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International Faculty

Notes: Some foreign teachers from MUC have been very generous and helpful in offering their suggestions and we are very appreciative of their contributions. We included them here as an indispensable part of the handbook.

Ken Dyer (Canada) Says:

❶ Bring as many resources from your home country as you can, especially items such as family photos, samples of money, cultural items, and teaching materials as students are quite interested in seeing them.

❷ Access to the internet is extremely limited in terms of downloading videos, so get all of your teaching resources saved before coming to China.

❸ I also suggest you try to prepare your classes in as much detail as you can so that you can make small adjustments while you are here rather than starting from scratch.

Mark Levine (America) Says:

❶ Be flexible and aware that things might change or be required to happen suddenly. For example, each year there is a university-wide sports meeting in the spring. Prior to that each school or department will have its own sports meeting. While the date for the university-wide meet is set in advance, the department-wide events get scheduled much later and are not in the master schedule provided to us by the Office of International Relations. Commonly, we will be notified of the department sports meeting and the fact that all classes in our department on that day will be canceled only a day or two before it actually happens. Another example revolves around final exams. The university requires that final exams be submitted for reproduction many weeks before the exams will be given. Again, the actual date they are due for submission has not been decided when the semester begins and right around the time we are giving our midterm exams we may be notified that our finals are due in the next week or two. There may be some fluctuation from department to department but this general practice will apply.

❷ If there is something you think you need to know, ASK. If there are things that you feel you need to know and are unclear, the safest course is to ask. One way to avoid the short notices referred to in number 1, above, is to ask. Sometimes the late notification is due to the fact that a decision has not been made or announced. Sometimes it is just due to the fact that the person assigned to notify the foreign teachers has just not gotten around to it yet but if you ask, they will be happy to tell you.

Joy Bailey (Australia) Says:


Teaching at MUC

Names: Many students like to take an English name, which makes the task of remembering each of them somewhat easier. They may already have an English name, or they may ask you to help them choose one.

English Levels: Levels of English vary among students. Depending on lesson content, you may wish to prepare vocabulary sheets and PPTs with major headings to assist understanding. At least for the first few lessons, students benefit if you speak slowly and clearly, clarifying any unfamiliar language by writing it on the blackboard. Students’ English reading and writing levels usually exceed their listening and speaking so they will often pick up on the lesson content if you provide written material. It is a good idea to stop at different points in the lesson to ask for feedback or questions in order to gauge the students’ levels of comprehension. Students may appear shy at first, but give them time, as they are very responsive to encouragement and prompting.

Discipline: Make sure students understand class rules clearly (such as arriving promptly, switching off mobile phones and informing you ahead of time re absence from class). You may wish to keep an attendance record to help follow up on any consistent absenteeism. Be aware that students sometimes face unique pressures in China and may need reminders and promptings for assignment deadlines. Don’t cause a student to lose face and don’t lose your temper in front of the class – you will incite their fear and lose their respect.

Cheating: Plagiarism and cheating during tests and exams have been an ingrained problem in Chinese schools and universities for some years. This situation is starting to change, however, it is a good idea to clearly address these issues in class before problems arise. Students are sometimes put under huge amounts of pressure to“help out” colleagues in other classes who may be taking the same test or assignment at a different time. It is a good idea to completely remove“cheating” opportunities during tests as far as you are able so that the temptation no longer exists (do ask if you need ideas on how to do this). MUC upholds high standards in this regard, and the punishment for cheating is expulsion. Therefore it is worth taking measures, as well as reminding students of the severity of the offense.

Friendship with students: Chinese students are generally extremely friendly and open to friendships outside of class. Be aware that traditional values of respect for one’s teacher are ingrained such that they may feel afraid to refuse your invitations or requests for help, sometimes even believing that their compliance (or lack of compliance) will have a direct effect upon their grade.

Dress codes: Dress codes for teachers are probably not too different from your home country. The smart casual dress is appropriate. For women, modest dress is appropriate. Sleeveless, low-cut or high/low midriff styles are not really suitable for classroom wear in China.


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