On teaching/learning Chinese
I love teaching Chinese a lot. One thing I love most is when my students make me remember details from the early stages of when I was learning the language. And these are often things I first learned around 10 years ago! It is amazing how our learning solidifies, and what seems very difficult at the time becomes second nature later on.
I also notice, even now, when I've learned something in a particular way, that idea or concept stays with me too.
In every class I teach, I create a sequence of activities to try and help reduce blocks my students might face, while giving appropriate practice opportunities to chat and use what we learn. And all the way along, I'm trying to weave in all the previously learned vocabulary.
But sometimes I don’t realise pit-holes until I see a student meet an idea for the first time ask me about it in real-time.
In a recent lesson, I was reminded that the phrase “没那么" (which conveys the idea of 'not that much...') is very similar to the phrase ”不太” (it also conveys the idea of 'not too much...') - it just clicked. It’s not that I didn’t know this, it’s just that I hadn’t seen it from this viewpoint before.
It’s so humbling, these moments.
When I am as much a student as my own students or participants. When I teach or facilitate a session, be it Chinese or any other topic, to a person of any age, the same philosophy always rings true for me: ‘when one teaches, two learn’.