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Volunteer Teaching in China

Teach English and Other Subjects
  • Placement locations: Chengdu, Shanghai
  • Types of schools: Elementary School, High School
  • Age of students: 6 - 15
  • Class sizes: 30 - 50
  • Role: Teacher or teaching assistant (English)
  • Requirements: None
  • Extra-curricular roles: Music, Sports
  • Accommodation: Shared volunteer apartments
  • Length of placement: From 4 weeks
  • Start dates: Flexible

Volunteering as a teacher in China as a Projects Abroad volunteer will offer great opportunities to hundreds of Chinese students and give you a unique perspective on this incredible country. Whether you are volunteering during your gap year, between semesters, or for a career break or vacation, you will have an important role to play teaching in one of our partner schools.

Volunteering in China will offer you meaningful teaching experience and allow you to see the improvement in your many students. The focus is on conversational English, so you do not need any formal qualifications or TEFL training. If you are interested, you will also be able to teach subjects such as music and sports.

China’s rapid economic development means that the desire to learn English has never been greater. A good level of English could be the ticket for many students to study at one of China's major universities, or to study outside of China at prestigious universities in the US and UK. Huge numbers of foreign-owned companies are now flooding into the country to take advantage of the expanding markets and will require bilingual staff.

Volunteer Profile Volunteer Michiel Kemeling shares their experience on the Teaching Project in China
Michiel Kemeling
I didn't have any teaching experience, but the enthusiasm of the students and the support of the teachers and my fellow volunteers made it easy and very enjoyable… I will never forget the school, the teaching or the students and doing this made me realize that I should seriously consider becoming a teacher. Read more...

Many families move from rural villages all across China to be nearer cities such as Shanghai or Chengdu. These families are often from poor backgrounds and move nearer the cities in order to try and gain more financial opportunities. Volunteer teachers are needed in these towns to improve the conversational skills of school students. Working at these schools you will be providing the children the valuable opportunity to practice their spoken English – something that would otherwise only be available to more wealthy families in the city.

Volunteering as a Teacher in China

Volunteer teaches children about shark awareness at a school in China

Projects Abroad works with elementary and high schools in towns on the outskirts of Shanghai and Chengdu – normally about 1 hour away from the city center. Day-to-day life here varies greatly from the hustle and bustle of life in the city. As a volunteer in these communities you will experience working in a more relaxed pace of life and enjoy China’s generous hospitality.

With competition for jobs high and fewer opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, you will be popular with both the students and your Chinese colleagues. Basing lessons on topics within the local curriculum, you can use role-playing, debating, and games to encourage the students to speak and develop their vocabulary. Your students will want to learn about you and your culture and having a native English speaker in their classes is a real advantage for them.

Volunteers with their class at a school in China on the Teaching project

Traditional values are still important in China so teachers are well respected and you will find the students excited to learn. Class sizes vary between forty and fifty students and you will be teaching students aged from 6 to 15 years.

Although English will be the main subject that you teach, you can also participate in extra-curricular activities such as music and sports.

We have plenty of suggestions for games and activities that will help to stimulate the students' minds and sustain their enthusiasm. We always welcome new ideas and we hope that you will take time to prepare and structure lessons. Being prepared will help give you confidence and ensure that you and your students get the most out of your time teaching in China.

Did you know? The literacy rate in China is defined as knowledge of 1,500 Chinese characters in rural areas and 2,000 characters in urban areas.

During the summer months and in February when the schools are on vacation, we arrange summer classes for local students that our volunteers teach.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our China Teaching Management Plan.

Volunteering at a Teaching Placement in China with Projects Abroad

Whatever skills and talents you have, volunteer work in China will give you the opportunity to put them to good use. Be imaginative with your teaching to make learning fun and enjoyable for the students. The increased exposure to conversational English will enable your students to advance their language skills and brighten their futures in a big way.

China Teaching Management Plan

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