As we all know, it’s not easy to practise spoken Chinese outside China. The lack of the language environment and input is the biggest issue. Lessons taught in the classroom cannot include all scenarios and the class time is also limited. One needs more practice to ensure the pronunciation and the flow are correctly spoken. How to understand if they are correct? One effective tip is to record the child’s speaking. This works for everybody, especially children.
Why does Recording One’s Speaking Work
It might sound strange when you listen to your own voice at first (well, we all have experienced this awkward feeling), but it is indeed a very good way to spot the wrong pronunciation or areas to improve. When one listens to his/her voice, it is easy to notice the 4 tones or pronunciations which do not sound right. Once noticed, he/she can then work on them with conscious efforts. Over time, tones and pronunciation will for sure become better.
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What to Record
There are lots of things we can ask a child to record. Here are some ideas:
Read a Book
After reading to the child a Chinese picture book, we can ask him/her to read the book by himself. We can record his reading at the same time. It is a fun activity and most children like it. Sometimes children giggle when they listen to each other’s recording. But as soon as they get used to the voice, they normally like to listen to the recording, sometimes, again and again.
Give a Talk
There are so many things for a child to talk about. Favourite toys, family, weekend, pets, sports, games… the list goes on and on. We can ask a child to talk about a chosen topic. He/she can prepare for the talk or just speak about it spontaneously. Record the child’s free or prepared talk and then invite him/her to listen to it.
Practical Conversational Phrases and Sentences
Assign a scenario to the child and ask him/her to play a role. This encourages conversation and makes practicing the phrases and sentences fun. Record the conversation. Afterwards, when listening to the recording, we can ask “instead of saying … in this way, can we say it in another way?” You often can get some great feedback which really shows understanding. You can use our courseto get started.
How to Record
There are many means to record. Computers, tablets, even phones have the microphone built in. For children, a good gadget to record would be one which is child-friendly and easy to use.
For little children, something colorful and solid would be more suitable. A good choice can be The Easi-speak recordable microphone which is solid, serving a good grasp for little hands. The colourful design is attractive, and the buttons are obvious which makes recording, pausing, playing easily. What’s more, Easi-speak recordable microphone works with USB, which does not only make transferring audio files to PC easily, but also recharges the microphone itself.
It Is Time to Record
It is fun for children to record their own speaking and then listen to it. Let them speak in Chinese, let them learn as if they were playing!
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- Chinese4kids Membership – a portal for busy Chinese teachers and parents
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- Speak Chinese with Kids Course