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Applying MI Theory to Chinese Character Learning Activities for Children–A Case at Doi Chang Primary School in Northern Thailand
teaching Chinese as a second langauge
As the number of children learning Chinese increases globally, the need for teaching resources also increases and has become a hot discussion topic. In the Chinese learning process of children, the grasping of Chinese characters is a big hurdle. This study explores the ways in which the approach of multiple intelligence may be used in learning Chinese characters. With Doi Chang Primary School in Thailand as the subject of the case study, a teaching experiment was conducted for two days, the educational results of which were then reflected on and discussed. In this study, the researcher first conducted a literature review and consulted several TCSL teachers for their experience. A set of Chinese character learning activities for children was then designed based on the theory of multiple intelligence with reference to the recommendations of some teachers, and implemented in Doi Chang Primary School in Thailand. Subsequent to implementation, many design and execution issues were identified following review and reflection. To fine-tune teaching and improve on the original design of the teaching proposal, the author interviewed four senior teachers who taught Chinese to children, to seek answers for the teaching issues. Research results indicate that,when Chinese learning activities for children are designed based on the approach of multiple intelligence, the children’s Chinese level should be taken into consideration. When the class is at elementary level, the activities should be carried out through simple and repetitive instructions. If collaboration among children is desired, teachers must provide clear instructions, such as allocating tasks among the children. In artwork creating sessions, teachers have to provide various examples for the children to follow as options. Activities such as picture story-telling (linguistic intelligence), word art painting (visual-spatial intelligence), jigsaw puzzle game (inter-personal intelligence), writing in the air with limbs (bodily-kinesthetics intelligence), and looking for specific characters (naturalistic intelligence), are easy to implement and can inspire children to participate actively. Rhymes (musical intelligence) can also be used as supportive activities. Through a variety of MI learning activities, children are introduced into the world of Chinese characters through diverse ways of learning, and therefore have the option utilizing their advantage intelligence to learn. As for the Chinese classes in northern Thailand, the teaching there is mostly conducted by traditional lecturing. Through the demonstrations of MI learning activities, the teaching design in Chinese classes in northern Thailand could hopefully be enriched.
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