The Revolution Continues
Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou
The EFL “Revolution” began at Sun Yat-sen University in the Spring 2009 semester with
approximately 600 post-graduate, non-English majors, in the Humanities, from 24 Provinces and
representing 120 undergraduate institutions.
We now chronicle implementation of the Holistic English Program at Sun Yat-sen University in the
Fall 2009 semester with 700 post-graduate, non-English majors in the Sciences, from 28 Provinces and
representing 195 undergraduate institutions.
REAL EFL REFORM THAT HELPS
“The Ministry of Education launched a new campaign to reform EFL education at the turn of the 21st
century. The reform aims to modernize EFL teaching on campuses, pushing it out of its traditional
track and equipping it with better technology.”1 The utter failure of this effort is chronicled elsewhere.2
Yet, as late as 2009 every Chinese college and university has a Chinese L1 intranet system. The system
is beyond the use of most L1 English speaking foreign teachers and requires students to go through a
maze of Chinese pages before reaching an English department page.
In the early years of Holistic English development, Chinese students were encouraged to make use of
www.usingenglish.com to ask questions and post resumes for correction. The web site owner was most
gracious and even set up special forum topics for the Chinese students. He even established a China
EFL page for China EFL articles for free download.
Unfortunately this placed the students beyond the reach of the Holistic English teachers and subjected
them to opinions from experts and crackpots, neither of which knew anything about the Chinese
educational experience. There were problems with moderators and a lack of timely communication
with the web site owner. In the summer of 2009 the situation simply became intolerable and a new web
site was established, The Official Home of China Holistic English. http://chinaholisticenglish.com
Certain relevant and current topics are posted and the Chinese students of English are given a limited
amount of time to read the topic and post their comments. This eliminates a paper shuffle, saves a few
1 A Recent History of Teaching EFL in China, http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=1901&DID=11103 (accessed July 16, 2009)
2 Wolff (2009) China EFL: What Does Reform Mean? (In press) Nova Science Publications
trees and makes correction much easier. The final product becomes a part of the public record which
the students can show their grandchildren in the future.
Elimination of interaction with Chinese language and full utilization of modern electronic technology is
true EFL reform you can count on. The uniqueness of this EFL modernization was recognized by the
Open Directory listing http://chinaholisticenglish.com within 3 months of its birth and Google
assigning a page rank of 2. Both recognitions usually require that the web site be in existence for at
least one year.
FIRST DAY STUDENT CULTURE SHOCK
The beginning of any new academic semester is fraught with inevitable required adjustments. The post-
graduate students (pgs) are no exception. They are required to take one semester of oral English with a
foreign teacher. Most pgs have had prior undergraduate experiences with this inconsequential course
where the grade does not count and more often than not, the foreign teacher has a guitar and only
knows how to teach English songs. The pgs have a very strong preconceived idea of what to expect
from their oral English class.
As the pgs approach their 4th floor oral English classroom they are confronted by a 200 cm x 200 cm
They have no idea what “Chingland” means and “Chinglish Spoken Here” goes directly against and is
directly opposed to their prior teaching that Chinglish is no good. This is the pgs first indication that
something may be different.
As they approach the classroom door they look puzzled and double check the room number.
As the pgs open the door, their jaws drop, they freeze in position and get a “deer in the headlights” look.
Again, they double check the assigned classroom number.
As they slowly enter the room there is a Chinese buzz. The foreign teacher actually looks like a real
professor. The professor loudly announces, “This is an English class and this is an English classroom.
Why am I hearing Chinese? If you want to practice your Chinese, leave.”
A hush falls over the room. The pgs ask permission to be seated. The professor advises that those pgs
who have brought their books and a writing utensil may be seated. All others must leave and never
return unprepared again. Those who did not bring their books or writing utensils are told to leave but
they remain frozen in time and space. The professor explains that coming to a pg class at China’s #8
most famous university is intolerable kindergarten behavior and the guilty students are ordered to leave.
Sometimes an entire first class must be cancelled and rescheduled at a punitive time.
On the very first day of the semester the professor draws the line in the sand and demands that the pgs
act like mature, responsible, serious students or get out. They have never had such an experience in
their prior 16 years of education. They are in shock!
Fortunately, the professor knows how to bring the pgs out of shock and within minutes the classroom is
filled with laughter as everyone settles down to begin their semester of fun with English acquisition.
The students were required to tell their first day culture shock story on http://chinaholisticenglish.com
An independent reviewer selected several representative student posts for replication in Appendix “A”.
STUDENTS’ LACK OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AWARENESS
Half (350) of the students were assigned the movie “Working Girl.” This movie is a soft introduction to
the personal importance of Intellectual Property Protection. (All of the students are science majors.)
Before the classroom discussion of the movie, the students were assigned to read many articles that
gave a broad overview of copyright, patent, trademark, personal endorsements and corporate secrets.
They also read a synopsis of the Yao Ming vs. Coca Cola case filed in the Shanghai Court.
The students were given three separate questions for discussion:
1. How could Tess have better protected her idea from theft by her boss?
The students tended to over think this issue and came up with very convoluted and complex answers.
The simplest answer is sometimes the best. Tess should have made a copy of her notes before handing
them over to her boss and Tess should have had her boss sign a receipt for the notes.
Utilizing today’s technology, Tess could have sent her notes as an email attachment.
2. Why is it important to protect intellectual property?
A super majority of the students stated that creativity must be rewarded to encourage more creativity
because new inventions and things will advance society and create a better off harmonious society.
3. What is the difference between stealing a DVD from a department store and stealing a song or
movie by free download from the internet?
There were two prevalent views.
First, stealing from the department store is dangerous because someone may see you and you could go
to jail. The internet is anonymous and you can’t get caught. This answer raised numerous additional
questions for discussion:
1. Are these students computer illiterate? Don’t they understand IP addresses and footprints? Have they
not read the news from the USA about people being put in jail and fined more than $1 mil for illegally
downloading music and movies for free? Don’t they know that their Government has more than 30,000
internet police tracking their every move?
2. What about morality? Stealing is ok so long as you believe you can’t get caught? Speeding is ok so
long as there are no police around? And what about murder?
Second, if a song or movie is available on the internet it is not stealing to download a free copy.
Everything on the internet is for everyone and if it was stealing the Government would close the web
These post-graduate students were truly surprised to learn that their ideas were completely inconsistent
with reality and the rule of law in China.
They were then required to read “The Best IP Protection” at www.chinaholisticenglish.com, to
formulate a plan to solve the IP Protection dilemma in China and post their plan on the web site.
The following are representative posts:
Judy Class 2
October 28th, 2009 at 1:01 pm · Edit
I always think that IP protect is far from me. But through the WORKING
GIRL and the class, I am now aware that it is very important for all of us.
We should protect our IP and also should protect other’s. In China we do
not take it very seriously. As the example was taken by Martine Wolf, we
do not steal the VCD or DVD in the shop, but we download the movie
from the Internet freely. This may be a big question. There are two ways
in front of us: One is free, the other is that we should pay money for the
same thing. Of course, we choose the first one. It would be a long way for
China to go to make everyone notice the importance of the IP protect.
Everybody should enroll with the help of the government
Angelina Class 2
October 28th, 2009 at 11:51 am
Honestly speaking, most of us download songs, movies and articles on the
Internet for free. Before the discussion of IP protection, we have never
realized that this behavior is illegal. That is to say, many of us are lacking
of concept and knowledge of IP and IP protection. We ourselves should
pay enough attention to this situation because IP and IP protection is
closely related to our future work and life. Firstly, we should culture our
awareness of IP that we should know the things belonged to IP. Secondly,
we should know well the laws about IP and IP protection in China. Last
but not least, we should obey the laws and should respect others’ labor.
Only in this way, the so-called laws about IP and IP protection can be
considered as meaningful.
May Class 2
October 28th, 2009 at 10:53 am
In our growing, we all have been told that taking others’ things without
permission is a kind of stealing behavior .But we only have the traditional
concept of stealing in our mind. Few of us have the IP Concept in China.
Therefore, it is a very urgent task to improve IP Concept of the Chinese
people. And my suggestions are as follows.
Firstly, and also the most important one, just as our Pro. Wolff mentioned,
the best IP protection is through education. Only by this way, can we
abandon the traditional thoughts of stealing behavior and can we improve
IP Concept of the Chinese people.
And also, we must put more enforcement actions into practice and make
the low work more efficiently. Of course, the premise is that the Chinese
government must establish a series of laws base on China’s actual
conditions in every field.
Indeed, IP protection develops rapidly in China, but it also does not
develop well enough. To solve the problem of IP protection, we have still
have a long way to go!
Betty Class 3
October 28th, 2009 at 10:51 am
To be honest, I do not want to touch on this topic. As a student who does
not have some outcomes need to protect, I prefer the convenience brought
by piracy and illegal downloading. In China, intellectual property rights
infringement, like a double-edged sword, bring us cultural and economic
development, but more drawbacks and adverse impacts following.
We have clearly seen that intellectual property infringement amounts to
the action killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. On one hand, it
brings great harm to the original master, lower their enthusiasm of creation,
and lead them to be disappointed and distrust of us. In the long run, they
are no longer willing to share with us and display the new results to us. On
the other hand, though it has brought the imitator temporary benefits,
copying the original outcomes results in our psychological reliance, and
we become more and lazier to think and innovate. Of course, China should
solve these problems, but it is really a long and intricate process. To
change the situation fundamentally, we need to further educate and
economic development. Take pirated books as an example. When the
pirated books are much cheaper than the original, we always prefer to buy
the pirate which may be of poor paper quality, because we can enjoy the
same content paying much less money. So, for the publishers, why not
throw off the excessive gorgeous packaging and reducing the price
differences between the original and the pirate. For the government,
establishing and improving the framework of laws and rules on copyright
piracy are still real challenges, but why not try to set up more awards to
reward innovations. For the public, we still need to get more knowledge of
intellectual property rights, and show our respects to the person who do
the creative work.
Lisa Class 1
October 28th, 2009 at 10:49 am
I think the key to the IP protection lies in the education. Most of Chinese
people don’t realize that it is illegal to use other’s intangible goods without
paying. They think the resources are for free. China has promulgated some
laws about IP protection, but many people don’t notice the laws, so it is
necessary to propagate the laws effectively, using some mediums, such as
TV, broadcast, newspaper and so on, punishment is not the correct way.
Maybe they should educate the students about the laws of IP protection
when they are very young, because the children will be the next leaders of
China, and the conception of IP protection is very important, if they are
not aware of the IP protection, how will they release the laws of it? And
how will the citizens develop the consciousness of it? That will be a very
Jane Class 8
October 28th, 2009 at 3:58 pm
Frankly, the Intellectual Property Protection in China has not been good.
In my opinion, the following ways can be tried to resolve this problem.
1. Draw a clear-cut line between reward and punishment. Based on
existing law, we should improve relevant provisions and regulations.
Governments at all levels should set an example by their own action. We
must ensure that the laws are strictly observed and enforced. Publishing
houses and copy shops must be given strict supervision. Law-breakers
must be punished strictly. While the advanced law-abiding individuals can
be given certain incentives to set leading role for the rest.
2. Governments and medias should do more publicity. Television, Internet,
newspapers, billboards can be made full use to give citizens information as
much as possible to understand the importance of intellectual property
3. While the most important thing we should do is to strength education.
Education about intellectual property protection should be strengthened in
schools at all levels, especially in universities where this phenomenon is
quite serious. It is important that teachers should set examples.
4. Another key point is to develop the economy, which is the basis for
intellectual property protection. If our income is high enough, we have
naturally foundation to buy the legal ones. However, now it is more
realistic for the majority of Chinese people to buy the piracy according to
our income level. This problem can not be resolved within a short time,
and we can only pin our hope on our long-term joint efforts.
Three students, within this group that studied IP protection, went on to subsequently
plagiarize a homework assignment and received a failing grade for the course under an
The use of the internet for posting homework assignments and the requirement that these post-graduate
students post their work at http://chinaholisticenglish.com produced some unexpected, and frankly,
A minority of the male students deemed it appropriate to show their manly prowess through the use of
vulgarity and profanity. Even after having their posts rejected and receiving an email warning, some
persisted. One student ended every post with “F… you professor and F… this assignment.” The posts
never saw the light of day on the web site. Due to repeated offenses, the following post was placed on
the web site:
Contrary views, dissent and debate are welcomed. But you must disagree without being
Stick to the issues and stay away from attacking personalities. Personal attacks will be
Vulgar, profane, insulting and otherwise disgusting posts will be rejected.
Do not use crude or threatening language. Do not use hateful language.
Be civilized in everything you write.
Violators of these rules will be banned which means your registration will be deleted and
you will not be allowed to register again.
Some student reactions:
Jose class 5
November 14th, 2009 at 1:53 am
Personal attacks are ignominious and this is not Chinese tradition. Emphasis on civilization is the
basic essence of every Chinese people. So we should use civilized language whatever you agree or
Ryan class 02
November 13th, 2009 at 9:29 pm
I’m sorry that I have made some dirty words in your website. In my older opinion, this is a free
area just like in the bar. But I haven’t noticed is that this is a place for our study of English, where
we communicate with each other and deeply discuss. It is not for pleasure simply. My action has
influenced the whole respectful atmosphere, and will harm my English expression in return. And
one thing I couldn’t help to say is the excuse, which is looked down upon by many students. The
answer is that it makes me feel much safer when growling in English than in Chinese. So words
flew out. Luckily, the admin had stopped my stupid words.
7 students, including 3 who had watched the movie Working Girl and participated in the discussion of
IP protection, plagiarized their homework assignments. The department administration ordered that the
offending students receive a failing grade. This problem warranted the following post being added to
the web site:
China Moves to Prevent Academic Plagiarism
2009-03-19 22:14:43 Xinhua Web Editor: Xu Fei
Universities in China should have primary responsibility for academic plagiarism, the
Ministry of Education said in a circular Thursday.
Universities should investigate and deal with plagiarism in accordance with the law, with
the help of its academic committee, the circular said.
This circular was the first document to deal with academic plagiarism, said Xu Mei,
spokeswoman with the ministry.
Cases of academic plagiarism have been frequent in recent years. On March 15, the elite
Zhejiang University fired an associate professor who allegedly copied a former doctoral
supervisor’s research results in eight of his theses and sent one paper to different journals
According to the circular, the punishment for plagiarists could involve warnings,
dismissal or even legal charges.
Plagiarists’ research programs could also be suspended or terminated, they could lose
their funding, or see awards and honors revoked.
Plagiarists will also be ineligible for financial support and academic awards for “a certain
period,” said the notice.
Universities should handle plagiarism cases in a fair and open way and publish the results
to the public.
The notice also ordered universities to set up workshops for teachers and students to
improve their awareness of academic discipline.
“These measures are intended to build up a long-term prevention mechanism to keep the
academic field ‘clean’,” said Xu.
Steve .Class 15
November 15th, 2009 at 5:20 pm · Edit
PLAGIARISM IS A FORM OF IP THEFT. THIS POST WAS STOLEN FROM
THIS POST IS ABOUT THE BOOK AND NOT THE MOVIE.
As for me , the movie is a little old in some point. As a Chinese, I read Iron and Silk and am
amazed at how much Mark got into the soul of the ordinary Chinese people.
In 30 short anecdotes, Mark gives a compassionate and humorous account of teaching English and
studying martial arts in Changsha, a provincial capital in central China shortly after the opening of
the country in the early 1980s. In the best manner of innocents abroad, Mark knows how to make
fun of his blunders in a very charming way. He conveys his sense of wonder beautifully, and does
not pass judgment on anything he witnesses. At the beginning, it is difficult for him and he adjusts
himself into Chinese culture .To Mark, the students have learned many things from him, he also
have learned of the Chinese character and culture.
So from my standpoint, with the culture changes, the two cultures can learn each other and make a
great progress. As for china ,it could become more successful in TEFL!
Some student responses:
November 16th, 2009 at 1:35 pm
Unbelievable When I saw that Steve copied other’s comment as his own. He is my team member,
I am dumfounded! I try my best to do the assistant’s job, and to make everyone in class 15 to do
the best job, but, yes, I can not please all of the people all of the time. Most of them always
complained that Marin has arranged too much homework so that they have no time to learn the
major course. But in the spare time, what I saw was they were playing games all the time. So
whose faults? As we are all adults we should be responsibility to ourselves but not to complain
November 16th, 2009 at 4:18 pm
People who steal other’s comments and ideas will hurt themselves finally. If always act like that, it
will develop a bad habit which is hard to change, and some day, you must regret this. One only
can succeed by his own effort. I can understand that those who copied the comments are just too
busy to write their own ideas. Because I am busy too, but I also insist on writing comments, just
making them a little shorter. If we have no much time, we can write less, but never to copy
anything from others.
Unreachable and unteachable students
1.6% of the female students and 8% of the male post-graduate students refused to actively participate in
the class or homework. (Compared to 1.6% overall last term for humanities students) Due to the high
percentage of science students, the following post was placed on the web site:
Who is Kidding Whom?
You can please some of the people all of the time.
You can please all of the people some of the time.
You cannot please all of the people all of the time.
There is no single teaching pedagogy or methodology that fits everyone in every
Some of you have benefited from HE while some have not.
Some of you benefited from ABC day and some did not.
Some of you benefited from English Corner and some did not.
Some of you liked Iron and Silk while some did not.
Some of you have not benefited from HE, ABC Day or English Corner but most of you
Some of you do your own work while some copy from others. Some of you have done
none of the homework. You only cheat yourself.
I have 700 students which means there should be at least 700 posts on each thread.
Iron and Silk 219 posts
Deng Xioping 356 posts
Trojan Horse 234 posts
ESE at SYSU 640 posts
Mute English 632 posts
English Corner 672 posts
ABC 686 posts
Some of you claim you do not post because I will not accept anything that does not agree
with me. You have obviously NOT read your classmates’ posts. Every post is allowed
unless it is vulgar or disrespectful.
I give 100% to my teaching responsibilities but many of you do not give 100% to your
In your future you will reap what you sow today. You must live with the consequences of
Some of you claim to be afraid of HE class, my emails, and even me. But you are not.
You are afraid of something else and to find that something else you only need to look in
a mirror. If you have not benefited from HE it is because you decided NOT to benefit
BELIEVE YOUR OWN LIES!
I laugh when you say there were only a few people at English Corner and they were just
talking Chinese so you left. You did not go to the 11-11 English Corner, you just made
up a story but I allowed your post so everyone knows you now.
Some of you cut and paste from another web site. You are an IP thief! Check your post
for the editor’s comment.
Who is kidding whom? This is a rhetorical question that answers itself. No one is kidding
anyone. You are just kidding and cheating yourself.
A Couple of examples:
November 13th, 2009 at 11:34 pm
THIS POST IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF AN UNREACHABLE AND UNTEACHABLE.
When I was a junior school student, I found the English corner in my school, from then on I have
always doubt that if it make any sense. Then, I came to senior school and university, also there are
English corners, at the same time, I still can’t understanding whether it does help.
To be honest, I’m never willing to attend it, for I don’t think it can give any improvment to me.
There are many ways to practice my English, and they are more efficient. I can watch movies to
improve my listenning, and many other occasions can improve my oral English.
Personally, the English corners is just a style, I don’t really appreciate it. Schools are willing to
show that they own such a oringplace for English study. Besides this, I can’t imagine what
benefits it can provide. So, I’d rather read aloud and chat with foreign friends than go there to do
the boring Q and A.
Andason class 7
November 16th, 2009 at 1:44 pm
EDITOR’S NOTE: WHY DO I ALLOW SUCH A FALSE STORY TO APPEAR?
MAINLY SO YOU KNOW WHAT IS A REAL UNREACHABLE AND UNTEACHABLE
MORE THAN 600 PEOPLE ATTENDED THE 11-11 ENGLISH CORNER BUT MORE
THAN 100 HAVE MADE UP A FALSE STORY LIKE THIS ONE.
This is the first time I go to English corner, but with bad luck, when I went to there, I found there
were very few people, for the chilly wind and cold small rain. For now and then I had been here, I
tried to talk to a man( he looks like not a student), but at once I realized that, he had no interesting
tiling to me at all, I doubt that he was just waiting for a single girl here, and then~~~, so, I passed
him over and turned to another, but as the same conditions, this guy once again refused talking to
me, I was very disappointed, and then as it was going to be colder, I leaved.
Some student responses:
Alice class 5
November 16th, 2009 at 8:59 pm
First I must thank for Martin’s 100% to his teaching responsibility that all of us known. Maybe
some of the students didn’t pay 100% responsibility to Martin’s hard works. It’s true. But what
they did must be responsible for their selves. Maybe one day in the future, they will regret to do
those stupid things now. What I want to say is that just catch the HE chances and be responsible to
yourself. What you learned now is learning for yourself and not for any others. If you worked hard
for that, I believe you will take the benefits from it at last. Don’t be lazy for a little moments and
getting the regret all of your life in the end.
November 16th, 2009 at 7:07 pm
To tell the truth, at first I was very afraid of oral English class, because I was not so good at
English expression. But gradually, I realized that expressing in English is not so hard, what we
should do is thinking more, speaking more, saying what we want to say, no matter the grammars
of our sentences are right or wrong, no matter our opinions are different from others, just be
ourselves, just as the Professor Martin said: ”there are no right or wrong answers…”. So I think it
is no use to copy other classmates’ comments. In real life everyone is not the same, everyone is a
miracle in their own way. So just be ourselves, express ourselves’ opinions, don’t kid ourselves.
All 700 registered students were post-graduate non-English majors ranging in age from 21 to 57.
Men constituted 45% and women 55%. This is a marked departure from prior undergraduate Holistic
English implementation programs where the percentage of women was 96% to 4% men. This
difference in gender percentage may be influenced by the students’ undergraduate majors being more
attractive to men than some of the majors at other institutions where Holistic English has been
Class #1 School of Life Sciences
Class #2 School of Life Sciences
Class #3 School of Life Sciences
Class #4 School of Life Sciences
Class #5 School of Life Sciences, School of Education
Class #6 School of Environmental Science, and Engineering
Class #7 School of Geography and Planning
Class #8 School of Geography and Planning
Class #9 School of Geography and Planning
Class #13 School of Mathematics and Computational Science
Class #14 School of Mathematics and Computational Science,
Department of Earth Science
Class #15 Department of Earth Science
Class #16 School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Class #17 School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Class #18 School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Class #22 School of Life Science
Class #23 School of Envirnmental Science and Engineering
Class #24 School of Envirnmental Science and Engineering
Class #26 School of Information Science and Technology
The students represent the following provinces:
Anhui, Chongqing, Fujian, Guangdong, Gansu, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan Hong
Kong (SAR), Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Ningxia, Shanghai,
Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Tianjin, Xinjiang, Yunnan, Zhejiang
The students represent the following 195 undergraduate institutions of higher learning:
Agricultural University of Hebei, Anhui Normal University, Anhui University, Anyang Normal
University, Anyang Normal Teachers University, Beijing Normal University, Beijing Normal
University Zuhai Campus, Binzhou University, Central China Agriculture University, Central China
Normal University, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Central South University,
Changchun Normal University, Changsha University, Changsha University of Science and Technology,
Chengdu University of Technology, China Agriculture University, China Pharmaceutical University,
China University of Geosciences, China West Normal University, Chongqing Normal University,
Chongqing Technology and Business University, Chongqing University of Post and
Telecommunications, Dalian University of Technology Dalian Jiaotong University, Daqing Petroleum
Institute, Dezhou University, East China Institute of Technology, East China Normal University, East
China Institute of Technology, Foshan University, Fujian Normal University, Gannan Normal
University, Guangdong College of Pharmacy, Guangdong Ocean University, Guangzhou University,
Guangdong University of Technology, Guangdong University of Business Study Guangdong
University of Technology, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangdong University of
Technology, Guangxi Normal University, Guilin University of Technology, Guiyang College of
Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guizhou University, Guizhou College of Finance and Economics,
Hainan Normal University, Hainan University, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin Normal
University, Hebei University of Science and Technology, Hebei Normal University, Hefei University,
Hefei University of Technology, Heilongjiang University, Henan Institute of Science and Technology,
Henan Normal University, Henan University, Henan College Of Science And Technology, Henan
University of Technology, Hengyang Normal University, Hohai University, Huaibei Coal Industry
Teachers College, Huanggang Normal University, Huangshan College, Huangshan University,
Huazhong Agricultural University, Huazhong Normal University, Huangzhong Agricultural University,
Hubei Normal University, Hubei University of Technology, Hunan Agriculture University, Hunan City
University, Hunan Normal University, Hunan University of Arts and Science, Hunan University of
Chinese Medicine, Hunan University, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Hunan University,
Inner Mongolia University, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Jiangxi Normal University, Jiangxi
Science & Technology Normal University, Jiangsu University, Jiaying University, Jiamusi University,
Jiliang University, Jilin University, Jimei University, Jinan University, Jiujiang University,
Jishou University, JYU University, Liaoning Normal University, Liaoning University, Lanzhou
University, Leshan Normal University, Liaocheng University, Liaoningshihua University, Linyi
Normal University, Linyi University, Luoyang Normal University, Nanchang University, Nanchang
Hang Kong University, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing
University, Neijiang Teachers' College, Nankai University, Northeast Agriculture University, Northeast
Forest University, Northeast Normal University, Northeastern University, North University of China,
North West Normal University, Northwest University, Northwest University of Politics and Law,
Northwest A & F University, Ocean University of China, Peking University, Pingdingshan University,
Quanzhou Normal University, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao University, Qingdao
Technological University, Qufu Normal University, Qiannan Normal College for Nationalities, Shanxi
Agriculture University, Shanxi Datong University, Shaanxi Normal University, Shandong Agricultural
University, Shandong Normal University, Shandong University of Technology, Shandong University
of Science and Technology, Shandong University, Shaoxing University, Shaoyang College, Shangqiu
Normal University, Shanxi Datong University, Shanxi Normal University, Shanxi University,
Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenzhen University,
Shijiazhuang University Of Economics, Sichuan Agricultural University, Sichuan Normal University,
South Central University for Nationalities, South China Agriculture University, South China Normal
University, South China University of Technology, Southeast University, Southwest Forestry College,
Southwest Jiaotong University, Southwest Normal University, Southwest University for Nationalities,
Southwest University of Science and Technology, Sun Yat-sen University, Taiyuan Normal University,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Three Gorges University, Tianjin University of Technology,
Tianjin Normal University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, University of
Jinan , University of South China, Weifang Medical College, Weinan Normal University, Wenzhou
University, Wuhan University, Wuhan University of Technology, Xiangnan University, Xiangtan
University, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xidian University, Xinzhou Teachers University, Xinjiang
University, Xinyang Normal University, Xuchang University, Yangcheng Normal University, Yanshan
University, Yantai University, Yantai Normal University, Yangtzeu University, Yunnan University,
Yuxi Normal University, Zhangzhou Normal University, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang Chinese
Medical University, Zhejiang Forestry University, Zhengzhou Normal University, Zhengzhou
University, Zunyi Medical College
Not all of the students have passed CET 6, the National English proficiency examination, and
they are required to take oral English because their English output is deficient. This is a red flag that the
undergraduate English program is inadequate.
The Fall ’09 Science majors exhibited markedly different characteristics from their Spring ’09
1. The Science majors had a much narrower business view and world view.
2. The Science majors were not as receptive to developing creative thinking abilities
3. The Science majors were not as receptive to considering new or different business, economic,
educational, social or political ideas.
4. The science majors maintained an overbearing nationalistic pride.
5. The science majors included 1.6% female and 8% male unreachable and unteachable students
as opposed to 1.6% overall for the Humanities majors.
STUDENT EVALUATION OF HOLISTIC ENGLISH
The cumulative results appear in the following charts.
The students were also asked to rank the three homework assignments as to which provided the
1. ABC Day3 25.5 %
2. Foreign Student Chat4 54.4%
3. English Corner5 20.1%
Clearly the students have sent a strong message that there are more viable alternatives than the
traditional English Corner.
After watching and discussing the movie “The Terminal” the students were asked to role play an ABC (American Born Chinese) L1 English
speaker for one entire day. In the movie, Tom Hanks, an L1 English speaker played an L2 English speaker. A 100 word essay was required
about the experience. Many essays were honest about not completing the assignment due to fear of speaking English only for an entire day.
Other essays were too perfect, a tall tale relating what the students thought the teacher wanted to hear.
After watching the movie “Iron and Silk” the students were required to locate a foreign exchange student and engage in an extended
conversation. A 100 word essay was required but to avoid any tall tales, the essay had to include the foreign student’s name, home country and
The students were required to attend an English corner and submit a 100 word essay relating their experience.
Four post-graduate traditional oral English classes taught by two different teachers and randomly
selected, were given the same questionnaire as the Holistic English classes.
Class #22 School of Life Science
Class #23 School of Envirnmental Science and Engineering
Class #24 School of Envirnmental Science and Engineering
Class #26 School of Information Science and Technology
The control class cumulative charts reflect a degree of chaos, uncertainty and lack of a delivery system
that produces consistent and reliable results over a broad diversity of students. The percentage of
dissatisfied students is very high and the degree of satisfaction by the satisfied students is low.
TWO SEMESTER COMPARISON
Under the leadership of Dean XIA Jimei, PhD and Vice-Dean Wang Zhe, PhD, Sun Yat-sen University
(Zhongshan), Guangzhou, arguably has one of China’s most innovative, progressive and successful
English teaching programs (TEFL), having received numerous national English teaching awards.
In the pursuit of English teaching excellence, commencing in March 2009, Holistic English has been
taught to post-graduate non-English majors. At the end of each semester the students/consumers are
asked to answer an anonymous questionnaire indicating the amount of benefits they perceive to have
received from the Holistic English program, ranking them from 1 – 10, with ten being the most
beneficial. The areas of perceived benefits are:
Autonomous Learning Skills
The students’ questionnaire answers were then tabulated and depicted in graph form. The graphs in the
following right hand column summarize the Holistic English students’ perceived benefits. (600
students for the spring 2009 term and 700 students for the fall 2009 term.) See graphs B, D, F, H, J and
The Department of English Teaching administration selected a group of 3 classes for the March 2009
semester and 4 classes for the September 2009 semester to use for comparison of students’ perceived
benefits. The control group classes of post-graduate non-English majors were taught a traditional oral
English program, by some of the Department’s best teachers. At the end of each semester the
students/consumers in the control group were also asked to answer the same questionnaire as answered
by the Holistic English students. The students’ questionnaire answers were then tabulated and depicted
in graph form. The graphs in the following left hand column summarize the control group students’
perceived benefits. (129 students for the spring 2009 term and 172 students for the fall 2009 term.) See
graphs A, C, E, G, I and K.
In the spring 2009 semester 10% of the students in the control group filled out the questionnaire in
Chinese instead of English.
In the fall 2009 semester 14.5% of the students failed to follow the simple written English instructions
causing numerous Questionnaires to be invalidated.
Class 22 - 6 Questionnaires invalid
Class 23 - 1 Questionnaire invalid
Class 24 - 6 Questionnaires invalid
Class 26 – 12 Questionnaires invalid
C C GROUP (3 Classes) MARCH 2009 HOLISTIC ENGLISH (12 Classes) MARCH 2009
C C CROUP (4 Classes) SEPT 2009 HOLISTIC ENGLISH (15 Classes) SEPT 2009
C C GROUP (3 Classes) MARCH 2009 HOLISTIC ENGLISH (12 Classes) MARCH 2009
C C GROUP (4 Classes) SEPTEMBER 2009 HOLISTIC ENGLISH (15 Classes) SEPT 2009
C C GROUP (3 Classes) MARCH 2009 HOLISTIC ENGLISH (12 Classes) MARCH 2009
C C GROUP (4 Classes) SEPT 2009 HOLISTIC ENGLISH (15 Classes) SEPT 2009
The control class cumulative charts reflect in the traditional oral English program there is a degree of
chaos, uncertainty and lack of a delivery system that produces consistent and reliable results over a
broad diversity of students. The percentage of dissatisfied students/consumers is very high and the
degree of satisfaction by the satisfied students/consumers is low.
The Holistic English program charts reflect the consistent delivery of an educational product that
produces uniform results to highly satisfied student/consumers.
FINAL EXAM SHOCK
16% of the 700 students expressed dismay and dissatisfaction with the final examination for the
Holistic English course. On the first day of the semester, all students were given the first three
questions and answers, for the final examination. They were instructed to write the questions and
answers in their Holistic English Workbooks. The grading system was explained on the first day of the
semester as well as a couple of weeks prior to the final examination.
During the final examination, 16% of the students were unable to answer two of the three questions,
primarily questions #2 and #3.
Question #1: How are you?
Question #2: Can you sing the song?
Answer: Sing the song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (The students were provided with the
playable song on the University web server.)
Question #3: Can you say the tongue twister?
Answer: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood
The students had 18 weeks to prepare for this portion of the final examination.
Amongst the 16% who were unable to answer questions #2 and #3, there were consistent responses.
The most common response to question #2 was the singing of some unknown Chinese song, in Chinese.
The most common response to question #3 was “What is a tongue twister?”
The second most common response to question #3 was “How mucha wooda coulda woodachucka
chucka if a woodachucka coulda chucka a wooda,” (This was the very Chinese English speaker
pronunciation difficulty addressed by the tongue twister and thoroughly explained to the students.)
One of the young men within this group complained directly to the administration, in the presence of
the HE professor. The student complained that the final exam was unfair, even though he received a
score of 80 points, which was the same exact score he stated he deserved when filling out the end of
term questionnaire. When asked what solution he sought from the administration he had no answer.
The students’ shock over the HE final exam was the result of their not taking the HE course seriously
and treating it just like any other course where they can memorize the test answers the day before the
final examination, repeat the memorized answers for the final examination the second day and forget
everything on the third day.
CREATING AN ESE AT SYSU
The students were afforded an opportunity to comment upon the creation of an English Speaking
Environment through utilizing the outdoor video wall technology that is prevalent throughout China
and was the subject of a student survey in the Spring 2009 semester. In the north of China OVWs are
found in most public parks. Chinese people gather in the parks just to watch the show. OVWs are also
found on Shanghai’s Nanjing Rd, a major pedestrian street, and people gather to watch the show.
OVWs are used on many buildings in southern China for advertising purposes. One block south of the
SYSU south gate there is an OVW on a building.
And just outside the SYSU north gate there is a river cruise ship with an OVW on its port side and its
Sun Yat-sen University is surrounded by this OVW technology but the University itself does not make
use of it. “The Ministry of Education launched a new campaign to reform EFL education at the turn of
the 21st century. The reform aims to modernize EFL teaching on campuses, pushing it out of its
traditional track and equipping it with better technology.”6
Once again, the students supported the OVW 85% in favor, 10% in favor with reservations and 5%
opposed. The students’ comments are available at http://chinaholisticenglish.com
In addition, some students made some very creative, practical and interesting suggestions for additional
strategies of creating an ESE. An independent reviewer selected the following examples:
November 5th, 2009 at 10:29 am
After reading the articles—“creating an ESE at SYSU”, “China EFL” and “English Corner” which
are downloaded from the website. I quite agree the opinions about creating an ESE. My plan is as
1. Change all the sign to bi-lingual. When I was walking in the campus, there were always some
foreigners asked me where is the geosciences department or something. The bi-lingual signs are so
2. Establish English reading room in each dormitory building. In the room, some reading materials
are available. Like Crazy English, Global Times, Entertainment Weekly etc.
3. In every festivals of western country, school can provide us western festival environment in
order to enjoy ourselves and learn more about the western culture.
4. Keep English corner alive and more available. Making that at Anytime and anywhere when we
want to join and play ABC we can found an organization.
5. Provide counting English education to all administrator and staffs.
Like martin said, making change to ESE just like to eat an elephant. It is a long-standing issue for
all the universities. We students should take use of all the available resources to improve English.
Armstrong Class 17
November 5th, 2009 at 9:58 pm
Creating English speaking environment is essential and important at our university and other
schools, which can help us get rid of mute English and improve our oral English. Then, a question
comes up, how to?
After consideration, my opinions are as follows:
1, Students are advocated to communicate with English, and we can set one day of the week as
2, Creating the number of English corner. as far as I know, there is only one English corner,
“Xing” pavilion, at SYSU.
3, Establishing an oral English association by our students to attract more students. Holding some
4, Setting up an English radio, broadcasting the SYSU news, songs or stories.
5, As Mr. Wolff’s creative idea, erecting a double sided outdoor video wall, playing English
A Recent History of Teaching EFL in China,
http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=1901&DID=11103 (accessed July 16, 2009)
November 5th, 2009 at 10:52 pm
ESE is a crucial factor in English learning. As we can see from the movie “Terminal”, a person
can master a strange language quickly when he/she is placed in an environment totally filled with
When it comes to creating an ESE in our university, I think it really a good idea to improve the
level of our English. There are several things we can actually do if we want to effectively create an
First of all, maybe the best means does not lie in courses. Instead, it lies in our daily life. It should
be “filled” with English. English movies shown every day for free in the university’s auditorium.
Canteens could provide dishes from all around the world with English descriptions beside them.
All signs in the campus should be bilingual. Only in this way would we provide a more intense
Secondly, English speaking and writing contest can be held frequently. To promote students’
enthusiasm in learning English, such contests are indispensable. In those kinds of contests, they
would be able to realize that English brings success, fame, and even money.
Last but not least, I think, we can organize an English drama troupe consisting of all the students
who show interest in acting. This troupe performs regularly on campus. Through this interactions
of people in English communication, we can foresee great progress in students’ English ability.
Louise Class 17
November 6th, 2009 at 1:28 pm
Creating the English speaking environment in campus is a extremely good idea for English
learning. Maybe we can do something that we are able to to build up this English speaking
1. Change the tags (including the price and the name of the goods on sell) that placed in front of
the goods to bilingual. That will help the foreigners find what they want much more easily, and
also help us learn more English.
2. We can set some broadcasting receivers that broadcast English songs and news during daytime
all around the campus. Just like walking in Disney, it sounds good. We can hear more and learn
more just during walking.
3. The most important thing is more practice. Speak English more often with friends, teacher and
parents. It will work!
Grace Class 17
November 6th, 2009 at 5:15 pm
In my opinion, it’s necessary for us to create an English speaking environment at SYSU, in deed.
However, I cannot agree with the idea that erecting a double sided outdoor video wall on the north
central lawn for the nightly playing of English movies. I admit that watching English movies
actually can help create an ESE in our campus, as well as improve our oral English. But we have
to think over whether it works practically, such as it’s too many mosquitoes in summer, while it’s
too cold in winter, the noise, the cost, and so on.
So, my plan to create an ESE at SYSU is as follow:
1. All labels (including tags in canteen) in campus should be in bilingual. After the ABC
assignment, I realize that I know little about food names in English. Maybe the staff work in
canteen have no idea what English is, but we go to canteen couple times every day, knowing more
food names in English does help with daily communication in English, I think.
2. The school newspaper Youth of SYSU should come out with English version. Remember how
Victor in The Terminal learned English? The same thing may happen to us, too!
3. Nightly playing of English movies is a good idea, as long as it takes place indoor. So, find a
good place for this fantastic idea. We are going to create our English social party! Once you enter
the place, English is the only permission language. We watch English movies, talk about English
movies and chat with each other in English. I am sure we are going to have endless happy hours!
4. Last but not least, keep on doing ABC from now on. It’s not a public method. It’s all about
yourself. So, do it if you want to improve your English.
Bill Class 2
November 6th, 2009 at 9:34 pm
It is important to create an English speaking environment (ESE) in our college, not just in the
Holistic English class, but after class. However it is not an easy task. My suggestions are as
a) We can install the software such as Windows, Office, etc in English edition, not Chinese edition
in the public computers.
b) We can invite some foreigners to give some lectures for us students. And in the lecture, English
is the only one language which is permitted to be spoken.
c) We can provide some English books, or newspaper or magazines, etc, for the students in
If a student would like to speak English, he or she would create an English speaking environment
for himself/herself. But on the other hand, if a student does not want to speak English, he/she
would keep silent even if an English speaking environment has been established for him/her.
CHRISTMAS IN THE HOLISTIC ENGLISH LAB
The efficacy of Holistic English for Science majors is comparable to the efficacy of Holistic English
for Humanities majors. It has been decided to further expand Holistic English next semester (Spring
2010) to the students of Lingnan College and to again try the program with the students from the
School of Chinese Studies.7
The success of the Holistic English program prompted Dean Xia Jimei to the forward of the
forthcoming book “Of the Students, By the Students and For The Students.”
It is my great honor to be invited to write this foreword for Dr Martin Wolff’s new book. To be honest, it is my first
time to write a foreword in English for a foreign teacher’s book though I have written some previously for books in Chinese.
I accept the invitation because I admire Martin as one of my best foreign employees, career comrades, international
colleagues and educational friends in the TEFL field in China.
Martin’s educational concepts, methods, attitudes, acts and contributions impressed me by my class observation, our
casual chats, skimming his large number of teaching journals and the formal talks between us. His educational concepts
such as “holistic development through English learning”, “Chinglish is better than deaf and dumb English”, “non-native
English speakers talking to each other is like iron sharpens steel”, “acquiring English in the non-native English environment
needs man-made English immersion”, “be brave, never be a coward in opening your mouth speaking English” and the like,
agree with the updated foreign language educational beliefs and principles. Underneath the rationales, his teaching seems
Two classes from this school withdrew from Holistic English in the Spring 2009 term as previously reported.
very “pushy” and often too hard to accept by the Chinese students at the beginning, mostly because they were used to
instruction-based teaching and examination-driven learning for over 10 years of English classes. However, Martin pushed
them into the “English swimming pool” to “survive” which made them feel “unsafe”. First of all, he made his classroom
into a real English community in which only English is the unique communicative language. To some extent, to the
Chinese-native adults who are non-English majors, it is scary and difficult because they lack confidence and competence in
that community but loosing face every minute. Besides, he assigned a lot of after-class tasks requiring his students to
read/send English emails to each other every day, go surfing on the internet in English, watch the specially selected English
movies for culture studies, write movie comments and many other tasks, all in English. All these were regarded by many
students as forcing added burden onto them.
From the educational point of view, Martin is successfully practicing many modern educational conceptions and
methodologies such as student-centeredness, task/problem/project/action-based approaches, learning to speak by speaking
and practice makes perfect, autonomous learning and learning by doing, just as Dewey’s theory about “school is society”.
Martin’s teaching style is not by instruction in theory but by application in action. No matter how reluctant his students feel
at the beginning, as a result of his efforts, many of them transform, change and shift from “paper-score men” to “real-world
communicators” although the process is full of hardship or even culture shock resulting from misunderstanding. Some
students gave up, some complained, some took the action and achieved in the end. It turned out to be a test, a real test to the
Chinese students in many ways. It proved to be a challenge, a bi-folded challenge to both the teacher and the students.
Martin himself enjoyed the process and, most reward of all, the students’ positive changes, visible and invisible.
As a faculty of College English instruction in China for over 30 years myself, as a TBEL (task-based English Learning)
approach promoter and practitioner for over 10 years, and as an ELT researcher and teacher trainer, I really appreciate and
highly praise Martin’s educational spirits and career ethics. I try to conclude them into“3 Ls”, “3 Es” and “3 Ds”, i.e. since
he loves teaching, loves students and loves China; his teaching is enthusiastic, experienced and enjoyable out of his devoted,
diligent and demanding efforts. Facts prove that his teaching provides his thousands of students with lifelong benefits in the
multi-functional, multi-faceted, multi-effected holistic development journey. That is the destination target of higher
Read the book, you can find the practice, statistics, feedback and comments that record the great deeds. Read the
writers, you can feel their soul and mind. The key is, get the message from it: what’s wrong with the TEFL for the Chinese
students in their learning and what’s their potential? Get the hint from it: He can, they can, we can, and you can. Why not
With best wishes to a greater success in TEFL reform in China
XIA, Jimei (Angela)
Professor of English education
Dean of English Education Faculty
Sun Yat-sen University
written on the Spring Festival (Year of Tiger), Feb
Jenny Class 1
September 20th, 2009 at 9:29 am
I’ve been studying English for about 16 years. During these years, I’ve been taught in approximate ways so the fun of
English learning fades day after day. But the first day of this new semester, something changed. I met my first foreign
teacher, Doctor Wolff, kind of strict. But he’s one of the most responsible English teachers I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I was
shocked at the beginning. However, when I looked around the room, everything attracted me, colorful phases on walls,
smart red hats neatly placed on clean desks…Doctor Wolff treats us like his child and I always believe that every father
loves his kids. Holistic English is a new approach for me to experience, I do want to follow our teacher and enjoy the new
Andy Class 3
September 20th, 2009 at 9:38 am
Yes, yes, I must say that the things written in this article is actually true. Yes, I am in shock. I had several foreign teachers
before, but none of them like Prof. Martin. Prof. Martin is really a special teacher. Did your English teacher tell you a
password in the first class before? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Did your oral English teacher tell you the questions of
your final exam in the first class? And one of the questions is a tongue twister? I know that I will have special English
classes I never imagined before. It may bring me a new attitude about learning English. I really look forward to my oral
Tom class 14
September 20th, 2009 at 9:41 am
I was taught by foreign teachers during my middle school time. But I don’t like to be taught by them. They often asked us to
sing songs and to play games, which were so boring. I felt that they treated us as babies and the class looked like a
On the first day of Holistic English, I changed my thought. Mr. Wolff is not a young boy. All the foreign teachers I have
met before are also students learning in China. Mr. Wolff is a real old teacher teaching in china. I am looking forward to a
new experience with foreign teacher.
Mindy Class 14
September 20th, 2009 at 1:54 pm
After my first class of the Holistic English class, my impression on English class has changed completely.
The professor is so harsh that I find it difficult to adapt to his style. It seems that he is teaching us the rules needed to be an
excellent and successful person more than English. He said he could not accept the “just so-so” attitude, which is very
popular in China. He demanded that we follow instructions seriously, be prompt and responsible and it seems that there will
be no second chance if we make a mistake. I am really shocked by this culture difference but I will try my best to cope with
September 20th, 2009 at 2:41 pm
It really shocked me to see the banner written with “Chinglish spoken here”. It might be just a trick, because it is totally
opposed to my understanding. When I came into the classroom, a teacher with a full white beard was saying something
loudly and clearly, it suggests, to some extent, that he knows how to help us learn English or acquire English. Then, in his
speech, I find he is humorous and friendly teacher. In the first class, he emphasize two points—we need to learn or acquire
English rather than study, which I consider a new perspective; the other one is following instructions, which makes me
impressed. That is my experience; I met a responsible, enthusiastic, and kind of humorous teacher—professor Martin.
Joanna class 9
September 20th, 2009 at 2:50 pm
“You come to my class unprepared? This is a university, not a kindergarten, get out!” “Oh, it would be a tough day today!”
– by Martin Wolff.
There’s no doubt that Martin’s attitude shocked all of us during the first day of our oral English class. Oh, my god! He is so
strict! That’s my feeling. Then I found that his English is so good and I really like his accent. Yes, he is strict or even harsh.
Nevertheless, he is just the right one for us. He is humorous, passionate and responsible. So I will just follow him, enjoy the
class and make progress!
September 20th, 2009 at 2:54 pm
It is a new experience for me to take oral English with a foreign teacher face to face. That day, when I come in the
classroom, it’s difference from any room that I have study. The room looks like a café shop or a tea shop. Every table put
six hats and paper, and many English sentences hanging on the wall. First of all, I see the motto: One World, One Dream.
I’m so tense, because I don’t know how to say. Is that teacher strict or lovely? It’s strict. Some minutes later we know. The
different country, different cultures, different personalities of people raise. So, it’s a good chance for me to learn oral
English, maybe some good-quality, such as responsibility, accountability, promptness and so on. This is a good beginning.
September 20th, 2009 at 3:57 pm
Holistic English course is more than an English course! Not only can we speak English, but also we can see English, smell
English and drink English. Professor Wolff is as “harsh” as it can be. However, it is just because of his stricture that we’ve
gained things more than English knowledge merely from the first day class, things that will aid us in our lifetime. Try your
best to be as punctual and precise as you can. This is what Professor Wolff taught us in the first class. I have faith in myself
that I can gain a lot from this course.
Susan Class 14
September 20th, 2009 at 4:02 pm
Before I went into the classroom of oral English on Thursday afternoon, I was tired and sleepily. But, it stimulated me as
soon as the decoration of the classroom appeared in front of my eyes. Motto boards almost occupied the whole sidewall and
the desks on which there each were six red hats with letters “SPEAK ENGLISH” were not placed in right order. Another
one that attracted me simultaneously was Professor Martin. He was a fat man with bushy beard for which we almost could
not see his mouth and he had a loud and clear voice. Just as he said, he was really a strict professor. You were allowed to be
in the classroom unless you had the workbook and were not be late. During the class, do not nap or even inattentive,
otherwise you will miss some important information. So, we should be serious every second and I believe that like teacher,
Sunny Class 2
September 20th, 2009 at 4:04 pm
When I heard that my spoken English teacher was a foreigner last Monday, I was so excited and nervous, because I would
learn English with a foreigner for the first time. However, when I came into the classroom, I found that the amiable teacher
was so strict that I was afraid in the beginning. I was aware that I must study hard in order that I would not get an “F” in this
However, during the class, I also found that Professor Martin was an interesting, humorous and responsible teacher. He
brought us a friendly entertainment atmosphere instead of a rigorous academic education. Gradually, I began to enjoy the
course and feel happy in this classroom.
I believe that I can learn more oral communication skills and have a good time with my amiable but strict teacher in this
September 20th, 2009 at 5:02 pm
It’s such a big shock for me in our first oral English class. Firstly, some classmates didn’t allow to enter the classroom
because of no book. “You come to my class unprepared, get out”, the word made me nervous. When I entered into the
classroom, I found many mottos on the wall and many red hats on the desks. I realized this oral English course is very
special. Then, the professor introduced himself, he told us about his kids, his experience, and so on, all these taught me a lot
thing. I really believe we will learn a lot useful thing from this course, not only about study, but also about life.
Eric Class 1
September 20th, 2009 at 5:05 pm
It’s an exciting class that I’ve never experienced before.
When I entered the classroom, I noticed that there were no Chinese words, there were many English Inspirational mottoes
on the wall. It’s an absolutely English atmosphere.
Professor Martin Wolff was really strict. No Chinese was allowed in the room, except us; these who did not bring their
books must leave; and many other requests. Professor Martin Wolff emphasized English acquisition in a relaxed atmosphere
not English learning in a academic atmosphere, it’s a new idea to us. On the other hand, Professor Martin Wolff is
humorous and have a gift of acting, he made the class vividly and the room was filled with laughter.
In all, it’s an impressive class, and I enjoy it very much. Professor Martin Wolff, you are Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Sara class 8
September 20th, 2009 at 5:19 pm
In fact, it’s my first time to have an oral English class with a foreign teacher. Although I have learned English for about ten
years, I know my English level is poor. The classroom is so different, and Professor Martin is also a man of character.
Everything is amazing. Mr. Wolff’s western style impressed me favourably. “Out”, he cried to those people who didn’t
bring a book or was late. And he never allows us to speak Chinese in the classroom. At the first, maybe it’s a little hard for
us to obey his demand, but I think the entire English environment is good for our improvement.
September 20th, 2009 at 5:25 pm
When I went to the 4th floor, I found that the students who did not have the workbook were not allowed to sit in the
classroom and they were waiting for the book in another room. When I was qualified to go into the classroom, it is
impressive for me that the seats were grouped, not in rows, and that there are a lot of pieces of papers with proverbs on the
wall. What is most exciting is that we are able to drink coffee or tea while listening to the teacher or talking with other
To be honest, although the teacher, Mr. Martin Wolff, is very strict, I would like to go to his class because the content of his
class is impressive and that class is the most interesting English Class.
Joe Class 8
September 20th, 2009 at 5:58 pm
Honestly speaking, I was really shocked when I entered the oral English classroom. With tables and chairs set in groups and
large number of colorful slogans pasted on walls, it seemed like a coffee shop instead of a classroom! And our teacher, Dr
Martin, was also beyond expectation. I’ve had several oral classes since my junior high school, and every foreign teacher
was characteristic. Dr Martin reminded me of Tony, who was the first foreign teacher in my life, especially with the
announcement “NO CHINESE IN MY CLASS”. But I think Dr Martin is stricter and more professional. Anyway, it’s a
I admitted I need to pay more attention on practicing oral English right now, and finish every trifle that I can do, including
bringing the red cap to class, remembering the password “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, saying “hello” when
answering any phone call and so on. Those who can not do trivial things can not accomplish great things.
Sally Class 3
September 20th, 2009 at 6:05 pm
I was really in shock from the moment I was entering the classroom. The layout of the classroom and the mottos on the wall
were so special. What impressed me most was Prof. Martin. He is a humorous and kindly man; he gave each of us a red hat,
told us many interesting experiences and sang a beautiful song in class. The classroom was filled with laughter. On the other
hand, he is probably the strictest teacher I’ve ever met. He gave us many rules to follow and even wanted us to dream in
English. But I know these are all good for us. Thank you, Prof. Martin. I’ll work hard on my English and enjoy it.
Tina Class nine
September 20th, 2009 at 7:04 pm
The first oral English lesson is impressive, because it’s the first time we were not allowed enter the classroom without
textbook, I thought in my heart “how strict the teacher is”. Fortunately, the oral English teacher gave us a chance to have
lesson in that night. From that moment I know this teacher really responsible.
When I met an old American man has a beard like Santa Claus, I thought he must be my oral English teacher, but I
preferred to call him professor, because he did not taught us English knowledge just like other teachers, but taught us
founding the English study way with our own feature, and encouraged us speak English out. He told us there is no shortcut
to improve English, unless reading more, listen more, speak more and write more, and use holistic English method to guide
I am very honored to have the opportunity to have holistic English, but I am even more fortunate to have encountered such a
Hawkins class 14
September 20th, 2009 at 7:08 pm
I have learned English so many years and met a lot of English teachers including some foreigners. But Professor Martin and
his Holistic English are totally a new experience. Honestly, the English class time is always boring for me. But this time
was different. Class time spent so fast. Professor Martin, not Farther Christmas or Colonel Harland Sanders, has a good
sense of humour. In his class, we learned not only oral English, but also how to be a successful man in future. Professor
Martin is also a strict old man. Maybe good teachers are always strict. In addition, I learned a new word
September 20th, 2009 at 8:26 pm
This is interesting! The moment I walked into the classroom which didn’t look like a regular one, a little question just
popped out to me: was I going to have a class? The room was so beautifully decorated that it made me think we were going
to have fun here. But, just a while, I found out that the teacher was very strict and had no tolerance about any childish
attitude. Actually, I was once taught by a foreign teacher in high school. But that was just for fun. The class was over, and
nothing did I get. This time, I knew the teacher was serious and he even bought everyone a red hat with his own money. As
for me, I’m going to make good use of this opportunity to improve my English and learn something else important to my
Phoebe class 9
September 20th, 2009 at 9:29 pm
Unfortunately, my first oral English class on Tuesday morning was cancelled because none of our classmates had taken the
yellow book. I never thought it a problem to have a class without a book before. But this time, “no book, no entry”. The
teacher was so strict, but still responsible-our class was rescheduled at that night. And the first thing I learned from the oral
English class was to take everything seriously and be responsible.
The atmosphere of the class that night was really free and enjoyable. Different from our traditional English class, students
were seated in groups so that we can communicate with each other conveniently and in a friendly environment. The teacher
made an introduction to Holistic English and told us the instructions that we should follow in a humorous way. The whole
classroom was fraught with laughter.
September 20th, 2009 at 10:28 pm
In my opinion, before this Saturday, any oral English class is funny but useless. The foreign teacher just told some joke,
played some games or sang some songs. This Saturday, I was arranged to an oral English class again. When I got into the
special classroom, a Father Christmas look foreigner, Prof. Martin Wolff, asked me whether I have brought my yellow book.
Fortunately, I had noticed the sentence “No book- No entry” on the textbook. So I gained entry. During the 2 hour class,
Prof. Wolff told us much about how to improve our oral English. That’s totally different from my experience before!
Terry Class 14
September 20th, 2009 at 11:08 pm
How amazing! That’s my first impression when I came into the classroom for the first oral English lesson. The layout of the
tables was quite different, and we could sit down face to face. I felt very good in this Environment, but a bit nervous at the
same time because my English is so poor. Then Mr. Wolff started our lesson. He is humorous but strict. The teaching style
was funny and fresh, which I had never seen during my last 10 years’ English lessons. I think in the lesson, Mr. Wolff
teaches us not only the knowledge of how to improve our oral English but also the attitude to do a job, such as sense of
discipline and self-confidence. For example I felt confident from the motto I learned form the lesson. “Whenever you are
asked if you can do a job, tells ‘em, Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” I find that I am beginning to
enjoy this lesson.
Edward Class 2
September 20th, 2009 at 11:24 pm
“This semester, you are not going to study English, or to learn English, you’re going to acquire English!”
These were the most impressive words Professor Martin said in my first oral English class. There had been so many
teachers told me that not to study English as the way I studied mathematics, doing the homework and then leave it behind.
Yes, everybody knows that learning English at a formal class with a textbook and a lot of homework will never work. But
how to do then? “To acquire!” Professor Martin said, and that’s the exact word that I needed to know. Acquire, to acquire
When saying acquire, that would be a completely different thing from what I have learned. I can learn every knowledge in
the classes, but only in the coffee shop when I’m talking with my friends, in the balcony when I’m doing body exercises, in
the cinema when I’m watching a movie, can I really acquire English. Yes, I should acquire English in everyday life and
work, that’s what really helps me.
I’m really looking forward to the lecture that would be held on next Wednesday by Professor Martin, to know the secret of
learning English. Hope that I can seize the last chance in my college years, and finally, really acquire oral English
Jim class 8
September 20th, 2009 at 11:44 pm
“Listen carefully with heart, speak loudly with mouth”, that is my greatest feeling in my first oral English class. When I
entered the Room 416 in the 3rd teaching building and seated, Mr. Martin Wolff appeared, then spoke with us cordially.
This scene struck me strongly because I had never was close to a foreign teacher and took part in the talking activity with so
genuine English. In the class, you should focus all your energy and language skill into catch the words what Mr. Martin said,
if not, you probably did not get the meanings he wanted to express. In the other hand, Mr. Martin encouraged us to speak
English more everywhere in daily life. Also, he stress that he would check out the English usage of ours through mobile
phone or dialogue. In his eyes, English is not only communication measures, but can bring us some funny experiences, such
as singing English songs, watching English movies, and so on. In my view, I very sincerely appreciated Martin, who
enlightened me to rethink of the study of English in another way. And I will make my efforts in the way he suggested, then I
believe, if hold on, I will obtain more and more fun in the English studying.
Tom Class 3
September 21st, 2009 at 12:00 am
I have learned English for at least 10 years, but it is not until I took part in the postgraduate oral English lesson last week did
I know what is true English learning, the teacher of which is Professor Martin Wolff.
The wall of the classroom was full of slogans, paintings and other things which give us confidence on English study, and the
most important, they make the atmosphere of the classroom active, peaceful and enjoyable. After tow impressing, exciting
and peaceful lessons, I began to know that most, if not all, of us, as the Professor said, will be successful not only in our
English, but also in our future lives, and I believe in that it will be easy for us “to work for a foreign company, joint venture
company or Chinese company that deals with foreigners” with our wonderful oral English, opening mind, warm heart and
positive attitude that are needed in whatever job the teacher teaches us. Because the aim of the Professor is to transform the
English study from memory into practical use.
We are lucky enough to be in this class, and the hat on the desk the Professor gave us will remind us to study English
continually, improve our oral English gradually and none of us doubt that we will have a good time from now on with each
Shirley2 Class 4
September 23rd, 2009 at 1:20 pm
I had thought that the oral English classes were just easy jobs for me after having learnt English for thirteen years. But when
I stepped into the classroom, I realized I was wrong. The atmosphere actually shocked me. The long time of studying
English in a rigid and non-incentive way has worn out my passion for English. Martin made me to reconsider the meanings
of learning English. I forgot something important in the course of English study. They were proud, happiness and
encouragement. I showed my appreciation for Martin. I thought I would find these significant feelings in Holistic English.
Emma Class 4
September 23rd, 2009 at 3:49 pm
The class is really so different. Creating a total environment only to speak English is an excellent job. What shocked me
most was Martin telling us to be mature and act like a pg student. It is a lesson everyone should take seriously. And we were
allowed to speak all kinds of English even Chinglish, which I thought a good way to communication. After all, the purpose
of language studies is to communicate. We did have a lot fun during the class as we were told to. After the class I try things
that I never did before. I answer phone calls in English while others don’t get what’s happening. Besides that, I also expect a
lot about Martin’s guitar and music.
Young Class 5
September 23rd, 2009 at 4:22 pm
Before entering the Holistic English Lab, I still felt it’s unnecessary to learn English as a postgraduate, because
postgraduates should devote themselves to the current research which made them have no time for English classes.
However, Professor Wolff gave me a hard blow on this idea. I began to felt nervous when professor harshly told the
students without the workbooks out of the class. As time passed, I was deeply impressed by the disciplines of the class.
Professor told us the importance of responsibility. And I also realized that English is very important for post-graduate
student whatever their majors are.
Constance Class 4
September 23rd, 2009 at 5:05 pm
I think I’m always lucky, because I meet good people and interesting things all the time. And this time I met a fantastic
English teacher ——Pro. Martin Wolff when I realized I’m not confident in my oral English. From Martin’s first class, I
learned how to pronounce ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ and understood that we can learn English well as if we just
think we are in an English language country and use English whenever we need to use a spoken language. I think I have got
through the first step in constructing my confidence in oral English, thanks to Pro. Martin Wolff. And I believe I can be
better and better at English during Martin’s excellent teaching.
* This is not an exceptional comment, but “crazy like Jigsaw” (the Saw franchise) made me LOL.
September 23rd, 2009 at 7:05 pm
When I went into holistic English lab, the interior decoration of the classroom made me excited. When Professor Wolff
started to evict students who didn’t bought the workbook he required, I think he is odd. When he told us to follow his
instructions strictly and criticized a lady loudly in front of us, I told myself he must be crazy, like Jigsaw. But, when the
lesson was over, I accept and respect the old man. What he wants us to acquire is what our education failed to give us. I
think he is a really good teacher. When we are talking about western style education, something that is free, democratic,
students as center, and so on, Professor Wolff’s manner that looks extremely strict and rigid, just like our traditional
education approach in some way, give us some fresh air. It is ironic.
Lizzy Class 5
September 23rd, 2009 at 9:28 pm
I used to consider Oral English Class as a funny and easy time just to watch movies and chat with classmates. However,
Professor Martin Wolff totally changed my view. Martin looked so kind, meanwhile he was very strict as well, who insisted
“no book-no entry.” Frankly speaking, I felt a little scared at the beginning. Afterward Martin told us about his family, his
students, his way of educating his children and students and his expectation for our future. He encouraged us to speak out
and not to worry about making mistakes. After the class, I became more and more confident that I would improve my
speaking English with the help of Holistic English
Jack Woods Class 6
September 23rd, 2009 at 10:43 pm
At the first sight of the banner with “Chingland” and “Chinglish” near the English classroom, I regained the exactly same
feeling as I came across a funny word “Chinamerica” at the homepage of yahoo world news. I told myself, “Wow, it seems
that I might be lucky enough to meet a creative teacher. Fantastic!” To be honest, I think my classmates’ English level, of
course including mine, is not so bad already and the traditional teaching methods are helpless but just time-killing. So,
something new sounded amazing.
Thank God, there was a difference indeed! To some extent I might disagree with Martin’s aggressiveness, but I liked his
straightness and honesty. What’s more, the room’s environment, the class’s atmosphere and especially, Martin’s attitude
towards English teaching and learning, were very attractive to me. Yeah, he hit the point. English is just an instrument
which helps our communication, that’s all. When we learn it, we use it, simple and clear.
One hour passed by quickly and Martin didn’t let me down, he drew a colourful blueprint. When the class was over, I
stepped out the classroom with a little bit of unwillingness as well as the looking-forward to next class.
Alex Class 7
September 23rd, 2009 at 11:21 pm
Yesterday was wonderful! I found that the oral English class which I took yesterday was so different from the oral classes
I’ve taken before. When I came into the classroom which is called as a “lab”, I was strongly shocked. It is very special that
the whole classroom was decorated by colourful paper streamers with English mottoes on them. The desks and chairs were
specially organized, which were totally different from the traditional classroom in our campus. All of these built an
atmosphere that was comfortable and lively for study. The English teacher Professor Martin, a humorous American elder,
was also very special. He was affable but very strict. There are many rules for us to obey in the class. If anyone of us
disobeys the rules, Professor Martin will become very angry just looks like a volcano that is going to burst out! The most
important thing I learned from this lesson was that it’s no need to be afraid of speaking English and to worry about making
mistakes. As Professor Martin said, just leave “the face” in the dorm. I think it is a great opportunity for us to improve our
oral English and I will try my best. Just enjoy the class!
September 25th, 2009 at 8:25 pm
It’s one of the most meaningful lessons in my whole life. And I had never experienced such a special English lesson:
different furnishings, different teaching way, different requirement and so on. On the first sight, every classmate would have
the same idea that it was too bad to have this lesson. However, after Professor Wolff’s explanation, my thought had changed.
As the professor said, since we want to master English in reality, we need a pure English environment. I think this is
appropriate. I believe this English lesson will be of great help to our upgrade. Thanks, Professor Wolff, to offer us such a
Peter Class 16
September 25th, 2009 at 10:34 pm
When I cam to 4th floor oral English classroom, I see a strange big red banner written “Chinglish Spoken Here”. I
remember that my senior high school teacher said that Chinglish is not a good thing that one use Chinese thought to speak
English. So I puzzled why the professor would allow us to speak Chinglish. Was my former English teacher wrong, or the
The other thing shock me is that the professor’s pronunciation is more clear than my entire former teachers. My college
English teacher is also a foreigner, but his pronunciation is not as good as Mr. Martin. My listening English is very bad, but
I can understand what the professor said.
I think I will love the oral English course.
Gertie Class 18
September 26th, 2009 at 3:06 pm
When I entered the Holistic English Lab for the first moment, I realized it was unique. Colorful maxims on the wall, red
chairs round several desks and freely used water made me feel it was a comfortable classroom with a conversational
atmosphere. In the class, Professor Martin told us a lot about his family and talented students, and his humor made us blur
out laughter a lot. Besides, I was shocked by his attitude that “so-so” is a big NO NO! I was aware of the significance of
forming a strict and serious attitude towards my study and future jobs. “Don’t take your face to the class!” Marin said. I
realized, prompting our English speaking skill is not the only goal, but building confidence and courage to speak. Not
English learning but English acquisition will bring us progress. Henceforth, I will try my best, wishing I can improve my
oral English with the help of our strict but nice Professor Martin.
Lucy Class O2
September 28th, 2009 at 12:14 am
Seeing the poster on the door on which there was ‘Holistic English Lab’, I could not stop laughing. Let me tell you why. We
have been in school since we were five or six years old, which implies we are skilled at passing all kinds of exams without
actually taking in the knowledge. And suddenly, there comes a naive teacher who uses his heart to prepare for his classes. I
felt pity for this teacher’s hard work at that moment because very few would take it seriously.
However, my view totally changed after the first class. The teacher, a Father-Christmas-like American, is the most devoted
teacher I have ever seen in my entire life. Even a foreigner could work so hard at improving our English, and I can’t see any
reason why we do not endeavor ourselves