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Homeschool Chinese: Texting as a Teaching Tool

We love technology and we share our passion with our Mandarin teacher.  One session, he asked me to be sure to bring the iPad to class as he wanted to try texting MeiLi.  He had come to learn that when she didn’t know a word she would resort to saying “I don’t know” or saying it in English, rather than to struggle to find an alternative word to communicate her thought.

It was the quietest class I believe they ever had but it was great as it enabled her to break through an invisible barrier she had in her mind.  She was forced to communicate in her second language in writing rather than verbally and she really enjoyed it.  It helped to build her confidence as it allowed her the freedom to use words she knew but perhaps wasn’t confident in pronouncing.

chinese text screen


I was impressed with the length (they carried on in this way for nearly an hour) but to be honest, I myself can only recognize a handful of these characters.

Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Maureen permalink
    April 2, 2013

    I love reading the updates on your homeschooling Chinese adventures on the Better Chinese blog. What program did they use to type Chinese characters on the iPad?

    • April 2, 2013

      I am happy to hear that you enjoy my posts. To enable your iPad or iPhone to type characters, you need to go to “Settings” then “General” and then scroll down to “Keyboard”. Under “Keyboard”, select “Keyboards” then “Add New Keyboard”. We added two … “Chinese – Simplified (Pinyin)” and “Chinese – Simplified (Handwriting)”. We switch back and forth between keyboards using the little world icon located in the lower left corner between the “123″ and the “microphone”. When using the Pinyin keyboard, you type the phonetic spelling (i.e. ‘nihao’) and a few suggested characters will pop up. You simply tap upon the one you want. You’ll need to know the character to select the right one. Let me know if you should have any other questions. :)

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