This semester one of our option modules was TESOL I decided to take it for future career possibilities. Though out the course have had my eyes open to the different cultures and traditions of teaching in countries outside of Ireland. I thought it was very interesting to see the ways people are expected to teach across the world.
One of the countries that stood out for me was China. The population of China alone in comparison to Ireland is substantial. China being home to around 1,356 billion people in contrast with Ireland’s 4,595 million.
This population gap would obviously effect classroom sizes. In china a teacher would be expected to teach between 30 and 50 students in a class. In Ireland classroom occupancy would be between 20 to possibly 30 students. Due to this large pupil to teacher ratio in china, pupils do not get the chance to spend one to one time with the teacher.
Due to Chinese culture, students are less likely to answer or even ask questions in class due to fear of being humiliated or looking silly in front of their classmates. This makes it difficult for teachers to know whether a student needs a little extra help, and with a large number of students in each class it is a lot easier for them to get left behind.
There is also an added pressure to teachers of English in china because the teacher is expected to know everything. The students do not usual participate and the whole class would typically consist of the teacher speaking.
In Ireland I feel that we are comfortable to speak in front of the class and are in fact encouraged to do so. It’s unfortunate that the traditional ways of Chinese culture interrupts this aspect of learning and building a relationship between a teacher and their students.