The Chinese 101 class is designed to be four times a week, and I am in charge of Tuesday and Thursday which are basically the review and drilling sections. We usually finish a lesson within five days including an overall review and test on the last day. Besides using the textbook, we usually design a lot of activities, especially speaking activities. For example, I provide a scenario of a real-life situation such as making an appointment via phone with a Chinese friend, and I will give students 3-5 minutes to work on the task with their partners. This type of task helps students to understand when the phrases and sentences taught in class can be used in real life. Task-based activities are not only limited to speaking practice.
For listening, I also tried to apply authentic materials such as a clip from a movie. Students usually listen twice and answer the questions based on what they hear. Although speaking might be the main theme in communicative goal, reading and writing are not ignored in my teaching. students are required to read authentic materials. For example, I made a WeChat conversation between a teacher and a student. Students need to read the conversations and answer the questions. The reason why I made this was that it is really common when people use social media to communicate.
The reading material is a little above their level, but they can use dictionaries or ask classmates to help to understand. The writing task requires students to do collaborative writing with their classmates and independent writing by themselves at the same time. I also use the project to assess student’s integrated skills. There are three projects based on different topics. A project usually asks students to make a video of a script or interview they conduct. They not only need to practice speaking, but also reading, listening, and writing.
Since Chinese requires a longer process for learners to be comprehensive, using the target language as well as simple instruction in English is necessary for the beginning level. However, the total physical response (TPR) assists me to utilize more target language in the teaching. My teaching is also tasked based on clear class objectives which allow students to self-reflect what they have reached.
The ultimate goal of my language teaching is to make students be able to use the target language in real life, instead of only in a classroom environment. I focus on the communicative goal in my classroom as well as the input of the other four factors of 5c of foreign language teaching.