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Practicing Mandarin by Guessing, Selling, Dubbing and Narrating Stories

As a language, students can master Chinese only when they practice in the real context. The most important thing is that they should be willing to open their mouths to learn to speak Chinese. In order to encourage learners learn initiatively, teachers should play some interesting games in class to put them into actual context so that students can learn effectively.

The first method can be applied properly to the small class teaching to teach Mandarin language. Five students gather as a team. The team has thirteen cards with the names of certain sporting equipments or sports. When the game begins, four students of each team get three cards each. The left one card should be placed to the center of the table. The fifth student who has no card should guess what one of the four students is going to do on weekend.

Let me explain in detail with examples to show how to play the game in Chinese language school. For instance, the fifth student may say “这个周末玛丽会去打篮球”. If the cards with “篮球” is on John’s hands, John should say “玛丽不能去打篮球,玛丽的篮球在我这儿” and continue like this.

However, if there is nobody opposes to the guessing of the fifth student, the one who guesses should make a more affirmative judgment and say “玛丽这个周末将去打篮球”. When the guesser does it correctly, the first round of the game is over. It is helpful to practice students’ listening and oral expressing in learning Mandarin Chinese. But the names on the cards should be known to all firstly.

Selling goods is a perfect method to practice learners’ oral language when they learn Mandarin in China. First of all, teachers should prepare a piece of television commercial and play it to students for about two or three times. After students have prepared for ten to fifteen minutes, some of them act as salesmen and others performed as the customers and advertise to promote the goods.

When it is finished, teachers can make some comments on it and ask the students to recommend the best sellers, which will be beneficial to stimulate their interest to study Mandarin Chinese. Of course, the television commercial can be replaced by the advertisement in newspapers or magazines. In the practice of oral Chinese, they can master the expressions of the function items like description, explanation, persuasion and inquiry.

Dubbing is interesting to learn Chinese language. Teachers can play a miniseries to students for about two or three times. After that, two to ten minutes will be given to students to recall the story and dialogues of the play. Then teachers will play the last time for them. But the volume should be turned off. In this way, students should dub for the play without sound.

When choosing the television miniseries, teachers should select the one with the slow dialogues. There should be some intervals between the dialogues so that students have enough time to recall the dialogues and dub. If necessary, teachers can record students’ dubbing and play it again after the game and make some comments. This is very helpful to students’ short-term memory training and other comprehensive abilities to study Chinese.

In order to train their reasoning ability and imagination, teachers can play the game of continuing to narrate the story of a play. Teachers should first prepare a television play that students who study in China are interested. To play game in this way, the end of the story should be deleted. In the class, teachers will play the uncompleted play to students. After thinking and discussing about ten minutes, students are supposed to narrative the plots and make up the ending according to their own understanding.

After students narrate the story and make up the end, teachers can play the original one with ending. Then, students can discuss whose ending is the most reasonable one. It is good for students to develop a topic and end the topic during the process when they learn Mandarin. But in this game, the ending of the selected play should be various.

To practice Chinese language by playing games of guessing, selling, dubbing and narrating stories are helpful. These methods can train students’ language ability comprehensively. Teachers should apply them to class properly.

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Andrew | USA

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I am a graduate student working on my doctor degree at Columbia University. We were able to really focus on speaking especially interview  style speaking and we are able to really up my reading and writing, so when I go back to Columbia, I can take formal classes.  It has been a really good experience and I really love my teacher.

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Du Wenyu | Netherlands

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So during my first week at Keats, I didn’t dare to speak any Chinese words. I found out that my Chinese level quickly improved since then. Although I have many options to study in China, for example some other schools have homestay, I found I could immerse myself and fully focus on learning Chinese by staying at Keats.

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I have to say it’s tons of fun. I have been here for 2 weeks. Not knowing what it was gonna be like, I was more than surprised it how great it is. The teachers are great, they are understanding. They do language program that suits just you. The location is perfect for China.

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It doesn’t matter what level of Chinese you have, or even you can start from the zero level. Your teacher will prepare the lessons according to your requirements. The advantage of living in the school is that you will have your tutoring, you will have your private accommodation with your own bathroom and all the meals provided. I highly recommend everybody to actually take the whole package because you get to meet other students.

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I really enjoy coming here because it is like kind of a home for me. It is a great great environment to learn Chinese and meet great people from all over the world. Every one here is extremely friendly. Kunming has a really nice climate. It is a very good mix of modern city and also a lot of historic Chinese culture. Probably got the cleanest air in China and possibly the cleanest water too. I invite you to come.

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I have been to Keats School for 4 times now. The reasons for coming back to this school is pretty much that the teachers I did work with were very good teachers. I make it a 5-year plan or even 10-year plan to come back to this school.  All the teachers have methods of looking at what your skills are. They are aware of at what level you are. I think it is worth for everyone.

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About studying here, I think the living condition is very convenient, because the dorm is very close to the classroom. Our teachers really enjoy teaching Chinese. They are also very passionate. Compared with other cities in China, Kunming has really good weather.

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