No Boundaries for Chinese Language and Teaching
Yun-Hsuan Chang 23′
Department of Chinese as a Second Language
As a student in the department of Chinese as a second language, I believe we all owe COVID-19 a debt of gratitude. Of course, this virus certainly caused a huge damage to our lives and the society, however, the widespread use of online courses started to eliminate the boundaries of learning. As a result, we were able to hear from many teachers who are now working on the front lines, teaching in foreign nations; also, our internships became more and more universal and convenient according to the lack of regional boundaries. This phenomenon definitely gave us, students who eager to spread and teach Chinese, reasons to be optimistic about our future prospects.
For students like us who wish to teach Chinese abroad, experience sharing from teachers became critical in our learning. Due to the popularity of video conferencing platforms, it is now possible to listen and to ask questions to those who are hundreds of miles away. For example, on one of our classes, we had the opportunity to listen to a teacher who was teaching in Poland, which compared it to her previous experience teaching in Russia. Taiwanese students are often unfamiliar with these Slavic countries, but during the lecture, we began to learn about the lifestyle there, what lessons we should prepare based on their culture, and also provided us with ideas for teaching in those countries. There are always many unknowns and unexpected in a foreign country, but with the help of technology, we can learn valuable experiences outside borders.
On the other hand, practical teaching to foreign students has become extremely convenient. Nowadays, our teaching environments are not only limited to classrooms in Taiwan, but also to online platforms that can connect to anywhere in the world. For instance, we have a course called ‘Chinese Language Teaching Practicum,’ and I had the opportunity to teach two Marilyn University students both an hour a week. As a result of this internship, I began by assessing students’ levels, practicing how to prepare lessons, and personalize the lessons to these students, hoping that they would benefit from what I taught and be interested in Chinese language and culture. Because of the possibility of online teaching, our professors offered us this invaluable opportunity to put our skills to use and prepare us for future teaching.
During the three years I studied in NTNU, nearly most of the time was during pandemic. This, however, did not prevent us from studying; on the contrary, this virus created many opportunities. The rise of online classrooms provided us with not only the opportunity to learn from people all over the world, but also the chance to practicum our teaching abilities to foreigners that we would never have met otherwise. These valuable experiences will undoubtedly serve as the foundation for my future endeavors.