Chinese classes in the high school or university?
Have any of you taken Mandarin lessons in high school or the university? If you don't mind sharing, what did you do? What worked? What didn't? Did you spend a significant amount of time on anything other than language?
I would be most interested in someone who took classes in high school, but I would be interested in any classroom experience.
By the way, this is because I am going to teach a class. I have a lot of ideas about how to do this, and have consulted with other teachers, but it would be great to get the perspective of students.
bweedinAugust 08, 2011, 04:45 AM
With one teacher, I liked when we had to write dialogues and do short sketches. I also liked going up to the board and writing in Chinese.
Another teacher I had always called us in a predictable order so we all just prepared ahead of time for our answer. When we did answer the question from the reading, if we even hesitated slightly, he would just finish the sentence for us. He really discouraged asking questions by his I-can't-believe-you-didn't-know-that type of responses. No role play, nothing creative, never having to go up in front of the class. Once, I thought outside the box and he got mad that I didn't just follow the model.
On a side note, when I had a TEFL training those were the things they told us never to do as a teacher. lol
tingyunAugust 08, 2011, 03:35 PM
Two comments: First, Harvard has a great program - I only took the 4th and 5th year ones, but from the quality I'd be surprised if the 1st year wasn't well structured. I'd suggest you contact the local printer and see if you can pay them extra to ship you the first year first semester course pack, which includes the textbook, and then use it to give you ideas (obviously it would be too intense to implement directly in a high school setting, but its approach to teaching pronounciation and charecters may provide useful insight in how to structure lessons). The entire Chinese language program at Harvard takes a fairly unique approach that they developed inhouse, so it should provide useful alternative views from the other texts and approaches you are referencing.
617-492-7767 tell them you want the ChineseBa course packet (available around begining of september i think)
Second, I once was a guest speaker at a friend's high school chinese class. I found the students were incredibly interested when I introduced some electronic resources - one example, I used a program that records a person saying a word and charts their tone, comparing it to a standard, and the whole class loved that and were excited about getting their turn. Another was one of those online 'listen to a word or two words and guess their tone' quizes, had the class vote on what they thought it was, everyone got excited. Almost certainly these aren't the most efficient ways to spend alot of time, but intelligently used as a device to get the kids attention, especially at the begining of each class, they are probably worthwhile. I'll drop a list of electronic resources I once made below, but you probably have a bunch anyway. The first 2 were the ones I tried with the class, both were loved. Praat might also be good if used carefully.
Thanks for this advice. I don't have time to comment much now, but that isn't because I don't appreciate the work you've done here, and I will certainly comb through the links and what you said. Thanks again!