How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby Ducked » 07 Jul 2012, 09:23

tomthorne wrote:I would get out of the mindset that you are going to be teaching English literature to enthralled and enthralling students who can't wait to devour the literary greats. This could lead to immense disappointment on your part. Approach the lessons as much bigger buxiban classes with slightly older kids, and you'll be more satisfied. Most of the unis will run reading classes, but not with the level of student engagement you seem to be looking for :wink: .


Check. I dunno how typical this is but I can perhaps give you an idea of how it works here.

A few years ago the school decreed that Freshman English class external reading, which is as close as we get to "literature" should be worth 25% of the assessment. This was a response to the complaint that, at 15%, they didn't bother to read it.

I pointed out that, at 25%, they STILL wouldn't bother to read it, so we'd have a choice between failing over half of them, or faking it. The response was the usual smoke-and-mirrors reality-defying bullshit.

Taiwanese teachers would NEVER fake it, and we could and should fail over half of them, "if they deserved it".

I dunno what Taiwanese teachers do, but I understand they don't fail very many. I fake it, and I still fail about 20-25%, nearly all on the external reading component.

Faking it, for me, involves 3 piss-easy open-book tests a semester backed up by a movie-of-the-book, and I drop the lowest score. They don't bring the book to the open-book tests, and they sleep through the movie.

EDIT: That's as accomodating as I'm prepared to be at the moment, but, judging by the teeth-sucking when I hand in my grades (24% failure rate this year) if the slide continues I'll have to start "adjusting" the pass-rate in future, if there is a future. This is widely practiced, and I've been given a few vague-to-incomprehensible descriptions of "statistical techniques" in use by Taiwanese teachers.

Once you start that, of course, if you set multiple choice questions they can/will actually answer, any amount of monkeys can pass, and I'll bet they do.

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ENDEDIT

I gather that another Taiwanese teacher solution is to assess ER as a homework "essay". I tried that and I got a very limited selection of cloned/cut and pasted answers, endlessly repeated, warts and all, but if you ignored that, it might work, especially as the assessment will be subjective.

For the last couple of years I've ("illegally") used the Penguin Graded Reader version of The Godfather, with the film. I used to use About a Boy which worked quite well, but it went out of print, and would be stretched rather thinly over two semesters at 25%. Penguin Readers have been dropped off the approved list by the school for reasons unknown, and I'm supposed to change to an Oxford Bookworm Classic, which I don't like and will ignore for as long as possible.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby xtrain » 08 Jul 2012, 07:56

Quentin wrote:Well, I sent out emails last night and have already gotten a nibble. But of course they don't hire over the internet (what reputable uni would?). This would be a lot easier if I were physically in Taiwan, without the hassle of having to fly in and wait several months until I can start a job. Maybe I'll just have to fly in, work for a dodgy buxiban for a few months, and spend the spare time doing interviews.

I've just been surfing the websites of private/technical/science universities and emailing the directors of the Applied English programs. It's a bit of a search because nearly all of them have horribly sub-standard English language websites (poorly written with skimpy info), and my Chinese reading skills are pretty rusty. But I've figured out the characters for "Faculty" and "Applied Foreign Languages" by now.

Now there's a job opportunity for an enterprising native English speaker with good writing skills -- it seems that all of these universities want to attract international students, judging from their websites.


They don't care/see the point.

I told my previous department on a number of occasions that I would clean up the English so that it would make sense for potential students/instructors (quoting them a very reasonable rate), and never once heard back. It wasn't about the money, as the university paid me obscene amounts to do editing on numerous other yearly projects. Also, someone "qualified" has done the current job for nothing.
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This post was recommended by creztor (08 Jul 2012, 09:38)
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby Ducked » 08 Jul 2012, 08:47

DP

But, as I'm here anyway, I'll just say that
Ducked wrote: "statistical techniques" in use by Taiwanese teachers.
is a bit hard to believe.

I once spent a couple of hours with a blackboard and a calculator explaining to my Head of Department that, since I was working out a % score, the total number of scorable points in my exam didn't have to add up to 100, so a maximum total of 90 or 118 was not "impossible", as she'd insisted.

I had to repeat it at a departmental meeting later. Don't think anyone got it.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby tomthorne » 08 Jul 2012, 09:55

Quentin wrote:
Now there's a job opportunity for an enterprising native English speaker with good writing skills -- it seems that all of these universities want to attract international students, judging from their websites.


Ah, now you're entering into the realm of face. I've had this concept explained to me many times but still don't understand it. Basically, making the entire university look like arrogant fools is LESS embarrassing than admitting that one of the senior chaps (or relative of) can't actually write better English than a native speaker.

This occurs on a national level, too.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby bismarck » 08 Jul 2012, 12:42

tomthorne wrote:
Quentin wrote:
Now there's a job opportunity for an enterprising native English speaker with good writing skills -- it seems that all of these universities want to attract international students, judging from their websites.


Ah, now you're entering into the realm of face. I've had this concept explained to me many times but still don't understand it. Basically, making the entire university look like arrogant fools is LESS embarrassing than admitting that one of the senior chaps (or relative of) can't actually write better English than a native speaker.

This occurs on a national level, too.

And if they do let you do it, they'll just edit it to the "correct" version anyway, because everyone KNOWS Taiwanese have a better grasp of English grammar than native speakers. Silly of you to think otherwise. :no-no:
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby Quentin » 09 Jul 2012, 08:02

Insisting on Phds is silly, because no one with a reputable Phd would want to work in Taiwan, and trying to fill the gap with Taiwanese Phds is even sillier, because a Phd from a Taiwanese university isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby ādikarmika » 09 Jul 2012, 10:18

Quentin wrote:Insisting on Phds is silly, because no one with a reputable Phd would want to work in Taiwan,

Whether they gained their PhD from a highly ranked foreign university or not, there are quite a few foreign academics who choose to work here long-term. Taiwanese university positions offer a secure job with a (relatively) easy teaching workload (9 hrs per week, 16 weeks per semester), which leaves enough time to get on with your own reading and writing. That's all you want, really.

Then there's the many affordable attractions of the Taiwanese lifestyle. :)

Quentin wrote:and trying to fill the gap with Taiwanese Phds is even sillier, because a Phd from a Taiwanese university isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

A PhD is like a driver's license. Just as a driver's license shows that you can basically drive a car from A to B, a PhD merely proves that you have the basic capacity to undertake extended research. What you do with that ability is far more important than where you got your PhD or whether you did it under the British or American system.

AFAIK, like universities the world over, Taiwanese universities will be more interested in hiring someone with a PhD from a modestly ranked university, but a strong publication record, than someone from a highly ranked university but without much in the way of publications. (Issues of guanxi aside, of course.)


While your post obviously contains a fair amount of hyperbole, I suspect you may have to adjust your attitude a little if you're serious about working in the Taiwanese higher education system. As you will have read in my earlier post on this thread, due to the low birth rate in Taiwan in recent years, universities here are now trying to attact students from other Asian countries. They must do this by increasing their research output and thus lifting their rankings above those of universities in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and China .

IMO, they will also have to appear (on paper, at least) to be innovative and to offer something substantial in the way of teaching real, transferable skills, rather than just facts, if they are to be successful in this survival strategy. This applies to the teaching of your subject, English literature, as much as it does to any other subject.

Taiwanese universities that are unable to compete will not survive. Remember, we have 165 universities here. As a sobering comparison, it is worth noting that Australia, which has a similar size population has, I believe, just 39.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby Ducked » 09 Jul 2012, 11:05

adikarmika wrote:IMO, they will also have to appear (on paper, at least) to be innovative and to offer something substantial in the way of teaching real, transferable skills, rather than just facts, if they are to be successful in this survival strategy.


This would appear to imply (critical) thinking skills.

IMO and perception, there is massive, deeply entrenched cultural resitance to that at all levels of the society.

The word "doomed" springs to mind.

If, OTOH, it implies US-Management-stylee bullshitting /smoke and mirrors skills, I'd say they were in with a chance.
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby Quentin » 09 Jul 2012, 12:11

The more I look into this, the more I'm inclined to Korea, despite the fact that I have zero interest in Korean culture and language, and I loved my life in Taiwan (financial considerations aside -- that's the main reason I left in the first place. Working 14 hours a week eats at your soul).
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Re: How does one find a university teaching position in Taiwan?

Postby creztor » 10 Jul 2012, 16:34

S. Korea would be better, at least in terms of a job. There are plenty of full-time university jobs there that will accept MA holders. It may not be the "best" job in the world, but one would think that it has to be better than running around between three to four universities in Taiwan working split shifts trying to make a living.
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