The Nanfang / Blog


Video of English teacher singing in Chinese goes viral on Weibo

Posted: 12/12/2012 1:00 pm

A video of an American who teaches English at Guangdong Medical University has gone viral after a student filmed him singing both Chinese and English songs in class.

The teacher, Zach, who has been teaching at the University for four months, said he can sing any Chinese song as long as he has the pinyin. He wowed his students (and countless netizens) with his singing, particularly of a popular Chinese song whose title is usually translated as “A Brighter Future” by the band Beyond.

Zach, who can also play the drums and the bass, is charismatic and popular with students.

In response to netizens’ accusations that it is irresponsible to sing Chinese songs during an English class, Zach told Southern Metropolis Daily: ”Different people have their own ideas about education. But when they are freshmen, it’s worth taking ten minutes to play music, just to keep them interested.”

One netizen said if he had had such an interesting man as his English teacher, then his English would have been much better.

Other foreigners who have gone big on the internet for singing Chinese songs include Clay Garner, an American teenager who writes his own songs; Hazza, an Australian who sings covers of pop songs; and Jesse Appel, whose “Laowai Style,” was among the most popular “Gangnam Style” parodies in China.

  • NewBee

    Extremely irresponsible. I guess the medical school has no interest in students learning MEDICAL-related English classes. More like a karaoke-watch-my-teacher amuse himself class.

    • Kevin McGeary

      It says a lot that the guy has been exalted more than he’s been criticized. It’s almost as if they don’t take their lessons with foreign teachers seriously.

    • Justus Phillips

      nothin wrong with singing, its cool, fun, and makes things more fun. ha, he will probably soon be on the news if he isnt already

      • Kevin McGeary

        Overall, the positive responses outweigh the negative responses by about 10-1. And it is in the news. Haven’t you checked any of the links?

        • Justus Phillips

          so what, all that proves is that you have are very negative

    • Zach

      Medical English is not what I teach. I teach oral english. This class is a class I have once all semester. These one time a semester classes are not students whose major is English, nor Medical English. They have the chance to learn things from a foreigner once, and so I want to give them not just a different experience but an Amazing experience. I am passionate about making English fun and exciting for everyone I teach. Students hate boring teachers no matter the subject. ALSO There is only so much I can do for an hour and a half. I share with them my hobbies and one of them is playing music, so I play music in class. They love it, the students in these one time a semester classes pay very good attention to what I say and they do learn in the class, but again…I can’t teach 65 students to be experts in english in an hour and a half. I designed my class to be fun because I am a performer at heart, but the students get interested in English through this and want to talk more and want to learn more. There are many other things I do in my class. Of course, there will always be people with negative opinions, even in the class and even people who have no idea what I do or who I am. And that is fine, people are entitled to their opinions whether they are with knowledge or in ignorance. But know…I am not some karaoke watch my teacher be a “white monkey”.

      • Cam MacMurchy

        Zach, good job. I think most response online has been quite positive. English teaching is often not easy, so anything you do that makes it more fun and enjoyable for children to learn is a positive step forward.

      • NewBee

        Zach, I was once a young teacher of ESL classes in a foreign country. Never did I just sit in a chair and ask my students to see me have fun and teach them nothing. I took my assignment seriously and taught them many things with interactive group, team, and individual in-class assignments in which there was an ultimate purpose. If you think that playing a guitar has somehow taught them to learn English, you are foolish and outright useless. You are not a teacher and thus should consider being a street performer or take up another calling. Teach as a teacher, Instruct as an Instructor, and Facilitate as a Facilitator. Not sit on your rear-end and play songs to entertain yourself. If I were the parent of any of your students, you and I would have some very important dialog, and I would expect you to fulfill your duties in a more professional manner. Enough said.

        • Kevin McGeary

          Where did you teach?

        • mountain girl

          I can understand your stance on this, an appreciate your view. However, I believe that we should explore using our gifts and talents, particularly in teaching. Zach is an amazing teacher and has very high expectations for his students and is well respected. It is hard to place judgement when you have not met him or observed him as a teacher. Just ask all the parents that pleaded with the administrators of his previous school to have Zach as their child’s teacher. The countless parents that begged Zach to tutor their children, siting the success and accomplishment of their friend’s children. There is much more to him than meets the eye.

        • Zach

          Wow, okay. So you think I teach them nothing, they learn nothing and all I do is entertain myself. That I am foolish, outright useless and I am not serious.

          It appears to me you only want to say negative and hurtful things. Why? and for what reason? I do not understand but I will not jump to any conclusion for you have your life and your opinions and I should respect that. I am glad to hear that you were an ESL teacher. it sounds like you did a lot of great things with your students, all those things you describe, I do with my students. Discussions, topics, opinions, games. I am all about being interactive. It is unfortunate that you have jumped to your conclusions with almost no knowledge of how I conduct my classes other than the one comment I made. I wish you the best.

      • Helene

        He is a performer and his class was entertained. I say “GOOD JOB”. Better than watching movies in the class. I know many English teachers here but they do not perform live to entertain the bored class or to have a topic to discuss. Probably no other talent LOL. Or they are just boring teachers or too serious in the class. So, anyways they let the class watch an English movie for 30 min., and do the discussion after. Did he ask his class whether they understood the song or not? I suppose yes, then they should have discussed many things.

    • mountain girl

      Zach’s latest interview on reveals that he plays music during the class’ 10 minute break.

  • dragonWave

    next up, Kevin McGeary!

    • Kevin McGeary

      Good idea, I should sing my songs in front of kids.

      • Katherine Hall Phillips

        Yep, music is a universal language. ABC’s….spelling words….math equations – I learned them with music, don’t we all? Just because we aren’t five anymore doesn’t mean we can’t have fun using music. I think Zach is on to something.

      • Justus Phillips

        Why dont you, nuttin wrong with it

        • Justus Phillips

          i mean, singing is something we all do once in a while. and it makes things more fun. i think its awesome

  • Gay Chevara

    Chinese students don’t want English teachers. They just want to be entertained.

    I think it’s nice of the guy to try and ‘make them more interested’, but it speaks volumes of the standards and state of Chinese universities.

    Basically, stand up – be a white monkey – all students happy.
    Make them do some actual work and watch class attendance slip.

    • Kevin McGeary

      It’ll give them a happy memory when they’re working low paid jobs in overcrowded hospitals.

    • Justus Phillips

      all you saw was a part of their class, how do you know what they did in their class

  • Katherine Hall Phillips

    Zach is an excellent, respected teacher and well loved by all the students he has taught and mentored. He was inspired by his high school English teacher to incorporate music with his students, as they often learned Shakespeare and other literature through song, guitar, and piano. His teacher was awarded Teacher of the Year for his use of talents and skill, and no doubt Zach will as well. I applaud his use of music in the classroom to make teaching and learning English engaging and exciting.

  • Justus Phillips

    dont make fun of him because of what you see if YOU BARELY KNOW HIM. i thought most people would be mature enough to know that. plus, whats wrong with singing!!!! siereously, this is crazy. did you even listen to him sing!!! dont talk just about negative, there are a way lot of positive things!

  • Pingback: » American Teacher Sings In Chinese To His Class, Is Newest Foreign Sensation Beijing Cream

  • Ray

    Hey let’s all be nice here, what are we shenzhenstuff or chinasmack??

  • kaitangsou

    Wow, American teacha and no blonde hair and blue eyes!!
    Whats happening to China, standards are slipping…

    • Zach

      haha actually my eyes are blue! and my hair is dirty blonde……but sometimes looks darker due to lighting.

  • Nick B and Megan V (RVA)

    This is AWESOME!!! If English classes in America were like this occasionally I think everyone would listen and learn more too! Hello from everyone in Richmond and Happy Holidays!!!

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