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Designing Teaching Materials for Chinese Four-Character Idiomatic Expressions
idiomatic expressions (chengyu)
teaching material design
optimal teaching sequence
The use of Chinese idiomatic expressions (IE) not only produces a certain rhetorical effect while expressing meaning in a very succinct manner, but it also presents an opportunity to teach the cultural background behind each IE as well. For this reason, scholars, Chinese teachers and non-native learners of Chinese all attest to its importance. However, explanations on how to use IE given in Chinese learning materials published to date lack both clarity and a systematic approach. So when students of Chinese try to use these idiomatic expressions, they often misunderstand their meaning, use them improperly, mechanically apply grammar for normal words and/ or use them with the wrong collocations. In response, several teaching strategies have been proposed in the literature in addition to suggestions being put forth regarding the arrangement of IE dictionaries aimed at non-native learners. The research presented here is based upon these results and analyzes the current state of Chinese language textbooks and learning resources as it relates to the teaching of IE. Suggestions made by both teachers and students as to what ideal IE teaching materials should incorporate are also evaluated as well as the needs of the learner. The results of these analyses are used to create a statistical IE database with the purpose of producing a design goal and design principles for IE teaching materials. The design goal and principles are used both to design the structure for an IE textbook as well as to produce an example textbook. In summary, based upon the content of each chapter and the results of the teaching material evaluations, four research results relating to the creation of IE teaching materials are presented: 1. the current state of IE pedagogical materials, teaching methods, learning resources and the needs of learners. 2. Principles of design for IE learning materials. 3. How to systematically arrange IE teaching materials. 4. A list of innovations for IE learning materials.
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