Thu, July 16, 2009
Lifestyle > Culture

Swine flu spoiling your summer Chinese learning plans? Distance learning may be the answer

2009-07-09 03:17:49 GMT2009-07-09 11:17:49 (Beijing Time)

The rampant spread of H1N1 has shocked the world, and in July and August, even faster spreading rates are expected, endangering those foreign students who intend to take a China tour this summer vacation.

Wang Xinwei, president of Rainbow Chinese School, San Jose, California, expressed that it is the responsibility of all Chinese schools to help their students avoid threat of the flu. It is reported by the World Daily on May 5th that Rainbow Chinese School has already cancelled the Chinese School Union Summer Camp in South Bay for the sake of the health of every student. In addition, H1N1 has foiled the home-visiting plan of many overseas Chinese families.

Due to the cancellation of the summer camp and home visits, many Chinese culture lovers and kids have found they are losing their opportunity to visit China. In such circumstances, when China itself is inaccessible, online Chinese learning receives a wide popularity among parents. While some parents are skeptical of the online teaching method, many parents are turning to online Chinese learning to help their children learn Chinese.

David Lee, a clerk as well as a father of two children from Miami, Florida, said he didn't know much about distance Chinese learning but was wondering if his children would learn as effectively without face-to-face communication with teachers. But as a mother of three children, Andrea Smith from New York thought that distance Chinese learning would free her children from time and space restriction, allowing them to learn Chinese according to their own plan and at their own pace.

Before distance learning language classes, children who wanted to learn Chinese would have to attend tutorial classes, often at times that were inconvenient to busy parents. Online Chinese learning eliminates this problem and helps save families' both time and money. What's more, with today's technology, children can communicate directly face-to-face with native Chinese teachers and learn better, more authentic Chinese than they would in a classroom.

The spread of H1N1 does prevent many children from pursuing their ready-made plans to study in China, but their plans to study Chinese do not need to be halted. Regarding whether online Chinese learning really can enrich children’s Chinese studies and summer experiences, we interviewed Mr. Fred Rao, the CEO of, an expert in the field of teaching online Mandarin Chinese to foreigners.

"First, to choose a highly efficient learning method such as live online video teaching can make the class more interactive and is just like face-to-face learning." he said.

"Second, to select a mature online Chinese learning institution will be helpful for students to learn Chinese more effectively. This can both guarantee the teaching quality and help students build up confidence in language learning. The professionalism and teaching methods of the teachers also have a great influence on children's learning. A mature and professional institution possesses all these features."

Finally, Fred expressed that parents should help provide the necessities required by online learning for their children, such as a computer and a stable internet connection. As long as a child has reliable access to the internet, online Chinese learning is actually an amazing resource for students to learn Chinese language and culture. By way of the internet, Chinese learning really is available anywhere in the world, despite of the ferocity of H1N1 flu.

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