions. The admis­sion mark was not espe­cially high, since this was not a pres­ti­gious insti­tu­tion, but it existed. There were how­ever still large num­bers of fail­ing stu­dents whose fam­i­lies had suf­fered the humil­i­a­tion of not being allowed to send their chil­dren to col­lege. That fail­ure of course meant a seri­ous net loss of future oppor­tu­nity and income to those fam­i­lies.

How­ever, there was an even worse prob­lem. In a cul­ture where ‘face’ (面子mianzi) has immense force, buy­ing one’s way out of humil­i­a­tion has been an estab­lished prin­ci­ple for gen­er­a­tions, and of course cre­ates count­less busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties. The college’s plan (so obvi­ous in the Chi­nese uni­verse, so opaque to the for­eigner) was to legit­imize the admis­sion of fail­ing stu­dents by bring­ing them into an “inter­na­tional” pro­gram at three times the stan­dard national fee level. 

Whether these “inter­na­tional” pro­gram stu­dents ever grad­u­ated at a level suf­fi­cient for inter­na­tional study was irrel­e­vant to the Chi­nese college’s income stream, and (it turned out) beyond the expec­ta­tions and finances of nearly all the stu­dents. This is not a new model. The South Korean ter­tiary edu­ca­tion sys­tem plays out the same par­a­digm on a large and very prof­itable scale. 

Act I: Enter the Dean

The dean was not a bad fel­low. He had trained, appar­ently, as an elec­tri­cal engi­neer, which had scarcely pre­pared him for guid­ing the inter­na­tional joint-ven­ture Aus­tralian-Chi­nese nurs­ing and busi­ness stud­ies divi­sion of a run down col­lege in a third tier city. 

He seemed to be doing his best, arranged the reg­u­la­tion num­ber of out­ings, and promised through an inter­preter to “fix it” when­ever one of the for­eign­ers had some­thing which needed fix­ing. Unfor­tu­nately, “it” was never fixed. Also unfor­tu­nately he had no for­eign lan­guage or inter-cul­tural skills, so noth­ing could be nego­ti­ated directly. 

None of this was the dean’s fault. In this sprawl­ing insti­tu­tion, tucked into four cam­puses across the city, a pres­ti­gious posi­tion had become vacant, he had the right con­nec­tions, had no doubt strate­gi­cally arranged the right gifts and favours, so now he had this big office, respect amongst his peers and a tele­phone. That was how careers were arranged here. The prob­lem was “it”. How did you actu­ally man­age a for­eign joint ven­ture enter­prise with Aus­tralians who didn’t speak your lan­guage, had no respect for ‘face’ (面子mianzi), and basi­cally wanted to change every­thing?

These notes are in many ways the dean’s story, if we can take the dean as an arche­type, ever-present but usu­ally behind the cur­tain. The notes are also the record of a par­tic­u­lar meet­ing, adver­tised as a sem­i­nar, where the Aus­tralian par­tic­i­pant had plans to review the joint-ven­ture as an edu­ca­tional under­tak­ing, after three years of work­ing with it, and just prior to leav­ing. In the event, the meet­ing turned out not to be a review oppor­tu­nity, but a col­li­sion of inten­tions and cul­tures. There was no fight, no dis­agree­ment, indeed no dis­cus­sion. In fact, it was not a sem­i­nar. It seems worth putting this vignette on the record (though per­sons and places must nat­u­rally remain anony­mous) since it is a micro­cosm of what is hap­pen­ing again and again across China. Not only China of course, but at any con­flu­ence where con­trast­ing cur­rents of cul­ture, edu­ca­tion, tra­di­tion and expec­ta­tion try to mix.

The meet­ing brought together the whole divi­sion: the dean, var­i­ous admin­is­tra­tive staff, Chi­nese teach­ers and for­eign teach­ers. It was an unusual meet­ing since for­eign­ers were present and would there­fore have to be bilin­gual. The pro­ceed­ings were opened by the dean in Chi­nese. He imme­di­ately turned to the senior for­eign edu­ca­tor, myself, and requested that I give a kind of ple­nary address on ‘What is a teacher’s role?’ My invi­ta­tion had not men­tioned any such address, but the topic after all was rea­son­able. We were about to have a sem­i­nar, weren’t we?

Think­ing back to prior expe­ri­ence of sem­i­nars with East Asian par­tic­i­pants, I paused. I explained the dan­ger of me as an author­ity fig­ure giv­ing opin­ions first. Namely, the Chi­nese cus­tom is to agree politely and per­haps avoid dis­agree­ment or dis­cus­sion alto­gether. That is not a great way to thrash out issues or arrive at new insights. There­fore, I requested to play devil’s advo­cate, with oth­ers giv­ing views first, then me chal­leng­ing. Cre­ative destruc­tion is some­times the best way to learn! 

Unfor­tu­nately my request was not trans­lated to the dean who of course hadn’t under­stood the Eng­lish, and on reflec­tion would not have under­stood the strat­a­gem. I fool­ishly expected a dis­cus­sion but the dean wanted a pan­tomime as Chi­nese bureau­cratic cul­ture required. He looked mildly annoyed. Why wasn’t the for­eigner fol­low­ing the stan­dard script? My ‘ple­nary address’ was there­fore absolutely required. 

Still think­ing of a sem­i­nar (since I’m a slow wit­ted man), I asked that at least my com­ments should be dealt with crit­i­cally and ana­lyt­i­cally by those present when I had fin­ished speak­ing. This request was appar­ently not trans­lated either, or taken as a con­ven­tional ges­ture of Con­fu­cian-style mod­esty. Obliv­i­ous to the con­tent of what I had to say, my pre­sen­ta­tion was fol­lowed imme­di­ately by some boil­er­plate hom­i­lies from the dean in Chi­nese. He then waved his hand to indi­cate that the meet­ing was over. The hon­ours had been done and could duly be writ­ten up as a pro-forma report to his supe­ri­ors, who would duly file it.


Act II: Requiem to what the For­eign Lan­guage Expert actu­ally said… 


What the For­eign Lan­guage Expert actu­ally said was not nec­es­sar­ily witty or wise or even cor­rect. What he hoped for was to start a dis­cus­sion. That dis­cus­sion was lost to its birth­place, the edu­ca­tion inter­na­tional joint-ven­ture in cen­tral China. Too bad. 

How­ever some­body, some­where may find ele­ments of these points worth think­ing about :


1.  Pro­duc­tiv­ity: The teacher’s role is to max­i­mize stu­dents’ learn­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity. What does this mean? The points to fol­low offer some expan­sion on this notion. 


2.  Objec­tives: The objec­tives of an inter­na­tional pro­gram should demon­strate both gen­eral and speci­fic goals. 

Broadly, the fol­low­ing are rea­son­able cri­te­ria for pro­gram suc­cess:

a) Atti­tude: stu­dents should leave the pro­gram with pos­i­tive atti­tudes to learn­ing Eng­lish in their future lives. 

b) Social norms: stu­dents should come to be at ease in deal­ing with non-Chi­nese peo­ple as a nor­mal human inter­ac­tion, and not as some styl­ized rit­ual that leaves them untouched at a per­son to per­son level.

c) Effec­tive learn­ing: Learn­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity is of cen­tral inter­est to good stu­dents and teach­ers. Stu­dents should meet learn­ing goals to their opti­mum poten­tial. This is always speci­fic to indi­vid­u­als, and in lan­guage learn­ing might not mean achiev­ing flu­ency dur­ing a par­tic­u­lar pro­gram.

d) Adver­tised tar­gets: Man­age­ments, politi­cians and the pub­lic gen­er­ally eval­u­ate pro­grams accord­ing to numer­i­cal tar­gets, per­cent­ages, grades etc. In terms of lan­guage achieve­ment in lan­guage learn­ing pro­grams, the inter­pre­ta­tion of these quan­ti­ta­tive mea­sures is mostly delu­sional (for rea­sons too com­plex to explore in this paper). Nev­er­the­less such “evi­dence” is always insisted upon. From the stu­dent per­spec­tive, adver­tised tar­gets may or may not be taken seri­ously.

For exam­ple, I have sug­gested that in the Aus­tralian-Chi­nese edu­ca­tion joint ven­ture which gave rise to this review, the Aus­tralian col­lege part­ner had a clear (though mis­guided) expec­ta­tion of bring­ing many stu­dents to Aus­tralia. In lan­guage terms this meant stu­dent suc­cess in obtain­ing at least Level 6 on an IELTS scale in order to be granted an Aus­tralian study visa. It became quite clear even­tu­ally that nei­ther the Chi­nese col­lege admin­is­tra­tion, nor most of the stu­dents, had a seri­ous expec­ta­tion of achiev­ing this adver­tised goal. In the event, many of the stu­dents were impres­sively dili­gent, and the col­lege did its best to min­i­mize dis­trac­tions and encour­age study. How­ever, for both stu­dents and the Chi­nese col­lege, effort had to be tem­pered by some real­ism about the true local sit­u­a­tion.


3. Class­room engage­ment: Teach­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity involves the processes and tech­niques of max­i­miz­ing stu­dent learn­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity. Pro­fes­sional teach­ers soon learn that good teach­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity comes with cer­tain prior con­di­tions. An indis­pens­able con­di­tion is that stu­dents must be kept emo­tion­ally involved in activ­i­ties. In fact, this should be a teacher’s first man­age­ment goal at the level of daily class­room activ­ity.

Every class­room requires a degree of sta­bil­ity which comes from famil­iar rou­ti­nes and expec­ta­tions. How­ever this had to be bal­anced against the psy­cho­log­i­cal real­ity that rou­tine work is not mem­o­rable, and in fact ampu­tates new learn­ing.

Thus there is a need, within rea­son, to intro­duce vari­a­tion, sur­prise, even shock into the class­room activ­i­ties in a way that is mem­o­rable and ampli­fies mem­ory.

At the joint ven­ture meet­ing, I gave the exam­ple of a trav­el­ling actors’ troupe in Aus­tralia which amazed an ESL class by burst­ing into the room and appar­ently rob­bing a young woman. This riv­eted stu­dent atten­tion and led to some highly suc­cess­ful (and care­fully planned) lan­guage teach­ing.


4. Text books: Text book + instruc­tor = course, in com­mon under­stand­ing. This is ridicu­lous. Text book con­tent is often banal and there­fore for­get­table. Lan­guage text books also tend to con­tain many cul­tural errors (if we think of what peo­ple actu­ally do and say). 

The rem­edy is to use text books as dis­pos­able tools, not to be shy about chang­ing or chal­leng­ing their con­tent, and some­times even to be mis­chie­vous in play­ing with them. 

Once stu­dents become accus­tomed to this less respect­ful approach to the printed word, the text book expe­ri­ence can become less pre­dictable, more active, and far more mem­o­rable.

Text books are not nec­es­sar­ily right, or wrong. The pur­pose of chal­lenge is not merely to dis­agree (which may be shal­low and destruc­tive). The pur­pose is to develop rea­soned and researched coun­ter argu­ments. This skill in itself is one of the most valu­able that stu­dents and teach­ers can ever learn.

In lan­guage work, it is also often very pro­duc­tive if the teacher changes the mode of text book pre­sen­ta­tion (regard­less of what the text book writer intended). For exam­ple, a bor­ing writ­ten fill-in exer­cise can become far more inter­est­ing if done as a spo­ken chal­lenge con­test.


5. Teacher devel­op­ment: A tra­di­tional “text book teacher” is only the shadow of a teacher. Such per­son should bet­ter be called a ‘trainer’ or an ‘instruc­tor’. Per­haps it is not sur­pris­ing that edu­ca­tional man­agers tend to think of teach­ers in these terms. 

Dogs are trained. In fact, as teach­ers of humans we hope to achieve some­thing more. Max­i­miz­ing the learn­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity of stu­dents requires deal­ing with the indi­vid­ual psy­chol­ogy of stu­dents.

Learn­ing is not a process of fill­ing a water jug (an empty head). It is a process of chal­leng­ing and chang­ing what is already in that head, so that it can be re-mod­eled into some­thing more effec­tive. An instruc­tor, by def­i­n­i­tion, can­not do this. Such change can only occur when the teacher is able to draw out and engage what stu­dents pri­vately believe. 

At first glance it seems that the teacher and a police inter­roga­tor or pro­pa­gan­dist or sales­man might share sim­i­lar roles. This is quite wrong how­ever. Nei­ther the police inter­roga­tor nor the pro­pa­gan­dist nor the sales­man can safely assume that the per­son they are tar­get­ing is well-inten­tioned, trust­wor­thy or clear think­ing. They must expect the least coop­er­a­tion from their tar­get sub­jects, have lit­tle inter­est in the real wel­fare of their tar­get sub­jects, and cer­tainly do not intend to change them­selves.

How­ever, the rela­tion­ship between teacher and stu­dent can only be opti­mum when there is mutual trust and mutual respect. Both the teacher and the stu­dent must expose them­selves to debate and risk. Some­times the teacher is wrong and is changed by the stu­dent!

Stu­dents will NOT expose them­selves to risk their ideas or iden­tity in an “instructor’s class­room”. In fact they are expert at hid­ing their per­sonal beliefs about a topic, pro­tect­ing these beliefs, pre­tend­ing to agree, and actu­ally learn­ing noth­ing. Until a stu­dent trusts that the teacher is deal­ing with them as a gen­uine debat­ing part­ner, very lit­tle true learn­ing may occur. 

True learn­ing is knowl­edge, under­stand­ing and belief that actu­ally changes a student’s behav­iour over time — long after school­ing has for­mally fin­ished. These com­ments apply not only to stu­dents in class­rooms, but to teach­ers in sem­i­nars!


6. Skill devel­op­ment for non-native speak­ing lan­guage teach­ers: Only a minor­ity of native Eng­lish teach­ers work­ing in a coun­try like China are pro­fes­sional teach­ers, so there are of course many ped­a­gog­i­cal short­com­ings amongst them. They are also, by gov­ern­ment fiat, only tran­si­tional fig­ures attract­ing at best cur­sory respect and train­ing from employ­ing insti­tu­tions. As in most coun­tries out­side of Europe, China offers no pos­si­bil­ity for gen­uinely pro­fes­sional native speak­ing for­eign lan­guage teach­ers to set­tle down and build a career (a seri­ous and fool­ish loss for the coun­try). There­fore the fol­low­ing com­ments are not mainly addressed to native Eng­lish speak­ers. Regard­ing the Chi­nese Eng­lish teach­ers in the inter­na­tional joint ven­ture col­lege, I sug­gested that they should become more than ‘text book Eng­lish teach­ers’ by extend­ing and diver­si­fy­ing their skills, accord­ing to their apti­tudes. In par­tic­u­lar :

a) Some teach­ers should develop pro­fes­sional skills in drama, move­ment and speech. Drama, well-used, is an immensely pow­er­ful teach­ing tool.

b) Some teach­ers with the apti­tude should develop spe­cial­ized knowl­edge of mul­ti­me­dia and Inter­net resources. There are now huge and ever-expand­ing resources for tech­nol­ogy assisted lan­guage learn­ing. This gift to learn­ing is hardly used in many tra­di­tional insti­tu­tions because the teacher skill and knowl­edge is not avail­able to make use of it. It was barely under­stood at the joint ven­ture col­lege.

Such tech­ni­cally assisted avenues for learn­ing can only become work­able when an insti­tu­tion becomes seri­ous about main­tain­ing tech­ni­cal resources. At the time of this review, the four cam­puses of the col­lege in cen­tral China employed just two tech­ni­cians whose ONLY job was to keep the Inter­net func­tion­ing (and they didn’t do that espe­cially well). No tech­ni­cian had the job of main­tain­ing soft­ware on the college’s com­put­ers, and even hard­ware main­te­nance was unre­li­able.

c) Some Chi­nese Eng­lish teach­ers need to be pre­pared to learn new sub­ject skills by work­ing co-oper­a­tively across sub­ject areas, such as with nurs­ing teach­ers and busi­ness teach­ers. That is, they need to develop Eng­lish for Spe­cial Pur­poses pro­grams.

I gave an exam­ple of ESP devel­op­ment from my pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence in Papua New Guinea. PNG has 800 lan­guages and 1000 often war­ring tribes. In that coun­try at a tech­ni­cal uni­ver­sity, some very pro­fes­sional ESP teach­ers worked like diplo­mats to obtain the con­fi­dence of British and Aus­tralian engi­neer­ing lec­tur­ers. They devel­oped close per­sonal and work­ing rela­tion­ships. They per­suaded the engi­neers to let stu­dent engi­neer­ing assign­ments be given to the ESP teach­ers before the engi­neers saw them. The engi­neer­ing stu­dents, who had lit­tle inter­est in Eng­lish as a “sub­ject”, then became enthu­si­as­tic about the ESP-engi­neer­ing coop­er­a­tion. The ESP teach­ers were able to teach engi­neer­ing stu­dents how to orga­nize and present their ideas well. The engi­neer­ing lec­tur­ers were amazed, and sud­denly decided that these stu­dents, who were work­ing in Eng­lish as a third lan­guage, were not so “stu­pid” as they had pre­vi­ously thought. That is, the ESP inter­ven­tion became a win-win for every­body.

I sug­gested that in the inter­na­tional joint ven­ture col­lege, Chi­nese Eng­lish teach­ers, together with nurs­ing and busi­ness teach­ers, should sim­i­larly develop close work­ing rela­tion­ships and shared skills. Together they could develop skill pro­grams truly suit­able for the local stu­dents. Since the for­eign Eng­lish teach­ers in the insti­tu­tion had lit­tle con­tact with Chi­nese Eng­lish teach­ers, this could also be a chance to develop some mutual trust by work­ing together. The for­eign Eng­lish teach­ers could help to ensure that new teach­ing con­tent devel­oped by the Chi­nese teach­ers was in fact stan­dard col­lo­quial Eng­lish.


7. Exist­ing skills of non-native speak­ing lan­guage teach­ers:

Since I have been a teacher-edu­ca­tor in other places, a few com­ments on teach­ing skills seem be worth­while. The remarks are intended for debate only and of course also reflect my lim­i­ta­tions as a for­eign vis­i­tor in the Chi­nese con­text.

As I see it, the main lan­guage teach­ing prob­lems that Chi­nese teach­ers face are not wholly about being non-native speak­ers of Eng­lish. There are three prin­ci­pal, closely related prob­lems, two tech­ni­cal an one cul­tural.

a) Cul­tural con­straints: The cul­tural prob­lem relates to 面子 mianzi (keep­ing & los­ing face in Eng­lish), taken together with per­cep­tions of the tra­di­tional hier­ar­chi­cal teacher’s role in China. Using a non-native lan­guage ALWAYS involves risk-tak­ing. When a speaker is no longer pre­pared to take the risk of mak­ing mis­takes, his or her own lan­guage learn­ing will be greatly restricted. The main, per­haps the only, place that Chi­nese lan­guage teach­ers tend to use Eng­lish is in the class­room. If they are not pre­pared to take the risk of mak­ing mis­takes (espe­cially in spo­ken Eng­lish) in the class­room then frankly, they will be increas­ingly poor Eng­lish users. 

There­fore, Chi­nese Eng­lish teach­ers must develop a class­room envi­ron­ment where both the teacher and stu­dents are com­fort­able with risk tak­ing, that is, with mak­ing mis­takes in the lan­guage. This implies a much more rec­i­p­ro­cal rela­tion­ship between the teacher and stu­dents than is found in tra­di­tional Chi­nese class­rooms. As a teacher, I take risks all the time by ask­ing stu­dents to help with my ter­ri­ble Chi­nese. That does NOT cause stu­dents to cease respect­ing me. On the con­trary, they respect me as a fel­low-learner who hap­pens to have spe­cial knowl­edge of Eng­lish but baby knowl­edge of Chi­nese.

b) Col­lo­quial lan­guage: Chi­nese Eng­lish teach­ers usu­ally have pro­fes­sional teach­ing skills but on the whole do not have a col­lo­quial mas­tery of Eng­lish. That is not their fault. Few of them have lived in Eng­lish speak­ing coun­tries. Actu­ally, some of their stu­dents now have a closer engage­ment with forms of col­lo­quial Eng­lish than their teach­ers do. That is, the stu­dents are increas­ingly chil­dren of the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion who fre­quently fol­low their inter­ests inter­na­tion­ally through the Inter­net. Those inter­ests may be in online games, music, forums or a mul­ti­tude of other chan­nels. For teach­ers to har­ness these for­eign cul­ture and lan­guage inter­ests, they them­selves must both mix into the same media and over­come the bar­ri­ers to reci­procity out­lined in a), Cul­tural Con­straints.

 c) Sec­ond lan­guage mem­ory: Another seri­ous prob­lem which Chi­nese Eng­lish teach­ers have, a tech­ni­cal prob­lem, is with “lan­guage mem­ory”. By “lan­guage mem­ory” I mean the abil­ity to fol­low an extended dis­cus­sion in Eng­lish, espe­cially when the argu­ment is not obvi­ous from the sit­u­a­tion.

My obser­va­tions have con­vinced me that most Chi­nese Eng­lish teach­ers can fol­low only short, obvi­ous com­ments on famil­iar top­ics. Any extended or unfa­mil­iar dis­cus­sion quickly becomes exhaust­ing and under­stand­ing soon fails. 

There are ways to extend lan­guage mem­ory which I can assist with as a one-to-one coach in per­son. For­eigner or Chi­nese, we rarely have that lux­ury how­ever. The best self-help sug­ges­tion I can make is to throw away the crutch of text books like New Con­cept when­ever pos­si­ble and USE the lan­guage for some­thing more than ten-sec­ond sound bites. Learn to fly in Eng­lish by jump­ing out of the nest. 

Out­side of the class­room, the most advanced sec­ond lan­guage users learn to be com­fort­able in for­eign lan­guage men­tal worlds. Typ­i­cally they achieve this by read­ing exten­sively on inter­est­ing top­ics, fic­tion or non-fic­tion. That means becom­ing immersed in real books, not sam­ple para­graphs from text book extracts. Not every­one is an enthu­si­as­tic reader, even in their mother tongue. Some do demon­strate impres­sive results by becom­ing, for exam­ple, con­nois­seurs of for­eign films. How­ever noth­ing has ever sur­passed exten­sive read­ing for achiev­ing deep insight, an embrac­ing vocab­u­lary, and an instinc­tual feel for the native pat­terns of a new lan­guage.


This review began with com­ments about a fail­ure of under­stand­ing between edu­ca­tional and cul­tural tra­di­tions, Chi­nese and Aus­tralian. Much poten­tial con­tin­ues to be lost because of that fail­ure, yet much was gained also. The fail­ures were mostly insti­tu­tional. The suc­cesses were per­sonal. What­ever their final life jour­neys, most of the stu­dents from the Aus­tralian-Chi­nese edu­ca­tion joint ven­ture did leave the pro­gram with pos­i­tive feel­ings about the Eng­lish lan­guage, a relaxed atti­tude to mix­ing with non-Chi­nese peo­ple, and hope­fully a greater under­stand­ing of them­selves. These gains will be passed onto their chil­dren. In the end, coun­tries are about peo­ple, not insti­tu­tions.


Pro­fes­sional bio: Thor May’s PhD dis­ser­ta­tion, Lan­guage Tan­gle, dealt with lan­guage teach­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity. Thor has been teach­ing Eng­lish to non-native speak­ers, train­ing teach­ers and lec­tur­ing lin­guis­tics, since 1976. This work has taken him to seven coun­tries in Ocea­nia and East Asia, mostly with ter­tiary stu­dents, but with a cou­ple of detours to teach sec­ondary stu­dents and young chil­dren. He has trained teach­ers in Aus­tralia, Fiji and South Korea. In an ear­lier life, prior to becom­ing a teacher, he had a decade of drift­ing through unskilled jobs in Aus­tralia, New Zealand and finally Eng­land (after back­pack­ing across Asia in 1972). 


con­tact: http://thormay.net    thor­may AT yahoo.com

All opin­ions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the author, who has no aim to influ­ence, pros­e­ly­tize or per­suade oth­ers to a point of view. He is pleased if his writ­ing gen­er­ates reflec­tion in read­ers, either for or against the sen­ti­ment of the argu­ment.

Hid­den Bound­aries – A Joint-Ven­ture Edu­ca­tion Pro­gram in China ” © copy­righted to Thor May; all rights reserved 2012

This entry was posted in Australia, China, culture, education, Language learning, Language teaching, method. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply