How to Teach Listening and Speaking in Mandarin

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  • Topic: Language, Sentence, Top-down and bottom-up design
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Certificate in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language
SOAS Language Centre

2009 – 2010

Assessment:Module Three

Student's Number:26706

Topic / Title: How to teach listening and speaking

File Name:LiXuanJinWang – Assessment 3 – YanHua

Module Three Assessment Topic: How to teach listening and speaking

Design a listening – speaking task. You need to clarify the level of the students (e.g. how many hours they have learnt Chinese, how many characters they have mastered, etc.), the purposes of the exercises, how you are going to operate these exercises and the reasons why you design and operate the task like this.

In the teaching of spoken language, the views of listening went through different phases. Earlier views considered listening as the mastery of discrete skills such as recognizing cohesive structure in texts or identifying key words in a text etc. Later views introduced the notions of bottom-up and top-down processing and emphasized the importance of prior knowledge and schema in comprehension. At the same time, the understanding of the role of the listener developed into current views which encourages his/her active participation in listening, applying strategies to assist, monitor and evaluate his/her own listening. (J. C. Richards, 2008)

Speaking takes place in real time, it’s produced in response to the speech of the person we talk to. This shows its contingent nature. In language teaching, speaking ability increases along with the learner’s other abilities in the foreign/second language such as vocabulary, listening skill, knowledge of culture etc.

Mandarin is a spoken language, so its learning process is also in line with general rules of language learning/teaching. However, as Mandarin has unique features as a language system, which includes five tones and changing tones in certain circumstances, it’s important to take these features into consideration while designing a listening – speaking task. The following is a listening – speaking task I tried to design for Mandarin teaching.

Listening – speaking Task Cover Sheet

Time: 50 minutes (2 sessions)

Class Level: Later Beginners to Lower Intermediate

Main Aims:
By the end of the lesson, the learners will be able to:

1. Grasp Location Words and Place Expressions.
2. Exercise listening to gist and details.
3. Ask for directions and ask questions politely.

Subsidiary Aims

1. Improve reading skill.
2. Group/pair cooperation

Assumptions:
The learners already had knowledge of Location Words and Place Expressions from Lesson 8, which will help their comprehension of the listening material.

Anticipated Problems

1. Students might be confused with the direction words.
2. Form: how to ask questions.
3. Pronunciation: tones and intonation of some words.

Class Profile
The students are 12 adults who come to study in the evening. They have one lesson every week which lasts 2 hours. Some of them travel to China for business trips. The text book they use is Contemporary Chinese I (2003). They’ve spent roughly 60 hours so far to learn Mandarin. They have a good command of 325 Chinese words and expressions, 244 Chinese characters, 22 grammar items and 23 communicative, thus have a basic command of Mandarin.

Timetable Fit
The students have learnt in lesson 8 about Direction Words and Places Expressions. This lesson intends to provide them a chance to use the words in real situations. After the lesson, students will be given a sketch map to practise at home by using these direction words to describe how to get from one place to another. In the next lesson, some students will tell the class about their homework.

Materials
1. A self-designed conversation based on Lesson 8 of Contemporary Chinese I. 2. A live activity designed by the author.

Exercise I: How can they get to the Summer Palace?

Time: 20-30 minutes

Purpose: Listening for gist and details. Review what the students learnt...
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