Teaching English Online to Chinese Students
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So you’ve done a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course, got a TEFL certificate, and you’re all ready to start teaching online, but you’re just not exactly sure who you’re going to teach. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. The whole concept of teaching English online is that you can teach anyone, anywhere. But what if we told you it’s highly likely that at some point you’ll have the opportunity of teaching English online to Chinese students.
How can we be so sure?
Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?
China has an approximate population of 1.5 billion people. In 2015 it was estimated that there were over 300 million English language learners in China, and that was five years ago already! At the same time, since 2017, 17 million children have been born in China every year. This means that the pool of potential English language learners is increasing massively every year.
Of course it’s true that Chinese learners attend English lessons from a young age. At the same time, according to the EF English Proficiency Index of 2019, China has only a Moderate proficiency level and is ranked only 40 out of 100 countries in terms of proficiency. This is probably why Chinese parents are turning to extra lessons and online learning to supplement their children’s in-school English lessons.
This is supported by statistics from the online teaching companies themselves: QKids has over 800 000 online Chinese students, VIPKID 700 000, and Dada 100 000.
We’re not saying that everyone will teach English online to Chinese students, but a lot of us will. And, because preparation is the name of our game, we should take the time to find out everything we can about Chinese learners of English so we can consider the best way to teach them English.
Read more: 5 Problems for Chinese Speakers of English
There are tons of companies around that offer online English lessons to Chinese students. Each has its own requirements for teachers, teaching rates and teaching practices. Some provide you with all the materials you need while others don’t. Some compensate for cancelled lessons, and some don’t. Certain employers offer incentives and bonuses for teaching at certain hours or completing a certain number of lessons or referring new teachers, some don’t. Some have good reputations, some don’t.
Read more: How Much Money Can I Really Earn Teaching English Online?
It’s important when looking into companies for teaching English online that you do your homework to choose the company which is best suited for you. This also means checking out reviews and forums to see what complaints or feedback current or past teachers have. (Reddit is a great site for this – it has threads dedicated to the different online teaching companies and teachers are not shy to be vocal on the threads!)
VIPKID is one of the more famous companies. If you are a US or Canadian citizen, have a Bachelor’s degree and at least two years’ of educational experience i.e. teaching, tutoring, or coaching, you can earn between $14 and $22 an hour teaching English to Chinese Young Learners in 1-to-1 lessons.
QKids is another one. The teaching requirements for QKids are the same as VIPKID though you also need to have teaching experience, and you can earn between $16 and $20 an hour.
Similarly, if you are a native English speaker from the US or Canada and have a Bachelor’s degree you can work for Magic Ears. You could earn between $18 and $26 an hour. Your lessons are with between 1 and 4 Chinese learners aged between 4 and 12 years. Lessons are 25 minutes long.
SayABC has more relaxed requirements for teachers. You need to be a native English speaker and have any degree or be enrolled in a university. You can earn between $15 and $21 per class. Lessons are with 4 Chinese learners aged between four and 12 and lessons are 40 minutes long.
BOXFish require their teachers to be native speakers with a Bachelor’s degree. The pay is $20 an hour and your lessons are with up to four students from kindergarten to Grade 12. Unfortunately it is not possible to teach with BOXFish if you are from certain countries because of their teaching programme software but this may change in future.
These are just a few of the companies that allow you to teach English online to Chinese learners, but believe us, there are loads more!
So now that we know there are definitely Chinese students in need of an online English teacher just like you, let’s look at a few more frequently asked questions about teaching English online to Chinese learners.
Who will you teach?
You will have noticed that the majority of the teaching companies offer lessons to Young Learners. It should be obvious but we’re going to say it anyway: if you’re going to teach kids you must enjoy teaching kids.
You must be willing to always be happy and smiley, sing songs, play games, and use props like puppets without embarrassment. You might also be expected to use Total Physical Response (TPR)a lot in your lessons. TPR is a teaching method which makes use of actions when teaching action words. In other words, when teaching the word jump, the teacher will say the word and do the action. The students will then copy them. Even if you might feel a little silly acting out words, at the very least you will need to incorporate physicality and movement into your lessons. At the same time you need to be professional at all times, as student and parent feedback is important to these companies.
If you’re teaching teens or adults you might find that your Chinese students are quite serious, but this is usually because they are accustomed to working hard in school. Chinese learners are very studious and will expect to do a lot of work in their lessons. If you prefer more laidback lessons you may need to be a bit more serious in your approach. Once you get to know your students you will find that they will be more relaxed with you.
Teaching Chinese adult learners generally means teaching Business English. Chinese adult learners will take online English lessons to improve their chances of getting a job or to better their standing in their current job. The nature of business today means that companies need to communicate with other companies from many other countries, and English is by and large considered the lingua franca of international business.
Do you need to speak Mandarin or Cantonese?
A common issue holding many people back from teaching English as a Foreign Language is that they don’t speak another language. This is not a problem.
Let us say that again: you do NOT need to speak Mandarin or Cantonese to teach English to Chinese learners.
In fact, it is largely believed that it is better not to speak your students’ mother tongue during your lessons. This is because of the benefits of immersive learning. Many teachers who can speak the same language as their students often pretend they can’t or else their students rely on translation as a crutch rather than as an aid to learning.
So even if you can only speak English, that is totally fine.
What other requirements are there?
There are a few requirements which teachers need to satisfy no matter which company they work for and who their students are. You need to have a decent computer, a headset or microphone, and a stable internet connection.
A TEFL certificate and Bachelor’s degree are sometimes not needed but if the company you want to work for is based in China, then you are required by law to have both.
Read more: How Can I Become an Online English Teacher?
That’s it! Absolutely everything you will ever need to know about teaching English online to Chinese learners.
UPDATE: Since August 2021, the Chinese Ministry of Education has banned foreign teachers outside of China from teaching English to Chinese Young Learners. What this means is that you need to be teaching English online from within China, or teaching adults. Alternatively, you can work as an independent teacher, as this regulation only applies to the online companies.
Are you already teaching English online to Chinese students? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and tell us your story!
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.
Good day Fionnuala
I have TEFL certificate and have been looking for an opportunity to teach online. I have been teaching as of 2010.
Your support with this regard will be much appreciated.
Hi I’m Michelle Suraweera from Sri Lanka and now I’m doing my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in China .I was an English medium student from grade 1 and I did british council exams on speaking and writing so I need to teach English to teenagers and and polish my knowledge
hi ! i wanna be one of who work here (teaching english ) to make the teens feel free with english without any complications
hi. I am am an experienced teacher of English as a foreign language. I am 39 years old and live in Albania. I possess a bachelor degree in English Language Teaching and Translating.( 1999-2003 ) And I am also very fluent in Italian Language as I have lived there for many years ( maybe this may help me to teach English to Italian people)
I have worked as a teacher both in states schools and private school . since 2015 I own my private center of courses where I teach English to all group ages from 9-18 years old devided in groups according to their age. I also train studentS to get the FCE CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE AND EVERY YEAR THEY ARE VERY SUCCESSFUL GETTING B2 LEVEL CERTIFICATE AND ALSO C1 LEVEL . I have also worked with adult group age in intensive courses , for example IELTS training both general and academic level.I would like to have the opportunity to start teaching online during summer time as my class courses via Skype finish this week. Can you help with any advice , how can you help me to get your certificate and start teaching on line with people from around the world. Thank you
I have no degree, I have TEFL Level 5 plus online teaching certificate.
I need online students desperately as I have no students and no teaching history.