Ideas for the teaching of reading to Chinese students in English Language Arts Classrooms English Language Arts Conference, Banff, Canada May 1-2, 2014 Dr. Heather BlairShuo LiXiaobing LinHongliang FuNannan Wang
Presenters • Heather Blair is a Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Alberta. Her research interests include teaching reading and writing , teaching English as an additional language, bilingual education, and multilingual classroom pedagogy. email@example.com • Shuo Li is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Alberta. She is an Associate Professor at Shanghai Dianji University. She teaches ESL in China and has taught Chinese to Canadian English speakers at the Edmonton Multicultural Center. firstname.lastname@example.org • Xiaobing Lin is a PhD student in the Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. Her research field is in bilingual education. She taught English as a second language and Chinese as a second language to English speakers. email@example.com • Hongliang Fu is a doctoral student at the University of Alberta. She was a preschool and kindergarten teacher in China. Her research interests mainly focus on early childhood language, bilingual language acquisition, and teacher education. firstname.lastname@example.org • Nannan Wang is a Master‘s student in Elementary Education Department in the Faculty of Education at University of Alberta. Her specialization is bilingual education. She has taught English as a second language in Junior high school in China and in Canada she has taught Chinese language and culture to English speakers. email@example.com
Overview of background theory China has a long history of literacy using a system of characters as the orthography . Although Chinese has numerous spoken dialects/languages, its writing system directly represents meaning, so it is possible for the speakers of these languages/dialects to understand each other’s writing without pronouncing it the same orally. In contrast to alphabetic writing systems such as English, the Chinese characters represent meaning directly and are not based on a sound-to-letter correspondence that assumes that, to read, one needs to connect the sounds (phonology) of the languages to the letters (orthography). Similarly to the Arabic numerical system—e.g., 1 + 4 = 5—it can be read directly from the numeral without a direct relationship to sound. (Goodman et al, 2012, p.6)
Overview of Background theory (cont) These two writing systems may appear to Canadian English language teachers as entirely different from each other but we will show how Socio-psycholinguistic theory of reading (Goodman, 1994; Halliday 1977, 1985; Lee, 2012) illuminates the commonalties. We will also discuss differences that will be helpful for teachers to know. Three major cueing systems Graphophonic – the letter (graph) and sound (phonic) Syntactic- the grammar of the language Semantic- the meaning All readers use psycholinguistic strategies based on these cueing systems All languages have ambiguity and humans have a mind set for ambiguity. There are differences that teachers should be alerted to.
The Value of Chinese Characters • 家 jia (family) • 安 an (safe)---宀 + 女nu(lady) • 宁 ning (stable, peaceful)---宀 +丁ding(man) • 好 hao (good) 宀 is called the head radical of treasure, which means providing shelter for everyone like a huge roof.
Comparison of the two writing systems • English: an alphabetic language ABCDEF… • Chinese is a logographic or ideographic language
A comparison of the syntax or grammar of world languages • Subject + Verb + Object (SVO) Chinese, English, French, Spanish • Subject + Object + Verb (SOV) Japanese, Korean • Verb + Subject + Object (VSO) Mongolian, Arabic
Prediction Spacing • “There is character spacing in Chinese, but not as word spacing”. When Chinese children learn English, they can easily distinguish individual word with the spacing between words. Contextual Clues • When reading different genres of texts (stories or expository), Chinese children attend to the contextual clues available to make sense of the message they are reading. When they read in English, Chinese students construct meaning by drawing on this knowledge and using the contextual clues.
Syntactic structure • S+V+O. For example: I like China. 我爱中国。 • When Chinese students read and write in English, they can grasp the fundamental syntactic structure, they may not understand every single word in English but they can always predict the meaning based on their understanding of the structure.
Summary History and background • Chinese is the language which the most people are speaking and is the longest history in the world now. • Chinese: meaning – from – character and context English: meaning – from - sound, syntax and context • Chinese characters’ component – radical Most time, the radical represent meaning clue. (e.g. 河， 湖， 海， 洗； 打， 提， 推，拉) • The charm of Chinese character In the long history of the evolvement of Chinese characters, no matter how the outside image changes, the inside value and philosophy is significant. (e.g. 家， 安， 宁，好)
Summary The strength of children – Prediction • Contextual clues Children construct meaning based on their knowledge and contextual clues. • Syntax (structure) clues Children can predict meaning based on the understanding of the structure. (e.g. …too… to...; …so that…; …because…) • Semantic, phonetic, and lexical clues Children can predict meaning from Chinese radicals; can predict pronunciation from character component; can compose phrases from prior knowledge.
Suggestions for Teachers • Meaning is the essence of reading, does not require accurate recognition of individual words • The universal features of the reading process (Goodman ,1996) are reflected in the reading of Chinese. (Xu, 2012, p. 123) • In Chinese, character spacing is not word spacing. Therefore, Chinese students can easily distinguish individual word with the spacing between words when they are learning English. • Teachers should support multi-literacy in their classrooms, such as: • Value the child’s literacy in Chinese. Ask them about it. • Have books (varied texts) from the children’s first language in the classroom. • When you ask them to write, the teacher can ask children to write their ideas down first in their mother tongue then use that to write the text in English . • Encourage them to write dual language (bilingual) texts • Have them take things home to parents to write bilingually and bring back to the classroom.
References and Resources References • Goodman, K., Wang, S., Ivantosch,M., and Goodman, Y (2012 Reading in Asian Languages ,New York, Routledge Resources for classroom ideas Cummins, J. (2007). Rethinking monolingual instructional strategies in multilingual classrooms. Retrieved from Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics Vol 10. No 2. Cummins, J., & Early, M. (2011). Identity Texts: the collaborative creation of power in multilingual schools. Trentham Books Limited. Mushi, S. (2002). Acquisition of Multiple Languages Among Children of Immigrant Families: Parents' Role in the Home-School Language Pendulum.Retrieved from Early Child Development & Care, Vol. 172 Issue 5 Norton, B. (2010). Identity, Literacy, and English-Language Teaching. Retrieved from TESL Canada Journal Vol 28. No 1. Riches, C. & Curdt-Christiansen, L. (2010). A Tale of Two Montreal Communities: Parents’ Perspectives on Their Children’s Language and Literacy Development in a Multilingual Context. Retrieved from The Canadian Modern Language Review, Vol. 66, No. 4 • Toohey, K. (1998). “Breaking Them Up, Taking Them Away”: ESL Students in Grade 1. Retrieved from TESOL Quarterly Vol. 32, No. 1 • Toohey, K., (2000). Learning English at School: Identity, Social Relations and Classroom Practice. North York, ON. Multilingual Matters Ltd.
Thank you! 谢谢！