MrBlobby: Basically, the least complicated thing, and the thing that you can do over and over again to received instantaneous feedback is to ask comprehension questions.
Basically, you can ask three types of questions: yes/no, or, or wh-.
For example, imagine you had these two sentences:
1. The dog is brown.
2. The cat is orange.
Yes/no: Is the dog brown? Is the dog orange? Is the cat brown? Is the cat orange?
Or: Is the dog brown or orange? Is the cat brown or orange? Is the dog or the cat brown?* Is the dog or the cat orange?*
Wh-: Who/what/which animal is brown? Who/what/which animal is orange? What colour is the dog? What colour is the cat?
I actually wouldn't use the two sentences marked with an asterix because they could be a bit ambiguous. However, that still leaves ten questions (fourteen if you do "Who is brown?", "What is brown?" and "Which animal is brown?", plus the same for orange). Of course, you need to mix these up. If what you do is predictable, then it's less effective.
Basically though, you get immediate feedback to find out if they understand something or not. Even if they get it correct, they may be guessing, so you can still ask them what part of their answer (or your question) means. If they get the question incorrect, then you can break that down to find out which part is causing the problem. For instance, do they understand the question, but not know the information required for the answer, or do they not even understand the question?
In that vein, another thing you can do is ask them to translate something (either whatever you've just said or a part of the story, or maybe even the whole story), to see if they understand.
All of this requires some level of Chinese, obviously, so you can know if they're correct. I know it also doesn't fly in many classrooms here because there is a huge (illogical) aversion to using Chinese and people would rather battle on to book three or book four than make sure they actually understand book one and they'd rather guess their way through every class, hoping they're on the same page. People need to get over that though. It's about establishing comprehension, or figuring out where that's breaking down and working on the problem. The trouble is that people here believe the following:
1) Straight immersion will take someone from 0% comprehension to 100% comprehension. Sometimes, it will. Sometimes, it won't, if it's simply too far beyond a student. The distance between the two points affects the time involved. The way it's done here though is often, at best, highly inefficient. At worst, it's a complete waste of time.
2) Production (output) is everything. As such, there's a massive emphasis on speaking (parroting), memorisation, and reading aloud, even if the kids have no idea what it is they're saying and can't use it in any meaningful, and novel, way. I have even heard foreign teachers say that they want their kids to be able to read aloud, even if they don't understand what they're reading. It's absurd and needs to be abandoned.
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man
One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words "Socialism" and "Communism" draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, "Nature Cure" quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. -- George Orwell