ad info




TIME Asia
TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Entertainment
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia

TIME.com
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Asiaweek
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

 ASIAWEEK.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL


Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story
ASIA
JANUARY 18, 1999 VOL. 153 NO. 2


Method or Madness?
Li Yang's "crazy" style of teaching English is earning him followers--and critics--across China
By ANTHONY SPAETH

There was a time when diplomats had to speak French and doctors benefited from a knowledge of German. In today's world, according to Beijing-based Li Yang, English is the indispensable tongue--not an original thought, perhaps, or an unlikely one from the highest-paid English teacher in mainland China. But Li's full message, accepted by millions, isn't quite that simple. According to Li, there is a single key to helping China grow strong and confident, to get over centuries of defeat and to get rich: a command of shouted English.

For those who weren't listening closely, Li has devised an English learning system based on shouting, which he claims aids concentration and retention. The method has become so popular that he can fill stadiums with 30,000 people eager to learn loudly. Rich families pay him between $12,000 and $24,000 a year to yell at their kids in English. A set of tapes and books teaching "Crazy English," as the method has come to be known, sells for $24, a significant sum in a land where the average monthly salary is $60. So popular are the lessons that the tapes and books have been pirated. So, too, has Li's persona: impostors claiming to be him have started holding high-decibel language sessions. "When I went to Shenzhen," he laughs, "they asked me if I was the real or the fake one."

The genuine article had a troubled boyhood in Xinjiang province, where, as Li tells it, he failed classes and was usually on the verge of expulsion from school. Somehow he got into a university, but was close to being tossed out when he had a personal revelation. He started bellowing his English lessons in a local park, and that did the trick. "I had serious problems with my concentration," he relates. "But when I yelled, I realized I could concentrate. It worked like magic." He ended up at the top of his English class. After graduation, working as a researcher at a technical institute in Xian, Shaanxi province, he rose each day at dawn, stood on the roof of the institute and hollered out bromides such as: "As you sow, so shall you reap," and "Actions speak louder than words!" Unsurprisingly, "people thought I was out of my mind," Li recalls.

PAGE 1  |  2



This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home

AsiaNow


   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.