SOAS University of London

Chinese Promotion and Development

Contact: Dr George Zhang 
Department: SOAS Language Centre
Contributors: Dr William Yu, Arther Tang, Yuegang Jin, Shejiao Xu, Rebekah George, Linda Li

Overview

The project aims to improve both the understanding and delivery of Chinese language teaching in the SOAS Language Centre and elsewhere, working towards a more informed provision of Chinese language courses that are more accessible, enjoyable, efficient and cost-effective.

Details

This is a combined project consisting of five individual projects that cover all four CETL themes. These projects are integrated towards the development of a comprehensive understanding of how English-speaking adult learners learn Chinese whilst improving and promoting the learning and teaching of Chinese in the SOAS Language Centre and elsewhere.

Aims and Objectives

The five project areas may be summarised as follows:

  • Project 1 Research the possibility of and propose a common framework for Chinese language teaching at university level
  • Project 2 Improve the teaching practices and inform materials development by researching the cognitive process of how adult learners acquire essential Chinese function words (Researcher: Dr William Yu)
  • Project 3 Develop contemporary, authentic listening, reading and grammar materials using innovative multi-media technology in combination with pedagogically sound language acquisition methodologies (Contributors: Arther Tang, Yuegang Jin, Shejiao Xu, Rebekah George, Linda Li)
  • Project 4 Increase number and quality of teachers of Chinese as a foreign language by making the current teacher training programme (CTCAFL) available via distance learning.
  • Project 5 Dissemination and network development that (a) stimulates global discourse and information exchange; (b) promotes the teaching and learning of Chinese whilst (c) establishing SOAS/LWW-CETL as Centre of Excellence in the teaching and learning of Chinese as a foreign language.

Rationale

There is very little empirical research on the learning and teaching of the Chinese language. As the demand for Chinese language courses increases, it is important to have informed teaching practice and to develop adequate syllabi and materials to meet such needs. In addition, an in-depth and systematic understanding of a number of aspects of the Chinese language is lacking as most course syllabi are based upon those of European languages. There is also a severe shortage of adequate course materials that have been specifically developed with reference to the ways in which adult learners learn Chinese. The phenomenal increase in demand for Chinese language courses is matched by an increased demand for qualified teachers, as specialist training facilities are severely limited.

Products, Outputs & Outcomes

  • Project 1 (Research into the potential for and development of an HE syllabus for Chinese) will not only produce an interim research paper to be presented at relevant seminars in 6 months, it will also publish its final report in 12 months with recommendations and/or a draft syllabus for Chinese in HE sector.
    Zhang, G.X,. and Li, M.L.  2009.  A Common Framework of Standards for Non-Major Chinese Courses in British Universities.. In Zhang, G.X. (ed). Chinese Language Teaching and Learning: Theories and Practice - Applied Chinese Language Studies II. London: Cypress Books Co., 143-151.
  • Project 2 (Research into the cognitive process of how adult learners acquire essential Chinese function words) will produce research papers to be presented at a seminar after in months and a guide book (a pocket dictionary) in 12 months. These interim reports and seminar papers also help to evaluate the progress of these projects as well as the research methodologies of the two research projects. A bibliography will be included, where appropriate, in the research projects when the final reports are published.
  • Project 3 (Developing widely disseminable listening, reading and grammar materials to supplement current course books) consists of a number of small projects, with 10 listening episodes, 10 reading exercises, and 10 grammar exercises completed in each six months cycle. These materials will be disseminable online with the use of multimedia.
  • Project 4 (Making current teacher training programme (CTCAFL) available via distance learning) aims to turn the course into a distance learning one in 12 months, which means that it will also serve to develop a network for teachers of Chinese with skill sharing amongst a much wider community.
  • Project 5 (Dissemination, network development and skills sharing via conference and seminars) consists of attending and organisations of seminars and then a conference in SOAS in the Spring of 2007.