In Chiayi, Taiwan, a teacher was criticized for setting a test paper which reflected political bias as the question was said to be hitting out at President Tsai Ing Wen.
An anonymous student wrote to the Apple Daily (a Hong Kong-based tabloid-style newspaper), with photos of the test question and complained about the insult directed at the President.
Taken on 15 February, the multiple-choiced test question reads,”President Tsai-englishit made some silly ____in her speech,” and there are four options to choose from: (A) amateurs (B) disasters (C) parades (D) comments, with (D) as the correct answer.
President Tsai’s chinese name is the same word as “English language” when translated. Thus, she is sometimes referred to as “Tsai English” by some people jokingly. Yet, the addition of “it” to the nickname has drawn attention from the students.
When an Apple Daily reporter interviewed the teacher, who is known as Mr Chang, he replied that it was not intended to be political.
It was merely a way for him to pique students’ interests in learning English. He even made a reference to the U.S. President, Donald Trump, saying, “It’s just like Trump, who is also often saying stupid things.”
As for the addition of the English expletive in the President’s name, Mr Chang felt that it was alright for some jokes and sarcasm to be included in the text since it was only a refresher exam following the recent break.
Ultimately, the teacher did apologise for the discomfort brought upon the students.
With regard to this incident, an administrator in the school commented that Mr Chang, who is in his fifties now, has been teaching English for 20 years and is well-respected in school.
He added that Mr Chang should be given the right to design his own test as he sees fit. He also hoped that sudents can find proper channels to express their opinions with regard to such matters next time so that the school can better address them.
The school will also be stricter in the setting of future exam questions.
Yet, a member of the Taiwanese parliament felt that such a teaching method is not good as there are other ways to pique students’ interests. It need not be through disrespectful words directed at the President.
Students who were interviewed also felt that more respect should be shown to the President.