My longtime interest in Chinese language and culture has taken me through a Masters program in East Asian Studies, with a concentration in Chinese history, at the University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies. I've also lived and studied Mandarin and classical Chinese in China for a year each at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China and National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, respectively. Afterward, I taught high school Chinese for six years - from absolute beginners through advanced levels, including SAT II Subject Test prep; business Chinese for professionals through Penn State University; and I've tutored numerous high school and college Chinese language learners. I comprehensively taught speaking, listening, reading, and writing (traditional and simplified characters) all together. Since then, I've worked from home as a freelance Chinese-English translator of government, business, and legal documents. Some of my favorite hobbies include Chinese tea ceremony and reading Chinese literature and history. I love teaching and learning languages, and I'm passionate about helping students work through the challenges of the Chinese language and find the resources to become motivated, independent learners. As a native English speaker and a late starter when it came to learning Chinese, I am proof that anyone can master the language - and I can show you how I overcame all the stumbling blocks along the way.
My teaching philosophy is that students learn best when they are given structured opportunities to actively communicate about things that they're passionate about and that are important to them. While I believe language immersion is vital, I strive for a balance of about 90% class time in Chinese, 10% English. This allows the student's native language to be used just enough to serve as a scaffold on top of which understanding of the foreign language can be built. In my experience, this is more effective than the confusion caused by total linguistic immersion. As students advance, I tend to separate speaking/listening material and reading/writing material, as in reality, we rarely speak and hear exactly the same things we read and write about. I rarely interrupt students during conversation to correct them, giving them a chance to exercise their skills without judgment; only afterward do I offer explanations, drills, and further conversation practice to focus on accuracy and main trouble areas. Whenever possible, I prefer to design lessons tailored to students' needs and interests rather than just going through the textbook. I am also an advocate of e-learning, and help students locate the abundant free or low cost resources available online to help them pursue their interest in Chinese alongside tutoring.
Undergraduate Degree: Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus - Bachelor in Arts, Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Graduate Degree: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Current Grad Student, East Asian Studies
Chinese tea ceremony, martial arts, languages, writing, mountain biking