Creating an Immersive Classroom Environment

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Description: In this video, Haohsiang Liao shares strategies for creating an immersive language-learning classroom environment.

Instructor: Haohsiang Liao

HAOHSIANG LIAO: We conduct the class entirely in Chinese starting from day two, after orientation. So if they need orientation, we clearly tell students about roles and expectations. I would say there are a few key components here to make it happen. The first one is we tell students that our idea here is that we're trying to create Chinese as an atmosphere as possible. And if we were to refer to English every few minutes, it's going to be impossible to accomplish.

So in order to do this, there are a few key components. One is classroom expressions. So students, they need to be familiar with those instructions you want them to do. For example, you want them to repeat after you, or you want them to answer questions. So the classroom expressions are very important.

Second thing is they need to know what they are expected to do in class. So that is about your weekly schedules-- that detail, everything you want them to do in class. So for example, you need to tell students what they need to prepare before class. And in class you only practice-- you only drill them based on those materials. So what they do in class is what they've prepared. And with the classroom expressions, they're pretty easily guided by you so that the whole interaction can be in Chinese.

And, of course, we do understand that, because of the anxieties-- or sometimes students cannot fully understand what you say. In that case, we always tell students be a little bit patient. If you really have questions you need to ask in English, there are a couple of things you can do. You can do it the last five minutes of class. Or you can do it after class. Or you can communicate with your instructor via email. But for the first 45 minutes, we really want to create the Chinese atmosphere so that everybody can feel they're immersed in that culture.

So this is what we're trying to do. And I think after, I would say, the two days or three days, students-- as long as you stick to the principle and also be accommodating sometimes, they would know this is expected. And I would say after three days they usually can follow along very, very well.