Table of Contents (2021 Issue)
When Should Characters Be Introduced to Novice-Level Chinese in a Blended Learning Setting?
by Sihui (Echo) Ke & Stayc Dubravac
Abstract: After many decades, the debate continues over when characters should be introduced to college-level Chinese programs in the U.S. This study aimed to assess the impact of early instruction versus delayed instruction of characters on oral and written competency development. A time-series design was used to track two novice-level cases in a blended learning setting for one semester at an American university. One case received the early introduction of character instruction, the other received the delayed instruction. The two participants completed eight oral and written tests after treatment, three repeated summative assessment tasks, as well as pre- and post-intervention attitude questionnaire survey. The findings suggest that the early instruction case performed better than the delayed instruction case in both oral and written tests. Additionally, the delayed instruction case changed attitudes toward the timing of character instruction. Implications for Chinese as a foreign language education are discussed.
Teaching and Learning Bei-Constructions: A Usage-Based Constructionist Approach
by Jun Lang
Abstract: This article presents a pedagogical design based on corpus findings and shows the effects of a usage-based constructionist approach to teaching and learning second language (L2) Chinese bei passive constructions. I first conducted a corpus analysis and identified two high-frequency bei subtypes [bei-Verb-le] and [bei-Verb Complement-le] as well as high-frequency exemplars of verbs and verb complements that can enter the subtypes. I then used the corpus findings to inform the instructional design and prioritized the teaching of high-frequency constructional subtypes. 23 intermediate-level L2 Chinese learners were randomly divided into an experimental group and a control group. The two groups of learners were tested immediately after receiving instruction. The results show that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group for both subtypes, indicating a positive effect of using the usage-based constructionist approach to teaching and learning the bei-constructions. The implication of this study is that the integration of theoretical linguistic research, corpus findings, and practical language teaching may improve L2 learning outcomes.
How to Engage Chinese as a Heritage Language Learner? From Student Engagement Perceptions to Instructional Design and Practice
by Tingting Wang & Ding Wang-Bramlett
Abstract: This study discusses how to engage Chinese as Heritage Language Learners in their Chinese learning by exploring the characteristics of Chinese as Heritage Language learners and their perceptions of engagement elements. The qualitative study employs engagement surveys to understand students' perceptions of four engagement elements to figure out the indicators and facilitators of engagement to offer implications for instructional design. The results show that students at different language levels have different learning needs and learning interests, however, reading and writing skills are students' primary learning needs at all levels. Furthermore, the diverse modes of communication (e.g., teacher and student interaction, peer interaction) and instant feedback from the teacher are crucial for student language learning achievement. The results also show that the teaching of language skills (e.g., writing and speaking skills) and research-related assignments could encourage students to take a more active role in their learning process. Therefore, to engage Chinese as a Heritage Language learners, the difficulty level of the course should be balanced through the semester; the topics of the class should be distinctive from each other to trigger student interests for communication and discussion. At the same time, the instructor should create an open and communicative learning environment for various modes of communication. Besides, to enhance students Chinese learning achievement, the instructors should use life-related learning and teaching materials and employ new technologies to create sufficient opportunities for students to practice what they have learned.
Writing Task Design at Elementary to Intermediate Level
by Lin Zhu
Abstract: This pedagogical report demonstrates the task design in elementary to intermediate writing class, highlighting how to incorporate authenticity, interactivity, communicative function, platform diversity, and employment of handwriting and typing. The purpose is to facilitate effective writing pedagogy so that learners can be more engaged and involved during the task completion. This report also shares an outline for a year-long writing task design, and analyzes concrete cases, in hope of providing guidelines for task design in writing classrooms at lower levels. Last, reflections and implications are also indicated(provided)regarding task design and assessment.
"Gameful Pedagogy"- An Innovative Course-Designing Tool and the Implementation in Advanced Level Chinese Language Courses
by Qian Liu
Abstract: With the continuous development of Chinese language education, Chinese language teaching at the college level is facing new challenges. The large differences in students' language proficiency, especially at the advanced level, call for different teaching contents, strategies, and practices from Chinese language educators. At the same time, new teaching concepts such as "student-centered learning" have also been widely introduced into Chinese language education. How to incorporate these new teaching concepts into Chinese language teaching at different levels and how to solve the problems encountered during the process, have thus become the topics of interest for many Chinese educators. In this article, by way of introducing the Gameful Pedagogy and its application in Chinese language courses, I provide readers with new perspectives and methods for designing and teaching Chinese courses at the advanced level. This article introduces, analyzes and reflects on the Gameful Pedagogy mainly from the following three aspects: the theoretical foundation of the Gameful Pedagogy, the benefits that Gameful Pedagogy brings to advanced level Chinese language teaching, and its applications in college-level Business Chinese and Media Chinese courses.
Radical Awareness and Applications in Chinese Literacy Acquisition for Heritage and Non-Heritage Speakers of Chinese
by Erika Schwerdfeger
Abstract: The Chinese orthographic system presents many unique features not found in alphabetic orthographies. Among these differences is the existence of the radical, a subcomponent of Chinese characters. Radicals can serve as either phonetic or semantic cues within characters, and although the degree to which radical and character are related may vary, sensitivity to the positional and functional features of radicals can be useful for readers in accessing such cues. Thus, in learning to read Chinese, an awareness of radicals may enable more reliable inferences about novel characters and relate to one’s overall strength as a reader. This paper synthesizes ten studies on the topic of Chinese-language radical awareness, its features and development, and its relationship to aspects of literacy acquisition, such as character recognition and overall reading ability. Five questions guided this research process, which are delineated in a subsequent section. The findings of the following studies indicate a strong correlation between readers’ radical awareness and components of literacy acquisition, for both heritage Chinese speakers and non-heritage learners of Chinese. An additional finding was the fact that readers tend to rely on semantic radicals, over phonetic radicals, in decoding novel characters. The studies also corroborated evidence that the development of word-reading, and morphological knowledge in general, for readers in Chinese proceeds in distinctive stages, with the acquisition of structural knowledge preceding functional knowledge. The significance of these collective findings includes the pedagogical implication that explicit instruction on radicals would confer benefits for both young L1 speakers and non-heritage learners in the process of learning to read Chinese.
The Belt and Road Initiative as a Path for Chinese Tech Company Expansion
by Jacob Feldgoise, Joanne Chui, Zhe Gao
Abstract: The People's Republic of China (PRC) is a rising global economic and technological power. Many scholars argue that the PRC increasingly projects its influence abroad through vehicles such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). While the direct economic, political, and cultural impacts of the BRI have been explored extensively -and even demonstrated causally by some authors -prior work has not focused on the impacts of BRI investment on the expansion strategies of Chinese technology companies. In this study, we seek to determine whether Chinese technology companies are disproportionately embedded in countries that receive more BRI investment from China. We measured the embeddedness for seven major Chinese technology companies in ten randomly selected BRI beneficiary countries, as well as the United States. We hypothesized that countries which receive more BRI investment from China are more likely to have a higher score for Chinese tech company embeddedness. Surprisingly, we found no correlation between a country's index of debt to China and average embeddedness score. This finding suggests that Chinese tech companies may not use BRI investment in a country as a signal to embed in that country. Future work should expand this analysis to a greater selection of countries and utilize year-disaggregated data.