Guidance of Online Teaching For global Chinese Language Teachers

[Source]    People's Daily Overseas Edition [Time]    2020-04-15 17:22:34 

Affected by the COVID-19, many Confucius Institutes have transferred their Chinese classes online. It is a brand-new experience for many students, and also a huge challenge for Chinese language teachers. According to many teachers, how to conduct smooth interaction with students and how to arouse their enthusiasm for learning are some of the thorny problems they face at the moment.

In response to these problems, we have invited some teachers to share their online teaching experience and help you out.

Have Difficulties Interacting with Students Online? Try These Tips!

What tips do these teachers provide for smooth interaction with students online?

If students are stuck on the Internet due to bad connection which resulted in the unsmooth interaction, they can interact with teachers and classmates by typing on the computer while using the mobile phone to watch the video class simultaneously, suggested Xu Yanli, a volunteer Chinese language teacher at the Confucius Institute at Durban University of Technology, South Africa.

If the interaction difficulty is caused by the fact that students can’t understand the course content, Wang Chunhui, a Chinese teacher at the Confucius Institute of Australia's Western Australia University, advises that in this case, Chinese language teachers should prepare more teaching content for online class, observe students' expressions and reactions on the screen constantly, and inquire in time to check whether students can truly understand the content.

In addition, Chinese teachers should answer students' questions from the chat records in time, and maintain a proper peace in group discussion at the end of the course.

Sun Mingyang, a volunteer Chinese language teacher at the Confucius Institute at the University of Milan, Italy, said that students can understand the meaning expressed by teachers through body movements in offline class, but these are not available in online class. This requires teachers to be more patient and speak in a slower pace than in offline class so that students can understand the teacher’s instructions. In addition to the above methods, we can also learn useful tips from Shi Yali who is now teaching at the Confucius Institute at the University of Milan. For every class, she enters the live broadcast platform 10 to 15 minutes earlier to chat with students about their learning and answer their questions to warm up for the new class, just as what she did in the real classroom.

Moreover, teachers can type some key instructions in English or in students’ mother tongue so that students can directly understand teachers' instructions through “viewing” online.

Students Can't Maintain Enthusiasm in Class? Maybe You Choose the Wrong Way!

In offline class, teachers can stimulate students' enthusiasm by switching the teaching method timely through observing students' reactions. But how can you motivate students’ enthusiasm through the screen in online classes?

Sun Mingyang suggested relieving the class atmosphere for a little while after teaching new words, grammar or a part of the content, so that students can relax and concentrate better for the rest of the class. Such activities include playing a Chinese song ora short video clip. For younger students, appropriate rewards could be more stimulating.

Interaction is necessary even in online class, and teachers should properly ask students to answer questions to ensure that they are listening carefully.

The experience from Luan Ye, a teacher from the Confucius Institute of Ukraine Southern Normal University, is to arouse students' enthusiasm by making exquisite courseware and teaching aid cards and designing interesting as well as meaningful conversations.

At the Confucius Institute at the University of Bahrain, teachers adjust the classroom atmosphere by displaying cards and sharing cultural videos. They also keep close contact with students after class through “WhatsApp” to track the teaching effect and students feedback of the live Chinese class, improve online teaching methods and stimulate students' zeal in class.

Apart from adding some classroom activities, enhancing the interaction between students is also an essential magic wand to boost students' enthusiasm in class. Shi Yali suggested that teachers could assign some group assignments and then get students to display their achievements in class. Group work can not only enhance students' interaction and cooperation, keep students' enthusiasm for learning after class, but also grants students a sense of achievement through the demonstration of learning results, thus ensuring their participation in class.

At the Groningen Confucius Institute in the Netherlands, teachers also provide each class with a two-hour after-school tutoring every week through the “Zoom” platform. Students can choose to participate voluntarily. They have reported favorable feedback for the after-school tutoring in which their problems have been solved in time, and they are more confident about their Chinese courses.

(Story by Kong Yuan, People's Daily Overseas Edition, Page 11, April, 4, 2020)

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