The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education in the U.S., is a sub-program of the Fulbright programs. As a Fulbright Chinese language assistant, the author undertook a Chinese conversation class in Lewis and Clark for one academic year and gained precious Chinese teaching experience.
The objectives of the paper is to 1) present the Chinese conversation course in detail in aspects of the teaching content and materials and the teaching methodologies, including audio-lingual method, task-based language teaching, cooperative language learning, immersion language learning, situational language teaching, etc., of the course; and 2）reflect on the success and failure of the course so as to improve Chinese language teaching and provide reference for other teachers in the future; and 3) look ahead of language teaching in the information age and language teacher’s role in participating in language class. In the author’s view, to select which suitable teaching method depends on the teaching content of the class. The author also insists that language class, especially conversation class, should connect the teaching materials with students’ communication needs in various cultural contexts and social development; compared to imparting students with the pure language knowledge, it is more important to teach students to communicate skillfully and successfully in social and cultural interactions. Looking ahead to the future language teaching in the age of technology booming, the author also thinks that developing rich electronic teaching tools will help improve the quality of language teaching; in addition, encouraging and cultivating creativity in language teaching class is another important task for language teachers.