Different from English, which belongs to the western language writing systems which are the phonograms, Chinese writing system belongs to ideogram. Since Chinese characters are so unique and distinctive, most of the learners find that writing a Chinese character is hard, not even mention memorizing strokes which consists of a character, although after some repetitive practice the strokes got remembered, most of the time they are no more than a symbol without any related connection with the meaning behind it.
Nature of What Is to be Learned
Students will have a basic and overall cognitive idea of Chinese writing system-characters about what exactly it is and how it writes differently from other languages, mainly compare to English. Also they will start to form the concept of characters on the basis of understanding rather than simply memorizing.
About the Learners
This course is designed for international students, mostly American students who are interested in Chinese culture and language and want to start learning Chinese. They might have known some common used daily expression, but they do not have any prior information about Chinese writing system at all. Moreover, students need to be above high school education level to have a comparatively solid language basis in order to learn a second language.
This course will be divided into units. In the first unit, a brief introduction of the evolution and development of Chinese writing system will be introduced; in the second units, a series of skillful and interesting methods of learning how to write Chinese characters is presented; in the third unit, some main difficulties and problems of international students learning writing Chinese will be listed and discussed. Students will not only learn by the content but also from the participation of a series of activities, and with the examples in the learning contents, students are always encouraged to discover, create and share their own techniques of easy ways to memorize and write characters.
In general, this course is a fundamental lesson for further and higher ability in Chinese reading and writing, and it is also very necessary for students to meet the NYS Educational Standard 1 for LOTE (Languages Other Than English), which concludes that tudents will be able to use a language other than English for communication; understand the main idea and some details of simple informative materials written for native speakers; read and comprehend materials written for native speakers when the topic and language are familiar. Detailed objectives which learners will be able to get are presented as following:
• Have an overall cognitive concepts of Chinese characters, understand how different strokes organized into a character rather than view it as a meaningless picture
• Understand the structures and representative meanings of some most commonly used Chinese characters which are fundamental radicals for more complicated ones.
• Be able to relate the current information and knowledge to self-explored study, which is to develop creative thinking with intelligence and skills base on what they already known
• Capable of writing down characters with the right stroke order, mastering the size of each parts which consist of a character
• Usage of computer searching engine to look for particular character on the online English-Chinese dictionary, familiar with different contents in different sections.
Task analysis, Sequencing
• Solid basis of speaking and reading English, speaking English as first or second language (since the course will be taught in English)
• Operation of computer system, scan the websites, participate in online discussion by typing and editing in the particular section
• Ability of independent study based on online scaffolding instruction and learning materials
• Interpersonal communication skills to discuss the assigned topic with classmates or group members and share ideas