VIPKid and Chinese Censorship

Many new teachers face new issues with VIPKid that they hadn’t considered. Everything from maps to religion to history. Don’t get bogged down in these topics – as much as we would all like to be justice crusaders, your job is to teach them English, teach them a little culture, and maybe point out that there are differences everywhere across the globe.

Maps:

Be sure any maps you use don’t have Tibet or Tiwan in a separate color than China. Yes, they’re nuts, I get it. I get around this by using a colorless map. Tiwan is still outlined, but if it’s black and white, no one can tell the difference anyway.

Religion:

While VIPKid has never contacted me, I wouldn’t be surprised if I get into the most trouble here. I LOVE to study religions. Because most students in China do not have any religious education at all, they often do not learn the words “religion, Christianity, Christian, Jesus, God(s)”. The reason I know? I was curious about what my student’s knew!!! In upper levels, they talk about Muslims, Jews, and Hindus. They talk about Kwanzaa too! I have a feeling VIPKid avoids talking about Christianity due to how strong Christianity is in the USA – We don’t want teachers accidentally sounding like they’re converting kids! The easiest way I have taught the word “religion” was to show praying. They learn the word “to pray” in level 4, too, so all is well! But as always, keep it simple. I really wouldn’t want to be misinterpreted as pushing religion on my students!

History:

Yes, there is an entire unit on landmarks in level 4 that shows Tienanmen Square. DO NOT START TALKING ABOUT THE PROTESTS AT TIENANMEN SQUARE.

My history major is going to shine through here – I think it is important that students understand historical sources. When history comes up in my VIPKid classroom, and students can understand lots of English, I often point out that history changes depending on where you are in the world. “China says this happened. The US says nooooo this happened. England says you’re both wrong! This happened!” Students can make their own decisions about what to read and what to believe. One of my students loved history and travel – I told her that in China she should read world history, and then leave China and read world history, and see how much it changes.

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