I recently found an interesting article on the issue on fluentinmandarin.com. They created a checklist of things to look for when looking for a good Chinese teacher.Here is how I’m striving to be the best teacher on their 8 criteria.
1. Somebody who really knows their stuff
I’ve been learning Chinese since 2008, I have the highest certificate in Chinese (for foreigners) which is HSK6 and I have a Master’s Degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language.
More than that, I’ve made countless of mistakes during the years and learned from them. You don’t need to make the same mistakes.
2. Somebody knows the ‘why’ and can explain things
I’ve learned Chinese from zero as well. I had to go the hard way and memorize characters, pinyin, times, grammar rules and so on.
During my studies I’ve asked countless of “why” questions and still strive to find the answer to any question my students have.
3. Somebody who can engage you and make Chinese interesting
Studying needs to be interesting otherwise students will soon give up. With every student I try to find out what makes them click and use that to motivate them.
Group lessons and great for motivating to study! HSK tests are also good goals and getting that shiny certificate for your wall will make miracles for your confidence.
4. Somebody who can think logically and teach in a structured way
I will teach Chinese from the Western point of view and use teaching methods I would enjoy my self too. The Chinese educational tradition might be too different for us, so I will combine the best of both ways in my classes.
For structure I mostly work with a good textbook or create an outline for course based on research. I did my MA thesis in textbook design.
5. Somebody who can encourage and motivate you (but also give you useful feedback)
Motivating students is one of the biggest challenges in my job, but I have a few aces in my sleeve to get people excited of learning Chinese!
But good feedback is important as well! I will keep on correcting your biggest mistakes so they won’t hinder your communication.
6. Somebody who is passionate about their subject
I have made Chinese to grow from hobby to major to my career, hard to find anyone more passionate about Mandarin!
I love reading about learning and teaching Mandarin, trying to stay up to date in the newest books and apps.
7. A good Chinese teacher needs to be patient
If you ask my students, they can vouch that patience I have plenty! Slow and steady progress is often much better than trying to rush things without learning them well.
8. Somebody who you get on well with
Well this last one is personal and hard to answer my self. I see me as an easy going person, but I’d rather let you decide it!
So why don’t you meet up with me for a cup of tea (offline in Guangzhou or online on Skype) and find out. You can reach me on the contact form here.