MLA Directory of Periodicals
REAO: East Asian Studies Journals
Joy Chengyu Lin
Concordia University, Dawson College, Canada
Grace Cheng-Ying Lin
Concordia University, Canada
Learning hanzi (Chinese characters) has been regarded as a challenging task due to the complex strokes, the rupture between shape and sound, and the memorization required. Targeting a Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) student audience, this paper demonstrates the pedagogical benefits of learning the correct Chinese order of strokes (COS) and bujian (component) for hanzi acquisition. This research was conducted at a CEGEP (Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel in French; General and Vocational College in Quebec in English) located in metropolitan Montreal. Results showed that students' knowledge of COS and bujian improves the outcome of their handwriting. When writing hanzi without first being demonstrated COS, students tended to make mistakes in strokes, shapes or structure, such as an extra hook or an asymmetrical appearance. However, after being instructed the correct COS, the mistakes decreased. Moreover, it is noticeable that the effects of COS interweaved with students’ previous knowledge of bujian. When students wrote new hanzi that were comprised of bujian that they had been previously exposed to, they often wrote correctly, with appropriate shapes and space arrangements. Students' surveys further affirmed their appreciation of COS and their preference of an instructor’s in-person guidance while taking advantage of multimedia teaching tools for assistance. Following these findings, this paper analyzes several useful pedagogical approaches, including the phenomenographic teaching approach, that allow instructors to prioritize learners’ perceptual experiences through engaging and proactive learning processes.
Hanzi, bujian, stroke order, multimedia teaching tool, Chinese as a Foreign Language