Last year, an Oberlin College professor of Chinese, Dale Johnson, taught English in mainland China at the Shanghai Maritime Transport College.
His pupils, prior to 1965, were teachers of English who had become rusty over the previous 15 years when authorities had outlawed not only the teaching of English, but of speaking or reading it.
What Dr. Johnson found particularly difficult for his pupils was contemporary American English, full of such idiomatic expressions as ''dropout,'' ''speed up, '' ''step on it,'' and ''cut it out.''
Taking a fresh look at popular American newsmagazines - available in China today - Dr. Johnson was astounded at how much of the writing is in nontraditional English.
Like other overseas teachers, Dr. Johnson is enthusiastic over the eagerness and diligence his pupils displayed.