These curricular units and lesson plans were developed with funding from the 2014 STARTALK Infrastructure Building Project.
The target audience for this curriculum is students who are in the intermediate level of high school Chinese, or who have completed two years of Chinese language study. In terms of ACTFL guidelines, this curriculum is most appropriate for students who are at the Novice High level of proficiency. The emphasis is on oral communication and is supported by authentic texts including written, oral and visual materials.
The ten units in this curriculum are diverse, and yet have a common focus of providing learners with insights, both those related to daily life and to the culture, that would be helpful when navigating life in China. The themes for these lessons were chosen very carefully to reflect experiences or cultural knowledge that is important for understanding life with Chinese people, and on topics that are not readily available in other places.
Each unit contains three lessons and a video. The first lesson introduces the theme, including some opening questions for exploration as well as vocabulary and sentence structures. The second lesson is built around a related dialog and is suggested for midway through the unit. Dialogues are used with each theme to emphasize spoken language. It is important for students to see how language can be used in context. Dialogues are commonly used in China to teach language, but we hope to give new and different ideas on how to incorporate them into meaningful lessons. The third lesson asks learners to create a project related to the unit theme that incorporates the content taught in the first two lessons. Some lessons are more than 60 minutes. It is assumed that a teacher may select activities to use that are most appropriate for their learners.
For each unit there is also a supplementary video and expansion ideas. The videos can be incorporated into the lesson in a variety of ways, as a supplementary “text” for meaningful input, for a listening exercise, or as a discussion prompt. The expansion ideas provide additional practice, enhancements to the unit, and offer suggestions on how to review and incorporate previously learned material.
All of these materials were written, piloted, and refined over the summer, fall, and winter of 2014-15 under the direction of M. Catherine Smith, 史凯, former associate dean of Sēn Lín Hú, the Chinese Language Village of Concordia Language Villages, with input and guidance from the two current Village deans Michael Maike Volz, also Mandarin instructorat the University of Missouri and Jeffrey Yang Jie Lamb, also Mandarin teacher at Shady Side Academy Senior School in Pittsburgh, PA.
Other contributors are Liang Ying, Artist, former staff member of Sēn Lín Hú; Lulu Zeglin Wang, former staff member of Sen Lin Hu, and Chinese immersion teacher at Minnetonka (MN) Schools; and Zhang Wei, current curriculum facilitator for the high school credit program at Sēn Lín Hú.