A Case Study on Teaching Business Courses in English or Bilingualism with Guangwai as an Example

By Zhu, Wenzhong; Deng, Xuping et al. | English Language Teaching, September 2014 | Go to article overview

A Case Study on Teaching Business Courses in English or Bilingualism with Guangwai as an Example


Zhu, Wenzhong, Deng, Xuping, Li, Jingyi, English Language Teaching


Abstract

Teaching courses in a foreign language was formally promoted by Ministry of Education in China in 2001. Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (Guangwai) as a top 3 Chinese foreign language university has taken the lead in teaching business courses in English instruction or bilingual languages. The paper summarizes and analyzes Guangwai's experiences in implementing this teaching mode, such as the types of courses taught in this mode, the conditions required for teachers, the selection of teaching materials, etc., so as to provide some useful references for the university and other universities.

Keywords: business courses, teaching in English or bilingualism, Guangwai's experiences, references

1. Introduction

In English immersion classrooms, a teacher who is a non-native English speaker and whose first language is Chinese conducts lessons entirely in English for approximately half the school day. This mode of teaching in China is often named as teaching courses in English, another foreign language or bilingualism.

Teaching courses in English, another foreign language or bilingualism (foreign language and Chinese language) was formally promoted by China Ministry of Education (2001) in the Official Document (2001) No.4 concerning the Education Guidelines of Enhancing College Undergraduate Teaching Work, actively promoting Chinese higher education institutions to realize the three-year target of the teaching of 5-10% courses in English or other foreign languages, with the purpose of cultivating talents of international competitiveness in face of challenges of higher education modernization and economic globalization as well as technological revolution.

Ever since then, more and more universities in the whole country have experimented the teaching of their specialized courses in English, another foreign language or bilingual languages. This type of teaching innovation or reform has been more successful in those universities in large cities, where more teachers are normally recruited with a foreign education background or awarded with a foreign language degree, especially these universities categorized as foreign language or international trade institutions.

The advantages of teaching courses in English or bilingualism can be seen as the following: such as the higher productivity of learners' education investment, the better improvement of learners' English language proficiency and linguistic abilities, learners' mastering of related disciplinary knowledge, learners' enhanced understanding of other countries' cultures or improvement of cross-cultural communication abilities, learners' increased competitiveness for job opportunities because of their multi-skills in both language and a specific discipline.

At the same time, this mode of teaching has also brought some challenges, doubts and problems in recent years. For example, some educators argue that it is necessary and feasible to conduct the teaching of courses in a foreign language or bilingual languages because students can reduce their costs of education by integrating the learning of a specialized knowledge with the study of a foreign language, and can directly learn the updated international knowledge or skills from the world by being instructed in English or another foreign language; some others argue that it is not feasible at all because students usually have difficulties in learning their degree courses in the local language or Chinese, and it is even impossible for them to learn the courses well in a foreign language.

Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (Guangwai or GDUFS) is a top 3 Chinese university of foreign languages. Guangwai is well recognized for its distinctive features of internationalization in South China, and its education of internationally-oriented personnel and its researches on foreign languages & culture, international trade and international strategic studies. It was created by a merger in 1995 of Guangzhou Institute of Foreign Languages and Guangzhou Institute of Foreign Trade. …

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