Joy of Teaching Vietnamese to Bi-lingual and Multi-lingual Enthusiasts


Yesterday I taught a pure-joy introductory workshop at YMCA Chinatown (New York City) run by ALESN, an Asian language non-profit group.

A little background: ALESN runs a number free Asian language classes hosted in YMCA classroom, from Chinese mandarin, Cantonese, to Japanese. All staff and instructors are volunteers who love to share their language and passion with friends and students.

I signed up for mandarin and Japanese, both beginner level, which are great fun. Their classes are more like a group of friends sitting together for a discussion than an university academic class.
The staff and instructors are amazing, and so are the students.
Everyone speaks at least 2 languages. A couple even speak 3 or more fluently.

Vietnamese wasn’t on the list, so I volunteered to teach one.
We started with one workshop to see how many would be interested in the class.
It was great fun, and I had about 20 students.

What’s really great is how supportive everyone is. I fumbled quite a bit at the beginning, but everyone was really encouraging.
The next thing is how good my students were. They learned so fast. I was really amazed. Many speak another tonal languages like Mandarin or Cantonese or both so Vietnamese tones were no big deal for them, except one (dấu ngã). That was the only one we had to practice again and again.
I was waving my arms up and down widely to illustrate how the tones rose and fell while saying each tone in slow motion. It was funny like a music conductor singing on stage.

Well, if you could be there, be there. The class is free and registration is still open at ALESN.
And I promise it to be great fun.
At the minimum, you’ll learn all kinds of (in)appropriate stuff that NYU won’t teach.


8 responses »

  1. Do you know if they need instructors? Or assistant instructor?
    I don’t know if I’d be of any help to them since I speak northern Vietnamese

  2. I don’t know if they need instructors. They’re probably set for this semester. Northern dialect is considered “proper Vietnamese” and so, I don’t think that would be a problem.

    For next year, who knows. One of my friends mentioned she wish the school had an intermediate class. As for now, there is the advanced class and beginning class (looks like 2 classes).

    I really enjoy your website and I just think that your service could help enhance the New York Vietnamese School. 🙂

  3. outside of Vietnam, southern dialect is more popular so sometimes I feel my northern dialect is like speaking British English in America

    my schedule is also rather full for now, maybe next semester or next year

  4. I enjoyed the Vietnamese workshop,Unfortunately due to getting sick and work I had to stop going.I got the basics.A very interesting tonal language Vietnamese is.Hector

  5. hopefully next time around I can fully attend the Vietnamese workshop.If there is one!or I can look for an exchange.I buy From the Vietnamese music by the way.Karaoke or American music I dont see in other places.Maybe in summer when the school is closed.Thanks for the Vietnamese workshop.

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