Language and culture

Xiaonan Yan started teaching Chinese in 2007, at the Chinese School in Rotterdam. Her pupils were initially Chinese children born in the Netherlands and later also adults. Until now she has taught Chinese at Papendrecht Community College (since 2010), at Johan de Witt Gymnasium (since 2016) and the Zuider Gymnasium for gifted children in Rotterdam (since 2018).

Teaching secondary school students is quite a challenge. The content of the lessons needs to be lively and varied to keep these smart, curious teenagers engaged in improving their reading, speaking, listening and writing skills.

Next to teaching in schools and institutions, Xiaonan also gives private lessons.

Private lessons are always designed with a particular goal in mind. Xiaonan’s students range from adoptive parents of children born in China, keen for their adopted children to keep their links to their birth country, to High School students studying for exams, and to business people wanting to establish relationships with businesses in China. Each student can rely on a carefully considered programme designed to obtain the best results, with room to grow and learn from other students.

Chinese culture is an integral part of Xiaonan’s Chinese lessons. Xiaonan enjoys telling students about the traditional Chinese festivals (and sometimes taking them on trips to participating in the celebrations!), sharing Kung Fu tea, making and cooking dumplings and teaching calligraphy.

Each student is made to feel welcome in Xiaonan’s classes. What Xiaonan is particularly proud of is that some of her students have been with her for more than ten years, reaching a high level of proficiency.

During her fifteen years of teaching Xiaonan has established trust and friendship in her relations with her students. In this way she hopes to bring China and the Netherlands closer together.