Teaching Chinese as Second
Language in the Schools of Yunnan
An Exploration in Constructivism
Liwei Liu
TCSL Programs in Yunnan
Increased younger international students
learning Chinese in Yunnan, China
Not sufficient trained TCSL teachers for
intensive Chinese programs
Quality of TCSL programs are unsatisfactory
• A constructive approach to TCSL
can highlight international students
as the centre of language learning,
facilitate their productive use of
Chinese language in interactive
communication, and improve their
Chinese competence.
A constructivist perspective of TCSL
Current approach to TCSL
Constructivist approach to TCSL
Teaching is teacher-centred and book-centred
Teaching is learner-centred
Teachers teach listening, speaking, reading (grammar)
and writing skills separately, without much
interdisciplinary collaboration
A teacher’s teaching is woven into the fabric of another
teacher’s teaching, collaboratively contributing to
the development of students’ Chinese competence
Materials are primarily textbooks and workbooks
Materials include authentic and meaningful material and
manipulative material
Learning is based on repetition and rote, with testorientated drills
Learning is interactive, building on what the students
already know
Teachers transmit language knowledge to passive
Teachers have a dialogue with students, helping students
construct their own knowledge
Teacher’s role is directive, rooted in authority
Teacher’s role is interactive, rooted in negotiation
Students work primarily alone, competing with each
other to achieve individual goals
Students work primarily in groups, aiming towards
shared goals
The purpose of teaching and learning is to pass Chinese
language proficiency test (HSK)
The purpose of teaching and learning is how to use
Chinese effectively and efficiently
Evaluation is product-oriented, usually based on tests and
HSK results
Evaluation is process-oriented and focuses on formative
Shifting toward a constructivist
approach to TCSL
• the changing role of teachers
• the needs analysis of learners
• the cultivation of a learner-centred
• the enhancement of learners’
interactions with local communities
• the introduction to a processoriented evaluation
The changing role of teachers
The needs analysis of learners
• Language proficiency
• Attitudes
• Motivation
• Learning styles
• Personality
Beforehand needs analysis and ongoing
needs analysis are needed
The cultivation of a learner-centred
• make international students understood the instruction goals,
sometimes, instructions in English or their home languages are
• help international students to establish their own goals within their
• create favourable conditions for international students to practice
Chinese outside classroom;
• raise international students’ awareness of learning process by keeping
them informed of their recent achievements;
• assist international students in identifying their own preferred learning
styles and strategies;
• promote international students’ choice and negotiation in class;
• encourage autonomy and independent learning, and help generate
self-chosen tasks for international students;
• value international students’ suggestions and requests, and reflect
them in discipline, curricula and classroom practice
The enhancement of learners’
interactions with local communities
• Designed field trips, task-oriented
activities and even teaching in real
life circumstances should be carried
out on daily or weekly basis.
• Interactions with communities off
campus seem more essential for
international students at boarding
The introduction to a
process-oriented evaluation
• Process-oriented evaluation can be
performed by student self, peers,
and joint work of student and teacher,
rather than by teachers alone.
• A constructive approach to TCSL is
believed to improve the quality of
TCSL programs and benefit both
Chinese teachers and international
Thank you!
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Teaching Chinese as Second Language in the Schools of