Teaching the Chinese Language and Literature at the American College: Objectives, Approaches and Cultural Perspectives

Shuming Lu
Yonggang Huang
Yu Chun Wu


Brooklyn CollegeCity University of New York

Trinity University

Teaching the Chinese language and literature at the college level presents special challenges to the designer of curricula and the instructor.  English and Chinese are two languages which are far apart from each other.  To get the points across to the students and achieve effective teaching of the language and literature requires resourceful thinking and innovative methods. In this panel, the first three speakers focus on introduction of student-centered approaches on language learning; and the fourth speaker will enlighten the audience on teaching Chinese literature from a very new perspective.



Learning Basic Chinese Fast: A Performance and Task-Oriented Approach
Teaching Basic Conversational Chinese in a Study Abroad Program in China


Shuming Lu & Yonggang Huang

Brooklyn College - City University of New York


 The result of a 15-day (4 hours daily) teaching time in a Study Abroad Program in China meets the designed objectives.  Most students are able to speak basic sentences of the first 10 chapters of Complete Mandarin Chinese by Elizabeth Scurfield ( McGraw-Hill2010). Main approaches used are: a text book composed from a perspective of non-Chinese speaking student, therefore the explanations are more to the point ;  focus on learning basic sentence pattern via pinyin, not on character writing; performance in conversational style everyday; students create their own most-needed sentences to use in real situation.

Activities Design for Intermediate Level

Yu Chun Wu

Trinity University


What activities could be considered effective in an intermediate level Chinese language class? This paper discusses several activities that were used in the past two school years. Based on student responses to a standardized survey, most of the activities did achieve the goals of the original design. However, two activities: the Friday Movie activity and the TLEARN writing exercise have been modified. Both of these activities required students to use technology and to work on their own to some degree. Based on a comparison of student work the outcome of these activities has improved over previous years.


Animals Behind the Scenes: Teaching Contemporary Animal Literature and Animal Cultural Studies in the US colleges

Chia-ju Chang
Brooklyn College
- City University of New York

So-called “animal writing” (dongwu xiezuo) that either addresses the plight of animal condition or revokes

human-animal bond is a rapidly emerging sub-genre of contemporary nature writing or environmental literature in both Mainland China and Taiwan. In this presentation, I want to discuss contemporary Chinese and Taiwanese literature and film from a non-anthropocentric (or rather, animal advocacy) perspective. While recent Western theorization, as in the works of Carol Adams, Hubert Zapf, Rebecca Raglong and Marian Scholtemeijer, to name a few, will be facilitated and serve as point of departure for introducing literary and cultural strategies of dealing with non-human animals in both local and global contexts, I will also talk about some difficulties I encounter in engaging topics of animal rights and other environmental issues in a US college classroom, particularly one that is mostly diasporic native speakers of Chinese.