Business English Exams:The Chinese Educational System inherently leads students to believe that teaching is the process whereby students learn what the teacher says. Learning therefore, is the memorization of what the teacher teaches. Conversational English is about learning the skills of natural [business] conversation. The purpose of the test is merely to discover if the student has at least basic conversational ability. While social issues may not seem to have anything to do with business or politics, the fact is that when it comes to politics and business, one thing that is needed in every country is a stable social environment. Such environments are fostered by the benefits that result from the successful interplay between political decisions and business development.
Individual and Group Discussion Examinations
by R.P. BenDedek/ Luo Laoshi
(Article No. 16 in the "How to Improve Oral English" Series)
Article No. 16 in the "How to Improve Oral English" Series- Examinations.
Whenever I start teaching a new class of students, I always warn them of two things. Firstly that I am a serious teacher, and Secondly, that they will come to hate me very quickly. Generally speaking this holds true for every class during their first semester.
My students (most of whom are Business Majors), often complain that my teaching is too simple; too boring; or has nothing to do with their major. And that is quite obviously true! Until it comes time for the final exams. That's when I tie up the loose ends!. Today, that is what I will do in this article. You will also find these two articles worth reading in relation to this exam. No. 18 Word Association - and - No. 19. Writing Memos, Letters, Speeches, Thesis for Chinese Students
What is the purpose of Oral English Class & It's Exams
(The Foreign Teacher is Not Chinese!)
One of the biggest problems I have with Students is their Cultural Mindset in relation to learning, as well as in relation to sitting for exams. The Chinese Educational System inherently leads students to believe that teaching is the process whereby students learn what the teacher says. Learning therefore, is the memorization of what the teacher teaches.
When it comes to holding a conversation however, one cannot memorize it in advance, although from a Chinese perspective, that is what role plays are all about. Conversational English is not about memorizing discussions, but learning the skills of natural conversation. Of course it goes without saying, that if you don't know the right English words to employ, there can be no conversation. Likewise, if one has neither information about nor opinion on a subject, then a conversation also cannot take place.
Students tend to think that individual discussion topics, and group discussions, require memorizing a set of prescribed facts or information. When it comes to exams, they tend to try and get good marks from the teacher by saying whatever it is that they think he/she wants to hear. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The purpose of the examination, is to determine if a student has ability to discuss the various topics studied in class. If a student wants to argue that Taiwan should become independent, then so be it. If they want to argue that Taiwan return, then so be it. If they think men are better, stronger and more intelligent than women, then that is OK. If they want to disagree with that posit, then that is OK too.
The purpose of the test is merely to discover if the student has at least basic conversational ability. Therefore, the first thing that I do with all my classes, is to start them out on a journey of processing information and forming opinions, to see if they can handle a normal conversation relating to daily life in Chinese society.
Once they reach that stage, then they can progress to discussions on topics related to their specific major. These two stages are important, because if one cannot discuss in a general way, then they will not be able to discuss in a specific way, complicated and sometimes technical matters.
In the end however, the purpose in class and in examinations, is not to memorize specific information, topics or conversations, but to learn how to express oneself during conversation.
Tying up the loose ends for the Exam.
When I first introduced the issue of Group Discussions in Article No. 11, I introduced 35 questions on the issue of Abandoned Babies in China, and asked how many topics were included in the total number of Questions Provided. Those questions are provided again, only this time, some keywords are underlined.
32. Will men in China become slaves to women in order to marry?
33. If millions of men can never marry, will this turn them into homosexuals?
34. What are the benefits of the One Child Policy?
35. How has it affected education, health, wealth, job opportunities and population size of China?
All of the keyword issues listed above, are important social issues that exist in China. Flowing on from those discussions, other social topics were introduced to the class, all of which came from articles found in China Daily Online English Newspaper. Topics included things like:
Suicide (eg 5 Students in Beijing - Lovers in Beijing)
Crime (The Government says that about 80% of Crime is committed by men who have never had a girlfriend or a wife)
Corruption in Government (Constantly in the Press)
Controlling the internet (sex educator says Most male criminals addicted to internet pornography)
Changing attitudes toward sex (Various articles at China Daily on the Topic)
While social issues may not seem to have anything to do with business or politics, the fact is that when it comes to politics and business, one thing that is needed in every country is a stable social environment. Such environments are fostered by the benefits that result from the successful interplay between political decisions and business development. A stable country politically speaking, facilitates a free flow of business; and the benefits of a prosperous business environment brings dividends to the workers who keep those businesses running. In turn, the increased personal disposable income of the workers, generates more sales; and so the cycle continues.
One of the things which I try to demonstrate to my classes, is that all of the issues listed in the 35 questions and the subsequent topics, relate to the interplay between politics and the economy. (I will come back to this later in the article).
Once students demonstrate an ability to discuss normal topics, I begin to introduce business related matters, by introducing the issue of oil. Derived from the Foreign Trade Assignment discussions in 2006, I provide students with a monologue on oil, for use in comprehension and dictation tests. I do this because not only is much of the Terminology new to students, but because it introduces two important concepts. The first concept is that there is a cyclical effect in business, and the second, is that it shows how so many different issues are related by the use of keywords. It also acts as a caution to the notion that all progress and development is good. Progress and development also bring with them, unintended consequences, so that not only are their many social blessings, but many social curses as well.
Foreign Trade Assignment Monologue.
China today has a rapidly growing economy that is heavily dependent upon imported oil and Petroleum products. Since 2001, the price of crude oil has increased dramatically. Whilst we may be cognizant of the current supply of and demand for oil, future demand and supply can only be predicted by analysing past and current market trends.
While future oil prices can be estimated, many factors can effect both it's supply and it's price. Such factors might include social, economic and Political Turbulence in those countries currently supplying oil to China.
Whilst China's 'One Child Policy' is predicted to significantly reduce the overall population size, there is significant indication that China's Demand for oil derivatives will continue to increase. Several factors may contribute to this situation.
Population redistribution through migration from rural areas to big cities will undoubtedly lead to greater demand for oil dependent services and power supply in Urban areas. Simultaneously, a decrease in the size of the rural labour force, will result in increased mechanization of agricultural industries.
Concomitant with both of these situations, will be the increase in personal disposable income, leading to a greater demand for energy dependent modern appliances, the most expensive of which is likely to be a family vehicle. A fundamental principle of 'Supply and Demand', is that the more something is in demand, the higher will be it's price. Therefore, as the standard of living increases, and the demand for goods and services increases, so too will the cost of those goods and services. Agricultural production, which will become heavily dependent on mechanization, will naturally become more costly, thus adding to the overall cost of living in China.
Given the precarious nature of a situation in which one country is dependent upon another for basic commodities such as oil, the need to develop alternate supplies is a given. It must therefore be seen as a priority, that China not only secure a broad base of supply, but develop alternative energy technologies. Such a need is not just related to issues of foreign dependency, but is also closely connected to issues of pollution, the major cause of which today, comes from products derived from oil.
Pollution of the environment is not only responsible for ill health, but seriously effects agricultural capacity and quality. A shortage of supply or quality, ultimately leads to greater demand for imported products, which not only effects prices, but once again leads to dependency upon foreign countries.
Whilst this monologue is good for teaching new words and expressions, it contains within it several themes.
Rapidly Growing Economy
Dependence upon Petroleum Products (for national energy and transport requirements)
Inflationary costs of Oil (and the flow on effect on the economy)
Analysing Market Trends and Predicting Future Trends and Prices
Turbulence in Foreign Countries disrupts Market Supply (and exports)
One Child Policy leads to lower overall population size
National Energy requirements do not rise or fall based on population size
Wealth generation results in population redistribution - Urban population increases, Rural population decreases
Urban Areas require more services and power generation. Rural Areas require more mechanisation.
Increased personal disposable income results in greater spending and buying energy dependent goods and services.
As demand for energy increases, likely dependence on foreign oil leaves China vulnerable.
China needs to ensure broad bases of oil supply (and import and export markets)
It also needs to develop alternative energy technologies not just to cure dependence on foreign countries, but because oil derivatives ultimately pollute the environment.
Pollution results in ill health which is costly; and it can affect agricultural production, which leads to dependency on foreign imports, which is also costly.
One Child Policy : Putting it all together.
The immediate aim of the one child policy was to reduce the spiraling population growth of China.
The policy effectively provided each family with more money to raise and educate their one child.
The benefit of education of course is that it leads to better jobs and more money.
Theoretically speaking, more money means greater personal disposable income.
The One Child Policy, coupled with Education and Business Development therefore, leads to greater prosperity for all. But prosperity, which in and of itself provides so many blessings, can also trigger a whole host of social problems. If we use the model provided above, and use the 'One Child Policy' as the trigger to prosperity we arrive at the following scenarios.
The one child policy + tradition leads to discarding female babies
This is a gender issue (to be raised later)
It is an issue relating to Culture and Tradition
It is an issue relating to Education of the population (You can't have a population just of Boys)
An Accumulation of Rubbish (unsightly environment)
A detrimental effect on tourism
A detrimental effect on business in general
Whatever the topic
all benefits and problems can be traced back to:
One Child Policy
Personal Disposable Income
Topics are always connected by Keywords
I commenced this series listing a series of Technical Terms which I want to bring to your attention again. The three most important of which for the exam, are underlined.
Complete Sentences: Speaking whole sentences not just phrases. [Subject - Verb - Object]
Reflection: Replying with some of the same words that were spoken to you. Keywords! [My NAME is .......]
Statements: Are ordinary sentences containing information.
Conversation: Is the sharing of Information, thoughts, ideas, opinions etc
Effective Communication: is making sure that both speakers understand the meaning of the other, and requires speaking in whole sentences and reflecting back some of the words spoken to you. It may also require asking 'clarifying questions'.
Are not always replied to with Direct Answers
They may be replied to with Questions or Statements.
They should be answered with complete sentences, and with extra information, even if that information is not absolutely necessary and even if the question was a 'Closed Question'.
Closed Questions: Usually can be answered with 'Yes - No - Maybe - Sometimes - I don't know'.
Open Questions: Usually require the other person to give some information that forces them to 'talk'
Multiple Questions: Asking more than one question in the same sentence.
Informative Questions: Are questions that EXPLAIN 'why' you are asking the Question. If you wonder why a person is asking a certain question, then they have failed to make their question informative.
Informative Answers: Are answers that give people more information than they specifically asked for. It is ADDITIONAL information which you can guess that they might ask for.
Key Words are Vital!
Used in Open Questions and Informative Answers, key words can completely Change the Topic. Additionally Keywords link many seemingly different topics so that the topic can be broadened to include other facts not originally obvious in the topic.
Having now looked at all the issues discussed in class and having seen how they are all interconnected; important; and related to business, let's now look at the exam that I prepared for my Students.
Please Note and be aware of the fact that Chinese Teachers may have a different ways of viewing and marking Individual Topical Discussions.
Individual and Group Exams
NOTE: Both individual topic tests and group discussion tests COMMENCE with a topic, but BenDedek's students are permitted to use the 3 primary skills (Open Questions/informative answers/keywords) to follow a natural progression in the directional change of a conversation.
While students might memorized their topic test in advance, they cannot memorise a Group discussion. They must have in their heads, the information from which they will derive their opinions, plus have an ability to talk about the topic and follow conversational changes.
Individual topic Discussion receives no score for the presentation given. The score results from a discussion with the teacher about what the student said in their presentation.
Every topic in the lists has some connection to the other. Students merely have to see the connection and use keywords to change topics.
Please be aware that Chinese Teachers may have a different way of viewing and marking Individual Topical Discussions.
China and the United States were the main engines driving Fossil Fuel markets in 2004, accounting between them for nearly half the increase in world oil demand. China’s consumption soared by 11 percent in 2004, cementing its position as the world’s number two user at 6.6 million barrels per day. Daily demand in the United States rose to 20.5 million barrels a day—nearly 25 percent of the world total.
Ten countries are responsible for about two thirds of global carbon emissions from fuel use. The United States, with 5 percent of the world’s population, accounts for nearly a quarter of the total. Between 1990 and 2003, U.S. energy-related emissions rose 16 percent. China ranks second, with a 14-percent share. Emissions there are up more than 47 percent since 1990, and China accounted for half of the global increase in 2003, although it still ranks far behind the industrial world in emissions per person.
Crude oil is mostly a mixture of many chemical compounds of carbon and hydrogen (hydrocarbons). The different hydrocarbons are separated in an oil refinery. Hydrocarbons are a major source of energy. They are burned for domestic and industrial heating. They fuel most land vehicles, ship and airplanes. Hydrocarbons have many other uses, and are a raw material for many products including:
Synthetic cloth, such as nylon
Bitumen (asphalt or tar) for road surfaces and building
(Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs - Institute for Contemporary Affairs - October 2005)
The global oil market environment of very strong demand and very little spare capacity offers a huge opportunity to the radical jihadists. The terrorists believe that the best way to hurt the global Western economy is to go after oil.
Since the end of the major hostilities in Iraq, there have been close to 300 attacks on pipelines, refineries, and other facilities, and there have been attacks on oil installations in many other parts of the world, including Chechnya, Pakistan, India, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Nigeria.
The cumulative impact of those attacks amounts to about 1 million barrels a day that has been taken off the market as a result of sabotage. If this million barrels a day had reached the market, oil prices would have been at least $20 a barrel lower.
iA lot of fossil fuel goes into producing, packaging and shipping our breakfast by Chad Heeter, March 26, 2006
McCann's Web site illustrates each step of cleaning, steaming, hulling, cutting and rolling that turns the raw oats into edible flakes. Those five essential steps require significant energy. A lot of fossil-fuel energy goes into the production of food:
-- Bowl of oatmeal porridge: 4 ounces of crude oil.
-- Serving of red raspberries: 1 ounce of crude oil.
-- Butter, milk and salt: 1 ounce of crude oil.
-- That cup of java: 2 ounces of crude oil.
-- Energy required to produce 1 pound of coffee: a quart of crude oil, 30 cubic feet of natural gas, or about 2 1/2 pounds of coal.
-- Energy required to produce one week's worth of breakfast for one person: More than 2 quarts of crude oil.
What happens when middle-class families in India or China decide they want their Irish oats for breakfast and topped by organic raspberries from Chile? They'll dip more and more into the planet's communal oil well. And someday soon, we'll all suck it dry.
Participants at the meeting held that the economic and social situation in China is generally good and the economy is moving in the direction envisaged by the central government in regulating the economy.
148 million elementary and primary students in rural areas will be exempted from tuition fees starting from 2007 and a new compulsory educational financing system will be established. In 2006, 50 million elementary and primary students in western China's rural areas were exempted from all educational charges except textbook fees. The government will also press ahead with a national social security system in both urban and rural areas.
My Friend insisted on taking this Photo so that I would remember!
I hope that this file has been of assistance to you the Students of China.
Please be aware that
Chinese Teachers may have a different way of viewing and Marking Individual Topical Discussions.
Luo Laoshi has been a successful teacher of English as second language, because he learned how to break through students educational and cultural barriers, to connect with them on a personal basis; to motivate them to be successful in English by teaching them the Skills (mechanics) of language use. If the purpose of learning English is just to pass a grammar exam, then Chinese students would be better off studying Chinese grammar. Luo Laoshi believes that the key to student success in studying English, is to learn 'the language' first, and the grammar second. Since the Education System in China puts such an emphasis on passing grammar exams, many students never learn the language.
Improving Spoken English in Chinese Classroom Just answering questions with one or two words, or a phrase, is not a real conversation. It is more like a Police interrogation. In a real conversation, people share information, expressing their thoughts, opinions and ideas. If you want to have a real conversation then you must speak in whole sentences, using keywords [for effective communication,] and you must also learn to give Informative Answers.
Conversational English for Chinese Students: It does not matter if you do or do not like foreigners; or if you do or do not believe Chinese people should speak English; or if you will or will not use English later in life; or whether you did or did not have any other Major to choose from. What is important, is that you do your best to be successful in all your studies. The purpose of language is to enable you to communicate with others. If you can do this using good grammar and perfect accent and pronunciation, then that is wonderful. But if your knowledge of grammar is perfect, and your pronunciation is perfect, and your accent is perfect, but you can't talk to people, then all your knowledge and skill is useless.
Teach English in China: Reflection: Keywords: Changing Topics - Using keywords is very important, even if they are the wrong keywords. It helps us to make sure that we are both talking about the same thing. Speaking in whole sentences, using Keywords, and giving informative answers, is very important for effective communication. The key to Changing Topics in a conversation is to use the Key words of a question or an answer, to change the direction of the conversation.
What does Effective Communication mean? Effective Conversation! Effective conversation (communication) is a conversation in which no one gets confused by the other person's MEANING. The first thing you need to do to ensure effective communication is to use reflection (key words). The second thing is to ask Clarifying Questions; questions that try to find out the other person's true meaning. An effective conversation can also mean a conversation in which something is achieved. It can be a conversation in which two people both enjoy the conversation and learn something. We should never assume anything in conversation. We should make sure.
Effective Conversation and Group Discussions in English In Group Discussions, it is not enough to KNOW language skills, you actually have to be able to USE them. In order to be successful, you have to forget that you are shy; you have to develop a strong voice; you need to learn how to 'butt in', and of course, you need a good vocabulary. In a group discussion the 'topic of conversation' will change several times, as participants use their skills to avoid topics they do not wish to discuss, or to 'force' the group to discuss specific topics that skilled speakers wish to discuss. Group discussions are not 'orchestrated role plays' that can be practiced in advance.
Answering Questions with informative answers: Informative Answers make conversation more interesting. They make Changing Topics far more easy to do through the use of reflection. They make communication far more effective. Answering specific individual questions and actually communicating, are not the same thing. Informative answers are not just about giving the answer to one question. They are about communicating with the other person, and sharing with them something that you think might interest them or which you know that they either want or need to know.
Asking good questions in English: Closed Questions: In essence, closed questions do not ask for more than one piece of information. They are conversation killera - Open Questions: Open Questions are questions that provides people with an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings. - Multiple Questions: Multiple means 'more than one". "Multiple questions" ask more than one question at a time. - Informative Questions: If you ever find yourself wondering why a person is asking you certain questions, it means that the person has failed to make their question informative.
How to Think in English: Memorize means: "to learn by heart" - Understand means: To grasp the meaning of something or to have thorough acquaintance with it; to be thoroughly familiar with it. Just because you memorize something, does not mean that you understand it. When you give a presentation, make sure that you know and understand what you have written. If you do this, it is less likely that you will forget your place.
Introducing Yourself: Does an introduction require skill? In fact it does. This is so because of the nature of an introduction. An introduction is your presentation of yourself, and your skill or otherwise at doing this, will effect the other person's judgement about who and what you are. The essence of good public Speaking is first found in the Preparation. A good public speaker knows exactly what to say, because they have developed very good preparation skills.
Vowels and Consonants: They say: 'Pronunciation does not have to be exact!' and they are right! Sometimes! Exact pronunciation can make the difference between being understood and either shocking foreigners or causing them to fall on the floor laughing. You have to be careful with your vowels. Do you have 'Six' lessons or 'Sex' lessons? Blue eyes or blue arse? And do you like fighting or farting? Or do you just like eating "ships"?
Mispronouncing English: A student who reads 100 words per minute clearly and precisely, pronouncing each word correctly, is much better to listen to than students whose faster reading slurs their speech, and makes their words incomprehensible. Reading fast often gets students into trouble, because they have not learned to pronounce every syllable in each word. You should not speak at a faster speed than 160 words per minute when reading or giving an Oral Presentation. While each word on it's own has a stress or accentuation on one particular syllable, those stresses are not supposed to dominate the sentence in which the words are used. Words are Stressed in a sentence to give them prominence (an importance) so that the listener knows the true message. The emphasis or stress we give to certain words, can change the grammatical meaning of the sentence.
Some Fun with English Words Here are some oddities concerning the English Language. You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
Business English for Chinese Students: There are two inescapable observations when it comes to the topic of Business English. The first is that studying Business is about Learning Theoretical Knowledge and the second is that Studying English is not meant to be theoretical. It will not be until you are in the business environment that you get your hands on experience of the Business world, and at that time, you will need to recall all that you have learned at University about Business. The purpose of your studies is to give you the practical ability that you will need when you enter the English Speaking Business World. In terms of your education, If you get the top English score in China, but can't do the job you are hired to do, then it is clear that you have concentrated on quantity (exam results) instead of Quality (being successful in your learning). A quality student Understands what he has learned. A quantity Student, just gets good marks.
Foreign Trade Assignment: Many Chinese Students think that opening a business requires little more than finding suitable shop or office space. They know little about the legalities involved in starting up a business, of import / export licenses, tariffs, insurance, advertising, legal fees, demographic studies, business plans, office rentals or the initial cost of purchasing equipment. They express a desire to get rich working overseas but have no concept of overseas living costs. They have no concept of how various aspects of life are interdependent eg: how the price of oil effects life and business in general, and world trade in particular. They feel that someone should teach them rather than learning for themselves. Students need to learn how to research.
Business English Exams: The Chinese Educational System inherently leads students to believe that teaching is the process whereby students learn what the teacher says. Learning therefore, is the memorization of what the teacher teaches. Conversational English is about learning the skills of natural [business] conversation. The purpose of the test is merely to discover if the student has at least basic conversational ability. While social issues may not seem to have anything to do with business or politics, the fact is that when it comes to politics and business, one thing that is needed in every country is a stable social environment. Such environments are fostered by the benefits that result from the successful interplay between political decisions and business development.
Language Skills: Memorandum, letters, thesis, speeches: Improving Oral and Written English: A major skill lacking in most Chinese students is that of "word association", which is a thinking skill that connects words to ideas or concepts; linking one keyword with another but different keyword and topic. Word association allows us to think of more than the specific topic under discussion. The problem most students have in writing, is that they can't think of 'what to write next'. Using word association skills, the problem is not 'what to write', but what to leave out of your writing.
Writing Skills: Speeches and Letters: Everything - Memo, letter, fax, email, speech, Thesis, business report, essay or a novel has 3 basic sections that are the same. Introduction - Body - Conclusion. The Introduction and Conclusion are easy because you do them after you have finished writing the Body of your report / speech etc. That 'BODY' has 'BONES' - the outline that results when using a professional formula to construct the composition. The bones of the speech derives from your ability to apply word association to your topic.
Writing: Facts: Summararies: Reviews: Chinese Students do not know how to summarize what has been written. They know how to give their opinion on what has been written; often given through the lens of political or cultural ideology that is not related to the written work. They do not understand the difference between writing objectively and writing subjectively. Writing about an author's purpose, is not about 'offering your opinions' on the writer, or the correctness or otherwise of what he writes. It is not about your 'opinion'. 'Your opinion' is subjective. Objectively writing about 'the writer's purpose' requires understanding what he/she has actually written.
Descriptive Writing: What you do not see is just as important and relevant as what you see! What you do not say or write, is just as important and relevant as what you do say or write! Do not give your opinion, nor use your imagination. Observe and Describe! What do you think the message of the whole picture is. What story does it tell. This does not mean that you should invent a story! The message is derived from the observation of the evidence. You may speculate or draw an inference from what is evident. Learn to describe what you see - not what you imagine about what you see! Learn to write about what is written - not what you imagine about what is written!
Copyright 2013 is held by the nominated authors on this article page.
The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.