Teachers who attended seminars during a writing event in Shenzhen last weekend voiced concerns that college students need to read more so they can better express their own ideas when writing.
More than 400 students and teachers from 656 technical and vocational colleges in China were invited to the fourth National English Writing Contest for Technical and Vocational College Students, held at Shenzhen Polytechnic on Saturday.
Chen Tingting, a teacher from Xi’an Shiyuan University in Shaanxi Province, said the contest was a great platform not only for students to hone their writing skills but also for teachers to exchange ideas and improve themselves through seminar discussions.
Chen said a major problem with her students’ writing is that compositions often lack content to support ideas. As a possible cause of the problem, she noted that students are now spending more time surfing the Internet and reading social media blogs than engaging in higher-quality reading.
“It is hard for students who are not educationally cultivated to read during their childhood, or concentrate on reading, and they may find reading very boring and prefer pictures,” Chen said. “Students should be trained to read and write at younger ages so they have a good reservoir of knowledge to elaborate what they intend to express.”
The contest’s influence has been increasing among China’s vocational colleges, with the numbers of participating schools and contestants increasing annually.
Ma Junbo, vice director of Shenzhen Polytechnic’s foreign languages department, said the most important purpose of the contest is to improve teaching.
“As a pioneer in vocational education, we hope that our teaching methods and standards will be widely promoted in the country through the competition,” Ma said.
Distinguished college teachers and professors were also invited to give speeches at the seminars during the annual contest, to share their experiences and give guidance to young teachers.