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Home Journal Index 2020-1

Constructing an Emergency Chinese Curriculum during the Pandemic: A New Zealand Experience

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Danping Wang

University of Auckland, New Zealand


Martin East

University of Auckland, New Zealand




This paper provides details of an emergency Chinese curriculum enacted as a response to the multilevel challenges for a campus-based Chinese language course due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Framed against this background, the study presents and reflects on the factors influencing curriculum decisions during emergency remote teaching. The data reported in this study are based on two ad hoc surveys with students and reflections undertaken between one course director and five teachers in a large-scale beginning Chinese language course in a New Zealand university. Based on students’ and teachers’ lived experience and perspectives, the study captures the complexities of how the pandemic crisis has reshaped the course in the Western higher education context. The study first discusses the influences from the contextual factors including social, technological, financial and organisational, and then demonstrates how the course experienced unprecedented changes to its curriculum delivery, pedagogy and assessment. Factors influencing students’ and teachers’ participation in the emergency remote course are also discussed. The paper ends by suggesting using the emergency teaching experience as an opportunity for advancing theory and practice in future Chinese teaching and research after the pandemic.



Covid-19, emergency curriculum, online teaching, Chinese language course, higher education