Using WeChat for parent communications
One of the main purposes of WeChat is for everyday communications with parents or students. In this lesson, we will outline how to connect with your students and how to send messages within the platform:
Connecting with parents
Either you or the parent needs to send a connection request through WeChat. This can either be your WeChat ID, WeChat QR code (most popular) or phone number. You can also permit WeChat to access your phone contacts, which is useful to connect to your real life friends.
You can find your WeChat ID under the “me” tab at the bottom of the app. If you click on this WeChat ID, it will take you to a section with further personal details, including “my QR code”. Clicking on the three dots in the top right corner allows you to change the style (they have various fun colours/ themes) or save your QR code as an image on your phone, so you can then send to parents.
If a parent sends you their QR code or is holding it up on the screen during class, you can scan it by going to the WeChat home page, selecting the three dots in the top right corner, then selecting “scan”. Here you can also opt to import a QR code from your saved images.
If you would like to add someone using their WeChat ID or phone number, you can type it in the search box at the top of the screen.
If a parent would like to share a friend’s contact details with you, they may also send a “contact card” through WeChat messages, which allows you to add that friend directly.
Important note: It is NOT possible to randomly connect with strangers on WeChat. You need to have their WeChat contact details to add them, or add them from a group chat you are both members of. This is similar to apps like WhatsApp, as WeChat is also designed to be a more private platform. If you would like to expand your WeChat contacts network in order to find new customers, please read the next few lessons where we will detail various approaches.
One of the main purposes of WeChat is for sending everyday messages and general communications. I tend to use WeChat to:
- Discuss class ideas with parents
- Organise lesson times
- Send them any pre-reading or vocabulary flashcards before class
- Send them a quick reminder message shortly before the class
- Send them the Zoom link to join the class
- Share homework tasks (you can upload files – it’s easiest to do this on the computer app simply by dragging and dropping across)
- Send after-class feedback
- Send voice recordings of key words and sentences from the class
One super useful feature of WeChat is the built in translation tool. Simply long press on any message in a chat and select “translate”. This means that you do not need to use a separate translation app to translate your messages to them into Chinese, and can also easily understand messages sent by parents.
HOWEVER, do be aware that this translation tool is relatively basic and relies a lot on word-by-word translations. Stick to simple sentence structures and avoid any colloquialisms/ idioms.
Sending files/ documents
You can also send documents, pictures, videos and other files within the WeChat messaging system. On your phone, simply click on the plus symbol next to the text box and select “album” or “files” to choose the items you wish to upload.
Personally, I find it easiest to share documents from my computer. You can install the WeChat computer app, log in by scanning the QR code using your phone (open WeChat, click on the plus symbol at the top right of the home screen then select “scan”) then simply drag-and-drop files into the chat.
WeChat also has a very basic voice or video call feature. Personally, I don’t use these for classes because there are no screensharing options. However, you may find it useful if you are teaching more conversation based classes or just want a quick face-to-face chat to discuss lesson plans / times with a parent rather than messaging back and forth.
To start a WeChat video call, simply open up the chat between yourself and your WeChat contact, click on the plus symbol next to the text box, and select “video call”.