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Unclear on American Campus: What the Foreign Teacher Said
The New York Times ^ | 6/24/05 | By ALAN FINDER

Posted on 06/24/2005 9:17:57 AM PDT by Archangelsk

Valerie Serrin still remembers vividly her anger and the feeling of helplessness. After getting a C on a lab report in an introductory chemistry course, she went to her teaching assistant to ask what she should have done for a better grade.

The teaching assistant, a graduate student from China, possessed a finely honed mind. But he also had a heavy accent and a limited grasp of spoken English, so he could not explain to Ms. Serrin, a freshman at the time, what her report had lacked.

"He would just say, 'It's easy, it's easy,' " said Ms. Serrin, who recently completed her junior year at the University of California, Berkeley. "But it wasn't easy. He was brilliant, absolutely brilliant, but he couldn't communicate in English."

Ms. Serrin's experience is hardly unique. With a steep rise in the number of foreign graduate students in the last two decades, undergraduates at large research universities often find themselves in classes and laboratories run by graduate teaching assistants whose mastery of English is less than complete.

The issue is particularly acute in subjects like engineering, where 50 percent of graduate students are foreign born, and math and the physical sciences, where 41 percent of graduate students are, according to a survey by the Council of Graduate Schools, an association of 450 schools. This is despite a modest decline in the number of international students enrolling in American graduate programs since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The encounters have prompted legislation in at least 22 states requiring universities to make sure that teachers are proficient in spoken English. In January, Bette B. Grande, a Republican state representative from Fargo, N.D., tried to go even further after her son Alec complained of his experiences at North Dakota State University. Mrs. Grande introduced legislation

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: engineering; esl; foreignteachers; physics; universities
I've got a better idea, Congresscritter, why don't we incentivize the hard sciences with better pay and stature and decentivize the non-value added professions in our society (entertainment, sports, law, communications, marketing etc.) by taxing these slugs into the ground.

(Hint: if you pay them more, they will come).

1 posted on 06/24/2005 9:17:58 AM PDT by Archangelsk
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To: Archangelsk

Why don't we teach actual math in grade school and high school instead of self-esteem math, and then maybe American kids would be prepared for an education in engineering and the sciences?

2 posted on 06/24/2005 9:19:53 AM PDT by steve8714
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To: Archangelsk
Oh, here's how we deal with it in aviation:

§ 61.103 Eligibility requirements: General. To be eligible for a private pilot certificate, a person must:

(a) Be at least 17 years of age for a rating in other than a glider or balloon.

(b) Be at least 16 years of age for a rating in a glider or balloon.

(c) Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements due to medical reasons, then the Administrator may place such operating limitations on that applicant's pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of the aircraft.

3 posted on 06/24/2005 9:24:47 AM PDT by Archangelsk (Handbasket, hell. Get used to the concept.)
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To: steve8714

A thinking man I see. Well, as long as the money is going to folks who add limited value then kids will follow the same path. P-Diddy, Paris Hilton, Barry Bonds, Tom Cruise anyone?

4 posted on 06/24/2005 9:26:26 AM PDT by Archangelsk (Handbasket, hell. Get used to the concept.)
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To: Archangelsk

At least Nelly can add and subtract...he went to Catholic school.

5 posted on 06/24/2005 9:30:21 AM PDT by steve8714
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To: Archangelsk
(c) Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.

A few months after 9/11 I met the instructor who had given some instruction to Hanni Hanjour the terrorist. He went to the feds, for one reason, because the guy could not communicate in english, yet was determined to learn to fly.

Course the feds didn't do anything about it, which was another story.

6 posted on 06/24/2005 9:50:03 AM PDT by narby (There are Bloggers, and then there are Freepers.)
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To: Archangelsk

What did I ever do to you? :)

7 posted on 06/24/2005 11:27:59 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Same stuff, different democRAT [this tagline rated PG-13])
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