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Home Journal Index 2020-1

Australian Students' Perceptions of the Challenges and Strategies for Learning Chinese Characters in Emergency Online Teaching

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Xiaoping Gao

University of Wollongong, Australia

 

Abstract

This study examines Australian students’ perceptions of the challenges and strategies for learning and teaching Chinese characters in emergency online teaching amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Forty students at an Australian university completed an online survey. Results show that the students’ perceived difficulties of learning characters in remote delivery were different from those reported in a face-to-face mode of learning. It seems that the implemented teaching strategies and revised assessment requirements have mitigated the challenges for learning characters. However, students reported some new challenges faced in emergency remote learning, such as technological and physical barriers (e.g., internet issues and learning space) and demands for self-discipline and time management abilities, which in turn affected their mental health and motivation for learning. The majority of students believed that repeated practice in the use of a variety of resources provided was effective in developing their character writing and reading skills. The majority also indicated their overall satisfaction with the implemented teaching strategies and their learning progress, although a few students reported their performance was affected by technological and physical constraints and shortage of time. Findings suggest that appropriate teaching strategies associated with research-based curriculum design should be implemented in online teaching to reduce students’ stress and facilitate learning outcomes. Findings contribute to the theoretical development of character learning strategies by providing empirical evidence in emergency online teaching. This study has significant pedagogical implications for Chinese character pedagogy as proposed teaching strategies will be highly beneficial for instructed character learning in an online mode. This study also provides insights and suggestions about how Chinese language professionals and practitioners can improve on material and resource development and assessment design to adapt to future trends in online teaching.

 

Keywords

Perceptions, strategies, characters, Chinese as a foreign language, emergency online teaching