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A Study of Chinese Language Teaching at British Universities: How Communicative are Chinese Teachers' Methods?

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Zhiyan Guo
University of Warwick, UK

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) emerged from a paradigm shift in language teaching in the 1970s, which turned professionals’ attention towards more communicative proficiency, than mere mastery of structures which stresses accuracy rather than fluency in language learning. Ever since, it has impacted on both the teaching of English as a foreign language (TEFL) and how other languages are taught in the world. Teaching Chinese as a foreign language (TCFL), despite its long history, has only in recent decades been considered a discipline in its own right, yet Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) is being taught increasingly widely in and outside China. Traditionally, TCFL may have been dominated by the Confucian-heritage teaching approach, but to what extent has TCFL been influenced by CLT in university settings in the UK, where most modern foreign languages have been taught by it. Following a brief summary of the characteristics of CLT, the author reports the findings of a study using data collected from a questionnaire (with 60 respondents) and interviews with 10 Chinese teachers working in British universities. The integration of CLT into TCFL has been identified from how the interviewees’ classroom practice accommodated communicative activities and from their emphasis on authenticity, both of which reflect communicative orientation of the overall approach in TCFL. The teachers have also allowed the hybridity and co-existence of multiple methods in their classroom, just as most L2 teachers may have conducted in the post-method era. However, the Chinese teachers in this study do not sacrifice accuracy, despite using role-play and pair/group work to enhance fluency. Rather, they provide an ongoing focus on grammar and adopt explicit instruction, which, together with communicative orientation, forms the main characteristics of CFL teaching methodology in the UK.

Communicative approach, teaching Chinese as a foreign language, hybridity, explicit grammar instruction, British university








交际法兴起于二十世纪七十年代,从根本上改变了语言教学的理念和模式,由此前的偏语言结构的准确度转变为重语言使用的流利度。此影响遂现于各种语言包括英语作为外语的教学中。中文作为外语的教学历史悠久,近几十年逐步发展成为一门学科,其教学于中国内外日益广泛 地展开。那么传统上熏陶于儒家思想的中文教学,在海外受到了多少交际法的影响呢?本实证 研究以 60 份有效问卷和 10 个访谈的数据为基础,调查研究了英国高校中文教师的教学方法。分析发现:在后方法时代,教师们融合多种方法,强化流利度训练的同时,不断以显性疏导的 方式重视语法及语言准确度,即交际导向与显性教学相结合成为英国大学中文教学的主要特征。