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Texas ISD School Guide
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Travel, Teach, Live in China

How to Teach English to Chinese Workers
By:Hulbert Lee

Teaching English to Chinese workers can be a difficult and frustrating process because of the language barrier. Sometimes you will have a hard time dealing with the grammar and the accents of your Chinese workers. However, if you are patient enough and develop a positive attitude, you can make it easier for your Chinese workers to work with you and make the English-learning process easier for them. Doing this will enhance your teaching skills and give you the experience you need in case you wish to teach Chinese abroad one day.

Research the Chinese language before teaching English. Many native English speakers go into teaching Chinese without understanding anything about the Chinese language. Without knowing how the Chinese language works, it can be a frustrating experience. By understanding some basic background information about Chinese, such as how Chinese grammar is different from English grammar and why there are four main tones, it will give you more confidence to help your coworkers improve their English, as well as make them feel more comfortable being around you.

Encourage your Chinese workers to speak only in English. The more exposure to English they have, the more their language skills will improve. Whenever you get a chance, listen to what they are saying and tell them how to change their English mistakes to the proper speaking form. In addition, encourage your coworkers to speak English with each other as well.

Be the first one to start a conversation with your Chinese coworkers. If you feel like they are shy, be the first one to engage so you can develop a positive English-speaking atmosphere. Ask them questions that don't involve one word "Yes" or "No" responses, such as "What did you do over the weekend?" or "What do you hope to be in the future?" After they respond, ask why they think that way to stimulate their minds. Engage in the conversation until they ask you questions about yourself. The key is to build rapport and good relationships with your coworkers so they feel more comfortable having conversations in English.

Direct your coworkers to English-learning resources. This can be anything from English-learning books, CDs, audiotapes, MP3 files or even the dictionary. During the time they are not with you, they can learn English at home or even while listening to a CD in the car. This will ensure that they have maximum exposure to the English language so they can learn English as fast and as efficiently as possible.

Have a positive attitude. Teaching English to Chinese workers will be a long, gradual process for both parties. It's important, during difficult times, not to disrespect or belittle your coworkers in any way as this may harm their self-esteem and their desire to learn English. Instead, always maintain a positive attitude and be honest with them. Don't be afraid to give your opinions or feedback to them as long as you do it in a respectful manner. Remember, the ultimate reason for everything you do is to help your Chinese workers improve their English.

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