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The Forum > Article Comments > Teach instead of test > Comments

Teach instead of test : Comments

By Peter van Vliet, published 12/5/2008

Let's offer refugees classes to teach them about their new home rather than exams.

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Well said, Peter

I am qualified to teach English and volunteered in an underprivileged neighbourhood to teach migrants.

I went through a whole lot of interviews and checks. Nothing ever was arranged.

However, the English colleges and universities call me almost daily.

It's no over-dramatisation to say that we have an underclass in Australia. Some do well and the education systems help them rise. Many of the Chinese and Koreans are in this group
Others- especially those from Sudan and similar- come to Australia after years of living off scraps in refugee camps. Some at 18 and 20 have little substantive formal education. are difficult to teach. They behave badly in intensive English classes. They stay "uneducated" although some are qualified in their own country. We could teach them English but teachers would need big resources and support.
Posted by Bronte, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 12:23:37 PM
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Good article but I think many settled immigrants are quite happy. I live in inner Sydney suburb. Only half the population is Anglo-Celtic. Ther are many Italian Aussies and some new Asian Australians. The restraunts are excellent.

Getting back to the point, I was sitting in one of the said restraunts, and could not help over-hearing a conversation between two seemly strangers; an Arab man and Chinese women.

They were discussing the transitions from first to second generation Australians, especially Chinese Australians. They said basically how content they were and how the first generation has work "its butt-off" to set things up. It made me feel Sydney is a truly cosmopolitan city.

Moreover, in this, the Italians are more likely to have the Australian flag flying in their front yard than are the Anglo-Celts.


As a university educator, I find problems with students organising paragraphs, which means the reader encounters an information dump not a logically well set-out argument, as necessary for critical analysis. It becomes hard to be fair to student and maintain strict standards of governance. To the ruin of grades and my eyesight.

I am not a pedant and know I make mistakes too, especially typing slower than thinking and leaving words out. But, with too many students, sentence-after-sentence, wrong. It's hard.

Moreover, some of your younger teaching colleagues seem incapable of parsing a sentence or punctuating a sentence. My wife [55] was asked by a secondary school to go through the teachers' comments on student reports, because there is a history, where teachers make errors in English and of grammar. My wife found errors everywhere, English teachers included.

Even Macquarie dictionary is a doubtful source: e.g., It states cooperate is correct, rather than co-operate. Herein, "oo" is not a diphthong. As an English teacher, you know technically there should be a diaeresis over the second "o".

Today, we don't usually use diareses, but that is why the hyphen is exists. Else, coo should rhyme with boo. If some teachers, even English teachers, don't write in English, what chance do local students, let alone immigrants, have?
Posted by Oliver, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 4:19:04 PM
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What a great slogan "Teach Instead of Test"
I am sure, if you research it, English language resources for migrants in the community have been steady and alarmingly reduced.

Recently a State wide HSC NSW English comprehension test had to be abandoned because few had any idea what a 'Choko' was/ Especially one growing over the 'outside dunny.'
Apparently some of the replies were fascinating.

Personally I would be happy never again to see a vegetable named after a medieval torture device. I far prefer my Italian & greek antipasto, aubergines, zuccinni flowers etc etc., and my Vietnamese soup.
Posted by michael2, Monday, 19 May 2008 5:04:44 PM
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