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Chinese teachers out there

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by squirlywhirly, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Hi tortuman,

    I teach French, German and Chinese (well, no Chinese at the moment unfortunately, but I did on PGCE last year). I'd agree that the Chinese writing system is undeniably much more difficult for pupils to learn than a European one, as I discovered when I began learning it at university (I am British).

    On my PGCE placements I taught beginners' Chinese, to non-native pupils. They found it hard, as you would expect, but as far as I know they all managed to pass the Asset languages level 5/6 papers after my placement finished.

    There was 1 native Chinese pupil taking the GCSE paper, who achieved an A* no problem - he too only had tutoring for the speaking test.

    Having not taught A Level Chinese I can't really comment on that, but hope my experiences have shed a bit of light on the issue for you!

  2. lifereallyistooshort

    lifereallyistooshort New commenter

    Actually, this is an interesting question. There is some discussion among Chinese teachers as to just how accessible the A level is for non-native speakers. Very few attempt it, and the results are invariably disappointing, even for pupils who got A* at GCSE. Native speakers do better, but it is no more straightforward for them than other language A2 levels are for native speakers. It depends on the pupil, doesn't it? Speaking the language is one thing. Having something intelligent to say, quite another. Native speakers aren't guaranteed an A* or even A grade at A2. If they do not prepare or don't know how to write an essay, it will affect their grade. In addition, pupils with a Chinese family background who haven't been educated in a Chinese-speaking country often have poor written skills, certainly not good enough for A level.
  3. tortuman

    tortuman New commenter

    Thanks for your comments. I think it's fair to say that it's like any other language, albeit with a harder writing system, but basically is up to the student to do his/her research and come up with the ideas to write.
    From my experience doing A level German I believe the examiners are looking more for the "how you employ language and put your ideas across" than how much you know about it. I mean you don't need to be an expert in "Good bye Lenin" to be able to chat about the movie and what things you liked about it, don't you?
    I think the Chinese tutor I am working with is obsessed with the students having to learn the whole Chinese A level book she has bought, and she doesn't realize that even if she tutors them every week with that book, if they don't do their research at home and read and write they would still not do well, I think. I was a bit dismayed to realize that she hadn't even read the specifications and she was holding the textbook out to me as if it were the Bible...

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