Chinese curriculum a set of incremental progressions
In 1979, a dictionary editorial committee in Beijing, over fifty people, both Chinese and non-Chinese, after spending eight years, finally finished compiling a Chinese-English dictionary, which contains over 6,000 single-character entries, over 50,000 compound-character entries, and over 70,000 compound words, set phrases and examples. These numbers give us some concrete ideas of the Chinese language.
Dictionaries lend great help to Chinese learners, either in a paper form or an online digital form. They are great tools for students to learn Chinese.
However, nobody can learn Chinese by using dictionaries. Dictionaries only present a collection of disconnected items of knowledge. These pages and pages of characters, compound words, and set phrases must be screened, organised, and presented in a certain sequence in order for students to gradually building up their Chinese skills. This important task falls on the shoulders of textbook writers.
Chinese textbooks vs. dictionaries
There are similarities between textbooks and dictionaries.
Many Chinese textbooks include dictionary-like sections, such as a long vocabulary list in each chapter and quite a number of grammar points with meaning explanations and examples.
Different from dictionaries, Chinese textbooks try to lace these disconnected items up in a coherent way, for the purpose of facilitating students to learn Chinese, to develop their abilities to read, write, and to communicate in Chinese.
This is the purpose of Chinese textbooks.
Introduce MSL Master Chinese curriculum
Chinese textbooks come in many different styles. Some textbooks present conversations only. Some use comic book styles. And some teach people pick up lines or swearing phrases in Chinese.
At MSL Master, our consideration from the outset was to create a series of textbooks that help non-Chinese speaking students to achieve a set of small and incremental progressions over a long period of time.
Over many years of development, we’ve created Mandarin Express series and Chinese Reading and Writing series. These two series carefully map out a learning continuum, a four-stage learning path, and can take students from beginners to Chinese proficiency.
This curriculum provides a viable solution for students to steadily improve their Chinese language fluency and to develop their cultural literacy.
Key features of MSL Master curriculum
MSL Master Chinese textbooks give students clear instructions, targeted exercises and provide them with sufficient repetitions. All these are needed to bring out outstanding learning results.
Moreover, the principle of content creation is that the texts must be relevant and interesting, and that the information presented is something that students of different regions and different cultural backgrounds can resonate with.
Chinese skills assessments
To assess students’ progress, MSL Master curriculum’s approach is qualitative assessment.
Generally, how students are assessed determines their study mode and the learning outcome. If the assessment is a written translation, students will focus on memorising words, phrases, and grammar points. If the assessment is to a verbal presentation followed by a Q&A, students will focus on speaking skills and good arguments. Assessment has a pivotal role to play in Chinese language learning.
At MSL Master, our goal is to help students become effective communicators in Chinese, and also collaborators and problem solvers. Therefore, we are in favour of qualitative, portfolio-based assessment.
Mandarin Express series treats assessments as opportunities for self-expression and generations of fresh ideas. Assessments are also opportunities for team work and development of broader life skills.
Chinese Reading and Writing series builds basic reading and writing abilities. The assessment is on reading comprehension and writing in clear and comprehensible Chinese.
Life long learning
MSL Master curriculum stops at Mandarin Express Intermediate Level B, which is a super hard textbook teaching classical Chinese and poetry.
However, we did not put a label of “advance level” on this final book. The reason is that we would like students to continue their Chinese study.
Chinese language is an enduring and a dynamic language. It is constantly changing and evolving. We hope students continue their learning journey with native materials and in the real world.
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