One of the essential qualities of a good tutor is confidence. The feeling that you thoroughly understand your students' problems and how to address them is a unique one that ought to be nurtured. This confidence must stem from good preparation and the organising your lessons in a manner that helps your students make the most of each class.
Chinese is a language that does not share any similarity with English; thus, structuring your lessons to address your students at different levels is crucial.
The individual concepts of your lessons must be carefully organised during teaching sessions to help each student understand regardless of their age, educational level and previous experience with the Chinese language.
Why Is It Crucial To Prepare for Your Lessons?
Well organised lessons encourage students' active participation, interaction, and ultimately allow them to learn better and smarter. When you structure your lessons in such a way that the activities and assessments align with their learning goals, it becomes easier for students to see the big picture. Learn more about teaching Chinese in Canada.
Learning a foreign language like Chinese can be outright challenging. This is why to make sure you don't lose out the interest of your students in learning the Chinese language; you must first be able to identify why they want to learn Chinese. People learn Chinese for different purposes and based on their reasons for learning. You must be able to create a learning system that helps them achieve these goals.
A student learning Chinese to pass a test such as the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) should be approached differently from a student learning Chinese to make new friends. Based on the reasons for learning, you now can proceed to create a learning map that clearly shows the student how the lessons will be taken and how each lesson fits into the overall learning goal.
Organising your lessons also helps you to establish a standard approach to your classes. Randomly hopping from one topic to another is a recipe for tutoring disaster. Once you establish a standard teaching approach, you'll be able to create assessments that help you track the learning pace and comprehension of your students.
This will enable them to have better results in terms of learning, and they'll also be encouraged to do a little more self-study on their own even before showing up for your lessons.
Chinese grammar and vocabulary are very rich and diverse, and every student learns at their own pace. Because of this, you should consider giving your students a curriculum of topics to study in advance. This will help them to keep track of their progress and identify areas where they need more help.
Understand the Linguistic Structure of the Chinese Language
There are seven modern Chinese languages used in communication today;
- The Xiang
- The Min
- The Hakka
- The Wu
- The Gan
Of these seven lexical structures, Mandarin is generally accepted as the standard Chinese language. Although these seven structures share mutual features in terms of tonality and being monosyllabic, knowledge of one does not necessarily mean you can speak the others fluently.
The Chinese language is not a part of the Indo-European family-like English. Instead, it is classified as Sino-Tibetan, and as such, its grammar differs widely from that of European languages.
The Chinese language also does not have alphabets; instead, it uses characters known as 'hanzi' to express different sounds of the language. These characters can also be written in "pinyin", a system which uses the roman letters.
Understanding the linguistic structure of the Chinese language will make it easy for you to create a lesson approach that makes it easy for even a complete beginner to understand.
Use These Teaching Tools for Your Lessons
With the rapidly accelerating pace of technology, more and more tools are readily available for you to improve the quality of your Chinese lessons.
Using these teaching tools will make it easier for your students to be able to learn better, understand faster and study smarter on their own. The tools which can be used to complement the student's Chinese lessons include:
- Chinese Textbooks
Textbooks and guides remain one of the most effective ways to reinforce the study of many languages, Chinese inclusive.
This is because they are rich in structured information, pictures, illustration and assessment. Moreover, they can also be consulted by the students at their leisure time to clarify aspects of the lesson they seek more insight into.
Textbooks and guides can also help students to self-study on their own before classes. So by the time they arrive in class, they are already armed with background knowledge and questions. These can make teaching sessions engaging and interactive for both the tutor and the students.
Textbooks provide students with a framework for learning. Students can readily begin to learn from the basics and work their way towards the more complex aspects of the Chinese language. This allows them to appreciate the background of the Chinese characters.
Popular Textbooks for learning the Chinese language include Integrated Chinese, New practical Chinese reader, and Practical audio-visual Chinese.
- Increase Interaction with the Chinese Language by Using Mobile Apps
Do you want to make learning more fun for your students? Get them to start using apps for learning. Using mobile apps, they can learn anywhere at any time.
Mobile apps and software can also help your students break the monotony of studying textbooks and present information in a more exciting way. Some of the best apps for learning the Chinese language include:
- Anki: Anki is a flashcard program that uses the SRS (spaced repetition system) to help you learn how to master Chinese words faster. It is free and can be used on multiple platforms.
- Skritter: This is also software based on the spaced repetition system, but it does even more. Using Skritter, you can practice Pinyin reading; use communities shared mnemonics and even practice the correct tonality for pronouncing Chinese characters.
- Pleco: Pleco is a Chinese dictionary that not only allows you to understand the meanings of Chinese characters but also comes with other exciting add-ons that will make your learning fun.
There are also Chinese example-sentence websites that enable you to understand the contextual meaning of Chinese words by using them in examples. They include Jukuu, Tatoeba and Chinese Boost.
Plan How to Deliver Your Lessons
Digital technology has helped to transform the landscape of tutoring. Now, with the use of platforms such as Skype, Zoom and other video teleconferencing tools, you can work from anywhere in the world. See how much you can earn as a Chinese teacher.
But then, some students would prefer to be coached in person rather than take a webcam class. Hence, you'll need to organise your lessons differently based on whether you'll be taking a physical class or not.
While an online class may offer greater advantages in terms of time and transport flexibility, the student-tutor connection will be significantly lesser when compared to a physical class. Due to this, you might have to put more effort into structuring your online lessons to become engaging and interactive.
However, with good audio, video equipment and a good internet connection, remote lesson delivery has the potential to increase your turn-over rapidly. This is because you'll have access to a broader target market.
Tips for Structuring Different Lessons for Different Levels
When it comes to private tutoring, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work.
Depending on different factors, your students will have different needs. You can choose to organise your lessons for different students based on the following:
- Age: While tutoring adults might be pretty straight-forward, with children, you will need to try a different approach. This is because children learn better with games, physical objects and interacting. A textbook approach will most probably be ineffective.
- Educational level: You can structure your lessons according to the academic level of your students. Are they high school students, or are you dealing with graduate students? Based on their current academic level, they will already have a learning system that they are familiar with. Organising your lessons according to this system will make it easier for them to follow.
- Prior experience with the language: Are your students' beginners to the Chinese language with no prior knowledge whatsoever? Or are they already familiar with the necessary conversational terms and only want to move on to advanced stuff?
- The complexity of lessons: Organising your lessons to progress from relatively simple elements to more complex concepts of the Chinese language will allow your students to have a solid understanding of the basics which they can always fall back on.
- The goal for learning the Chinese language: If they are learning to pass the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) tests, you should consider giving them regular assessments based on the curriculum their test is going to cover. On the other hand, you might have to go with a more conversational approach for students whose goal is to be able to speak Chinese when traveling.
Organising your lessons as a Chinese tutor will not only help you standardize your teaching approach, it will also enable your students to see the big picture in each lesson. This will help them to learn faster and become fluent Chinese Language speakers. Use these tips to find more students for your Chinese lessons.
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