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An Action Research of Chinese Reading Course for Thai 10th Grade Students
Instruction in Reading
Since 1992, the Thai government has opened up all the levels of Mandarin Chinese courses in national public schools. Now there are over 250,000 students who are learning Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin Chinese has become the third major languages after Thai and English. Most of the Thai students have difficulty studying and reading Chinese characters because they are used to the spelling system in Thai language. This study is focused on the action research for the beginner Chinese learner and the subjects of this study are the 12 students in 10th grade who study beginner Chinese level in Satrinonthaburi School- a Thai Public High School. The main concept for this course design is to improve the subject’s reading skills: from Chinese characters to Chinese vocabularies, from Chinese sentences to paragraphs and reading strategies. After a semester - from November 2012 to March 2013 - the subjects of the study had great improvement in the reading skill. The results indicated that subject's reading skills were affected by their understanding of Chinese characters. The teaching method of Chinese characters should start with Chinese stroke order, radicals of Chinese character then structure of Chinese character. The grammar in Thai and Chinese are similar however the way of writings are diverse. Therefore, when practicing the punctuation in words or sentences, Thai students do better in the sentences than words. When reading a sentence, they will look for the familiar vocabulary and when reading a paragraph or a chapter, their reading strategy is to look for the key words or familiar sentences. This strategy leads to a challenge in understanding the content of the chapter for the subjects of the study. The outcome of the reading course is better when the subjects are familiar with the knowledge contained in the articles. The course design needs to focus on the reading skills but also minimize obstacles when reading.
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