I have a strong interest in teaching Chinese culture (including Chinese language, Chinese art, Chinese music, etc). My first job in the United States was teaching Chinese, from September 1999 to 2001, in the Mei-hua Chinese Language School in Silver Spring, Maryland. I have taught students from all ages and levels. Most of them came from multilingual (English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, and other dialog) and multicultural (American, Chinese, and other countries) backgrounds. I had to find the way that is totally different from traditional theory to teach them. This situation stimulated my thinking and helped me find new approaches and provide appropriate materials and directions that could enhance both heritage students and non-native Chinese speakers’ learning of the Chinese language.
In Spring semester 2009, I taught CHIN 204: Intermediate Written Chinese (Second Year Chinese) at the University of Maryland.
I have been a Lecturer (part-time) in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Maryland at College Park since fall 2005 to the present time. I have taught two courses: “Chinese Calligraphy: Theory and Practice” and “Beginning Chinese Calligraphy.” The main objective of these courses is to teach students calligraphy as a way to learn about Chinese culture and history. Chinese calligraphy not only is connected to Chinese literature, culture, and history but also is recognized as a unique art form. In these courses, I combine many of my skills such as the Chinese language, Chinese ink painting, Chinese brush writing, and traditional Chinese music. I also use modern technology such as PowerPoint to show many still and moving images to students. Students also practice Chinese brush writing and learn about the history of the Chinese written characters. They not only learn the Chinese language, both spoken and written, but also how to appreciate Chinese culture.
On the basis of my experience, I believe the communicative approach is the best way to teach Chinese as a second language. I attempt to focus on teaching every courses through communication and meaning-based theory. My ideal goal is teaching Chinese language through integrating a balance of theories, such as communications, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities as outlined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages), and practices into the curriculum that can provide students varied opportunities to develop their language skills. I focus on creating a learner-centered environment while I am teaching across three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) to enhance students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. I would like to provide interesting and fun ways for students to learn Chinese language as much as I can. These are also my professional goals in the future.
The Virginia STARTALK Chinese Teachers Academy is one of the best Chinese teacher training programs that I have ever attended. It was definitely well-organized, professionally run, and far beyond my expectations. I have benefited a great deal from it. After I completed this program, I now feel more confidence during teaching, not only for my Chinese language class, but also for my other classes. I felt very blessed that we have such professional, kind, generous, and friendly teachers and assistant in this program.