Can you teach english in china without knowing Chinese?

Can I teach english in china without knowing Chinese? If your dream is to come to experience the beautiful and friendly country of China and teach English there, don’t let a simple thing like language stop you.

Moving to China to teach English is a big decision. Most people that move to China who speak English don’t know how to even say “hi” in Mandarin (which is “ni hao” by the way). That doesn’t stop them though!

Here’s why!

Most schools want you to just speak English to the students.

How else can your students learn English if you don’t speak to them in English?

Most schools prefer that you fully submerge your class in English. You can use fun props to get students young and old excited about English and understand what you’re saying.

You’ll want your students to stick to English in your classroom anyway

Your job is simple: teach your students English.

Making a rule that only English can be spoken in the classroom will help them to learn faster too.

When I taught kindergarten in China, I gave the children play money, like the kind you get in Monopoly. I set up rules they had to obey or they’d lose their money.

One of those rules was only speaking English in the classroom.

They would work hard to earn their money and at the end of the month, I’d reward by top-earners with special prizes with candy and stickers. Older kids could use a different kind of motivation that appeals to them too.

English only can improve your students’ learning experience.

Teach in China but Don’t Speak Mandarin

You can take a Chinese class yourself

Why miss out on the experience while you’re in China?

You can sign up for a class on your own. Many schools will offer you free lessons too which you should take them up on so you can learn the language.

That way, on your days off, you can enjoy the city your in even more without having to rely on a translator.

Use language apps to fill in the gaps

Today’s translation apps are so advanced that you can snap a photo of a sign or menu and have it translated in real-time.

You can also use those apps to store common phrases and practice them.

You can even record someone speaking and translate it from English to Chinese and vice versa.

Use these tools to your advantage to help you get around even when you’re still new to China.

Make a friend to exchange language with

It’s good to make friends with other expats while you’re living in China, but don’t forget to try to make friends with some of the Chinese teachers at your school.

It’s a great opportunity for you to practice speaking Chinese as well as learn more about Chinese culture so that you enjoy your time living, working, and teaching in China even more. Apart from that, using some language learning apps can also help you along side your real-life learnings.

Teach in China without speaking chinese

You don’t have to speak Chinese to teach English in China

So to conclude, you don’t have to speak Chinese in order to teach and live in China.


You will definitely make the most out of your experience if you make an effort to learn from and mingle with your Chinese friends there!

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