Before and After
I continue to increase my competence and update my creativeness by attending seminars, workshops, and technology trainings to support my passion and commitment to educating students. I had attended three other Startalk teacher training programs before coming to the 2011 Virginia STARTALK Chinese Academy. I had heard that Virginia STARTALK is an intense training program. The reason that I flew here from California to receive the rigorous training was because of my master teacher Mrs. Chiu’s recommendation. Mrs. Chiu was here last year; after the training she said, “Summer of 2010 was a milestone in my teaching career. The Startalk program at UVA helped me substantially with the communicative approaches in my teaching.” That was why I applied to this program even though I knew I would have lots of homework and would need to work very hard.
Each year I have been able to learn some teaching theories and new instruction strategies from the STARTALK programs. This year I learned not only the best practices but also had a chance to apply what I learned in my class. After one week of learning theories and best practices, we had two weeks of practicum. Ming Laoshi and Shih Laoshi taught the first lessons. I stayed in the Gugong classroom and observed Ming Laoshi very closely. In the past I was told that I needed to teach Chinese in Chinese, but Ming Laoshi’s demonstration was my first opportunity to observe this method. After her modeling, I was convinced that it is possible to use the target language, body language, facial expressions, and gestures to produce an immersion and comprehensible experience in the classroom. Before teaching each lesson, we had a rehearsal where Tseng Laoshi, Ming Laoshi, Shih Laoshi, and all other peer teachers gave us suggestions on improving the lesson plan. After the teaching we had a chance to reflect and receive feedback. I learned a lot through teaching and observing other teachers’ demos and can’t wait to apply what I have learned in my class this fall.