I'm moving to Shanghai in October to teach English, and I'm wondering if I will have to teach English using British Standard English spellings and usages... I'm American and it would be good for me to practice (practise) using British English now so I'm used to it by the time I have to teach it. Can anyone tell me what I should expect to teach?
Good question! I asked our friends in product development and here is what they had to say:
Our books are written in American English, however they indicate where there is a more common British usage for words, like football/soccer.
That being said, you will find that your students (and colleagues) use both, so it is up to you to be aware of them, but try and teach American spelling ;)
I am working at a kids school and am about to begin my second year. From my experience with coworkers and students, in the classroom I have taught what I know. When I first arrived one year ago I was an expert in American English and knew some British pronunciations and spelling so I would include or allow those in the classroom (I would find myself saying "I want a tomato" and as students shared out they would offer the British pronunciation, which I thought was great). I think it is important for students to be able to recognize both and to learn that both languages are equally important. I found that some students preferred one over the other and I allowed them to speak however they would like.
As the teacher, it is important to highlight differences when appropriate to alleviate confusion, especially when they arise but I find it equally important not to condone or degrade using one or the other. I felt my role in the classroom was to share my particular life experience with them, but not to prioritize it. Therefore, I would present things like, "In California we would say 'Hey how's it goin'?", but in other parts of the world they say different things like, "You alright?" or "G'day" and they're all equally valued.
I have met a few teacher's that like to put the language styles in a hierarchy (one is better than the other) and they push this onto their students. But at the end of the day I think the most important thing to incorporate into the classroom is your knowledge of your mastered language and culture, your personality, a clear and concise layout of differences between languages and an open-minded.
One last thing to mention is that the only thing I would recommend studying before coming here (if you have time) is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Chinese students use this phonetic script to learn pronunciations and if you are able to use this script with ease it can help when teaching pronunciation in the classroom.
Good luck to you and hope this helps. Please again note that I am a Kids and Teens teacher so I am not sure what the SMART school experience is like.
Please let me know if you have any further questions I may be able to help with and congratulations on your upcoming move to Shanghai. See you in October!
Thanks, Karen! It sounds like you have a very reasonable way of approaching American vs. other kinds of English. I think that I, too, would approach it in the same way.
I am a bit familiar with IPA, having taken linguistics in college, but I will try to brush up on it a bit before I head over to China. Thanks for mentioning it. :) I will be a teacher working with Young Learners, so I am guessing it will be similar to what you're doing.
It would be great to connect up when I get to Shanghai. I hope you don't mind if I add you as a friend on here. :)
It is mostly American standard, at least in the center in which I teach. Although some students come in with British terms and vocab, so I've noticed. I like to give both versions if I feel it's needed.