Students from different countries and cultures often have very different experiences and expectations for learning.
If you have students from China, or if you are hoping to teach more students from China, here is some important information that will help you be successful in getting and teaching Chinese students.
Getting Chinese students:
If you can speak or write in Chinese, we recommend that you edit your teacher short introduction to include at least a sentence in Chinese. This will help you stand out to Chinese students, and help them feel more comfortable requesting your lessons.
If you have had experience teaching Chinese students before, mention this as well.
Try to accept lesson requests and send a friendly "hello" message as soon as possible. Students in China often expect quick responses.
Before your lesson:
After you accept a lesson request, make sure you understand the student's level and their learning goals. Follow up with a friendly message to the student, and ask them if they did not already provide this information. This will help them feel more confident that you will be able to help them.
Chinese students are often used to very strict school systems which can make them nervous about talking with teachers. Therefore, it is very important to be very friendly, patient, and encouraging since the students might be shy or afraid to make mistakes. Sending a friendly message or telling the student what they can expect from your lesson will really help them a lot.
If the student is not sure of their level, you can give them your assessment during your first lesson.
If the lesson will be through Skype, be sure to add the student as soon as possible.
During the lesson:
Chinese students usually appreciate structured lessons and would like to see some results or evidence of their progress. While many students like to have lessons to discuss whatever topics they find interesting, Chinese students will often prefer the teacher to lead a structured lesson. You might want to find your student's interests and then build a structured plan for improvement around that.
If you can offer notes for the students to review, suggestions for what they can practice as homework, or a recording of the lesson, then this is something they can use to see and to later track their progress. They will be more likely to continue taking your lessons since they will be able to see their progress.
If you choose to record the lesson, be sure to get permission from the student in advance to avoid privacy concerns.
At the beginning of the first lesson:
Take a few minutes to check and make sure you know what the student's level, background, and goals are. This might be their first experience learning independently with an online teacher, so be very encouraging and approachable.
At the end of the first lesson:
Take 5 minutes to:
- Review what you did during the lesson
- Give the student any comments or advice on how they can improve
- Let the student know how you can help them practice this and what progress they can expect to make
- Introduce what lessons or packages you think would be helpful for the student
After the lesson:
Even if you do not hear back from the student, send them a message later to remind them of what you discussed during the lesson and what you think you can help them improve. If you can provide an idea of a timeline or what results the student can expect, this will really help them understand what progress they can make.
You may want to adjust your own availability to be sure that you include times when students from China often want to learn. These times are typically:
- 8am - 5pm weekdays
- most popular: 6pm - 10pm weekdays or 1pm-10pm weekends
- 8am - 12pm noon on weekends
Keep in mind that all of mainland China is on the same timezone (UTC +8).
Skype is actually not as popular in China. Most people in China use QQ or WeChat (download from your phone's app store). Both of these are supported by italki, and you can add the accounts to your "Communication Tools" settings on your profile.
Zoom.us is also a great option for students in China because it's easy to invite students to the call, and the call is often still good quality even if the student's internet connection is not that great.