Encouraging Taiwanese Teaching in Chiong-hoa Schools

Teachers in Chiong1-hoa3 County (彰化; Zhānghuà) in central Taiwan are being offered inducements by local government to certify their Taiwanese ability, reports the Central News Agency. As part of the central government’s native language programme, all language teachers should be qualified to teach that language by 2011. Even in the traditional strongholds of the language – central and southern Taiwan – many children are growing up unable to speak the native language of their parents fluently.

彰化縣教育局社會教育課課長汪康宜說,現代的小朋友很多人對閩南語都不了解,不會講、聽不懂、也不會寫,為了讓小朋友對閩南語有更多的認識,學校教師只好設計相關的教案,在音樂課、話劇表演等融入鄉土語言教學課程,讓小朋友在遊戲中學會閩南語的音腔和聲調。

Chiong-hoa County Education Department Curriculum Chief Ong Khang-gi said, “Many of today’s children are lost with Southern Min [Taiwanese] – can’t speak it, can’t understand it, can’t write it. To create enthusiasm for Southern Min amongst youngsters, language teachers just need to plan activities that involve the language; use it in music class, in drama, to give the children the chance to learn the sounds and tones of Southern Min during their studies.”

It’s worth bearing in mind that the mandated amount of time that native languages (Taiwanese, Hakka and the aboriginal languages) should be taught in class is in the order of a couple of hours per week. Despite claims to the contrary, this is not bilingual education – the system in this country remains “Mandarin, with a token nod to other tongues”.

For more on bilingual education in Taiwanese schools, see Johan Gijsen’s excellent blog, Talking Taiwanese.

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