Announcing new video resources for practicing speaking Chinese

Written by April Zhang on Monday, 13 April 2020. Posted in Front Page

Announcing new video resources for practicing speaking Chinese

There are so many videos out there, desperately want students to learn some Chinese from them. Well, I’m no exception. I have been working on a series of video lessons trying to teach beginners how to read and write Chinese. However, at the same time, I was constantly being bugged by a negative feeling that I was talking too much on my videos.

At my Chinese classes, I always try to minimise my talking time and to maximise students’ practicing time. After all, class hours are very limited. If I don’t structure well how to use every minute during a lesson, time will be wasted on non-productive talking and tedious repetition. But as I was producing videos, I found myself talking almost all the time. And I am not alone. I ran a search for online Chinese lessons, and found out that Chinese teachers loved talking and they just kept talking.

The format of online lessons seems to justify this obsession of talking. Talking is teaching. And teaching is talking. I talk to teach Chinese, and I teach Chinese so I talk. 

While I still talked a lot when I was producing the video lessons on reading and writing Chinese, I was also considering a format that I could shut up and make space for students to talk. That thought gave the birth to a series of new videos where you can’t hear a word from me. 

These videos are placed under the Resource tab. I named them Review Exercises. They are all animated videos and are all very short. Each video is tied to a topic which is covered in the Mandarin Express Student’s Books. A lesson number is indicated at the beginning of each video, such as Mandarin Express Intro Level B, Lesson 15 Review. So, there is no suspense to the content. The only suspense is how well students use them.

Videos are categorised into:

These videos can be used as cues for students to review vocabulary and sentence structures, and to practice speaking Chinese. Currently, the Intro Level lessons have the most videos ready. More videos will be gradually added to the other two levels. 

After watching a video, students can do the following:

  • Describe each scene in Chinese;
  • Make up a story which gives a coherent explanation to the entire video, in Chinese of course;
  • Work out a conversation in Chinese to discuss about the video, the good, the bad and the ugly;
  • For higher level students, write a presentation in Chinese about the video.

Or you might find other ways to use these videos! 

I added some music to each video to give it a rhythm. However, if you choose to mute it, it is definitely all right! The important part is that you won’t hear a Chinese teacher talking incessantly.

Driven by a burst of creativity, I have produced quite a bit of short videos recently. The leftover ones are put under two other categories: 

If you are interested, check them out as well.

About the Author

April Zhang

April Zhang

April Zhang is the founder of MSL Master and the author of two series of Chinese textbooks, Mandarin Express series and Chinese Reading and Writing series, which are highly relevant and very effective for non-Chinese speakers to learn Mandarin Chinese.


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