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Author: Peggy Chen, graduated from Northeast Normal University, majoring in International Chinese Education. She has had more than 8 years of online Chinese teaching experience with more than of 14,000 hours cumulative teaching time. She is mainly good at HSK, AP Chinese, and children’s Chinese teaching. Teacher Peggy of 52Chinese Learning is a professional, patient, and experienced teacher.
This year is my 9th year teaching the Chinese language online. Most of my students are children from Chinese families who live abroad. Almost every Chinese parent approached me and asked for Chinese tutoring for their children. Although I have not yet seen these lively and lovely children, I can make up for it on my own – when talking about Chinese learning, the children living abroad frowned, pouting, and looking reluctant holding the Chinese textbook at hand. For Chinese children abroad, I would like to ask the Chinese parents based on my teaching experience, how can children learn Chinese effectively?
When it comes to learning Chinese, many Chinese parents are torn: “We have immigrated and settled abroad, is it necessary to spend so much energy on urging children to learn Chinese? What can the children get from it?” In my opinion, Chinese learning, is a sense of belonging, and the other is to master one more language and understand one more world, and one more world means one more thinking! The third is that under the influence of the global economy, by learning one more language, children will have more job opportunities and chances when they grow up.
To sustain long-term learning, first, we need parents and children to face the purpose of learning the Chinese language. Secondly, it is more important to persevere and practice. Many parents complain to me, “It’s too difficult to accompany children studying Chinese, and there is no environment for practicing Chinese. We are used to speaking English at home.”, “We dare not force the children to learn, worrying that they have aversion to the Chinese language. ……”, “I feel that the local Chinese teacher is not very professional, it is not as good as I teach my kids by myself, but I am tired to teach my children and I don’t have enough time to prepare” and so on. As the saying goes, “There is no royal way to learn.” Learning is challenging but also boring, especially language learning. If people are not mandated to use the language daily, most people will find it tedious, unusable, and difficult to master. So, as parents with children living abroad, how can we let our children learn Chinese independently and happily?
First, don’t put too much psychological burden on children when learning Chinese.
As Chinese parents, most of us grew up under the domestic test-oriented education system. That leads us to be apprehensive and strict when the next generation. We feel that our children are not good at the Chinese language, and it would be embarrassing to fail the Chinese international exams. Our children’s classmates are not of Chinese descent. Nonetheless, they got high scores in the AP Chinese test. Meanwhile, our children are of Chinese descent but cannot master the Chinese language. We as immigrants, originally wanted our children to enjoy more educational resources, but we are getting half the result with twice the effort. Our children’s English is mediocre and their Chinese language is also lost. Therefore, we are embarrassed to return to China to visit relatives… Such fore mentioned concerns are the source of anxiety and nervousness for parents and children.
However, calm down and think carefully, constant worrying cannot solve the problems. Teachers and parents are working together to find the difficulty of children learning Chinese. That is the top priority! The teaching of professional teachers and the careful guidance of parents can build confidence in the children. Putting aside the burden of learning Chinese is something we have to do, we should change our perceptions and performances. The message to the children is: Chinese learning must be integrated into the life and become a habit. It is the same thing as eating and sleeping every day. It is not an academic requirement like mathematics and biology.
Second, do non-professional Chinese exercises during the non-study time to cultivate children’s subconsciousness and interest in Chinese. There is a proverb in English, “practice makes perfect.” No quote could be more appropriate for language learning. In my usual teaching in 52ChineseLearning Online School, I give special attention to the proportion of lectures and exercises. If you just speak without practice, students will never understand its usage, which is similar to the “dumb English” of many English learners in our country.
If the student has a good foundation, I will focus on doing more exercises with the students. In some cases, I teach new content with the exercises. But the fact is that most Chinese children have a relatively weak Chinese foundation. That is hard to address given the limited time for learning in classes. I would urge the parents to practice with their children in Chinese for efficiency. Note that the “parents practice with their children” mentioned here is not “set a learning time, and then close the child in the study room with the parents watching him study.” It’s the opposite. During the child’s leisure hours, I urge the parents to do unconventional language learning exercises. One example is the paper Chinese practice. The practice requires parents to take the children to the supermarket, encourage the children to talk about goods in Chinese together; take the children out camping, tell them how we express the things that interest us in Chinese if the children do not reject the expression With a tendency to learn, we parents can continue to discuss more profoundly with their children in Chinese.
In short, our parents accompany their children to practice in this way. The purpose is not to teach them words and sentences, but to cultivate their children’s subconsciousness and interest in Chinese. In this way, as children continue to advance in Chinese learning, children will feel that learning Chinese is a simple matter as they apply and use the Chinese language in life.
Third, patience is key, especially in Chinese learning. As a teacher with many years of Chinese teaching experience, I have met many Chinese parents who accompany their children to 52ChineseLearning for Chinese learning. After each class, I will spend more time chatting with the parents. One is to give feedback on the child’s learning status, and the other is that I want to listen to parents’ thoughts and opinions on children’s Chinese learning. As an online Chinese school, 52ChineseLearning recognized that teaching is not just a matter of teachers, but also requires the cooperation and assistance of parents. It is necessary to imbue great attention to the communication between teachers and parents. Parents often anxiously ask me, “My child has been learning Chinese for a while, but his exams results are still inadequate,” “I have been studying for half a year, why hasn’t this book been finished yet?”, “In our country, my relatives conversed with my child. Why does he still inarticulately speak Chinese? The pronunciation is not eloquent.” In the face of all kinds of doubts from Chinese parents, I assure the parents and children through communication. The learning direction and method of the school are correct and appropriate. If you remain consistent in learning, your language skills will greatly improve. The most important thing for our parents is not to be anxious in children’s Chinese learning and to be very patient. Just like when a child learns to walk when he is a child, it seems that every step is crooked. However, every step the leg takes plays a small role. It slowly accumulates until one day, the child can walk independently.
As Chinese parents, if we can achieve the three points mentioned above, I believe that children will learn Chinese spontaneously, with joy and interest, instead of frowning, pouting, and behaving indifferently, they will be more acquiescent, and learn Chinese more efficiently than before!
(Note: The pictures in the article are from the Internet)
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