The 2018 Annual Chinese Teaching Conference will take place on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th June. The Conference will host a range of teaching workshops as well as plenaries on different subjects, including different approaches to teaching Chinese that can make it easier for learners. Shaolan, who will deliver a Conference plenary titled ‘Why Chinese?’ , is the founder and creator of Chineasy which she launched after a well-received TED Talk in Long Beach, California in 2013. In just over five years, Chineasy has become the leading brand in Chinese learning.
1. Can you give us some background as to why you started Chineasy?
All mothers are determined to give their children the best. The best thing I can give my two lovely children is enthusiasm for their cultural heritage, and appreciation for their roots. As my children grew out of infancy, I wanted them to have access to the language and culture I grew up with. I tried to find a way to inspire them to learn Chinese, but they pushed back hard, and nothing I found captured their attention. So I looked for a fun way to get them started, and when I couldn’t find one, I decided to develop my own – Chineasy.
Chineasy started with a learning method that breaks down thousands of Chinese characters into a few hundred base building blocks. When these building blocks are combined, they form compounds that can, in turn, combine to create phrases. Through this method, learners can quickly build an extensive vocabulary of Chinese characters/words speedily and efficiently. Now Chineasy has expanded to speaking via our podcast Talk Chineasy.
2. Your Conference plenary is titled ‘Why Chinese?’ Can you give us some detail about what your plenary will cover?
● Our mission
● Why Chinese
● Reading vs. speaking
● Integrative learning
● Children vs. adults
3. Do you think attitudes to learning Chinese are changing?
Certainly! More people are interested in learning Chinese. Another change is that more and more parents want their children to learn Chinese. Compared to a decade ago, today’s parents are much more willing to invest their time and resource into learning Chinese Mandarin together with their children because they know how much this language is going to open up new opportunities for their children’s future.
With ever-improving learning materials with more diversity, and the market also producing more content serving the interests of international parents, I can see the trend is indeed a win-win for learners, parents, and educators.
4. Where do you think your interest in language learning has come from?
From my childhood, one of my most treasured memories was my mother showing me the beauty, the shape and the form of Chinese characters in her artwork. Ever since then I have been fascinated by this incredible language and how the language can be presented in such an artistic and pure form, beyond everyday communication. I think that’s where my interest in language learning first started.
Also, I have always had a passion for traveling. Since I turned twenty, I followed my passion and started to travel around the world. By exploring the world, I came across many interesting people who enriched my life and thoughts. Meanwhile, I was so fascinated by the languages those people spoke and the way they communicated. I would always do my best to pick up a few conversational phrases whenever I travelled to a new country or new place, and I would try to use them to communicate with local people. That way, I show my appreciation for their language as well as building interpersonal trust by speaking their language.
Shaolan’s plenary will take place on Saturday 16th June. To see the Conference programme, please click here.
To book a place at this year’s Conference, please follow the link: Conference Booking Page