I hold a Ph.D. from Sun Yat-sen University and an M.S. degree from South China Agricultural University, both in Botany, as well as an A.S. degree in Gemology from Peking University. From 2008 to 2009 I was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Currently I am working as a teacher of spoken and written Mandarin Chinese at both the Andover Chinese School in Andover, MA and the Derry Chinese School in Derry, NH.
When I am working with my students, my approach is not to lecture the students but rather to engage them. This means making full use of my body language, inserting lively and amusing examples to explain a point of grammar, and implementing a variety of familiar, everyday items (a cellphone, a piece of fruit, a bath towel, a Taylor Swift CD) as physical “props” to make the language and vocabulary real and immediate to the students.
The wonderful thing about teaching language (as opposed to other subjects) is that you are simply introducing new terms and vocabulary for objects, ideas and actions which are already a part of your students’ everyday lives and experiences – so there is no reason or excuse not to make your examples and explanations as true-to-life and realistic as possible. For example, when we first encounter the Chinese word "da" meaning “to hit” (a word used in many different expressions in Chinese) I make a point of hitting my hand against the table with a nice loud bang so that students get the message!
back to top