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Teaching English to Chinese via Skype 
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Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:25 pm
Posts: 2
Post Teaching English to Chinese via Skype
I am helping a 10-year old Chinese boy (who lives in Beijing) with his English. It is 1 on 1 via Skype, In other words I
cannot hand him a picture or point to words. I need words with pictures. It is difficult to have him understand me as I speak no Chinese. I am getting quite good with Google translate. Any suggestions? I have one advantage. His aunt is my friend, but she lives in Wuhan, China. I use 2 computers sitting side by side, both on Skype, and if I get in real difficulties, I have her translate my explanations to him via my Skype. But this is quite time consuming. If you have any suggestions, please help.

I am a licensed (retired) English/Spanish teacher. I am using whatever I can do via Skype voice/IM.

Thank you,
Judy Carl

Judy, helping children understand others

Thu May 06, 2010 10:34 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Judy, welcome to the MES forums!

I'm assuming you aren't using video, right? just audio. If you were using video, you could printout some things or use your other computer screen to display some objects to talk about.

Teaching without visual clues of any kind is hard for me to imagine. That sounds like a tough obstacle, much like teaching English to a visually impaired student. If the student had a decent understanding of simple English, it seems like you could build on that, but if this is a case of a true beginner, it's rather complicated. His age does help a bit.

What's his English level? What types of things are you working on with him? Does he have a textbook or something that you're following?

What I'd do is try to overcome the zero-visual obstacle since it can be done to some extent. I'd make some easy to follow worksheets and email them before class to the student. Maybe keep each item/topic/question on separate pages. That way you can have the child move to a specific page so he can see what you are talking about. "Look at page 12. What's that? Do you like it? Have you ever eaten that? ... "

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Fri May 07, 2010 2:57 pm
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Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:25 pm
Posts: 2
Sorry I wasn't more clear. I am using visual, too. It would be impossible otherwise as you said.

I have used the site you recommended and sent the URL to Guoqing.

His background. He lived with his grandparents for grades 1-4 as his parents were always working. The grandparents lived out in the country, and my friend, Meiling, says country schools are very poorly run. Usually oly one teacher for the entire school. In December of this past year (2009), he moved back to Beijing and his parents. Now he is in what they call a Big City School. In the country, he had some English in grades 3 and 4 I think. (not too clear on this) In Beijing, English is taught beginning in Grade 1. I think the lessons are given either on a radio or tv...something audio. It goes much too fast for him. My task is to go over the lessons, which they email to me, twice a week so that he can try to keep up in class. The class is taught entirely in English as I understand it. In 30 minutes time (about his limit) we do about 15 min. of his class work and then we have about 15 min. of "Grandma" lessons. That is what he calls me. I am trying to introduce him to additional vocabulary that perhaps he missed earlier.

Sorry this is so long, but it is complicated. I shall really use the flashcard idea from my end. I think that is a really good suggestion. On the worksheets, he can see both the picture and word. This would be better.

Thanks for the help.

Judy, helping children understand others

Sat May 08, 2010 1:29 am
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