Teaching Mandarin is a very particular mix of thrilling, rewarding and downright difficult.
If you’re teaching this language to people who aren’t used to tonal languages or the Chinese writing system, it can be hard helping learners get over the initial frustration and difficulty. Especially when it comes to beginners and children.
A solid lesson plan is key, as well as providing useful tools to your students and implementing activities and different approaches to teaching during class. If you’re at a loss for how to do this, don’t worry! We’ve got loads of awesome Mandarin teaching resources that you can implement into your lesson plan as early as today. They really are some incredible resources!
Before we run through these killer Mandarin teaching resources, let’s talk about why you should even consider using them to teach Mandarin in the first place.
Resources to Help Students Learn Chinese
Depending on where different students seem to struggle, you can select a resource for either reading, writing, speaking, listening, comprehension or grammar to give them a boost. Some of these resources even have projects and flashcards for every aspect of learning Mandarin. There really are resources out there for every complicated aspect of the Mandarin language!
All of these resources are high-quality, so you don’t have to sift through endless search pages to find resources that will benefit you and your students. You need to spend your time teaching your students Chinese and can’t spare hours looking for the best resources to use for your lesson plan.
We did the dirty work so you don’t have to!
Some of these resources can even make your class time entertaining. Especially around the middle of the semester, your class may get a bit boring. You may notice your students are starting to drag their feet. Adding some entertainment into the classroom can give everyone (including you) a much-needed morale boost without sacrificing learning time.
Spread the Word: 10 Mandarin Teaching Resources Every Classroom Needs
FluentU offers a wealth of awesome teaching tools to enhance your Chinese lessons.
Teachers can use FluentU to expose students to Chinese culture as well as to teach Mandarin with authentic real-world materials. Students learn quite well from videos and music, making FluentU an excellent choice for standalone curriculum or supplemental exercises. It makes teaching and learning Chinese fun and engaging, teaching the language with the help of pop songs, Chinese movies and TV shows, news articles, documentaries and more.
It’s also perfect for Chinese learners of any level. Try our free trial today to see if FluentU is right for you and your students. You don’t have anything to lose!
Who doesn’t love Pinterest?
This handy little pinboard-themed social media site actually has quite a lot of Mandarin teaching resources available for free. This collection of teaching resources has a load of fun lesson plan ideas and printables. You’ll find activities and ideas for any level of Chinese learner to enjoy, be they children or adults attempting to learn Chinese.
NYU has a stellar Chinese language program, and you can bring part of that program into your classroom with their resources for teachers.
Here, you’ll find various guides and tips for teaching Mandarin, as well as links to outside sources for further reading. Just about every tip you’ll find here can work with all levels of proficiency. At the end of the article, don’t forget to check out their list of online Chinese teaching and learning tools for even more teaching ideas!
No matter what level of learner you’re teaching, have them bookmark this website ASAP! Forvo is an awesome free resource that allows students to look up particular 拼音 (pīn yīn) — Chinese romanization or 汉字 (hàn zì) — Chinese characters and listen to audio clips of native speakers pronouncing that word or phrase. This is super helpful for your students to have on hand when they are doing homework and you aren’t available to provide guidance for pronunciation.
ChineseCorner is a YouTube channel that features a mix of Chinese-language videos. Some are simply video clips from sitcoms and others are example conversations to use for studying pronunciation and flow. Most of this channel’s videos have Chinese and English simultaneous subtitles. Try whipping out a few videos for your class to watch during class and have your students try to mimic the conversations from them.
Guanxi Resource Center Curriculum Development is probably the best free resource out there for building Mandarin lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school Chinese courses. Try out some of their lesson templates, curriculum development guides and strategies matrix to develop your own unique yet substantial Mandarin language course. Even if you are teaching adults Chinese, you’ll find everything you need to cultivate a custom lesson plan.
Are you a Chinese home tutor? Perhaps you are a parent looking into ways to teach your child Mandarin at home? This resource would be a great one to check out! This starter kit from Bilingual Kidspot is packed full of vitally useful content including a guide to teaching Chinese, sample lesson excerpts, advice for helping young children get past the “scariness” of such a complex language, printables and much more.
If you’re interested in a resource that can provide various unique ideas to add to a Mandarin lesson plan, look no further than The Chinese Staff Room! Here, you’ll find free activities, lessons, audio resources, starter packs, book recommendations and more. While this resource page is no longer being updated as of 2015, we bet you’ll find at least a handful of things to try out in class from what has already been added.
Who knew that the Guardian had a Mandarin teaching resource? This guide is actually very well-written and full of useful information. Here you’ll find the basic guides, activities, lesson plans, book recommendations, etc. But what you’ll also get is access to teacher networks to improve your networking reach and get advice from other teachers at the same time. The Guardian sources many reputable schools and websites in this guide so you know you’re accessing the best information possible.
TES’ Primary Mandarin Resources page has a ton of content and lesson plans available for little to no cost. All of the available materials were created by experienced Mandarin teachers, so you’ll only be accessing lessons and activities that other teachers have found success within the classroom. You’ll also find Mandarin worksheets, bookmarks, creative writing prompts and so much more! It may seem a bit lame that you have to pay a fee for most of the available resources, but when you think about their value, those prices are definitely a steal.
These resources for teaching Mandarin are pretty stellar, aren’t they? There’s no shame in needing a little bit of help to really teach your students Chinese and these resources can definitely help you get the job done.
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to teach Chinese with real-world videos.