MESSAGE FROM TAIWAN--TO AMERICA--WHEN THE 10 THINGS YOU LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN ARE NOT ENOUGH
By Kevin Stoda, an English Educator in East Asia
Over the past few weeks, I have been amazed by the particular textbook, which one first grade teacher in Tang Qi Elementary School has been busily browsing through. That bilingual book is entitled, A SELECTION OF USEFUL ENGLISH SENTENCE[S]. I cannot tell who the publisher is but on the front of the 200 page book is a neoclassical painting of Socrates and other philosophers in Athens.
This bilingual textbook starts out with a vocabulary and grammar review in English. It has very short chapters--and translations in the back of the book in Chinese. After the first 24 tiny chapters on vocabulary and syntax, Part II of the book focuses on English idioms. Part III then focuses on classical and modern Western quotations--from Plato to Jefferson to Emerson to Rockefeller.
I'm not really certain if this entire book is originally aimed at elementary school or secondary school (or at both educational levels). However, I do know that the first grade teacher and several of her colleagues in Tan Qi here on Beigan Island have been busy writing down phrases in both Chinese and English over the past several weeks.
Two days ago, larger print formats of several of the bilingual quotes have been produced in many colors and have been being placed around the elementary school--most notably on each step of the many stairwells of Tang Qi Elementary School. Apparently, this project of posting famous western proverbs and quotations around the school is part-and-parcel of the "internationalization" of the public education process here in this rural corner of Taiwan.
The Ministry of Education in Taiwan--like ministries in Japan and Korea before it--has determined that the East Asian form of multicultural education (known here as "internationalization") is to be most strongly emphasized through foreign language education, i.e. most particularly through "English" and foreign language education. In order for my blog article readers to fully comprehend what is being imparted to students on this island--located 7 kilometers from Mainland China, I will share a variety of quotations and proverbs from the book.
The topics I have selected to cite from the book (and which are also soon-to-be pasted on my school's walls and stairwells) include: (1) Freedom, (2) Love, (3) Struggle and Success, (4) Ideals and Life, (5) Virtue, (6) Health, (7) Friendship, (8) Education, (9) Law and Justice, and (10) Society and Culture.