I have a strong interest in teaching Chinese culture (including Chinese language, Chinese art, Chinese music, etc). I believe the ideal goal is teaching Chinese language through integrating a balance of theories, such as communications, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities as outlined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages), and practices into the curriculum that can provide students varied opportunities to develop their language skills. I focus on creating a learner-centered environment while I am teaching across three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational) to enhance students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
There are two main strategies that help me to approach this professional goal:
First: I combine many of my skills such as the Chinese language, Chinese ink painting, Chinese brush writing, and traditional Chinese music, etc. into my teaching. I also use modern technology, such as PowerPoint, to show many still and moving images to students in order to provide more cultural experience to enhance their study of Chinese; I also use Vimba Voice Tool to help students develop their Chinese language skills. Students also practice Chinese calligraphy and learn about the history of the Chinese characters. Because Chinese calligraphy not only is connected to Chinese literature, culture, music, and history but also is recognized as a unique art form. Students are not only learn the Chinese language, both spoken and written, but also learn how to appreciate Chinese culture. In my “Second Year Chinese” class, for example, I teach Chinese grammar and conversation with the main goal of encouraging students to use what they learn in the classroom in other places such as university library and student meetings, apartment rental offices, Chinese supermarkets and restaurants. Although there are many ways of teaching the Chinese language, I firmly believe that my ways of combining language with other aspects of Chinese life and culture as a meaningful connection will enhance students’ learning.
Second: Assessment strategies should be the key. Based on the ACTFL Standards, the performance assessment should equal with the proficiency Guidelines. The method of assessment should be encouraging students to gain confidence in learning Chinese. Frequent practice, clear direction, and meaningful material can help the process of language acquisition. The ideal classroom setting (including current theory of pedagogy, assessments, authentic materials, personal teaching methods, etc) should provide students full immersion into the Chinese cultural environment and help them increase their learning skills based on engagement with appropriate contexts and peer groups.
I am willing to provide students a variety of interesting ways to learn the Chinese language. I firmly believe the purpose of teaching Chinese is to help students appreciate the Chinese language as well as Chinese culture. I also believe a good instructor should be, first of all, a good guide who can provide students great opportunities to develop their Chinese language skills and use them in different social contexts.