臺南市二官語政策推動3年已有具體的成果,在各層面皆已建立機制、奠定基礎。市府:正是因為環境現況不佳,更需要好的政策來引導!OEASOL: significant results have been made under the EASOL policy

2018-06-28

行政院長賴清德在臺南市長任內提出為期十年的計畫,要推動英語成為臺南市第二官方語言政策,並邀集各界的領袖菁英召開「推動英語臺南市為第二官方語言委員會」、成立「第二官方語言專案辦公室」,負責督導、規畫相關計畫,並管考執行成果。

  二官辦指出,這三年來,在市府團隊努力之下,臺南市二官語政策推動已有具體的成果,在各層面皆已建立機制、奠定基礎,獲得外界肯定,被國際媒體稱為「領頭羊」。雖仍有許多值得深化、擴展之處,但臺南市在英語推動上的努力,是不容抹滅的。

有民代質疑臺南缺乏說英語的環境、觀光地區使用外語機會不多,難以將英語落實到市民生活中,然而,這是臺灣整體大環境的問題,臺灣作為島國,說外語的機會原本就較少,不像歐洲國家比鄰各國,常有語言交換的機會。但是換個角度思考,正是因為環境現況不佳,更需要好的政策來引導!推動英語友善環境營造、提昇下一代英語力,是一條正確、且必須走得路,現在不做,更待何時?

英語力提昇是「滴水穿石」的事,民代怎能期待短短三年,臺南市府、議會人人都在講英語?任何曾在英語下過苦工的成人都知道,以個人英語力來說,不要說三年,十年要把英語練到好都不容易,必須每天投入大量時間精力練習,何況是整個城市要把英語轉化成市民日常使用的語言?但即使推動二官語的團隊都非常清楚這是艱鉅的任務,仍堅信:提昇英語力計畫或許無法立竿見影,但若現在不推動、站在原地不動,20年、30年後,恐仍維持目前臺灣人不敢開口講英語的現況。「不怕慢、只怕站在原地不動」。我們不希望20年後,下一代年輕人來質疑我們這一代「為什麼不推動英語?」。也因認知到成人學英語的困難度,二官語政策的重中之重,是放在提升國小學生的英語聽說能力,把握孩子學習語言的黃金時期,期使下一代能自由運用英語作為溝通語言。

這一代四五六年級生,通常英語聽力、口說能力較閱讀、寫作能力差,是因為過去升學考試制度只注重筆試成績,造成英語僅是應付考試的學科、而非應用、溝通的工作。臺南市政府近年來正試圖改變,除了鼓勵英語教師以英語授課,更推出「雙語教學試辦計畫」,亦即英語融入其他科目教學。成大研究團隊提出報告,指出「雙語教學試辦成效良好,國外學者以『跳躍式的進步』來形容臺南」。此研究成果將於七月份在英國國際研討會上發表。而為了讓學生有更多聽、說英語的機會,二官辦刻正招募英語為母語之台僑志工至國中小學參與英語教學及活動。多管齊下,就是試圖改變學生對英語學習的態度、教師教學的方式,讓英文成為「溝通工具」而非僅限於考試用的「學科」,期待厚植下一代英語力。

此外,在提昇英語力方面,二官辦還辦理「英語閱讀季」、「瘋棒球學英語」提供市民免費英語學習課程,希望透過親子英語學習,鼓勵市民學英語;公務人員部分,則是鼓勵各單位組成「英語共學小組」、市府人事處也開辦英語簡報菁英班、辦理英語簡報競賽..等等活動,讓公務人員提升英語口說能力。

二官辦表示,從多益普及(TOEIC Bridge)測驗1500個免費名額被秒殺,「2018英語閱讀季-粉紅豬小妹故事屋」未演先轟動,尚未正式召開記者會,參加名額早被搶光,就可以看出臺南市民學習英語的高度需求,以上活動皆由企業贊助,尤其是「臺南市富樂夢教育基金會」所捐贈的贊助款,更是二官辦辦理活動主要經費來源,期待民代看見民意的走向,支持市府編列相關預算辦理英語推廣計畫與活動。

除了為提昇英語力建立機制、奠定基礎,市府亦積極營造英語友善環境,包含「政府文書資訊雙語化」、「公共設施、公共服務雙語化」、「工商服務雙語化」,更推出全國首創的「市民英語資源網」讓臺南市民「時時可學、處處可學」。

市府透過「英語友善EF 標章計畫」,輔導包括民宿、店家、攤商等十類業種,逐步建置友善環境,例如公車提供雙語服務,提供雙語APP、QR CODE;協助古蹟、文創園區建置雙語環境,為服務人員提供英語課程語;培訓英語導覽解說員,還有為公車司機、計程車司機開設英語課程、為計程車司機印製手指書,上面羅列打招呼、目的地、車資等中英訊息,司機若遇到外國人,雙方語言不通,拿出手指書用指的就能達到溝通目的,手指書上附的QR code,更讓司機可以隨時學上一兩句能回應載送外國人需求的英語;協助超過500家以上的店家印製雙語菜單,包含餐廳業者、夜市攤商、伴手禮店..等等,方便外國人點餐、購物;輔導寺廟建置雙語環境,讓外籍人士瞭解拜拜的流程、禁忌等等,協助其更瞭解寺廟文化。

 二官辦表示,這些工作默默的進行,但已經收到相當正面的成效。服務於高雄市的原臺南市民黃先生表示,「陪父母在臺南閒逛時,發現寺廟中竟有神明的英語、一般的小吃餐廳竟也提供雙語菜單,感到非常驚奇,故鄉正在進步中」。亦曾有歐盟官員寫信給市府,表示臺南市府對於英語環境營造之用心,讓他印象深刻。原來這位官員於市府參訪結束後,在私下的行程中進入一間不特別起眼的麵館,結果驚訝發現這店竟有提供雙語菜單服務,讓他有超出預想、感到貼心的體驗。

 二官辦表示,二官語政策兩大軸心「提昇英語力」「營造英語友善環境」基礎扎根工作已收到正面成效。而也因為推動績效良好,深獲外界肯定,因此短短三年湧入不少贊助資源,除了「臺南市富樂夢教育基金會」沈坤照董事長捐贈現金2000萬,尚有許多資源挹注,包含國內知名空中英語教室(Studio Classroom)贊助臺南市民價值9000萬的英語線上學習資源、「多益普及(TOEIC Bridge)」贊助1500個測驗名額、臺灣第一大線上英語學習平台Voicetube贊助臺南企業員工價值600萬的學習資源。足見南市府二官語政策推動獲得市民、企業廣大支持。

During his term of office as the mayor of Tainan, premier William Lai drafted a long-term plan to adopt English as the second official language of Tainan over a span of ten years. He gathered experts in various professions to establish the Committee of Making English Tainan’s Second Official Language, as well as Tainan City Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL), which has since been responsible for directing, organizing, and conducting affairs regarding this matter and supervising the latest progress of the plan.

The spokesperson of OEASOL stated that the results of the EASOL policy are significant; several foundations have been laid and are recognized by foreign media, who praised the systematic fashion in which bilingual education is carried out in Tainan, calling the city a pioneer in this field. Though there is still space for further improvement and expansion, the endeavors of Tainan City Government are undeniable.

There have been local representatives who casted doubt on Tainan City as an environment devoid of opportunities to speak English, which, according to them, is difficult to be popularized among civilians and in tourist areas. This issue is, however, common throughout Taiwan and a result of its geographic nature: unlike in Europe where language exchanges are more likely to happen between adjacent nations, Taiwan as an island is isolated from countries that speak foreign languages. This is why a comprehensive policy is needed to break the barrier. It is utterly important, if not absolutely necessary, to ameliorate the English-speaking environment and enhance the next generation’s English proficiency. Are we to sit quietly and remain indifferent to this subject?

Enhancing citizens’ English abilities is like penetrating a rock with dripping water: patience is needed and noticeable results will not be immediately attainable. Hence, it would be absurd for one to expect all employees in the Tainan City Government and local parliament to be fluent in English within three years. An immense amount of practice and time is required for anyone who strives to master in English or even just use it in daily conversations; the challenge to make Tainan an English-speaking city is understandably difficult. OEASOL is acutely aware of this yet more than determined to carry this “mission impossible,” believing that maintaining the status quo would not change anything in the long run -- people would still avoid using English. “Our enemy is not slow growth but inaction.” the spokesperson of the office argued, “we are eager to prevent a future where young adults question, ‘why didn’t the government do something?’” Noticing that it is considerably harder for adults to learn English, the EASOL policy places an emphasis on bilingual education in primary schools and secondary schools, where students could start learning English young and more efficiently.

Taiwanese people who were born between the 50s and 70s are often weaker in listening and speaking compared to reading and writing in English due to the traditional system of high-stakes exams where only academic excellence is prioritized. English-usage has thus become a tool for perfecting grades but not a way to communicate. The Tainan City Government has attempted to twist the situation by encouraging English teachers to teach English completely in English, further implementing a bilingual education curriculum, namely the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) program, in which English is integrated into other academic subjects. A research team at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) submitted a report suggesting that the program has bore fruit and been acknowledged by international scholars, who described it as “a great leap (in English-learning).” The research report will be shared in the 11th Conference of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF11) that is scheduled in July, 2018 in King’s College London in London, United Kingdom. In addition, to increase students’ exposure to English, OEASOL is now recruiting volunteers among Taiwanese who live abroad and have English as their native language to teach English at local primary schools and secondary schools. By simultaneously adopting different approaches to better the English-speaking environment, OEASOL strives to change not only how teachers teach English but also students’ attitude towards English as a language, which has been traditionally perceived as merely a tested subject in school.

OEASOL also regularly holds events such as English-reading Festival and Learning English Through Baseball that provide English-learning materials to citizens for free in hopes of motivating them to learn English. In terms of government agencies, not only are all sectors within the city government encouraged to form “English-learning study groups,” but also the human resources department, in particular, established an elite class for English presentations and started holding oral competitions among civil servants. Similar measures have also been applied on facilities within the city government: the majority of government documents has been bilingualized, which is followed by another series of bilingual programs conducted on public facilities and industrial and commercial services as well as English-learning website for citizens.

The spokesperson of OEASOL indicates that Tainan citizens’ strong desire to learn English is conspicuous. From having the 1500 spots opened to free TOEIC Bridge testing sold out in seconds to being overwhelmed by applications for participating Peppa Pig’s Story Time as part of the 2018 Tainan English-reading Festival before the information was even released -- it is without a doubt that learning English is a high demand in the city. The aforementioned events are all funded by local business and mostly by Flomo Educational Foundation, who has been a major financial resource for activities like such. OEASOL hopes that civilians’ opinions would prompt local representatives to support the city government in arranging the budgets for promoting English-learning events.

The city government also turned its attention to the tourism aspect, establishing the English Friendly Emblems program which aims to make services and cultural experiences available to English speakers. The program offers free translation and design services to sectors like public transportation, hospitality and retail, and markets and pharmacies which allow English speakers to navigate the city more freely with bilingual apps that are accessible via QR codes scattered throughout the city. Training lessons for English-speaking tour guides, bus and taxi drivers, as well as bilingual pamphlets that includes information of taxi fares and translations for tourist spots are also provided. Currently, OEASOL has made bilingual menus for more than 500 local shops in Tainan. There are even bilingual divination poems in temples that make guidelines and taboos to worshiping deities clear to foreign visitors, who would then able to comprehend more thoroughly the local religious scheme.

OEASOL indicates that, though most of their work is not promoted directly amongst the public, they have been consistently receiving positive responses. Mr. Huang, who lived in Tainan, stated that when he realized that there is English in local temples and snack shops as he strolled around the city with his parents, he was astonished: “our hometown is really making progress.” The Tainan City Government once received a letter from an official from the European Union who expressed that, during his private trip to Tainan, he was pleased to discover that an ordinary restaurant in Tainan offers a bilingual menu; the effort made in creating an English-speaking environment left a strong impression in him.

OEASOL emphasizes that the basis of the two primary objectives of the EASOL policy -- to ameliorate the English language environment within the city and to increase English proficiency levels among Tainan citizens -- has been accomplished. As exceptional achievements have been made over the past 3 years, the office has received sponsorships from businesses such as Flomo Educational Foundation, Studio Classroom, TOEIC Bridge, and Voicetube, who respectively provided aid in various forms. It is therefore evident that the EASOL policy is widely supported by not only citizens but also corporations.