Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Does anybody have any experience with IBDP Chinese B ?


TheBigZaboon
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with the IBDP Chinese B program and/or materials. This is a complicated issue, but to try and simplify it, let me say that this material covers several different kinds of Chinese content intended for use by international schools that use the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program for the backbone of their certification process, and is to be used with real Chinese students. The Chinese portion of the program provides study and testing material for elementary, middle, and secondary schools up to the age of about 18. The IBDP program publishes the standards and testing requirements, and the material is produced mainly by Sinolingua and the Joint Publishing Company in Hong Kong (along with the Chinese Made Easy series). The material provides a vast range and variety of content for everyone from total beginners to native speakers, although there seems to be some confusion as to the level of real Chinese education required. For example, some forms of this material seem to be used in Singapore, where it is possible for students to have a good grasp of spoken Chinese, but at the same time, have significant issues with reading and writing. But there's also something called Ab Initio Chinese that's supposed to be for total beginners. It also has what they call Chinese A for native speakers who need a course track based on boning up on the reading and analysis of real Chinese literature. Think native speakers whose education was interrupted by a parent's short-term assignment overseas.

 

My interests lie in the Chinese B  program that assumes some familiarity with Chinese, both spoken and written, that can be expected from overseas Chinese with varying levels of actual competence. Think more of Singaporean Chinese with significant amounts of Chinese education, but who  may be quite spotty on quality and completeness, rather than the ethnic Chinese we are used to here on the forum from the US, Australia, and the UK. The latter vary widely in levels of spoken Chinese, but will usually admit to significant gaps in reading and writing that put them back with totally non-ethnic Chinese when it comes down to really using and depending on Chinese characters. Also to be considered are those Chinese who are and intend to remain Chinese in residence and citizenship, and therefore need a considerable amount of mandatory remedial work to reclaim a place in Chinese society after say, a number of years overseas with their parents for some reason.

 

There's a huge amount of material available for the Chinese B track. I've recently bought a considerable amount of it, at a cost I would be very embarrassed to admit. But it consists of vast amounts of slightly graded material for listening and reading. This material conforms to the educational standards required by the IBDP program overall, meaning a graduate of this program would have his or her educational level and certifications recognized by foreign universities, up to and including Hahvahd and MIT. The Chinese competency levels are recognized just as are their Spanish, French, and English counterparts. That's the good news. 

 

Now for the bad news. Because this stuff is intended for use by Chinese, even Chinese with the varying levels of background mentioned and recognized above, there's very little support offered for the faint of heart. There's NO, repeat NO pinyin. There's very little glossing, usually only at a very high level, provided in a few textbooks produced to supplement the actual program itself. And more important, there's no grammatical explanation, none. The best that's available will be support for the target Chinese student's effort to reproduce the level of the material in his or her own writing and public speaking. Remember, the target student already speaks a considerable amount of Chinese.  So you've got to be reasonably advanced to dare to try to use this stuff. I'm only able to do so because all of my real Chinese study was in a Japanese-only program that I was allowed to participate in through the generosity and support from both Japanese and Chinese teachers who took great risks to allow me to participate at all. I was the only non-Japanese, non-Chinese, non-Korean in the entire school. Several years of real humiliation and hard study paid off in that I can pretty much keep up in reading and writing with the level of ability required to use this material. I'm far from native level, but I'm probably smack-dab in the middle of the pack of my mediocre level Chinese counterparts.

 

So after blowing my own horn up to this point, let me just say that I'm hoping to be able to profit from a couple of hundred hours of listening material with complete transcripts (very little glossing, no pinyin, and NO translation) and hundreds of pages of reading matter with the same caveats, plus no audio (remember, this is for "native" speakers).

 

So what, you may ask, is the purpose of all this gloom, doom, and self-promotion, then? 

 

Well, I'm already sickeningly pleased with myself for finding it, for buying so much of it in spite of the very real prospect of impending divorce if found out, and for suddenly realizing that all the humiliation and work that went into punching far beyond my weight for so long has actually paid off. I'll never, ever have the chance, I'm too old, but if I had the chance, I think I could put up a pretty good fight competing with real Chinese in their society the way so many Chinese compete credibly in mine.

 

So I'm eager to hear if anyone else has heard of or has had experience with the IBDP Chinese B program. Is there anybody here who teaches at an international school or internationally-oriented school where this material is used? Is there anybody here who has actually used it? Is there anybody who is interested in using it themselves, with my self-serving caveats taken into consideration? 

 

I've offered my opinions on study methods and materials before, usually at the end of someone else's thread, and I always seem to kill off the thread I offer opinions on. There's no opposition or complaints, usually just complete silence, although the moderators sometimes append a "like" before the thread dies a quiet death. I'm not an advocate for my methods, and I'm very much a product of a rather long and unique set of experiences that would be impossible to reproduce today, so I don't expect much back and forth to occur.  And it is obvious to me that other methods here are far, far more popular, and that is to be expected. So I don't much get into pronouncing favorably or unfavorably on methodology. But I'm curious about this treasure that I feel I've found, and I'm curious about the possibility of others having used it too. I'm willing to spend a little bit of time pointing out what may be helpful if someone has a specific situation in which some of this stuff may be useful, but frankly, there's so much of it, it would take time I don't have to give any kind of a detailed analysis. Still I'm curious to hear from others who may have used it, or to see if anyone besides me thinks this stuff may be of any use to them.

 

If it doesn't seem appropriate or useful, feel free to ignore my ranting, but if I've piqued your curiosity...

 

TBZ

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

I take it the substance of this learning material you've got your hands on is a collection of graded textbook readings complete with listening recordings and possibly comprehension exercises, its unique seeking point being the fairly advanced level required as it was designed to perfect the Chinese skills of heritage speakers - is that correct?

 

If Track A is for natives and covers excerpts from real Chinese literature, what subjects/topics does this Track B material cover?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not heritage speakers per se, native speakers, some of whom may drift towards what we consider to be heritage speakers when we consider all the different varieties and levels the Chinese diaspora may present. But I don't want to quibble about terminology. The various designations of the program, from Ab Initio through A, and into B, are meant to cover everybody. I thought I had explained the specific place of Chinese B in my original post. But to expand on what I said before,  Chinese B has two distinct levels a standard level (BSL), and a higher level (BHL). I gather from my reading up on this program that the vast majority of the students in Singapore follow the BSL stream, with those wanting something akin to the American Advanced Placement (AP), or the British A levels following BHL. I believe that it's also possible to do BSL first, followed by BHL. The difference is more in the sophistication of the presentation and the vocabulary, rather than the subject matter. 

 

As for the content, the program is designed, maybe you could say even forced, to cover the same material that the International Baccalaureate must cover in its various other official languages (English, French Spanish, etc.) in order to be recognized by universities around the world. Random essays in the listening program cover things like peanut oil, bulimia, early Chinese predecessors of soccer (football),  volunteer movements, et cetera, ad nauseum. These essays take the form of news articles, e-mails, school announcements, diary entries, and the like. There are close to a hundred essays for listening, and double or triple that for reading.The Baccalaureate program enforces adherence to currently trending themes in international education, for example, respect for the environment, sharing the planet, recognizing one's place in society, and so on. They also recognize the various varieties of Chinese that one can encounter around the world: a classroom can be 教室 in one place and one essay, and 课堂 in another. The same reading materials are available in both simplified and traditional characters. I've only been able to find the listening materials transcribed in simplified characters, but there may be locally produced materials in traditional available in Taiwan. In Japan, there seem to be two varieties of Chinese-themed international schools, one for Taiwanese, and others for non-Taiwanese overseas Chinese. The Taiwan-oriented ones use Taiwan MOE materials exclusively. But all the IBDP materials are professionally designed and produced educational materials that have to meet the scrutiny of universities around the world that accept and accredit the IBDP program, without exception.

 

TBZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, I will.

 

In fact, my wife has already noticed the new, self-satisfied little trace of a smile on my face, and is becoming suspicious. She's been doing kick boxing for a couple of years now, and I've recently noticed that she's getting to be quite good at it. Now I face a rather dangerous dilemma. Should I allow her to continue to think I've got a new little someone on the side, or should I allow her to find out how much of this Chinese B material I bought, and what I paid for it. Either way, I'm a goner...

 

TBZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I recall, you read a couple of posts I wrote on obtaining not only textbooks, but actual native-oriented material from Amazon. I believe that you graciously thanked me for the recommendations, and that your only complaint was that the books were actually printed on paper. But as I mentioned before, my recommendations generally disappear into the ozone.

 

Kek, kek, kek...

 

TBZ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/21/2022 at 1:49 PM, TheBigZaboon said:

As I recall, you read a couple of posts I wrote on obtaining not only textbooks, but actual native-oriented material from Amazon. I believe that you graciously thanked me for the recommendations, and that your only complaint was that the books were actually printed on paper. But as I mentioned before, my recommendations generally disappear into the ozone.

 

Kek, kek, kek...

 

🙈 as I am reading literally thousands of posts on various forums every month, my memory has its gaps 😅

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...