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Foreign teacher's different approach gets results


09:02, July 10, 2013

GUANGZHOU, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Under China's college entrance exam system that is widely believed destiny-shaping, English teacher and form tutor Neil Porteous has amazed others with the excellent scores his students achieved in the test in June.

All 45 students in his class in Shimen High School in the city of Foshan, south China's Guangdong Province, passed with good enough results to access the country's key universities.

Six of them ranked among the top 100 in the province, where 727,000 students took the exam, also known as gaokao.

The 31-year-old Brit said the students were smart, while his pupils and colleagues said his teaching and tutoring methods were the reason for the success.

Graduated from the Lincoln College of Oxford University, Porteous planned a "gap year" teaching and traveling in China 10 years ago.

He enjoyed it so much he stayed.

"I'd been thinking about going to teach in England when I went back, but gradually I realized that since I enjoyed teaching here, then why not stay here," said Porteous, who speaks fluent Chinese.

Unlike Chinese teachers who like students to respect their authority and control students, Porteous treats everybody as an equal, according to his pupils.

"Neil never forces us to do anything, and his student-oriented thinking should be acknowledged," said Zheng Jiaxin, one of his pupils who has been offered a place at China's renowned Peking University.

Porteous is also a teacher full of surprises.

"Seeing us buried in schoolwork, he brought us fruit, chicken soup, porridge and Italian food. He even played guitar and sang for us sitting on stairs," Zheng recalled, adding the such "seemingly rebellious acts" helped ease the pressure that is put on students.

During English class, Porteous also introduced written English materials apart from just textbooks.

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