Jaye Plant

Teaching English to Chinese students can be really fun. I know that Chinese kids have a reputation for being hard workers; and with good reason. Typically they study long hours, spend a lot of time copying and memorisinginformation, and they don't have a reputation for having fun. However, form my experience, this isn't all true. I have spent some time teaching at EF, a private language school, and the best thing about teaching English to Chinese students in a language school is that they do have freedom. Freedom to relax, play games and use the language naturally, and that's why I love it! Teaching English in China to Chinese students has taught me a lot. I spent most of my time teaching kids and teens, but for adults the following lessons still apply.

How to Have Fun at Work

Working with kids is the best excuse to release your inner child; when used frequently, it's harder to lock it away again. Life becomes more colourful; the classroom is your stage. Young learners especially learn the best when they're having fun, so if the teacher is having fun, it adds to the excitement. Incorporate some target language into the games for optimum memorization and language production. Silliness is not only encouraged, it's expected.

How to Be Patient

Some results of teaching English to Chinese students, like most students, are instantaneous, however, like many of the best things, most results come from careful nurturing and care. You'll see the improvement of your students in language, behaviour and how your relationship develops over time. Be patient; the results are worth it.

Simplicity Really Is Key

I found that teaching English to Chinese students doesn't have to be about some big complex theory on how different our language systems are. Simple games and activities always work the best. Start off with a simple warmer or Ice Breaker and after the students have played it a few times, you can switch it up to make it more challenging and fun. Once you've found a few failsafe games, your job will become easier and you can elaborate on them with different language structures, rather than going into full winded explanations.

How to See the World from a Different Perspective

Teaching a child who has no experience of English is difficult, even more so when you teach them without using a single word of a language they understand. Previous teaching methods are thrown out of the window. You gain a new perspective and understandingand challenge yourself to see things through their eyes. Teaching Chinese students can offer you an insight into their world, how they see things, and how our cultures have similarities as well as differences.

How your Actions Influence Others

Some of the younger Chinese students in your class will look up to you in amazement. They'll listen to every single word you say, copy your actions and generally think you're amazing (especially the really young kids). They see and remember everything you do in their lesson; so think before you act and remember how influential your actions can be on these mini-humans.


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