Champion Paralympic blind swimmer, Yang Bozun, has dived into his new role as an English teacher at Radio and TV University (RTVU). Yang spent half of his first day teaching and explaining clearly key points of two units to students. He also shared personal experiences with the class, drawing laughter from time to time.


Last Sunday morning marked the first class for English majors specializing in social management at the Disabled School of Tianjin RTVU. It was also the first time for Yang to step up to the podium as an English teacher. In his class were 12 students, their ages spanning from over 20 to over 40. Most students had limb disabilities. A female teacher assisted Yang, helping him to adjust the projector and speaker equipment. Yang introduced himself to the class, explaining that he too was disabled. He had been invited to give English lessons because of his own success in mastering the language.

After Yang finished his introduction, the assisting female teacher added immediately: “Yang Bozun is a Paralympic world champion swimmer. He has achieved wonderful results in English learning, and his level has reached that of an English major. Not only can he converse fluently in English, he can also give an impromptu English speech. The school has invited him to share his experiences with all of you.” Upon hearing such an introduction, the students’ attention was immediately captured. 

During his two-and-a-half-hour class, Yang asked students whether they had any questions each time he finished explaining a key point. When explaining sentence patterns used for self-introduction, he shared a story relating to his experience at a tournament abroad: “Once a Chinese athlete spoke in English to a foreign athlete. The Chinese athlete ran out of things to say after asking questions such as ’what’s your name?’ and ’how old are you?’ However, this made the other athlete worry because he didn’t understand the intention of such questioning until it at last became clear that the Chinese athlete could only say these few phrases.” After telling this story, the atmosphere of the class became relaxed as students laughed aloud. Throughout the class, Yang proved he could also adeptly manage multimedia devices. If not for the fact that his eyes were closed, it would be easy for one to doubt Yang was actually blind. In one morning, Yang had successfully taught key points of two units.   

Mr. Wang, a teacher sitting at the rear of the classroom who took notes throughout the lesson, noted that Yang had also graduated from this college. After winning three gold medals at the 2012 London Paralympics, Yang was able to give interviews in English. His English level is on par with teachers who have majored in English. The school employed him to undertake English teaching for the first school year so that he could pass his experience on to others.

By Xu Yan