We address all these questions and would like to help Chinese language teachers to have the best Chinese classes in town, and to build a truly student-centered learning environment. Students are no longer requested to be obedient and take notes all the time. They can move around, learn Chinese and have a great learning experience!
Key training topics are as below:
Being a native Chinese speaker helps linguistically (Native speakers can always tell something does not sound right), but does not automatically qualify a Chinese teacher to be culturally competent.
Cultures are not limited to festivals and handicrafts, certainly not limited to Han Chinese cultural practices. Chinese teachers should think about where to locate Chinese culture, how to critically assess traditional values, and how to represent worldly cultural exchanges.
This training is about how to reduce teacher's speaking time to the minimum, which is about 30% of class time. That is to say, in a 90 minute class, teachers should speak for no more than 30 minutes. For every 5 minutes that teacher is speaking, students should speak for the next 10 minutes.
This kind of time allocation determines that each class should be divided into a few sections with different activities. Each section targets a key issue. A few minutes explanations and instructions from the teacher are sufficient to bring the students together.
Teachers learn how to use interactive activities and stimulating drills to bring all students into the class, and how to focus more on students' expressions not on their pronunciation.
Why do students still need Chinese language teachers? With a smart device, anyone can order food in a restaurant, bargain in a market, or do a self-introduction. Anyone who studies 1000 flash cards of characters can understand the street signs (that's probably all they can do).
Indeed, Chinese language class should go beyond language as a functioning tool. Apart from the usual necessities, students must be given opportunities to acquire Chinese cultural literacy, which appears as fragmented and often-seen phrases and expressions. Cultural literacy is deeply rooted in history and time. Students need to study a certain amount of texts distilled from the past to build up their knowledge of Chinese cultural literacy.
This training focuses on how to make high-level students even better.
There are many boring high-level Chinese classes. Classes start with a page of text, followed by 20-40 new words with explanations, followed by 10 grammatical points, followed by questions/exercises of various kinds. Then a new cycle starts. Students are assigned a very passive role.
To draw active participation from high-level students, Mandarin Express Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate levels offer a different, "incomplete" cycle, which only provides a general structure and needs students to search for, think about and make clear the missing information. This is a way to get students involved in a deeper level, and also produce stunning learning results.