Differentiation in Chinese teaching and learning

中文作为第二语言中的差异教学

罗佳李, 香港启新书院

罗佳李, 香港启新书院

这篇文章提供了一个在中文作为第二语言教学的探究单元中差异教学的例子

今年我迎来了新的一班三年级中文作为第二语言的学生。他们个个对学习充满了热情,性格爱好十分不同,对中文的理解和学习的能力也有很大的差异。有些同学刚从英国移民到香港,有些同学有特殊的学习需求,有些同学家里有中文家教,中文水平很不错。于是,如何在每天短短的四十分钟内,引导和帮助学生们在理解同一个中心思想,建构在语言方面的恒久的理解,也同时让他们在自己的学习能力范围内最大可能地掌握中文的知识和运用语言的技能,成为了我今年教学设计的考虑重点。

面对一群活泼可爱,又有着显著学习差异的学生,差异教学主导了我的课堂设计。在这里,我想分享一个学习单元的例子。这是一个在如何表达自己超学科主题下独立的中文单学科探究单元。在这个单元里,中心思想是:故事的结构包括了可识别的特征。这个中心思想帮助学生们更深刻地理解故事作为一种表达方式能帮助我们理解语言的作用和表达自己的想法和创意。探究线索不但引导同学们理解故事的结构和特征,还鼓励学生们发挥自己的创意,把中文运用在实际的情景中。

在这个单元之前学生们学习了许多关于自身和周围环境有关的词汇和句式,在这个单元里学生们可以发挥自己的想象把这些词汇和句式运用在故事创作里。在单元开始之前,我把单元学习的语言内容根据新的布鲁姆学习层次,并按照学生们的学习能力和需求,将它们分成了三个进阶:记忆和理解;运用和分析;评价和创造 。学生们也按照这三个进阶被分成了三个不同的学习小组:

记忆和理解 运用和分析 评价和创造
认识并理解基本词汇的意思

记住并理解基本句式,能做简单的对话

辨认故事里的主要元素

理解故事的大概内容

能回答:故事里有什么?

掌握并运用所学的词汇

灵活地改变所学句式中的词汇

列出在不同的情景应用到的词汇和句式

找出故事中类似和相反的内容

能回答:在一个好看/有趣的故事里有什么?

比较所学的词汇

解释词句之间的异同

在新的情境中,设计适当的词句

在自己感兴趣的话题里创作新的句式

引用故事的内容作出评价

能回答:我的故事为什么很好看/有趣?

为了创造有效的语言探究环境,在每节课上,学生们都有聆听,观看,或阅读不同的中文小故事的机会。通过讨论和比较这些故事,我们找出并总结了故事的类型和故事里的人物,地点和事件。接着,在每个学习小组里又进行了按照进阶内容所安排的不同的语言探究活动,例如:听故事,找图画,拼故事;猜一猜故事的结局;把不开心的故事变成开心的故事;利用手偶讲故事等等。在单元的最后,学生们利用平板电脑中的Book Creator应用程式创作并记录了自己的故事。虽然同学们的故事里有着不同的词汇和句式,但是每一个同学的故事都图文并茂,展示出他们的学习成果和能力,并且同学们乐在其中,还自豪地把自己的故事和爸爸妈妈一起分享。

孩子们通过故事展示出他们创意和对中文语言技巧的掌握。在整个单元学习中,最让我印象深刻的是学生们的手偶故事。在一个熟悉的情境中,他们充满兴致地一起讨论内容,设计动作和对话,把所学的词汇和句式运用和展示出来。那些有特殊学习需求和今年刚接触中文的同学,他们在故事中所运用的简单对话和丰富的肢体语言,让我感受到他们学习的潜力。同时,我也在反思这次单元的教学设计和内容。尽管课堂里提供的趣味中文小故事很能吸引同学们的兴趣和注意力,但如果他们能把自己喜爱的故事书带到课堂上来和大家一起分享,和中文故事做比较,或者把这些故事用中文说出来,这样是否能更好地帮助他们理解故事的特点和语言的沟通共性?而且在我所安排的学习进阶小组中,是否能让同学们自由选择语言活动的难度?带着这些问题,我开始为明年的三年级中文探究单元作准备。

罗佳李,香港启新书院的一名小学中文老师,毕业于墨尔本大学教育系(小学),她也获得香港大学教育系研究生文凭(对外汉语教学)。

罗佳李, 香港启新书院

Jiali Luo, Chinese teacher at Renaissance College Hong Kong

This article gives an example of differentiation in a unit of inquiry in the teaching Chinese as an additional language classroom.

This year I welcomed a new class of third year students studying Chinese as an additional language. They were very enthusiastic, all with different personalities and interests. There was also significant disparity in their understanding of Chinese and individual learning ability. Some students had just immigrated to Hong Kong from the UK, some had special learning requirements and some had had the benefit of a Chinese tutor at home so their Chinese level was very good already. So the focus of my teaching plan this year became how to guide and help the students to understand a single central idea and build a lasting understanding of the language. At the same time, they would develop the best possible skills both in knowledge of Chinese and actual use of the language, all within the scope of their own abilities.

Faced with a class full of lively, lovable children with clear differences in learning ability, I designed my learning plan around the differentiation I would have to introduce into my teaching. I would like to share an example at this point, which was a stand-alone inquiry unit of the Chinese course, and formed part of an advanced course on the theme of How we express ourselves. The central idea for this unit helped the students deepen their understanding of stories as a means of expression that can in turn help us to understand the function of language and to express our own thoughts and ideas. The lines of inquiry not only provided a guide for the students to understand the structure and features of a story, but also encouraged them to give free rein to their creativity, using Chinese language in a real setting.

The students had previously studied a lot of vocabulary and sentence structure based on themselves and their surroundings. This unit allowed the students to use their imagination and what they had previously learned in the creation of their story. Before the unit had begun, I separated the language content into three progression levels according to Bloom’s taxonomy and based on the students’ ability and learning needs: remembering and understanding; applying and analyzing; evaluating and creating. The students themselves were then divided into three small study groups, based on these three progression levels:

Remembering and Understanding Applying and Analyzing Evaluating and Creating
Recognize and understand basic vocabulary

Remember and understand basic sentence structure; construct simple dialogue

Identify the main elements of the story

Understand the general content of the story

Able to respond to the question: what is the story about?

Able to grasp and apply learned vocabulary

Flexibility to change vocabulary within learned sentence structures

List vocabulary and sentence structures to be applied in different settings

Compare and contrast story content

Able to respond to the question: what makes a good / interesting story?

Compare learned vocabulary

Explain the differences between certain words and phrases

Plan appropriate words and phrases for new scenarios

Discover new words and phrases on topics of interest to the student

Conduct evaluation on cited story content

Able to respond to the question: Why is my story good / interesting?

To create an effective environment for language inquiry, each lesson provided students opportunities to listen to, watch and read different short stories in Chinese. Through discussion and comparison, we identified and summarized the genre, characters, location and events of these stories. Each group then carried out language inquiry activities arranged on the basis of the three progression levels, such as listening to stories, searching for suitable illustrations, and piecing stories together. Activities also included guessing the endings of stories, changing sad stories into happy ones, using hand puppets to tell a story, and so on. At the end of this unit, the students used the tablet-based Book Creator application to create and record their own stories. Although each student’s story had differing vocabulary and sentence structure, the illustrations and text in each revealed each student’s ability. Moreover the students thoroughly enjoyed using Book Creator and were proud to share their stories with their mums and dads.

I observed the students displaying creativity and Chinese language skills through their stories, and listened as the students composed their illustrations and text, explaining why they used certain colour combinations in their illustrations, for example. Throughout the entire unit, I was deeply impressed with the students’ puppet shows. Within this supportive environment, the students were engaged in discussing content, planning action and dialogue, while displaying their use of learned vocabulary and sentence structures. The students who had special learning requirements or were new to Chinese this year, gave me a good sense of their potential through their simple dialogue and abundant body language used in their stories.

I continually reflected on the teaching plan and content of the unit as it progressed. Even though the Chinese short stories provided in class provided valuable evidence and sufficiently attracted the students’ interest and attention, I wondered whether it would be better for them to bring their favourite story books into class to share. They could then compare them with Chinese stories or use Chinese to relate them, which could better help them to understand the distinguishing features of the story as well as the general nature of using language communication. I then wondered whether to allow the students to choose their own level of difficulty of language activities, without restricting them to fixed groups, based on the three progression levels. With these questions in mind, I begin preparations for next year’s third year Chinese language inquiry unit.

Jiali Luo graduated from the University of Melbourne (Bachelor of Education, Primary) and also obtained a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of Hong Kong (Teaching Chinese as a Second Language). Jiali has taught in various schools in both Hong Kong and Australia. She is a PYP workshop leader and has been teaching in PYP schools since 2007.

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