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Teaching and Learning Chinese As a Foreign language in

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Sunny Cao

on 15 May 2014

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Transcript of Teaching and Learning Chinese As a Foreign language in

Teaching and Learning Chinese As a Foreign language in the United States: Reasons for Character's teaching and learning are not popular
Purpose of the Study
The Purpose of this qualitative study is to explore, discover and understand why Chinese character's teaching and learning are not popular in US classrooms.

Review of Literature
Three areas of literature in relation to the Chinese character's teaching and learning:
Nature of the Written characters and difficulty of character's teaching and learning:
Students’ beliefs and perceptions on Chinese character's writing will influence their motivations on learning.
Researchers proposed some solutions on facing the difficulties on Chinese character teaching and learning.

Methodology and Research Plan
Secondly, I will use Standardized open-ended interview method to conduct my following interviews. "The exact wording and sequence of questions are determined in advance. All interviewees are asked the same basic questions in the same order. Questions are worded in a completely open-ended format"(Patton, p 349) For both teachers and students:

1. What are the factors that affected you in deciding to teach/ learning Mandarin Chinese?
2. Among the four basic skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing, Which part is the easiest part for you to teach/ learn?
3. Among the four basic skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing, Which part is the most difficulty part for you to teach/ learn?
4. Do you think Chinese character's writing is difficult?
5. What's the factor that affected you in thinking Character's writing is difficult?
6. Do you like to teach/ learn Chinese character's writing?
7. How do you teach/ learn Chinese character's writing?
8. What are the differences between English and Chinese language?
9. What's the difference between English writing system and Chinese writing system?
10. What are the factors affected the Chinese character's teaching and learning is not popular in your class?
Data Analysis
First, I will read and transcribe the data collected from the interviews and observations to get a general sense of the whole ideas presented.

Next. I will study the significant statements and phrases, and formulate the meanings.Then the meanings are organized into themes, and these themes evolve into theme clusters, and eventually into theme categories.

Then I will write a rich description of the lived experience and formulate the essential structure of the phenomena.

Finally, all of the taped interviews and field notes will be entered into computer files. I will use The HyperRESEARCH, a software program that uses a coding system organized around different topics and themes found in these files.
I want to deliver the final report to either Research Journals or newspapers.

It can be a research paper or an newspaper article.

I want to show the findings to other Mandarin Chinese teachers and students. My study could conduct their character's teaching and learning.
The world has shown greater and greater interest in learning Chinese recently. However, the teaching strategies, theories and practice could not meet the high demand in US.

Many teachers and students suggest that Character's teaching and learning is the most difficult part in Chinese language and becomes less and less popular in US classrooms.

This study, using qualitative methodology, examines the reasons why Character's teaching and learning are not popular. Findings of this research can help conduct future strategies in character's teaching and learning, and give suggestions on how to change the current situation.
Teaching and Learning Chinese As a Foreign language in the United States: Reasons for Character's teaching and learning are not popular
Plymouth State University
Hui Cao
Chinese written system (Character’s writing) distinguishes Chinese from other alphabetic language (e.g. French, Spanish, and Italian). The success of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) instruction depends on a large extent on the effectiveness of Chinese Character's teaching(Zhang & Li, 2010). However, in many US Chinese classrooms, Chinese Characters writing is not popular or even required by the instructors.

Up to now, little research has been conducted to investigate the issue of why Chinese character’s teaching and learning are not poplar in US classrooms. Using qualitative research method to study this question is much less. Therefore, this study which uses the qualitative research method to investigate the reasons of why Chinese characters is not popular in US can make a contribution to the CFL field.
The participants(both
) will be purposefully selected from both
high schools
in NH.
Participants will be selected from all kinds of education institute (
private, public
, etc) in NH.
Purpose sampling
is commonly used in qualitative research. It involves selecting research participants according to the needs of the study (Patton, 2002)
Data Collection
will be conducted to discuss and to ask the participants to explain their ideas on some questions which are related to the Chinese character's teaching and learning.
will be conducted to see the Chinese character's teaching and learning process in the class.
Sample of interview questions(1)
First, I will use closed, fixed-response interview method to ask basic information and background about the Mandarin teachers and students. "Questions and response categories are determined in advance. Responses are fixed; respondent chooses from among these fixed responses"(Patton, p 349) Following are the questions I will ask:

1. What kind of school are you in?
a) public high school
b) private high school
c) public college
d) private college
2. How many years have you been teaching/ learning Chinese?
a) 1-2 b) 3-4 c) 5-6 d) 7-8 e) 9-10 f) 11 years old and surplus
3. Are you a native-Chinese speaker? Yes/No
If you say NO in Q3, what's your native language?
a) English b) Spanish c) French d) other_____
4. For teachers:
What was your Education program?
a) Chinese language teaching b) Chinese language and literature c) Linguistics d) Education e) Other_____
5. For teachers:
Which level are you teaching right now?
a) Intro b) intermediate c) advance
6. For students:
Which grade are you in?
High school student: 9, 10, 11, 12
College student: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
For students:
Which level class are you in?
a) Intro b) intermediate c) advance
Ethical Considerations
I will try my best to ensure that none of the information collected would embarrass or harm the participants.They will be informed and given the opportunity to withdraw from the study.

I will treat them with respect. Also do my best to ensure that no physical or psychological harm will come to anyone who participates in the study.
Sample of interview questions (2)
Reference List
Allen, J. R. (2008). Why learning to write Chinese is a waste of time: A modest proposal. Foreign Language Annals, 41(2), 237-251.

Creswell, J. W. (2012).
Qualitative inquiry research design
(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Masgoret, A.-M., & Gardner, R. C. (2003). Attitudes, motivation, and second language learning: A meta-analysis of studies conducted by Gardner and associates. Language Learning, 53(1), 123-163.

Swihart, D. W. (2004b). Success with Chinese: A communicative approach for beginners: reading & writing Level 1. Boston, MA: Chen& Tsui Company, Inc.

Wen, X. (1997). Motivation and language learning with students of Chinese. Foreign Language Annuals, 30(2), 235-251.

Zhao, J. (2008). Concept and mode of teaching Chinese as a second language. Chinese Teaching in the World, 1, 93-107 (in Chinese, with English abstract).

Zhang, G.X., & Li, L.M. (2010). Chinese language teaching in the UK: Present and future. Language Learning Journal, 38 (1), 87-97.
Ethical safeguards to protect participant's rights
1. Participants will be advised IN WRITING of the voluntary nature of their participation and that they could withdraw from the study at any time without penalty. They will also be advised that at any time during the process they could decline to answer any question.
2) The research objectives will be clearly delineated IN WRITING and articulated to the participants.
3) A WRITTEN consent form will be obtained from each participant
4) The participants will be informed IN WRITING of all data collection methods and activities.
5) Provisions will be made for monitoring the data collected to ensure the safety of the participants
6) WRITTEN transcriptions and interpretations of the data will be made available to the participants.
7) The participant’s rights, interests and wishes will be considered first when choices are made regarding reporting the data and, The final decision regarding participants privacy will rest with the participant

Maldonado R.R (2009)
Qualitative Research Dissertation Proposal ,
Akamai University. Retrieve from http: www.akamaiuniversity.us/DissertationProposal_Qualitative_Robert_Maldonado.pdf)

Natural Setting
It will be all natural setting.

Qualitative researchers often collect data in the field at the site where participants experience the issue or problem under study. They gather up-close information by actually talking directly to people and seeing them behave and act within their context. In the natural setting, the researchers have face-to-face interaction over time (Creswell, 2012).
Research Procedures
It is anticipated that up to 200 interviews(180 students and 20 teachers) and any necessary follow-up interviews will be conducted during one academic year.

All interviews will be tape-recorded and in length of one hour. The interviews will be informal, open-ended, and carried out in a conversational style.

I will write field notes in conjunction with the interviews, observations, and casual encounters with subjects. In addition to the interviews, I expect to obtain other data throughout the study, such as papers or other materials subjects, and ongoing literature review.
Nature of the Written characters and difficulty of characters teaching and learning:

English writing is phonetic, but the Chinese writing system is non-phonetic and uses ideograph symbols called “Hanzi” (Chinese characters). Because the shape of a Chinese character does not represent its sound, learners with a phonetic language background initially find Chinese more difficult to learn because they cannot sound out Chinese characters (Swihart, 2004b).
Students’ beliefs and perceptions on Chinese character's writing will influence their motivations on learning.
Learners’ beliefs about second language learning may influence their attitudes, motivation, and behaviors throughout the learning process and may have direct impacts on learning outcomes (Gardner, 1985; Masgoret & Gardner, 2003).

Wen (1997) pointed out that “…mainly because the Chinese orthographic system is difficult, learning it may create a major affective and motivational barrier. If students are not psychologically prepared for the demands of the language, they may become frustrated at the beginning of their learning…Consequently, students may develop negative reactions to the language, and their motivation may greatly decrease.”
Researchers proposed some solutions on facing the difficulties on Chinese character teaching and learning
Some scholars have argued for replacing writing characters by hand with typing them on a computer keyboard. Zhao (2008) proposed that when beginners started to recognize characters, they could just learn the word process characters by computer keyboard, which could greatly reduce the burden.

Some researchers even questioned the necessity of writing characters at all. In the article “Why Learning to Write Chinese Is a Waste of Time: A Modest Proposal,” Allen (2008) argued that the time spent on “hours and hours of memorization and writing of character structure and sequencing” could be allocated to developing other skills.
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