Final Reflection (wk12)

long-way-to-goTo be honest, I didn’t realize that the whole project was due to finish when I completed my last lesson with my student. I did struggle a lot at the beginning, especially the brief one part, as I’ve never heard about e-portfolio before. I even questioned my ability to accomplish this project. At the same time, the platform we were using, WordPress, also gave me a hard time when I tried to get familiar with its not-so-friendly system. Definitely, there are tough moments I was facing to and at the end, I can say, I gained more than I expected through this experience.  Here are those things I want to reflect on:

1. Why do I need e-portfolio?

“An e-portfolio is a purposeful aggregation of digital items – ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback et, which presents a selected audience with evidence of a person’s learning and/or ability.” (Effective Practice with e-Portfolios, 2007)

I didn’t know what was e-portfolio before this paper. I mean, yes, I know what is portfolio. But the kind of portfolio I knew can only be linked with design and art students until I put my hand on it. Basically, for me, electronic portfolio is pretty much like a blog but focuses on one subject, like translation, photograph, in my case, language teaching, and so on. The essential idea of this e-portfolio is to record the process and provide actual evidence of my achievement of the project. And most of all, I can reflect on the whole process and to see my improvement.

“E-portfolios can support student advisement, career preparation, and credential documentation; the sharing of teaching philosophies and practices; department and program self-studies; and institutional and program accreditation processes.” (Lorenzo & Ittelson, 2005)

My e portfolio provides me an opportunity to constantly present my work and share with those who are interested. When I received comments and discussed with my classmates on WordPress, I also obtained new ideas from the discussion. Meanwhile, their attention on my project encouraged me to carry on my work and I gain self-achievement as well. Obviously, it’s been a valuable learning tool for improving my teaching skill.

2. Why do I need reflection?

There are 2 kinds of reflections as Edgar Schon (1983) describes: reflection in action, which is happening during the event, and reflection on action, which is looking back after the event. I believed that I have experienced both of them.

During this 8-week project, I’ve been keeping recording all my work and reflecting on each lesson. I could see how it helps for my next plan. For example, no matter how well I prepared before the class, there are always unexpected responses from my students. Obviously I can’t just stop to write them down, so I recorded the whole class. Usually, after I looked back to what had happened, I analysed how did that happen, why my student responded in that way and what I did wrong in that situation, I could see the whole picture more clearly and got a better solution.

Sometimes there was a new idea suddenly popped up when I felt “um … this doesn’t work, ok, let me try another way.” Alternatively, the student might come out some good suggestions. All these unexpected teachable moments and ideas, after I put them into words, organised and studies, it could be effective methods applied in the next lesson. However, not all the minutes could be perfectly recorded. I did miss out some ideas when I just had them in my mind and forgot to write them down afterwards. My reflection not only helped me to ask questions but also guided me to change my instructional practices so they can be more effective.

3. What did I learn from my project? – Technology

Language teaching is not something to me. However, using Internet technology to teach character is my first try. Not to mention about computer and Internet, my teaching resources are heavily based on Google and YouTube. They are the basic tools to display teaching materials to my students. With no doubt, these powerful search engines provide massive information in front of me, and this is crucial for a teacher, who needs to make various lesson plans.

There are new media technologies involved in my project. Laptop, iPad and smartphone are the basic devices. I used iPad to record conversations and smartphone to take pictures to showcase how my lesson looks like. After the audio was transcribed and pictures were uploaded, a report of my lesson was clearly presented on WordPress. Cloud drives and web instant messenger, which come in my last lesson, played an important role to assist the student achieve his learning purpose. Although this has never been used before, I found it’s much efficient than other methods in terms of making student getting engaged in class.

During my 45-minute class, I can see how current technology was well integrated with teaching and learning.

However, sometimes technology just doesn’t work well in a green hand, like me. I had come across a few moments when the Internet stopped working, the clip I prepared before cannot be opened, my laptop accidentally collapsed, the photo failed to be uploaded. The worst was WordPress suddenly shut down before I saved all my work. These were the times when I thought I couldn’t finish this project and nearly gave up. The lesson I learned from them was the importance to have a backup plan each time and save my file every 5 minutes.

4. What did I learn from my project? – Teaching concept

From my point of view, teaching and learning are related with each other.

I did not just teach what I knew to my student, at the same time, I learned new knowledge as well. In my first class, I focused on the history of Chinese characters. In order find interesting materials to assist my class, I did a lot of research on Internet.

It was a surprise for me to discover all those blogs, articles that related to pictogram. As an experienced Mandarin teacher, I’m quite confident about my knowledge of the Chinese character system. However, my discovery showed me a new world. I learned that for some words there is more than one original meaning, and some simple words have an interesting story behind them.  There was a time, when I couldn’t answer the questions raised by my student, I could feel the challenge. However, instead of avoiding those questions, I suggested discovering the answer with him. I enjoyed the process to find out answers and to reveal the history behind these characters. Therefore, this project is not only a showcase for my work; it is an experience to further my knowledge as well.

Last but not the less, I want to apologise for my poor English to all my E-portfolio readers, especially Karen, who had to tolerant my spelling and grammar mistake as my lecturer. I’m still working on my English, and I wish I could make my improvement in future.



Effective Practice with e-Portfolios (2007). Retrieved from

Lorenzo, G. & Ittelson, J. (2005) An Overview of E-Portfolios. Retrieved from

Schon, E. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner. Basic Books New York



Reflection 3

WP_20140530_15_00_15_ProTo be honest, I didn’t expect this “chatting lesson” would be so attractive to my student. During the whole lesson, he shown complete attention to the activities. Besides, he also discovered his strength and weakness.

There are several things I’d like to reflect on:

1. Google doc is good for sharing however it is troublesome whenever a user need to type in different color. This is especially not convenient for i want to create a conversation-like format. I check the Yahoo messenger after my student mentioned. And it is true that the size of the chat box actually is adjustable. Next time, I will have it a try.

2. Although the rules of no-talking-only-typing are set before I start class, the student still likely ask questions as soon as he come across the new words. This is like a natural reaction. To avoid this situation, I think next time we can sit in different rooms to complete the no-talking session. To encourage the student asking questions by typing is also benefit for him.

3. It is a big surprise for me to know that my student actually knows so many words. He looks more confident in session 2 when we can actually talking while typing. When he hears my sentences, he understands what I’m talking about immediately. This means his vocabularies are largely built by listening. With on doubt his listening skill is better than reading, which is very common for a second language learner. He has some pronounce problem and the most interesting thing, for me, is that he creates his own words. And this won’t be revealed if we are doing one-by-one words lesson.

4. I think if I could find out his ability earlier and apply this lesson at the beginning, the lesson would be more meaningful and attractive for him. I shouldn’t underestimate him. For next student, I can use this method at the first lesson to test the student’s level.

Lesson 3

T: Hi Henry, as you know today we are going to use Google doc to practice typing in Chinese.

S: That sounds good.

T: I have sent a link to a shared document, named “iReflect with Henry”. Did you get the invitation?

S: Yes, I did.

T: Good. So, first of all, let’s get into the shared doc.

Screen shot 2014-06-01 at PM 11.05.57







T: When you get in, you will see a blank page titled “Let’s chat in Chinese”

S: Yes, I got it.

google doc screenshot





T: Good, good. To make it easier for us. We use different colors. Ok?

S: No problem.

T: From now on, I wish you can answer all the question by typing in Chinese. You can ask questions as well. If you use a wrong word, I will highlight the word for you. At the same time, you can mark a word if you have no idea what is it. Is that good for you?

S: That sounds interesting.

T: Good. Let’s start.

(teacher start the lesson by asking what the student learned in last 2 lessons)








S: How to spell only in Chinese?

T: “Zhi You”

S: “Zi You”?

T: No. “Zhi You” not “Zi You”

S: Ok







T: Wa-oh, you really surprise me. Actually, you know lots words as you can see. I don’t think you have any problem in daily texting with your friends.

S: Eh… maybe. I haven’t tried before. I thought it would be very difficult.

T: Now I’ll start today’s topic. We have 2 topics today. For the first one, I’ll chat with you in Chinese. In Chinese only. Which means if you have any problems, you need to ask me by typing, ok? And I’ll answer you by typing as well. Ok?

S: Ok

Topic 1








T: Let’s have a break. How do you feel about it?

S: It is hard when I can only depend on reading. There are some words I feel confused. However, I think I can master the majority.

T: It’s true. There are some words look very similar and pronounce exactly the same. Now for next topic, I’ll still ask you questions by typing but at the same time I’ll repeat it orally.

S: Sure.

Topic 2







T: So, how do you feel about it?

S: This is the most interesting lesson. The only problem is I have to change the color of my words each time. Maybe we can use Yahoo messenger, the web version. That’s more clear.

T: I tried that before the class. But the chat box is too small.

S: You can change the size of the chat box. Anyway, I like this lesson and I learned new vocabularies as well.



Lesson Plan for Lesson 3

lessonplanner1. Introduce Google doc to student

2. Re-cap lesson one and lesson two (by typing)

3. Explain there will be two parts in today’s lesson

4: Start topic 1: Your life in Auckland (teacher only types Qs on the shared doctument)

5: Take a break and have a lot at the words the student doesn’t know or confused

6. Start topic 2: Your plan for winter break (teacher types Qs while asking orally)

7: Take a break and have a look at the words

8: Discuss with the student how does he feel about these 2 different ways.

What do you really want from this lesson?

Step 1: To find out what my student really need from this project, we had a short conversation after our 2nd lesson.

T: Hi, I found you still have difficulties to structure character when you are doing your homework, right?

S: Yes, because Vietnamese doesn’t require a balance structure. So, even I practice a lot, most times I find it’s hard to put all the things together neatly as it should be.

T: Well. I have a question for you. Do you really want to learn how to write Chinese characters, I mean, maybe not perfectly but in a way a Chinese can write. Or, do you want to be familiar with daily used words and phrases so you can text in Chinese?

S: To be honest, I think to learn writing is very interesting at the beginning. I’ve seen lots of the calligraphers, which look so beautiful to me. However it’s not easy to do it by myself. I still wanna practice how to write but  maybe not spend too much time on it in class.

T: That’s good to know what you want.  I plan to put text practice in our next week lesson. I know you learned Chinese before. So I think you might have enough vocabularies to do text.  Do you want to start from now. I mean we can start text each other in Chinese. Or you want to start it in next week’s class?

S: eh… I’m still not confident enough to text you in Chinese right now. Maybe…let’s start it next week in our class.

T: No problem

Step 2: To find out a suitable platform or app which can produce word texting

A: Mobile phone is not going to be used as the screen as its screen is too small for discussion during class.

B: Because both of us have Yahoo account, my first thinking is to use Yahoo web instant messenger. The problem is the chat box is too small, so I think it’s not qualified.

yahoo screenshot

My 2nd thought is to use Facebook. The message area in Facebook is bigger but not big enough. I wish to have some full screen view. Besides, there are too many icons, pictures and even ad on the page. I think it will be a distraction for the student. So, it’s not qualified.

facebook screenshot

My last option is to use Google doc, which has a simple and clear interface to produce words. Although, as I know, my student doesn’t use gmail at all, I think it’s a good time to make him try Google a little bit.

google doc screenshot


Reflection 2

WP_20140518_22_01_43_ProSomething about Lesson 1:

Due to the lack of practice, the student almost forgot all the words at the beginning of today’s class. We all thought the words of first lesson are not difficult. However, since he didn’t practice them often, when I askes his to do the dictation he found it’s hard to recall. What helps was the video clips I used last time. Even the student couldn’t recall the word properly, after I reminded him about the meaning, eg: a man resting next to a tree. “The word come to my mind immediately.” was what he said. Therefore, I’ll continue using these types of clips in future classes.

We all realize now that frequent practice is important even the words we think are simple at the first place. There are some characters, which confused him at the first lesson, seem still do, eg: “liu”, “qi”, “jiu”. I think what I did before, for example just leaving some homework to the student is not good. I need to give him something he can practice the words daily. Therefore, at the end of the 2nd lesson, I suggest we can start texting by using Chinese.

Something about Lesson 2:

The idea of using “the 5 elements” works well as it can be related to the student’s own culture. When I start this topic, the student shows great interesting about it. And when I mention these 5 words are the basic radicals of Chinese characters, he pays more attention to them.

According to his writing, I can see the student still has difficulities to structure a word in the grid box, especially when the word is formed by two parts. I’m a little struggling about this. Since the original idea is to help him build the ability to text in Chinese, I’m not sure if I should be more strict about this part or I can just let him be free-style as he wishes. I know to put a word in balance is not easy. I’ll talk with him next time to see what is his expecation of his writing skill to decide what to do.

Compared with single word or two-word phrase, the student shows passion to learn about simple sentence, like the last sentence we learn at the end of Lesson 2. So, I think for next lesson I will put more focus on teaching sentences.

Lesson 2 (Wk8)

T: This is our 2nd lesstion. Let’s make a review of the last one first.

S: Sure…But I haven’t practiced much after last class. I’m not sure how much I remember?

T: It’s ok. We’ll see. Any idea about what you learn last time?

S: I remember we learned about “tree”

T: Good. So, how to write “tree”?

(after 1 minute, student gave out 4 wrong answers)

S: I’ll write it for you. Do you remember how to read it?

T: “shu”?

S: The meaning of the character is “shu” but not the pronunciation.

T: … then, I don’t remember it.

S: The sound is “mu”.

T: The 2nd word learned last time is “to rest”. Do you remember how to write that?

S: Yes, I do.

(Student gives a correct word)

T: How do you remember that one?

S: I remember there is a “person” rests next to the tree.

T: Very good. Next one. Do you remember the words “bush” and “jungle”?

S: Yes.

(Student gives 2 right answers and read it correctly)


T: What else you can recall from last lesson?

(Student gives out 3 words, with 1 wrong answer)



T: Not that bad. You still remember most of them. How about the numbers? Do you still remember them?

S: Let me try.

(Student gives out 7 correct words)


T: Ok. As you can see. Practice is necessary, right? Today we’ll learn something new. In Chinese culture, there is something called five elements. Do you have that in your culture?

S: Yes, we do.

T: It’s good you are familiar with them. I want you to learn these 5 words because nowadays they become a essential contructure to word, we call them “radical”.

S: Really?

T: Yes. Let’s have a look of some clips to see how these words are formed from very beginning.


(Teacher plays the clip of Jin, Shui, Huo, Tu. Student practice writing after watching each of them)

T: Ok. As I said. These 5 words are important because they are basic radical to form a word. Let’s start from “Jin”. If it is a radical, first, it only occupies half of the grid box. Then, the whole word changes a little bit, like that. Try it by yourself.

(Student is writing the word with Jin as a radical)


T: Now let’s have a look of “shui”. There are 2 forms of “shui” when it changes to a radical. The 3-drop radical means to flow or liquid; the 2-drop radical means cold but related with water, eg: ice.

S: Ice and icy water will be very useful.

T: Yes, they are.


T: Last two words we are going to learn is “sun” and “moon”. Basically, “sun” means day time and date in Chinese and moon means night.

S: I know “moon” also means month.

T: Very good. Now let’s have a look how to write “sun” and “moon”

(Teacher play clips of “sun”and “moon”. Student practices writing while watching)

T: Now you know how to write “sun” and “moon”. Would you please put both of them in one box?

S: Yes, I can.

T: Not bad. Just need to a little adjustion. Can you guess about the meaning of the word?

S: Day time and night time…eh… a day? a new day?

T: Good try. “min tian” is the word of tommorrow.


S: Oh, I know the word. I just don’t know how to write it before and now I know… So, how to write “today”?

(Teacher writes down the word of “jin tian”)

T: As I mentioned. “ri” also means date. What date is today?

S: wu yue shi ba ri.

T: In oral speaking, we like to say “shi ba hao” instead of “shi ba ri”. “ri” is more formal and more often to be seen in calendal.

T: Can you write it?

S: I think I can.

(Teacher gives the word of “is”)


T: Very good. It’s all of today. I think we can start texting in Chinese next week. This is another way to help you practice.

S: Sounds good for me.

T: Anything else you want to learn?

S: Not this time. I think I need to practice more before next time.

T: Ok


Lesson Plan for Lesson 2 (Wk7)




  • Preview:
  1. Lesson 1 – (fu you / you qian / sen lin / xiu / huo / ben lai / 1-10)
  2. Dictation and make sentence
  • Lesson 2 Subjects: jin/mu/shui/huo/tu, ri/yue/min/tian/di
  • Main Lesson:
  1. Use diagram of the Five Elements to introduce the characters of the elements (jin/mu/shui/huo/tu)
  2. Watch the video clip of Jin
  3. Practice writing of Jin
  4. Watch the video clip of Shui
  5. Practice writing of Shui
  6. Watch the video clip of Huo
  7. Practice writing of Huo
  8. Watch the video clip of Tu
  9. Practice writing of Tu
  10. Watch the video clip of Ri and Yue
  11. Introduce the characters: Min, Tian and Min Tian / opposite to Tian – Di
  • Ending:
  1. Ask student to make phrases by using the characters from Lesson 1 and Lesson 2
  2. Ask student two new phrases he wants to learn




Clips & Pictures for Lesson 2 (Wk7)

  1. The Story of Chinese Character: Ri (sun/day)
  2. The Story of Chinese Character: Yue (moon/month)
  3. The Story of Chinese Character: Shui (water)
  4. The Story of Chinese Character: Tu (earth)
  5. The Story of Chinese Characters: Huo (fire)
  6. The Story of Chinese Character: Jin (metal)
  7. The Story of Chinese Character: Tian (sky)
  8. The Story of Chinese Character: Di (ground/earth)

Diagram of the interactions between the Five Elements (Wu Xing).

Reflection 1

WP_20140420_17_01_34_ProThe first thing I want to reflect is the way how to present my project. At the very beginning I thought it will be cool if I can record my whole lesson and then upload on the WordPress, but this idea was rejected by my students as he didn’t want to show his face in my project. My second thougnt was to make an audio clip, and again I realized it will be very time-cousutming in terms of editing because I have to combined pictures with audios. Therefore, I decided to present my project as a form of teachers’ notes. I prepared the note before class. During the class, I made an audio record and modified the notes after the lession was conducted, eg: I will change the assumed answer to the real answer by my student. All the writing exercises are showned as picutres. And I believe this is a better way to showcase this project.

The lession wass easier than I expected. Since the student has learned Chinese before, he got the basice ideas of Chinese character. When I talked about how characters transformed from pictures, it seemed no difficulties for him to accecpt the idea. He shown big interest when he was watching at the video. He recalled almost all the characters when he was asked to answer the question sheet. Although he didn’t learn “fire”, which is a part of the word “to burn”, he still manage to write down the word. The word “jungle” was the only word he wrote upside down. However, I think the video plays an important role for him to get engaged. I think I can use the rest of the clips in my next lessons as well because they are interesting.

So far, the problem for his writing part is he’s not used to write a word in a box and he need to structure the word in balance. It seems hard for him to manage these brick words in a line without the grid sheet. So, I think it’s good for him to keep practicing in these sheet.

The brush pen I prepared was good to be used. When he used it, the handwriting seems like caligraphy, which makes him feel he’s really writing Chinese characters. I’m going to use these pens in the future as well.

I found the ESA approach (engage, study and activate) was very effective (Harmer 2007), which can keep the student’s attention and arouse his interesting all the time. I’m going to use this in the  following lesson as well.

For Next Time:

  • The student didn’t take any notes when he was watching the video clip. This can be either 1, the characters are too easier for him or 2, he’s really good at photographic memory. So, I’ll choose some harder characters next time and more new characters.
  • The grid sheet is very good for a beginner, I need prepare more next time.


Choumeizai. (2014, April 3). The Story of Chinese Character: mu. Retrieved from

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow, England: Longman.