7 Things To Know Before Teaching English to Chinese Students

Rachel Weiss
Rachel Weiss

I'm an American who has been in China for three years! Read more about my adventures here: www.rachelmeetschina.com

 / Sep 18, 2018

Teaching English in China is an exciting opportunity to move to a new country and be exposed to a new culture! But what does that actually mean when you walk into your classroom in China and need to give a lesson?


If you're not sure what to expect, these 7 Helpful Tips For Teaching English to Chinese Students will help give you an idea!



1. You Don't Need To Speak Chinese


One of the biggest worries people have with moving to China is that they don't know how to speak any Chinese – don't worry, you don't need to! In fact, when you're teaching English it's better if you don't. Having some knowledge of the Chinese language might help you understand your students' language learning process, but only speaking English to them in class will encourage them to speak English more.


Of course, learning Chinese when you come to China is a great idea and will help you immensely outside the classroom!




2. High Energy is Key


First year teachers often think their lessons won't be very good and are nervous about teaching for the first time. But you don't have to be the most experienced teacher in the world! When you're teaching English to Chinese students, how you teach your lesson is just as, if not more, important than the content of your lesson!


Having high energy and excitement when you teach will encourage your students to be more open. Some Chinese students might be a little shy, especially when you first start teaching them. The best thing to do is to create an open and safe environment for them to feel more confident in practicing their English. Be enthusiastic about teaching, and your students will follow!



3. Start off Simple


It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you start teaching, but don't worry! You won't be jumping straight into complex grammar structures. No matter which age you teach, ice breaker activities and introduction games are a great way to learn more about your students and have them learn about you. You can also better assess their skill levels to plan future lessons accordingly.


4. Get Students Moving With Fun Activities


When you're teaching English to Chinese students who might have little to no prior English knowledge, you have to find creative ways to teach them and keep them excited. One of the biggest ways to keep students engaged and interested in your lessons is by physical movement! Students often have to sit still in class for many hours a day, so if you can incorporate movements and actions into your lessons, your students will be more interested and less likely to fall asleep!


TPR (Total Physical Response) is an awesome language teaching method that is based on the coordination of language and physical movement. TPR is fantastic to incorporate in your lessons, especially with younger students. There are tons of games, songs, and activities you can use to get students moving and speaking English at the same time. Even with older students you can create activities to make them switch partners, role play dialogue, or do speaking activities where they need to move around the room.



5. Chinese Classrooms Have Many Great Resources and Technology To Use


Many schools in China will have really great technology and tools to help you teach! Besides computers and big projectors, many classrooms will have Smart Boards and interactive English curriculums that will make learning fun and keep your students engaged.


With that said, even just having a chalkboard or flashcards will vastly help your lessons – there are tons of games and activities you can do involving students drawing on the board and using flashcards.



6. Create a Reward System


Having a reward system is a great way to motivate your ESL students! There are so many classroom reward systems to try, depending on the age of your students, how many students you teach, and their maturity level.


If you have younger students, stickers, stars, or happy faces on a board are a great way to reward students. You can also reward them with a special game or activity they especially love! If you have older students you can create a point system, or use fake money that students can use to buy little prizes. This teaches them about responsibility and the value of money, too.




7. Your Students Are Just As Excited To Meet You


Having a foreign teacher is a special thing to Chinese students - you might even be the first foreign teacher some students have ever had, especially if you teach in a smaller city! Even if your students are a little shy in the beginning, they will definitely open up more as you get to know them and will be happy to help you if you need anything.




Start Teaching English to Chinese Students Now!


Teaching English to Chinese students is a highly rewarding and exciting job! If you're looking to start an new career in a foreign country, check out our available positions HERE.




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Rachel Weiss

I'm an American who has been in China for three years! Read more about my adventures here: www.rachelmeetschina.com