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Posts: 16

Governor

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Q: What is a good Chinese teacher for you?

Pls share with me your advice or story, which can help on my teaching...I am all ears here...Thanks!smiley

10 years 38 weeks ago in  Teaching & Learning - Shanghai

 
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Posts: 1933

Emperor

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1) Experience teaching. I realize it's a vicious circle for some (how do you get experience if no one wants an inexperienced teacher? Answer: Grad school). But being a teacher myself, and having taught two dramatically different subjects in different countries, I have to say that just knowing the subject isn't good enough to be able to teach the subject, especially when cultural differences are involved.

2) A background in linguistics, especially phonology. Imagine learning English pronounciation from an American that doesn't understand that "The cat did it." said slowly is pronounced differently from "The cat did it." said quickly. Unless we've trained our ears in phonology and understand phonetics, we never even notice that sort of thing about our own first languages, and I'm not interested in a Chinese teacher who doesn't understand tone sandhi, which is one of the most difficult aspects of the language. Intuitive = not good enough. I intuitively understand that if I drop a rock from a height it falls, but that doesn't qualify me to teach physics at Cambridge.

3) The ability to speak standard Chinese, without a regional accent.

4) A polyglot. I want that person to be able to speak at least two foreign languages well. How can you teach a language if you can't learn a language?? Don't give me that "immersive" nonsense. I went to flippin French immersion for years. Also I live in China: I'm already immersed. "Pick a Topic, Have a Chat" isn't teaching. I do that every day with the family accross the street that makes me bacon rolls for breakfast, and that only costs me 12 yuan and I get a bacon roll and a cup of instant coffee. Speaking of which:

5) No adherence to teaching methods that are trendy in China right now. I know them all. They are all of little more substance than the iPad or the Justin Bieber haircut. If you rely on bells and whistles and can't trust your own skills as a teacher you are not a good teacher.

I hate to be so fussy but:

a) Supply and Demand is on my side here.
b) I've been teaching six of the last eight years, most of my adult life. My schools and adult students have always had high standards for me. The Chinese, in particular, held me up to standards that were demeaning and ridiculous (at least I'm not asking you to be a good dancer, or wear Qingdai clothes, shave half your head, and smoke an opium pipe). I don't see why it should be any different for Chinese teachers.

Jnusb416:

Number 3 is a big one for me. Sometimes I ask my friends to teach me a few words, but I can tell they aren't the standard pronunciation. What good is that to me? Then when I am eventually fluent, I will sound stupid because all of my words are not pronounced the same.

10 years 38 weeks ago
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vivian05:

Thanks for your full comments. I can feel that you are an experienced teacher with high standard. Do hope i could had you in my English study before. But you know, we chinese students seldom meet so good English native teacher like you in China, even in some famous language school. The school fees are high, but the teachers the school invites from somewhere is not so qualified. Somehow, it is unfair for us... we are very strict with our Chinese teaching here, but why can't some English native teacher follow same way? Maybe just as the old Chinese saying: Wu yi xi wei gui! Since so many Chinese around, but so few foreigners here in China. Chinese teachers must be strict and compete, while foreigners can loosen the standard on theirselves. Hope you can share your experience with us, AND with them... Hope everything is better on education and teaching.... Teaching is such a great thing... So be serious on the job!

10 years 37 weeks ago
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icerock:

Very useful opinions. I remembered when I studied in new oriental school, the foreigner teacher only could done is "ask he question and chat" so boring.

10 years 37 weeks ago
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10 years 38 weeks ago
 
Posts: 2735

Shifu

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A good chinese teacher would have the ability to be patient with the students and one that would be able to be there to help you if you as the student would have a question on something related to learning chinese.

Some things that a good chinese teacher can do is actually bring in examples to show the student. For instance I was learning chinese with a guy that I was working with and this small training center provided free chinese classes. She would bring in a restaurant menu and teach us that way instead of through a book. She also showed us where we can find everything on the menu. Like Desserts or drinks are at the end. And the snacks are at the front. 

Bringing an example like a restaurant menu is the easiest way to teach different animals and how to order food. You can do role playing that way and cover how to order food, foods and different animals in that lesson. Another good one is by bringing in a bus route and teach how to read that. I never got to that one but it would have been helpful.

vivian05:

Thanks for your advice. What you mentioned in your class is Dao Ju, which means tool in teaching, can help students understand clearly and memorize efficiently. That method of teaching is recommend in our teaching. And your last golden idea of 'traffic route', lighted me definitely! Thanks a lot!

10 years 37 weeks ago
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10 years 38 weeks ago
 
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Good cook, and great in bed....

But, slightly more seriously - patience! You NEED to seriously understand that the tones are very VERY difficult for us! Both listening and speaking!!!

Don't fall back to using English, unless it really is a concept that's not going to be easy to get across... grammar can be like that.

Have a sense of humour! Be prepared to laugh at yourself.. and let them laugh at your English mistakes... it makes you human.

Use topics that are relevant... I found out my students were doing intensive reading, and one of the vocab words was 'plasma'... as in the stuff in your blood.... last time I used that word was over a decade ago in bio-chem or anatomy&physiology... This, while they didn't know the word for 'hail' or 'breeze'... so, make it RELEVANT!

And, interesting... if they like football, do football related stuff. Show football matches and go through the vocabulary (and grammar and stuff).  You didn't learn particle physics when you were learning Chinese, why do business or other rubbish when teaching it! (unless, of course, you're teaching to business people who need it!)

Give good variety.... "Hello, how are you? I'm fine, thank you, and you? I'm fine, too".... bah!!! Since when do we say that to each other??? "Hey. Hey - how you going? I'm great...what's happening?? Not much".

If your students have some written Chinese already, DO NOT give them English translations... nor pinyin... they'll rely on it too much. Even really basic stuff.... it's detrimental to learning in the long run.

Perhaps the most important... chat with your students... when I was doing oral exams, some of the best results came from students who didn't know the exam had started... "Hey, how you going? What's been happening in your life?" (while I'm not looking like I'm listening too much)... they just relax and tell me stuff... that's what I'm listening for.. talking - not memorising!

Learning a language is NOT study! It's trying to communicate and understand...

vivian05:

Fei chang hao! Xie xie nin! :)

10 years 37 weeks ago
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Posts: 16

Governor

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Thanks, everyone!
When I come back here from my busy classes, I am so surprised and excited to see all of your replies. Whatever, thank you!
Each of your invaluable words can help me a lot, then help on yourselves later...
yes

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