I’ve been teaching EFL in China since September, 2002. My adventure began in Tongzhou, which is a satellite town just outside Beijing, where I lived for three years. I spent a year near Changzhou in Jiangsu Province, a year in Fuzhou in Fujian Province, and then two years in Chengdu in Sichuan Province. I’ve been in Wuxi (Jiangsu Province again) since 2009.
My current school started life as an A-level centre, but was accredited as an IB centre in 2012. While I did do some English teaching on both sides of the fence after that, I’ve shifted away from teaching IGCSE English as a Second Language and, at the time of writing, only teach the IB English B course to second- and third-year pupils.
I’ve taught various EFL courses to all three years at high-school level – General English; English for Academic Purposes; IELTS, TOEFL and SAT preparation; and IB English B.
And now a brief note for any non-native speakers wondering how to improve their English.
- Read widely.
- Read contemporary English. (19th century English is dated, and the windy, ponderous style is largely alien to the 21st century.)
- Read fiction. (Newspaper and magazine articles rarely stretch the imaginations of non-native speakers.)
- If your vocabulary is weak, read for ideas and worry less about the details.
- Insisting on knowing every word impedes your progress. See 4.
- Practise paraphrasing.
- Can you state the main idea of a paragraph in your own words?
- Memorising large chunks of English is a waste of time because you’ll never use them.
- Practise regularly to maintain your level of English.
In the main, reading will also help improve your writing as you get a better feel for what constitutes natural, normal English.