Chinese Resources

Monday, December 17, 2012

Seeking participants for a small research project.


As the title suggests, I'm currently seeking participants for a small research project I'm doing for my Chinese Phonology class (華語語音教學研究). If you're looking for a few tips on how to improve your Mandarin Chinese pronunciation or just wanna help out, than please take 15 minutes to participate!

Who can participate?
If you meet the follow criteria please feel free to participate in the survey.

  • Non-native speaker of Mandarin Chinese
  • Have recognition of at least 300 basic Chinese characters

How do I participate?
If you would like to participate in the survey please download either the traditional or simplified file from the Google Doc folder I've created. Having trouble access the doc? Email me (see below) and I'll send you the file.

After you've finished you can either upload your document (if you have a Google account) or email it to me. My email is  gaojian85 (at) gmail (dot) com. 

What you should see when you open the link.

In order to participate you must have access to the following programs:
  • Microsoft Word (or a program capable of opening a Word doc.)
  • Audio Recording Program
If you have any questions or concerns please leave them in the comments below. 非常感謝! 

Of course, your participation will remain anonymous and be used for research purposes only.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Classes are over but the lessons carry on.

Two weeks ago my friend and student left Taiwan (for now), returning to America to take a teaching position at UW-Milwaukee. While our last lesson certainly had elements of a typical language class, or at least our typical language class, it was more about asking what's next? Instead of spending two hours introducing new grammar patterns and new vocabulary, we decided to take a break from the Chinese and develop a plan for moving forward.

We spent time discussing short-term and long-term goals, and more importantly how to execute them. Rather than simply looking for end results, we tried to break tasks down into the smallest conceivable parts. Once we had the parts we put them all together with deadlines, expiration dates, and expected outcomes. It was awesome!

Ever since that last class I've been thinking a lot about the role of teachers, especially in the field of foreign language. While some teachers might take pride in how many chapters of a book they taught, or how many grammar points they covered, I left my last class simply hoping that, over the course of 14 months, I'd giving my friend a few tricks and insights into becoming a more independent language learner. I hope that my student left Taiwan knowing how to make her own decisions about what is considered critical, "must know," vocabulary. I hope they better understand the power of context in all forms of communication, and how to use this skill to learn even more. I hope my student learned that there are plenty of ways to talk about (and around) something, even when you don't have the word you're looking for.

These skills, to me, are far more important than me sharing every little bit of Chinese that I've learned over the past six years. Because, let's face it, there is never enough time to teach someone everything (especially when there is so much we don't know ourselves). We should, however, do everything in our power to make sure that students have the necessary tools to go on learning once the bell rings and class is over.

I truly believe that my role as "teacher" is about so much more than simply teaching Chinese. My goal, rather, is about making sure that my students don't make the same mistakes I made; to inspire (at least a few students if I can); and to provide the tools necessary to carry on once class ends and they step into the real world. I don't want to be a teacher, I want to serve as a guide. A guide who walks with students on their own path to self discovery. And I hope for my students sake that I lived up, at least in some way, to this lofty goal.

Actually, I take it back. I don't want to just be a guide... I want to be a guide that knows when to step aside and says "now it's your turn to teach me."
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