Early childhood educators tell us that children’s ears are highly sensitive in distinguishing sounds. And from our own experiences, language learning is not right if the learner can only understand his/her teacher’s talking. That’s how “team teaching” came to our mind. In team teaching, a group of instructors cooperate with each other in achieving the learning goal of students. The first hour of the class can be taught by one teacher, while the second hour will be taught by another. While teachers make sure the 2-hour class design is still a coherent whole, this teaching type involves variability.
Chinese with Meggie teachers have been trying this teaching model a little bit with our students, but we plan to make it systemized from the coming fall semester. Here is how we think about it.
Most apparently, team teaching means that children will have the opportunities to meet and work with different teachers. In general, it expands children’s life experience. Specifically in the field of language learning, it exposes students to different ways of speaking and communication in target language. Even though we set up general standards in what Chinese words/phrases/sentences we use with our students in classroom, each individual still talk differently by nature. To take the English acquisition as an example, when learning English, children hear the language with huge amount of variability influenced by gender, dialect, age and emotional state. But our children learn to adjust to the variability in English.
Therefore, in our Chinese class, with team teaching, such differences in English are made possible for our little Chinese learners. We make sure that our students can understand Chinese, but not “my beloved Chinese teacher’s Chinese.”
-Chinese with Meggie Language School, Austin, Texas