1.1 Research Background
“There is no doubt that English is one of the most widely used languages in the world. That to say, English as a communicative language is much more important than any other language in the world”(YE Li-zhen 2014:1). As the main communicative tool, English is used in international political dialogue, trade exchanges, and most of the world's information and technology dissemination. Learning how to master English is one of the basic requirements for every students in the 21st century.
Primary school is the enlightenment stage of students' English learning. The English subject has become an important subject in primary school. However, in the actual English teaching process, we found that most primary school English teaching pays too much attention to the explanation and teaching of language points, namely language knowledge such as words, phrases, and grammar, and PAN Qin-fen(2011:3) put forward that English teaching also ignores the cultivation of student s actual ability to use the language. This has caused many primary school students to lose their enthusiasm for learning English, and has made it impossible for them to successfully communicate in English after learning English. Even when many students enter into college, their ability to speak English is still unsatisfactory. It is known as “dumb English”. In order to change the predicament of “dumb English”, some primary schools begin to pay attention to the practical functions of English teaching and introduce foreign teachers to expand their teaching power. Foreign teachers with different cultural backgrounds have added new vitality to the school. Their classroom teaching methods have also brought different experiences to Chinese students, and have had a positive impact on the teaching of oral English in primary schools of China.
The definition of foreign English teachers of the State Council of China is that foreign nationals who are engaged in English education work in the country and whose native language is English. Foreign teachers and foreign managers should have bachelor degree or above and corresponding professional certificates, and have more than two years of experience in education and teaching. The study of foreign teachers' oral English teaching began in the 1990s. Most scholars agree that the increase in the number of foreign teachers has improved the current situation of spoken language teaching. The majority of students have experienced authentic oral English and have greatly helped second language acquisition (Davies 1991; Ellis: 1999). LIN Ya-ping (2016:30-35) believes that the primary classroom teaching methods of foreign English teachers are mainly interactive game teaching methods, nursery rhymes teaching methods, situational experience teaching methods and whole body reaction teaching methods. Some scholars point out that foreign teachers' English teaching methods have the following characteristics: they are good at creating a pure English learning context for students, good at cultivating students' interest in learning, good at importing Western culture to cross-cultural education, and good at using a novel teaching model, attaching importance to the interaction between teachers and students and encouraging evaluations, and using a language rich in humor (ZHANG Xiao-pin 2012:5-7). However, some scholars believe that there are some problems in foreign teachers' oral classes: Foreign teachers' lack of understanding of Chinese culture has led to improper teaching methods, lack of purpose and systematic teaching, arbitrariness in class, lack of understanding of Chinese students, and high or low estimate students' English ability (MEI Xiao-jian, CAO Dong-hui 2010:7; Ma Dongling 2012:17). Therefore, many scholars have conducted comparative studies on the effect of Chinese and foreign oral classroom teaching and found that foreign teachers believe that the goal of spoken language teaching is first to stimulate students' interest and to make students perform more positively and cooperatively. In contrast, Chinese-speaking English teachers believe that oral English teaching should first allow students to master some oral vocabulary without context (JIN Min 2010:3). Therefore, balancing the teaching methods of Chinese and foreign teachers can become a turning point in English teaching.
1.2 Research Significance
Through the analysis of existing literature, the author finds that there are more studies on the teaching methods or roles of foreign English teachers in high schools and universities. The relevant research is more detailed and has certain operability. However, there is little research on elementary education at elementary school. Although the research results of senior high school students have some reference, the goal of English learning in senior high schools is far from the primary school. The requirements for each graded goal are different from those in primary school. The stage of English learning in primary schools is the foundational stage for students to accept learning. The quality of English teaching at this stage affects the cultivation of talented people. Therefore, it is worthwhile to study foreign teachers' teaching in this stage. The author summarizes the types and characteristics of English teaching methods of foreign teachers in primary schools, and reflects on English teaching in China. It further enriches and deepens researchers’ understanding of the importance of foreign teachers, so that we can accurately understand the role of foreign teachers. But we cannot just agree with the teaching methods of foreign teachers, we should find the disadvantages of foreign teachers, and make up for weaknesses.
1.3 Research Content
The study of spoken language teaching methods is not only an objective but also a means. It is an important approach to theorizing and conceptualizing teaching behavior and teaching work. By summarizing the features of current oral English teaching methods of foreign teachers in primary schools, it not only can play a theoretical role for foreign teachers' English teaching, but also can provide theoretical guidance for the use of primary English native teachers' teaching methods. For this reason, this article includes the following five parts:
The first part mainly introduces the research significance, research background and research content of the article.
In the second part, on the basis of learning and drawing lessons from the existing research, it concludes that the primary classroom teaching methods for foreign English teachers in primary schools are mainly interactive game teaching methods, nursery rhymes teaching methods, situational experience teaching methods and whole body reaction teaching methods. And then sums up the four characteristics of primary school foreign teachers teaching methods: attaching importance to teacher-student interaction, attaching importance to Western cultural infiltration, humor teaching language and attention to encourage evaluation.
The third part expounds the active role and disadvantages of foreign teachers in elementary schools.
In the fourth part, on the basis of the analysis, some suggestions are given on the inadequacies of oral teaching for foreign teachers in primary schools.
In the final part, this paper proposes the role of foreign teachers in primary schools in primary school English teaching, and hope this study can provide some inspiration and reference for the current primary school oral English teaching in China.
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