I16 chinese characters incorporating best practices - ross chen-chang
Chinese Characters:Incorporating Best PracticesClaudia Ross-College of the Holy CrossKevin Chang – Chinese American International SchoolYea-Fen Chen – University of Wisconsin, MilwaukeeNCLC April 8, 2013
Our Startalk Program - OverviewMaster teachers of Chinese (5yrs+ experience)K-16 collaboration in 4 teams: K-5, 6-8, 9-12, 13+10-day residential program, College of the Holy Cross,Worcester, MA
Goals Identify best practices in Chinese character instruction Incorporate character learning within Standards-basedthematic units Design model units for 4 grade levels for classroomteachers and teacher-trainers in CFL
ScheduleExpert Consultants7/24. Dr. Hong Gang Jin. “Theories and practicesof Chinese character learning and readingcomprehension”7/25. Dr. Danuta Bukatko. “Child development andsetting age-appropriate learning tasks and goals”7/26-7/27. Dr. Min Wang. “Development of Chineseliteracy: The role of metalinguistic awareness” and“Research on CFL Instruction”7/29. Dr. Helen Shen. “Literacy in Chinese: Theory andPractice” (2 hour video conference)
Project Development7/27-7/30Breakout sessions by grade-level to work ontraining modulesAndGroup discussions to share progress and todiscuss development issues
Sharing, Feedback, and Assessment7/31-8/1Presentation of work in progress by each age group towhole group and evaluation of work in whole groupdiscussion.Alternating withContinued work on modules8/2Reflection, Program evaluation, Setting timetable forcompletion of units.
The Challenge of LearningCharactersThere are so many of them: Educatedreaders of Chinese know 5,000 – 8,000 ormore characters.Characters are very time consuming tolearn.Frustration with learning Chinesecharacters is the major reason why CFLstudents stop studying Chinese
The Challenge of LearningCharacters Statement from a workshop participant:“The compelling issue is that CFL studentsgradually lose their motivation or theirmomentum diminishes through time whenreading and writing Chinese becomes sooverwhelming for them.”
The Challenge of LearningCharacters Statement from a workshop participant:“Since becoming a Chinese teacher in 1995,teaching students to write Chinesecharacters has been the great challenges.…. With the 120 intensive instructionalhours, 6 hours daily, it was hard to believehow quickly students picked up the newvocabulary and sentences. But when itcame to the assessment of characterwriting and recognition, my studentstruggled.”
The issues with teaching characters There are no „best practices‟ for characterinstruction. Even in standards-based programs, characterinstruction typically stands outside of astandards-based approach. Some programs avoid the problem ofcharacters by not teaching them at all. Thisbecomes an articulation problem whenstudents transition to programs which teachcharacters.
Character FactsCharacters represent a meaning and are linked to apronunciation.湖river hú
The parts of a character recur in differentcombinations in other characters.How many different recurring parts can youfind in these characters?诈炸作做故古数学子了难谁推打厅想相息
A small number of characters （fewer than 20%) are„pictographs‟ whose form is based on the form of the objectthat they represent:山 水 日 月 木mountain water sun moon treeOr ‘ideographs’ whose form is an abstract representation of aconcept:上 下 好above below good (woman+child)
Most characters (more than 80%) arecompound characters containing a radical (apart of the character that categorizes it by meaningfor organization in a traditional dictionary) and oneor more additional parts.湖 ＝ 水 （氵） ＋胡lake = water + 胡
The „other‟ part of the character is sometimes aphonetic, representing the pronunciation of thecharacter.36% of the phonetics give clear information aboutthe character.湖 Hú =水（氵 water） + 胡（Hú）48% of the phonetics give partial informationabout pronunciation:问 wèn=口（kǒu mouth）+ 门 ( mén )In about 16% of characters, the part of the characterthat is not the radical provides no phonetic informationat all. 路 lù=足 (foot) +各 (gè)
Whether a part of a character is a radical, aphonetic, or a non-phonetic element, it isa recurring part with a set configuration ofstrokes, not a random set of strokes.That is, characters are composed ofrecurring parts. These recurring parts areknown as 件 bù jiàn
Research on Character LiteracyL1 learners. Successful readers:1. Distinguish between well-formed andimpossible characters based on (a) thelocation of repeating parts In the character,and (b) the well-formedness of thoserepeating parts.2. Use the meaning of the radical to identifythe meaning of the character, or todistinguish between two characters withsimilar phonetics but different radicals.
3. Use Phonetic cues. They can identify thephonetic and use it to identify and recall thepronunciation of characters.青qīng (green) 请qǐng (invite) 静jìng (still,calm) 清qīng (clear, clean)4. Encode characters in memory in terms ofstroke order.
Succesful CFL readersResearch tells us that successful CFL readers:1.Identify the radical of characters andassociate it with the meaning of the characterwhere possible.2.Identify the phonetic element of charactersand associate it with the pronunciation of thecharacter where possible.3.Learn characters better when they alreadyknow the word in spoken form.
Research shows that:Rote memorization without informationabout the structure of characters is not aneffective strategy for long-term characterretention.Elaborative processing (“deep processing”)in which learners are directed to focus ondetails of the character, is a much moresuccessful strategy for long-term characterretention. (Shen 2004)
Best Practices in CFL characterinstruction1. Direct students to notice radicals and their locationwithin characters, and to associate the meaning ofradicals with the characters in which they occur.2. Direct students to notice phonetic elements withincharacters and to use them to remember and recallcharacters.3. Direct students to notice the other recurring parts ofcharacters.4. Direct students to follow standard stroke order inwriting characters
Implementing Best Practices inChinese Character Instruction
Enduring UnderstandingCharacter acquisition is the foundation forChinese literacy development and shouldbe an integral part of a Standards-basedcurriculum for K-16.
Essential questions What are the strategies for teachingcharacters effectively? How can you design age-appropriatematerials for character acquisition basedon cognitive development? What are the best practices that integratecharacter learning in a Standards-basedunit?
Best Practices Design a Standards-based unit K-5, 6-8, 9-12, 13-16 Objectives Standards Teaching of characters Assessment: formative, summative learning materials, activities, assignments
Pre-conditions for each unit This is the unit in which the first set ofChinese characters is introduced. Students are familiar with Chinesepronunciation, pinyin and tones. Speaking proficiency: Novice-mid The students are non-heritage students Introduce 10 characters (not 1-10)
Choice of characters Students learn to read and writecharacters for words that they alreadyknow in their spoken form. The characters are high frequency. The set of characters involves recurringparts.
Unit Plans K-5: McDonalds in China大，中，小，有，美，要，吃，喝 6-8: My Class Schedule我，有，上，中，下，天，文，星，是，你 9-12: Dining in a Chinese Restaurant好，吃，喝，茶，菜，饭，饿，我，渴，湯 College: Attending a Party人，认，识，请，叫，吃，过，这，茶，菜