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A Study on the Effectiveness of Approaches to Chinese Novel Teaching in Senior High School
Chinese Language arts in Senior High School
Novel Teaching Strategies
This study aims to develop effective novel teaching approaches in senior high school. By reflecting on the process of teaching practice, this study investigates the influential factors affecting the effectiveness of various strategic approaches implemented in novel teaching, and analyzes the potential of novel teaching strategies to the enhancement of student’s Chinese language abilities—such as reading comprehension, integrative thinking, and reflective exploration, as well as to the facilitation of students’ interest in Chinese language arts. By adopting the action research method, a cycling process of planning, acting, and reflecting was executed. In this study, three novels selected from senior high school Chinese textbook—The Monk in Laoshan, Chiou Ran Ke Juan (Chronicles of the Man with Curly Beard), and Kong Yiji, were applied and examined as the texts for novel teaching practice. In addition to designing the essential learning in each teaching unit based on textual analysis, extended learning activities and assessment tasks were constructed for the overall teaching plan. During teaching practices, methods applied for data collection were classroom observations, intensive interviews, and document references, such as students’ worksheets, project reports, as well as their reflective journals. The effectiveness of novel teaching approaches was evaluated based on students’ demonstration of Chinese language abilities, cognitive development, project performances, and so forth. The research findings are as follows: (1) Only through understanding students’ learning difficulties can we develop effective novel teaching strategies and respond to students’ learning needs. (2) The novel has its unique stylistic characteristics. Therefore, using structural elements of novel to organize the teaching plan can help students understand plots and characters in the novel, discover the theme of the novel and the author’s central purpose, as well as analyze the embedded literary techniques of the novel. (3) Using higher-order and open questions to guide students’ discussions and explorations of the core concepts and abstractions in the novel can help students develop their personal opinions and enhance their thinking skills. (4) The performance tasks provided with learning experience for the application and transformation of the concepts learned, not only can enable students to proactively link the novel content with their life situation, lived experience, and cultural context, but also can trigger them to reflect, perceive and make changes of their own life. (5) For teaching students with different cultural backgrounds, applying appropriate instructional media and designing culturally responsive projects can help them comprehend the unique cultural context within a novel, and bridge their understanding gaps due to lack of prior knowledge. (6) Finally, by guiding students to review their novel learning experience, to make comparison between different novels, and to generalize basic principles for novel writing, students can integrate what they have learned, establish more comprehensive understanding of novel, and then develop their own novel learning strategies. Based on the research findings, practical suggestions are addressed for novel teaching design, teaching practices, and future related research. It is hoped that the novel teaching can be continuously implemented in school contexts with more closely in-depth studies that more practical theories of novel teaching can be constructed for enhancing teachers’ attitudes toward and confidence in teaching novels. By so doing, the values of novel teaching in Chinese language arts may be further explored and established.
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