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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Learning Chinese Feedback Teaching Suggestions

Learning Chinese is a journey full of mistakes, so how do you take the sting out of giving feedback so a student can learn from their mistakes and improve?

A NY Times article For Best Results, Take the Sting Out of Criticism has a lot of great ideas and is meant for business, but should have been written for teaching.

1. Understanding a person's background when issuing feedback is critical. One person's yelling is another person's usual way of communication.

2. American Culture can view criticism as a personal attack, where a person from Taiwan would view it as caring by giving valuable feedback. And if you get defensive on it, they reply "but it's true" justifying their comments.

3. It's important to make a person understand they are OK, even if they made a mistake, and the important part is learning from the mistake and moving on.

4. When receiving feedback, do not argue or defend yourself, but ask questions to understand the feedback better. The goal is to Learn Chinese, not get into an argument.

5. For Chinese Teachers, do not make fun of your students mistake. If they mispronounce a word, do not ask them to keep on repeating it wrongly, and keep on laughing every time they do so.

6. Excellent quote from the article - way to avoid criticism is to “do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”

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