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英国文化参赞谈雅思考试和MBA

British Cultural Counsellor Michael O’Sullivan
on IELTS Test and MBA
英国文化参赞谈雅思考试和MBA

Li Xin: With China’s WTO accession, mastering a foreign language, i.e., English, is becoming more and more essential especially for the young people. As British cultural counsellor and a native speaker, what suggestions could you offer to them?
李昕:中国加入世贸之后,掌握一门外语,比如英语,显得越来越重要了,特别是对年轻人。作为英国文化参赞和以英语为母语者,你有什么建议吗?
Mr. Counsellor: Well, I think it’s hard for me to tell how to improve English teaching in China. In fact if I can presume to give advice, I think the “Gaokao” needs even more reform to give more emphasis on communication skills. There needs to be substantial changes in the next few years to the ways in which English is taught in the classroom.
I think it’s interesting that many many Chinese people seem to achieve very good level of English, despite old--fashioned methodology. They have learnt English for several years, but have no functional command of English. But we have the same problem in UK. The British kids study French at school but often can’t actually speak French when they graduate from middle school. We are making big reforms and are achieving somewhat better results now. It takes a long time to develop effective ways of teaching people to speak a foreign language.
参赞先生:我想,我很难讲如何提高中国的英语教学。其实,如果我可以冒昧建议的话,那我想高考需要进行更多改进,更多侧重于交流的技巧。而且今后几年里,需要对课堂的英语教学方式实行重大改革。
我觉得很有意思的是,尽管采用的是老式数学法,许许多多的中国人似乎英语已达到很高的水平。他们学了好几年英语,但一点也不会运用。而在我们英国,也有同样的问题。英国孩子在学校里学法语,但当他们从中学毕业时, 常常并不真能讲法语。我们进行了重大改革,也多少有些成效。要想开发出行之有效的教人说外语的方式得花很长时间。
Li: Since more and more trans--national corporations are setting up offices in China, MBA is getting hotter. Going to study in your business schools is one of the top choices of Chinese students. What do you think of this trend?
李:由于越来越多的跨国公司在中国设办事处,MBA(工商管理硕士)也随之成为热门。去贵国商学院求学成了我国学子们的首选之一。你对此趋势有何看法?
Mr. Counsellor: Yes. MBA is very hot at the moment. We certainly noticed that many many Chinese students want to do MBAs in the UK. What I would say about MBA is that I think some students in China want to do MBA too early. My personal opinion is that an MBA programme is more suitable for people with some work experience, for example, three to four years. And many MBA programmes in the UK will only accept students that have some work experience. I think that it’s quite difficult for students who have never worked in any kind of business or public organization to understand the meaning of management theory. And MBAs usually have a lot of management theory content. So I wonder whether it is a good idea for so many young Chinese to want to do their MBA first.
参赞先生:是的。MBA目前很时兴。我们当然注意到许多中国学生想去英国读MBA。关于这点我想说的是,我觉得有些中国学生想读MBA的时机还太早了点。我个人的看法是,MBA课程更适合有些工作经验的人,比如说有三四年的工作经验。再说,英国的许多MBA课程,只接收有一定工作经验的学生。我认为,从未在任何商业或公共机构工作过的学生是很难理解管理理论的意义的。而MBA通常含有许多管理理论方面的内容。所以,我不知道那么多的中国学生想先选读MBA这好不好。
Li: What kind of assistance could your council provide to Chinese students wanting to study in UK?
李:贵文化处向那些想留学英国的中国学生提供什么帮助呢?
Mr. Counsellor: Well, we are very happy to advice Chinese students. We get very large number of Chinese students going to UK every year and the number is increasing very quickly. This year--2001--I estimate that about 16,000 new students will go to the UK. That’s an increase of 1/3 on last year’s number. Many of these students will go for several years in the United Kingdom. They enter British universities to take an undergraduate degree. Some remain to do a master’s degree.
We welcome the students, but also we hope that they will choose the programmes carefully to meet their personal needs. They are always welcome to talk to my staff in British Council in China. We can give them free advice to help them decide what they want to do. In many ways we are trying to help these self--financed students to make good choice.
参赞先生:哦,我们很乐意向中国学生提供咨询。每年都有大量中国学生到英国留学,而且这数字还在快速增长。今年,即2001年,我预计约有1.6万名新生将赴英留学。这数目很大,与去年相比增加了1/3。他们中很多人要在英国待好几年。他们进入英国的大学读学士学位,有些接着读硕士学位。
我们欢迎这些学生,但也希望他们仔细选择适合自己的课程。我们驻华文化处的工作人员随时乐意与他们交谈。我们会向他们提供免费咨询,帮助他们决定自己想做什么。我们尽量以多种方式帮助这些自费学生做出好的选择。
Li: It is said that the living cost and tuitions are very high in UK. How do you think of it?
李:据说英国的生活费用和学费很高。这你怎么看?
Mr. Counsellor: We think the main attraction of studying in UK is the quality and variety of education. But we think sometimes people exaggerate the price. However, I've also emphasized that we don’t expect to rely on low prices to attract more students from China. Choosing your study abroad is a very big decision. It costs you a lot of money and a lot of time and it may determine your future life. For most people, it’s a turning point. Probably it’s one of the two big decisions you make in your life, the other one might be getting married. Usually, people don’t marry someone they met yesterday. So it’s generally not a good idea to make a study abroad decision in one day either.
参赞先生:我们认为在英国学习的主要吸引力是教学质量和众多的教学种类。但我们觉得有时候人们把费用夸大了。然而,我也强调过,我们并不打算靠低价来吸引更多的中国学生。选择出国留学是个很重大的决定。要花掉你很多钱和许多时间,而且它还可能会决定你未来的生活。对于多数人来说,它是个转折点。它或许是你一生中做的两个重大决定之一,另一个或许就是结婚了。通常,人们不会与他们昨天刚认识的人结婚。所以一天就作出出国留学的决定,一般说来也不是个好主意。
Li: Last year we had an interview with consul officers in your embassy and were informed that a streamlined visa process would be in effect. And now one year has passed, how is it doing in practice?
李:去年,我们采访了贵国使馆的领事官员,获悉一套简化的签证手续将开始实行。如今一年已过去了,它实行的情况怎么样呢?
Mr. Counsellor: We have, I think, a very good visa process for students going to the UK. Normally applicants can get an interview within one or two weeks. And in many cases the decision can be made in one or two days. In some cases the decision has to be made in London and it’ll take four or five weeks. So it’s quite efficient.
参赞先生:我觉得,我们吸收中国学生赴英的签证程序是非常好的。通常,签证申请人可在一两周内就获面谈。在许多情况下,审批决定可在一两天内做出。有些申请的审批决定得在伦敦作出,这就要花四五个星期。所以说,这种效率是很高的。
Li: The British Council conducts many examinations in China, such as IELTS, BULATS, and so on. While IELTS is the most popular one among Chinese students wanting to study in UK, could you make a brief introduction of it?
李:英国文化处在中国举行许多考试,如雅思、职业外语水平考试等。鉴于雅思在想去英国留学的中国学生中最为流行,你能简要介绍一下这种考试吗?
Mr. Counsellor: Yes. We are directly involved in IELTS and BULATS. IELTS is very hot at the moment. Last year about 23,000 to 24,000 people took the IELTS test in Mainland China. This year, we estimate that about 50,000 will take this test. Now the British universities are attracting large number of Chinese applicants. I think they mostly tend to insist on good IELTS scores. But the test is also very widely used by students going to study in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and even in the USA. Maybe most people in China don’t know that the majority of American universities accept the IELTS scores.
参赞先生:好的。我们直接参与雅思和职业外语水平考试。雅思目前很热门。去年,中国大陆地区就有2.3万至2.4万人参加雅思考试。今年,我们估计大约有5万人要参加这一考试。而今,英国的大学正在吸引着大量中国的入学申请者。我想它们大都倾向于坚持雅思考试的高分。这项考试还广泛适用于那些想去澳大利亚、新西兰、加拿大甚至美国学习的学生。实际上,在中国,也许大多数人并不知道美国的大多数大学也接受雅思成绩。
Li: From the results of the exams that your Council conducts, what do you think are the most common weak points of the test takers in China?
李:从贵处举行考试的结果看,你认为中国考生最常见的弱项是什么?
Mr. Counsellor: It’s quite common to find candidates’ writing skills are quite weak and less developed than other skills. It’s also quite common to find candidates whose reading is good but too slow, and that will affect their marks in the reading test. I think when the Chinese students study English, they spend a lot of time doing intensive reading, but reading speed is sometimes a problem. These are important skills if you are going to study in the UK. You need to have good writing skills to pass the course and you need to read quickly to keep up.
参赞先生:很常见的是,与其他技巧相比,雅思考生的写作技巧很弱而且不成熟。还有很常见的一个是,考生阅读能力不错,但速度太慢,而这会影响他们在阅读考试中的成绩。我认为,中国学生学英语时,他们在精读上花了大量时间,但阅读速度有时很成问题。而这两项对于想去英国留学的人来说是很重要的技巧。你得有良好的写作水平才能通过一门课程;你得有快速阅读能力才能跟得上。
Li: What improvements will you make to IELTS this year?
李:你们今年将对雅思做些什么改进?
Mr. Counsellor: To ensure the security of the test we’ll make improvements to it each year. And this year there will be more standardization of the speaking test to make the marking reliable. The speaking test is carried out by our trained interviewers. They must be native speaker; they must have ELT or applied linguistics qualification at postgraduate level and English teaching experience. Those are the basic qualifications for examiners of the writing and speaking test. They also have to be certified as IELTS examiners after carrying out some trial marking and receiving training. For the writing and speaking test, the marking has to be made by qualified examiners to ensure that the marking is reliable and the test takers get the right mark in IELTS test.
参赞先生:为了确保这一考试的安全性,我们每年都对它加以改进。今年,我们对口语考试将有更多的标准化措施,使评分更可信。口语考试由我们经过培训的考官进行。他们的母语必须是英语;他们得有研究生水平的英语教学或应用语言学资格。他们一般都须有英语教学经验。这些都是当雅思写作和口试考官的基本条件。他们还得进行试验性评分并接受了培训后才能合格。就写作和口语考试来说,评分必须由合格的考官给出,以保证所打的分数是可信的,雅思考生的得分是正确的。


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