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books for teaching Chinese to adults


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hi, i'm currently teaching beginners Mandarin to adults. i don't have much experience in teaching, this is just an evening class 2 hours a week. i learnt Chinese as a child, having moved their with my parents when i was 3, i attended local primary school until 5th grade and did a degree at univ in Chinese/Japanese. the college where i teach doesn't have any resources specifically for Chinese, i had to choose a book to work from and the best one i could find in the shops was Colloquial Chinese by Kan Qian. i'm starting to feel, having done chapter 1 and 2, that this book actually moves at rather a fast pace and covers a lot of fairly complex grammar for absolute beginners who aren't studying the language intensively. i guess my question is, are any of you also teachers of Chinese? do you teach adults and do you have any good resources you could suggest? i'd like to make contact with other teachers to bounce ideas off and clarify points, especially grammatical points, since i learnt Chinese as a child and can't really explain the grammer.


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If you think Colloquial Chinese by Kan Qian is too stiff, you would have problems in getting something easier (Try "Teach Yourself Chinese" or the other "Colloquial Chinese" (by P.C. T'ung) and you'll see what you mean.)

I'd have thought that having got a degree in Chinese/Japanese as a foreign language would make it easier for you to teach Chinese to adults. Have you ever thought of make up your own teaching programme to taylor to you students need?


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I would browse around various university web sites. A lot of them have on line syllabi, which should say what texts they use.



Personally I liked the Huang and Stimson series, but it might seems old fashioned, although I can't see what difference it makes in the 1st year. You just have to search the forum for Stimson to find posts of mine about that series.

Re. other syllabi online -- For example here is the sylabus at Columbia for the students with no Heritage background.



Main text: Colloquial Chinese (the character text in full-form) by P. C. T'ung and D. E. Pollard

Optional: Colloquial Chinese (the pinyin text with grammar notes in English) by P. C. T'ung and D. E. Pollard (The books can be purchased at Labyrinth Books at 112th St. )

Other: Additional character writing sheets and Aural/Oral lab materials will be handed out in the first session of class. There will be a fee for these materials.

Course Objectives

This course serves the same goals as Elementary Chinese N class, but goes at half the pace of N class. This course only starts in Spring semester every year. Students in the this course are expected to do the following by the end of the academic year:


* Be able to understand simple questions and answers

* Be able to comprehend short dialogues and passages read or spoken by Chinese natives at normal speed with familiar vocabulary.


* Be able to ask and answer questions in Chinese.

* Be able to talk about simple everyday activities with accuracy and fluency.

* Be able to handle simple survival situations (initiating conversations, shopping, asking for directions, etc.).


* Be able to comprehend short written dialogues and reading passages with familiar vocabulary.


* Be able to write Chinese phonetic symbols (Pinyin) correctly.

* Know the principles of writing traditional Chinese characters (stroke order, radicals, etc.).

* Be able to write essays of approximately 200-300 characters about simple everyday activities.

Course Requirements

1. Attendance: Attendance in regular class and drill session will be counted in the calculation of your final grade.

2. Preparation: You are expected to work a minimum of one and half hours every day. Routine preparation includes listening to the tapes, writing characters, studying the vocabulary, patterns and texts, reading grammar notes.

3. Homework Assignments: Written: Character exercises, grammar exercises, and short essays Oral: 1) Recite (from memory) the selected paragraph(s) of each lesson. 2) Audio tape your oral assignments as instructed.

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NEW Practical Chinese Reader is my favourite - very thorough, a bit slow-going - a University text. It could be a bit expensive if you need all 6 volumes, CD packs and workbooks, depends on the level of your students. You may need just start with the first 2 volumes.

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thanks for the suggestions. i guess what i'm saying about Colloquial Chinese by Kan Qian is that when you consider these learners are only doing a 2 hour class a week (i have a total of 20 students in my evening class), it's quite tough to explain and apply and expect them to learn all the nitty gritty grammar that is included in those dialogues. although i did do the degree at university, i focused on Japanese for the first 2 years, as that was totally new to me, only joining the Chinese class in year 3 and 4, since I was already fairly fluent in Chinese (yes, it was a bit of a cop out to do Chinese, that's why I did the Japanese with it too ;)

i suspect most people on this forum are studying Chinese intensively and find it hard to figure how you can only do it on a extremely part time basis, but this is what i'm up against, so any tips or suggestions very welcome indeed.


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