Learning Chinese the innovative way
Over 1,200 primary 1 pupils in 12 primary schools participated in successful trials using an innovative teaching method to master the Chinese language for daily conversational use.
According to The Straits Times, all primary schools will adopt a new method of teaching Chinese language for Primary 1 pupils, with effect from 2013.
In the past, pupils are taught with to master the Chinese language with an emphasis of writing.
However, this new method places more focus of using interaction and conversational skills. This signals the change of mindset towards learning mother tongue.
The tool, known as the Chinese Language Oral Proficiency Diagnostic Tool, will allow teachers to tweak lesson plans and the curriculum to help the pupil grasp the language for everyday conversational use. It will be unveiled in the 2 day conference in Singapore on teaching and learning of Chinese as a second language.
Another innovation to be unveiled at the conference would be a software program that marks a primary school essay with an average timing of about 8 seconds. Dr Chin Chee Kuen, executive director of SCCL introduced it at a press conference yesterday.
Currently, trials are being conducted using the software to mark and Dr Chin hopes this will reduce the workload of teachers by 2013. He also explained the need for conversational skills using Chinese as students today tend to be speaking English most of the time at home.
Over 900 participants from 16 countries are expected to attend the 2 day conference at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, which will be opened by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat. The conference will not just feature the showcase of new tools to enhance learning of Chinese, but also as a base for discussion of various topics such as preschool teaching of the language, learner psychology and cross-cultural teaching.
The Chinese Language Oral Proficiency Diagnostic Tool is set to allow pupils to converse freely without being self conscious of being assessed and empowers the teacher to use it at any point in time during the lesson.
The teacher will organize the pupils into small groups to get conversations started. Moving through each group, the child’s language proficiency can be assessed through careful observation on the choice of words and phrases used.
Stronger pupils will attempt to use vocabulary from their word bank, and the weaker pupils will rely on the given phrases to guide them through the exercise. In this way, the teacher will be able to identify the areas that each pupil needs help on.
SCCL was commissioned by the Education Ministry to develop this tool. It will be taught to 400 primary school teachers initially for this year, and the rest will be trained next year.
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