Degrees and Certifications:
B.A. US History Certification of Completion in Mandarin Chinese M.A. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Mr. Jesse Walker
My name is Jesse Walker, I have been a teacher since 2005. I have been teaching second language aquisition for the majority of those years. I have taught in both China and The United States. I really enjoy teaching, reading, biking, hiking, drinking tea and generally being outdoors. I am also a Cross Country Coach here at North Middle School.
Welcome to Mandarin Chinese at North Middle school. This is a great opportunity for your children to begin or continue their journey to become bilingual or multilingual. In this class we will work on all four language skills: speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing.
Methods of Learning
Although many people want to learn languages by breaking down the grammar like math problems, I find it more useful for students to acquire their language naturally through communication and comprehensible input. Language is about messages, not about formulas. Students in this class will need to participate and try to understand the message the speaker or the reading is trying to convey. In the beginning, students move around and act out simple commands to get used to the sentence structure and sounds of the language. Once comfortable with the structure and sounds, reading is added to help the students see what they hear. Class is conducted in Chinese, so it is essential that students come to class every day. Students will learn by doing and learn to communicate about their own lives.
The Student Role
The two skills that I coach students to use at all times are WATCHING and LISTENING. In order for them to understand as many messages as possible in our short time together they must be actively listening. I will encourage students to keep their hands free and watch me and other students when speaking and acting in order to maximize their comprehension through the nonverbal cues: pictures, props, gestures, and body language. Students will be expected to communicate in class and their learning outcomes will be checked through daily or semi-daily "DOLs" (Demonstration of Learning.) Parents, if you check the gradebook and see the DOL grade you can see your child's level of engagement for the day.
Information is repeated in novel and unpredictable ways that help students acquire a language naturally, like a toddler would learn their own first language. While learning a second language can be hard, through watching and listening, students will understand the messages of the speaker, or reading and therefore be prepared for full credit of the day as scored through a DOL.
I have organized the gradebook in a way that emphasizes ability and class participation. Ideally students who come to class, and participate with their full attention have no trouble passing this class. The grade book is organized into the following categories weighted as such:
- 40% DOL
- 20% Assessments
- 10% notebook
- 10% culture days
- 5% fluency writing
- 5% Listening
- 10% Classwork/homework
Generally, all I would like my students to do is take home their Chinese notebook. Then they can spend 5 to 10 minutes every day either, practice writing, reading, or speaking. Students can feel free to make flash cards with vocabulary as well.
Some weeks, they may have to formally take work home, but generally most work will be done in class