Teaching Chinese in Bangladesh without knowing Bangla

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed Jun 13 21:49:13 UTC 2007


  *International*
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   *Teaching Chinese in Bangladesh without knowing Bangla*

June 11, 2007
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Dhaka: Yang Jinxiang, a teacher from China Languages University who speaks
neither English nor Bangla, is teaching Chinese in Dhaka University. What
has impressed people about her most is not teaching Chinese in a foreign
country, but her style of teaching. Yang cannot speak Bangla, the mother
tongue of Bangladeshis, or English, the widely spoken language in the
country. But over the last two years, there are 19 students in her class who
will get scholarships from the Chinese government to study in China.

She came to teach in Dhaka University in August 2005. There were two
teachers in the Chinese Department at that moment including Afzar Hossain
who had studied in China from 1997 to 2001. Sharing her first experience,
Yang said when she gave the first few classes, she asked Afzar to be
present, in order to help her communicate with the students. Then she could
give lessons independently. "I teach the Bangladeshi students Chinese
phonetic alphabet at the beginning. There are some differences in
pronunciation between Chinese and Bengali. For example, the Bengali people
are not easy to pronounce the phonetic alphabets like Z, C, and S, so I will
ask them to practise more on these sounds," Yang said.

Each student has each got a textbook on Chinese, but with English
explanations. Yang organizes the class based on their progress. When Teacher
Yang teaches new words, she will read the word with body language and
teaching tool, it is easy for students to understand. In order to improve
their Chinese level, Yang uses whatever methods she finds. For example,
after she teaches one word, she will ask the student who understands to
narrate to other students, and after a test, she will ask two students in
pair to exchange their test paper, and find out each other's problem. Yang
said these methods have greatly improved the students' interest in learning
Chinese language.

She encourages all the students to answer questions or propose questions.
Many students now are able to speak Chinese after studying for less than one
year. The students here study Chinese out of their own will. They don't get
a degree after finishing study. Narul Islam is working at the Dhaka Zia
International Airport. He started to learn Chinese last year, and got the
scholarship from the Chinese government this year. Narul said he wanted to
establish a Chinese school after finishing studies in China.

Aktar Islam is studying accounting in a local university. He spends his
spare time to learn Chinese in Dhaka University. He was also awarded the
scholarship this year. Yang showed the test paper of her students, the test
includes writing Chinese after reading phonetic alphabet, writing Chinese
after listening, making sentences, and composition. She said that she was
already getting messages and calls from her students in Chinese.

Yang has got acclimatized with the local environment after living for almost
two years in Bangladesh. She treats the students as her children, and the
students call her "Chinese mother". (IANS)

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Forwarded from edling-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu *
*


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