The Next Steps for Teaching Characters in CFL: Investigating the Effects of Four Character—Teaching Methods on Beginner Learners

OSBORNE, Caitríona

International Journal of Chinese Language Education; Jun 2022; Issue No. 11; p.45 - 82

Department of Chinese Language Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong
Chinese Language Program, Columbia University
Chung Hwa Book Co. (H.K.) Ltd.

This study employs a quasi-experiment design to compare the merits of different CFL teaching approaches in an Irish secondary school. Four groups of beginner learners aged 14-16 were studied for one academic year. Each of four groups was assigned a different teaching approach of focused memorisation (FM), delayed character introduction (DCI), character colour-coding (CCC) or the unity curriculum approach (UC) – which places equal focus on reading, writing, speaking, and listening – for the course of the study.

Two written evaluations were conducted after 14 and 28 weeks of teaching. The current paper reports the participants’ results in their recall and recognition of characters, as well as the use of characters in sentences. Results indicate that the methods of FM and CCC have the potential to aid character composition learning, while the UC approach may assist the students in learning how to use characters in sentences. This paper offers evidence-based opinions on how future CFL curricula for schools might be shaped. This includes the exploration of a new teaching methodology (encompassing the FM, CCC, and UC approaches), increasing the classroom hours to aid the learning of a new writing system, and a specific assessment - testing overall language acquisition as well as character acquisition - to extrinsically motivate learners.

delayed character introduction character colour-coding focused memorisation teaching Chinese characters unity curriculum


2520-7733 (Print); 2521-4241 (Online)

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