LIVING China

The end of the year is approaching, which also means it’s the holiday season now. holidays to say bye to the old year and wave to a new start.

the school start to get Christmasy with all the different decorations. At the mean time, the preparation for Chinese new year performance are undergoing. It seems like that when you talk about Chinese style, there are some stereotype impressions that you can’t avoid. Bright red and golden colors, embroider, Chinese traditional dress, Chinese dragons, etc.

Are those Chinese? Yes, those are the most iconic symbols of China. However, are those enough? I don’t think so, they solely can not just stand for the LIVING China!

Coincidently, I saw some well-known brands designed some limit edition items just for Chinese new year. I have to say, they used almost all the recognized Chinese factors in their products, but according to the feedback from the most Chinese people, it’s not what we are expecting!

I also remembered that in a lot of non-immersion Chinese classroom, the teachers put in a lot of efforts to make Chinese class fun by introducing Chinese culture. So they teach a lot about making Chinese crosses, cutting Chinese paper cutting. But to be fair, how many of you still see a whole lot of people doing this in China themselves?

As Chinese teachers, our mind is so locked by the so called”Chinese image” that we forget to show people the REAL LIVING China, where is also high speed, international look and exploring something new while inheriting the tradition.

Also keep in mind, you’re the living China!

The post-methods era

Recently while checking the students’ Chinese homework, I find that although being in fully immersion program from quite a young age, they are still suffering from the negative transfer from English grammar to Chinese sentence structure.

For example, the Time and Place are usually placed in the end of a sentence as adverbial modifier in English. While in Chinese,for the most case, those are placed in the beginning of the sentence. Another example, “都” and “所有” can both be translated in to “all” in English, While in Chinese, the semantic orientation of “都”points to the content in front of it; “所有” is the opposite way. the kids are mixing them up and since they learned “都” much earlier, they tend to use it under most circumstance.

Immersion is aboslutly great way of learning a second language, especially when the learner are in a young age. The effect can be amazing, showed by their natural pronunciation, their accumulation of vocabulary, and the speed they pick up the language.

But is there any perfect way of second language teaching? The answer seems to be no. No matter how immersed they are in the target language, it’s still their second language. The negative transfer from the mother tongue seems like unavoidable. Will grammar teaching really be so bad to ruin the immersion method?

Of course, I don’t mean going back to the “grammar translation method era”, making the second language class really boring and hard. Immersion is definitely a big progress. But it should be more like a “post-methods era”, we should use all factors that are beneficial in all different teaching methods.

So, what about some easy grammar in Immersion class? I don’t seem to see the harm!