Growth and Understanding in the Chinese Language Classroom | Concordia Language Villages

Growth and Understanding in the Chinese Language Classroom

“For many teachers, incorporating the teaching
of culture into the foreign language curriculum
is a fundamental goal.”

Over the course of decades, the study of language and culture has changed drastically as new understanding about the connections between language and culture become unveiled. Only recently, within the past twenty-some years, have the abilities to think and act in culturally appropriate ways and experience relevant cultural differences become more emphasized in the classroom.

“For scholars, cultural competence, the knowledge of the conventions, customs, beliefs, and systems of meaning of another country, is indisputably an integral part of foreign language learning,” says Cheng-mei Rothschild. “For many teachers, incorporating the teaching of culture into the foreign language curriculum is a fundamental goal.”

Working as a member of the 2011 Master of Education in World Language Instruction cohort, Cheng-mei chose to build on existing research and fill in any holes in the understanding of foreign language teaching culture. Through her research, Cheng-mei examined the cultural understanding of Chinese I, II, and III language students in the classroom and assessed the growth of culture and understanding in the students. The goal of this research was to determine whether there are significant differences in understanding culture within students based on the number of years students had been learning Chinese and the number of cultural experiences the students had outside of the classroom.

Assessment of the students was conducted through carefully designed essay questions that compared different aspects of Chinese and American culture. Students in all classes were also expected to write a series of essays on topics designed to display their level of intercultural competence and sensitivity.

You can read the entire thesis online for more information regarding the methodologies used and the outcomes of Assessing Growth Of Cultural Understanding In The Chinese Language Classroom.

More information about the Master of Education in World Language Instruction program can be found on the Concordia College website.