The increasing popularity of Chinese language in the world has much to do with China having emerged as a leading destination of business. With millions of people flocking to China annually in pursuit of trade and commerce, the need to learn basic Chinese has gained popularity. In an exclusive interview with The Times Ms. Jiaojiao Yao, perhaps the only approved teacher of Chinese language in Kuwait, explains why it is not so difficult to learn Chinese after all.
Ms. Jiaojiao teaches Chinese at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) and has more than 100 students mostly Kuwaitis attending the course each semester. “In each semester the enrollment is already full,” she says confidently explaining that the course has gained popularity because she has introduced new techniques in the teaching process.
Ms. Jiaojiao started teaching Chinese language since she was a student at the university in China, where she taught international students Chinese language. She immediately realized her fondness in teaching and began to find herself specially interested in languages. Having graduated with a Master’s Degree in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, she says, comparison between languages is of special interest to her. She also speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
“I had never taught Chinese to students from the Middle East and it was a big challenge,” she says when asked about her teaching experience here. “One of the first things I do is try to understand the local language and it makes it easier for me to figure out how to make Chinese easier for the students,” she says.
Elaborating she says while Chinese is indeed a difficult language because of the characters being a bit complicated. In all there are 90,000 characters but the good thing is one need not know all of them and just 3,000 is enough to be able to read a newspaper and a graduate can read about 6,000 characters. It takes even a Chinese person nine years to grasp the whole characters, to grasp advanced writing and reading. So really there is no easy way out except to put in a lot of effort.
But Ms. Jiaojiao explains on the flip side, “Chinese is actually very easy to speak and understand, so for people who want to learn Chinese this is the easy way,” she points out. “Chinese grammar is quite simple as there is no change of tense, no female or male connotations,” she says.
“The traditional way to teach Chinese is teaching speaking, reading and writing at the same time, but this makes it a bit difficult and this is the main reason why people feel the afraid to learn Chinese and take Spanish or German as the second language,” she says adding that in her class she focuses on the speaking and listening first so that students gain confidence before the writing.
Speaking on her style of teaching she says “I give a lot of group work and activities and ensure all participate in the learning process as practice makes perfect,” she reveals. Ms. Jiaojiao says that over the years she has developed new techniques in teaching the language and it has yielded excellent results.
By getting the students to be interested in the language and making the students feel comfortable Ms. Jiaojiao ensures these confidence building measures help students’ interest during class. “I also teach by some simple rules giving students guidelines that help them learn” she says.
Going by the enrollment the course has become one of the popular second language courses in the university. “Student feedback is positive and my students don’t fall asleep in class,” she quips.
Ms. Jiaojiao is on deputation here and will leave in one or two years. she is also working on a simple Chinese to Arabic text book that will help students in the future.
The Times Report
|tareq||Posted on : January 13, 2016 2:46 pm|