Teaching Mandarin in a small corner of Canada

Hsinhua Wu: The 2nd Post.

         The reasons we call our son « Coco » is not because it is a term of endearment used by francophones for babies, it is because of his mixed race identity; he is white and yellow. He doesn’t need to choose a side. Although some research studies show that racial identity is influenced by a number of factors, I believe language is the central component in the development of self-identity. This is why I have spoken Mandarin at home since my son was born.

         It is undeniably challenging to teach a heritage language alone in a foreign country. Challenge accepted. I switched my role from mother to teacher, and home became a classroom. My children’s environment is set up to promote the learning of Mandarin and Chinese culture. On this journey of formation of their personal and cultural identity, my children focus on learning to communicate with my family and other Taiwanese people, and I now realize that it is also the goal of most foreign language classes, to help students use the target language in any settings appropriately. Therefore, in this post, I am going to share with you some of the methods I use at home, which I could also use in class to develop students’ sociolinguistic competence which refers to the ability to use language linguistically and socially appropriately.

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