Some Chinese Phrases You Should Know As An English Teacher In China

chinese phrase


When you see the title, you may be wondering "Teachers and students are not allowed to use Chinese in ESL classes, aren't they? Why do I need to learn these Chinese phrases and sentences?"

Yes, in order to create a more effective English teaching environment, students and teachers are usually prohibited from communicating in Chinese. But the reality is that when teaching Chinese students who do not know any English (including young children and adults), sometimes they have to use some Chinese to express their views or needs. Here I will introduce some oral expressions commonly used by Chinese students.



您/你好(nin/ni hao),老师(lao shi)= Hello/Hi teacher!

早上好(zao shang hao)= Good morning

下午好(xia wu hao)= Good afternoon

晚上好(wan shang hao)= Good evening

你好吗?(ni hao ma) = How are you?


When you are asking questions, they may answer you:

我知道(wo zhi dao)= I know

我不知道 (wo bu zhi dao)= I do not know

我明白(wo ming bai)= I see

我不明白(wo bu ming bai)= I don't understand

我会(wo hui)= I can

我不会(wo bu hui)= I can’t

(不“bu“ in Chinese expresses a negative meaning)


[Recommended Reading: Effective Ways to Learn Mandarin When Teaching in China ]


When you are introducing a new game in the class, they may think it’s:

很有趣(hen you qu)= It’s funny

很无聊(hen wu liao)= It’s boring

我要玩(wo yao wan)= I want to play

我不想玩(wo bu xiang wan)= I don’t want to play


When you give them some instructions in English, but they do not understand. You can say:

看得到吗(kan de dao ma)= Can you see it?

看得清楚吗(kan de qing chu ma)= Can you see it clearly?

请安静(qing an jing)= Please be quiet.

请站起来(qing zhan qi lai)= Please stand up.

看老师/我(kan lao shi/wo)= Look at teacher/me

听老师/我(ting lao shi/wo)= Listen to teacher/me


You do not have to worry about if you are not able to speak Chinese since it’s not an obstacle to teaching English in China. But just try to learn some simple Chinese words/phrases/sentences for it will facilitate your communication with Chinese students and build closer relationships between you and the students.

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