Teaching English in China

“At Williams, there isn’t a class that will teach you how to manage a class of 50 students by yourself in a way that is engaging and still educationally relevant. Formal education cannot teach you the theory of how to respond to students’ questions and off-hand comments in real-time. Add the language barrier difference and you have an experience you can only get teaching in non-English speaking schools.”

Destination: Changsha, China

Trip Organizers: Yvonne Cui ’20 ([email protected]) & Qiyuan Hu ’20 ([email protected])

The Experience

In this Break Out Trip, students worked with high school students in Changsha, China. Their objective was to improve the English curricula used by English teachers in China and help the high school students perform well in the English section of their college entrance examination. Students designed and taught reading, writing, speaking, and listening classes to hundreds of Chinese high schoolers. Participants incorporated critical thinking, as well as encourage discussion and the use of English as a means of communication aiming to expand the student’s English skills. They also held an essay writing competition and helped teachers grade them. This trip was designed for students taking Chinese who were able to be fully immersed in the language and practice their language skills. They were also to get first-hand experience in the Chinese education system allowing them to get a better understanding of Chinese culture.

Participant Quotes

  • “I think part of working is learning to do the job effectively. We had to be very adaptive while teaching, and try to keep the students engaged in our lecture material. I think we all worked incredibly hard to create lesson plans and really get the students engaged in English.”
  • “Learning can also happen in the workspace. From this trip, I have learned to better communicate my ideas with other people and implement them in a classroom setting. This trip was very rewarding and fulfilling, especially when the students told us they became more interested in English because of us.”
  • “I think that work is fundamentally tied to learning. As one of my students told me, “teaching benefits both the teacher and the student”. The work we did teaching English greatly impacted the Chinese students; many of them told me they have a newfound love for English, and that their scores on their latest English test showed great improvement!”