Foreigner teaching Chinese to Foreigners in Taoyuan?

What do you think of a foreigner setting up Chinese classes for foreigners in Taoyuan?

  • Great! I’ll probably attend it myself!
  • Good idea. There’s surely a lot of people who could use a class like that.
  • Give it a try if you want, but I’d rather have a native Chinese teacher.
  • Are you stupid? This is Taiwan. Native Chinese are a dime a dozen. It would be stupid to have a foreigner teach it!

0 voters

My major in university was Chinese Teaching- e.g. teaching Chinese to Westerners. I’m considering starting beginning Chinese classes for Westerners. I’m in a “transition phase” right now, so I wouldn’t be setting one up immediately. I just want to gauge what the response would be to a class in Taoyuan.

I have about 1 year experience teaching intensive courses to foreigners in the States. I would teach with a Chinese co-teacher. I would use task based instruction in addition to any reference books students would like to use.

The benefit would be that I have technical knowledge of Chinese and know how to explain things that many native Chinese have trouble expressing. You have all the native speakers you could want to practice with, no doubt, but is that always an effective way to learn?

What do you think?

puiwaihin I would like to help with your survey, however, I see one major drawback (particularly if you are going to use this survey to help you make a fairly major decision) so I won’t do the survey but I will respond anyway.

I would not necessarrily scorn at a foreigner teaching me Chinese, my main teacher in Australia was a westerner. But…

  1. I don’t live anywhere near Taoyuan. And I wouldn’t move for a Chinese class.

  2. My first concern would be accent. Unless the westerner had close to native speaker Chinese, I wouldn’t want my pronunciation lessons coming from a westerner. This could be overcome by having a Chinese teacher in a support role. My university in Australia did this and I think it worked alright. That is also what many of the buxibans do here with English teachers.

  3. Another concern would be how grammatically accurate is the westerners Chinese. It wouldn’t need to be flawless, but it would certainly need to be of a very high quality, especially in the lower levels where I would be extrememly dependant on my teacher to be getting that grammar right.

Some don’t like grammar focus in class. Personally I need grammar explained to me clearly. Of course grammar needs to be balanced with lots of speaking practice (to me the two go hand in hand - I would not usually teach grammar without giving opportunity for the student to orally practice.)

Whether or not there were grammar lesson per se, the westerner would, in my opinion, need to speak and understand Chinese grammar well.

  1. The westerner would need to be a good teacher. If I have the choice between a bad western teacher and a bad Chinese teacher…

If you have all the above then likely I would consider such a class as an option (depending on price) because many Chinese teachers don’t know how to teach, many language institutions here cater to Asians more than westerners, and a westerner would probably be more understaning of the difficulties we face as westerners learning Chinese.

(Not like one teacher who in my beginner class told me that by watching Chinese movies and reading the subtitles, I would improve my listening skills. (I recognised less than 500 characters at that point) The Japanese girls in my class unamimously agreed. - a year and a half later I still only get about a quarter, to half of the subtitle, sometimes much less, and usually no meaning before it vanishes, and I have to start scanning the next block for charaters I know.IT"S EXTREMELY HARD WORK!!!) WHAT WAS MY TEACHER THINKING!!! WAS SHE THINKING!!!

My current teacher cuts me off about 50% of the time (if I hesitate - she finishes the sentence; If I say a word out of place - she corrects me and finishes my sentence; she repeats nearly everything everyone says - and adds to it, clearly re-inforcing that we are not clearly expressing our deep inner thoughts, clearly re-inforcing our Chinese is very substandard, clearly re-inforcing I don’t want to speak Chinese in class - which should be my haven! In a class of three I get to do about 5 minutes of talking in two hours AARRGGHH!!)

  1. I would be cautious, duely skeptical and it would take me a long time to commit to a Chinese class with a western teacher.

I hope this is helpful in some way.

I didn’t submit a vote, though I think it’s a good idea. I’ve always agreed that there is a place for non-native speakers teaching languages to others of their cultural/linguistic groups. I think you could offer a kind of insight into, and explanation of, difficult concepts and translations that few native speakers would because you see the language from a similar vantage point as the students. So why no vote?

Well, there aren’t that many students available to you in Taoyuan, for starters. It would be hard to organize classes with enough students in them to bring per-student costs down to a reasonable level. It gets even harder for people like myself who are not quite a beginners anymore to find classmates. Costs may be prohibitive.

But hey, I like the idea in principle. If you can get some people together…? I think an idea like this would work best in Taipei.

I have a Chinese friend who has as close to native speaker English as your likely to get from a non-native speaker. Many of the Chinese parents complain about the Asian face, but she is an awesome teacher. Ans as TS said, she has an insight into things that are difficult to Chinese who are learning English, as well as what their school system requires them to know. She is awsome with grammar. If I was Chinese, and know what I know, she would be my first choice as English teacher.


A one-on-one class is only $350/hr at TLI, one of the more expensive “chain schools” that teach Chinese to foreigners. I just don’t see how you could compete unless you had a big difference that made you stand out among the rest.

I took TLI one-on-one classes for six months at TLI. It was great for pronunciation. I don’t like the style of teaching that they (or practically anyone) use. The only thing that would make me want to take another Chinese class is a class that uses a fair amount of TPR. A non-native speaker can teach that kind of class. I have found that my mind dislikes traditional language teaching.

I did ask a year or so ago here on, but there was nobody around Taipei who would teach me Chinese that way. If you were going to teach with a good amount of TPR I’d even consider a one hour train trip to Taoyuan; however, you’re lucky if you got even one chapter on TPR in four years of university teacher training.

My teaching approach would be very different from most classes you would get into. My major was in Chinese Teaching-- so a lot of my coursework was in modern pedagogy. I don’t think many here would have that. In terms of money/hour I would have to get at least 3 students in a class to compete. But there’s an advantage to that anyway.

My accent is acceptably standard. Most Chinese make that comment to me when they first hear me speaking. But that’s in comparison to other foreigners they’ve heard who speak poorly. I do have some inaccuracies which is why I would have a native co-teacher.

My grammar is quite good. More importantly, I have a talent for explaining complex grammar. My educational philosophy follows the cognitive approach: students need to understand what they are saying and how it fits together, then practice it in a meaningful way.

I think anyone who took a class from me would be quite satisfied on that score.

Good. I love TPR. Whenever I do “all Chinese” teaching I use TPR and visual illustrations. For grammar teaching, on the other hand, I was taught a very effective chart style for mastering transformations.

My saying I’m a good teacher doesn’t mean anything at all. That’s something students would have to see. At first I would offer a free 30-minute evaluation for me to see what the student knows and for the student to see how I would teach. After I got established I’d organize a demo.

Right now I’m just seeing if it’s feasible for me to do when I’m not teaching at whatever school I’d be teaching at once I get a new job. I have the framework for a syllabus, but I wouldn’t be starting in the next month.

Thanks all for the feedback. Take a look at and you can get some idea of me as a teacher.