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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Chessgeek's Avatar

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    Apr 2012
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    Default China: Teaching English Through Play

    Long story made shorter: I am part of a ten-person group that will be going to Tangkou, in the Anhui province of China for a month (July 8th - August 6th). As the title suggests, our main purpose in going is to teach people of all ages a little bit of basic English by playing games with them (card games, sports, charades etc). No formal classroom situations, no desks or tests, just games or other fun informal activities (playing music for example). If you want to read a little more about the trip we have a shiny new website that goes into a bit more detail about why we're going and what we'll be doing.

    As delighted as I am to have this opportunity, I can't help but feel a bit overwhelmed. I've never left the States, and China is obviously a wee bit of a different place than New Jersey. And I've never really taught anything, especially with people that speak a language I do not. It's basically a month of a completely different life where just about everything is a completely new experience. And that's awesome, but I do want to try and be a little bit prepared.

    So I'm reaching out to the Playground at the last minute for some advice on a couple of things. Any and all help would be appreciated. So, wonderful people that you all are, do you have any

    -Tips on communicating with people that don't have any common languages with you?

    -Ideas for methods to teach a few words easily? (e.g. in football/soccer you would repeatedly say "pass" or "shoot" or "dribble" and they would pick it up fairly quickly. Things like that where they wouldn't have much difficulty remembering what is what.)

    -Knowledge of things I should know about Chinese culture? I'd rather not do some stupid foreigner faux pas (e.g. eating food left-handed in India) if it can be avoided.



    Please don't let the U.S.A. be represented by a clueless idiot in China, however appropriate or deserved it would be.
    Last edited by Chessgeek; 2014-06-30 at 05:23 PM.

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    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: China: Teaching English Through Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Chessgeek View Post
    -Ideas for methods to teach a few words easily? (e.g. in football/soccer you would repeatedly say "pass" or "shoot" or "dribble" and they would pick it up fairly quickly. Things like that where they wouldn't have much difficulty remembering what is what.)
    Association is the basis of learning. Try showing objects or drawing them. Have them name the object, and give them the English name for it. By doing so, you can develop a common understanding.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    TaiLiu's Avatar

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    Default Re: China: Teaching English Through Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Chessgeek View Post
    Long story made shorter: I am part of a ten-person group that will be going to Tangkou, in the Anhui province of China for a month (July 8th - August 6th). As the title suggests, our main purpose in going is to teach people of all ages a little bit of basic English by playing games with them (card games, sports, charades etc). No formal classroom situations, no desks or tests, just games or other fun informal activities (playing music for example). If you want to read a little more about the trip we have a shiny new website that goes into a bit more detail about why we're going and what we'll be doing.
    Congratulations on being one of the chosen in that tiny group! Which age group are you in?
    Quote Originally Posted by Chessgeek View Post
    Tips on communicating with people that don't have any common languages with you?
    Body language; there's some cultural baggage to watch out for, but a lot of body language is quasi-universal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chessgeek View Post
    Ideas for methods to teach a few words easily? (e.g. in football/soccer you would repeatedly say "pass" or "shoot" or "dribble" and they would pick it up fairly quickly. Things like that where they wouldn't have much difficulty remembering what is what.)
    Combine with body language for maximum effect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chessgeek View Post
    Knowledge of things I should know about Chinese culture? I'd rather not do some stupid foreigner faux pas (e.g. eating food left-handed in India) if it can be avoided.
    This Wikitravel page should have all the information you need. There's extra, of course, but any suffering that occurs from it is wholly acceptable.
    "I kinda think I'm not supposed to go along with something that's wrong just to get food."

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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: China: Teaching English Through Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Chessgeek View Post
    -Tips on communicating with people that don't have any common languages with you?
    Be uninhibited. Point at things, mime actions, hell, make chicken noises if that's what it takes to get a point across. Picking up some <insert local chinese dialect> will of course help tremendously. Just basics like hello, goodbye, please, thank you, food, beer go a very, very long way if you mix in gestures and whatnot. Don't be afraid of making a fool of yourself in the name of communication. People really appreciate it when a foreinger makes a genuine effort to make themselves understood in the local language and this is especially true when the foreinger in question is British or American, given the depressingly common attitude of "everyone speaks English and if people don't understand me I'll just speak louder" (and other, less forum-discussable reasons).

    On the flipside, you will almost certainly encounter people wanting to practice their English on you, so be ready to be on the recieving end of varyingly understandable English in the oddest situations.
    Last edited by SlyGuyMcFly; 2014-07-01 at 03:03 PM.
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