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Beginner Level Mandarin Teaching Material Design for American Children based on TPRS® Teaching Methods
Pamela Rose Raboy
Teaching Chinese as a foreign language to children
Foreign Language in Elementary School
Mandarin Teaching Material Design
Second language acquisition in children
In the last 10 years FLES Mandarin programs have been growing exponentially in the United States, and the trend does not seem to be slowing down. While there has been extensive research and development for both adult and adolescent Mandarin teaching materials, there has been a lack of research at the elementary school level. As program growth surges, the need to find suitable teaching materials for American children in grades K-5 will become more urgent. At the same time, a new foreign language methodology called TPRS® (Its name is a registered trademark, but henceforth is referred to as TPRS) has become increasingly popular in the United States and other western countries. There has been an increase in Mandarin TPRS materials for adults and adolescents, but little has been developed for children. The objective of this research is to design an example of Mandarin teaching material appropriate for American children that is based on TPRS methodologies. The methodology of this thesis is presented in several steps. First, a discussion of literature related to topics such as children’s language acquisition, teaching methods and principles including TPR and TPRS, and language curriculum design based on US based standards. Thereafter, Mandarin classes were observed at several locations. Next, content analysis on current Mandarin teaching materials for children as well as an analysis of French and Spanish teaching materials for children are compared. Lastly, a survey of current elementary school teachers in the US was conducted and then followed up with in-depth interviews. Through the review and discussion of teaching methods in Chapter 3, it was concluded that TPRS was a suitable and effective method to teach children in grades K-5. Therefore, in Chapter 4 the reader is provided with guiding principles for creating Mandarin teaching materials suitable for American children in grades K-5 based on TPRS teaching methodology. Chapter 5 provides a sample lesson plan design based on these guidelines to be used as a reference. Chapter 6 presents a conclusion as well as suggestions for further research.
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