The Chinese Language Teachers Association of Virginia held their annual workshop, entitled "Teaching Chinese Grammar in the Post-Methods Era", at UVA's Newcomb Hall on October 13. The keynote speaker was Prof. Jianhua Bai of the Chinese language summer program at Middlebury College. Afternoon workshops were led by UVA's own Profs. Miao-fen Tseng and Hsin-Hsin Liang.
Here are just some of the descriptions that participants made of the event:
2012 CLTA-VA Chinese Pedagogy Workshop Descriptions
Theme: Teaching Chinese Grammar in the Post-methods Era
Keynote Speech & Workshop
From Pedagogical Grammar to Grammar Pedagogy
This workshop will first discuss the impact of input hypothesis, output hypothesis, and input processing on grammar pedagogy. Then, the presenter will summarize and analyze leading articles and research findings in pedagogical grammar and grammar pedagogy to explore guiding principles for implementing the best practices in class. The presenter will then provide recommendations for teaching grammar effectively for different age groups and across different proficiency levels with sample lesson plans and procedural instructional materials. Specifically, the presenter will illustrate how to present and explain selected grammatical structures and to utilize effective elicitation techniques in combination with in-class communicative activities that will guide students to produce targeted structures in meaning and communicative contexts. Through group discussions and hands-on practice, workshop attendees will gain concrete ideas about principles and tips for helping students master the regularities of structural patterns and ultimately enhance the learners’ communicative competence in natural social settings.
Afternoon Workshop I
Communicative drills through the theme-based approach
In conducting grammar or pattern drilling in a Chinese language class nowadays, the method of "making sentences based on grammatical points/patterns" has gradually yielded to the method of "asking and answering questions between teacher and students and among students". This communicative method requires the teachers to design and prepare many good questions which will elicit good answers from the students. Therefore, one of the challenges that novice teachers face is to conceive and design effective questions. In order to help novice teachers conduct a drill class smoothly, I propose the technique of "theme-based drilling". Three teachers will demonstrate how to drill at elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. From watching these three performances we hope that members of the audience will be able to derive useful ideas for applying the theme-based method to the design of drill sessions in their own courses.
Afternoon Workshop II
Exemplifying language output in communicative tasks
Teaching grammar through student-centered communicative tasks is an area that is rarely dealt with in the field of teaching Chinese as a foreign language. This workshop serves as one of the preliminary attempts to discuss student-centered communicative tasks in teaching grammar. To connect and complement the previous two workshops on teacher-centered scaffolding and communicative drills, this workshop will begin with the teachers’ self-assessment of ten key concepts on research-supported practices of language input and output. This is then followed by clarifications of any misconceptions that the teachers may have about teaching Chinese grammar. Underlying second language acquisition theories and their accompanying illustrated examples will be presented to better teacher participants’ understanding. After highlighting the features of tasks, the presenter will use three grammatical structures to demonstrate how student-centered communicative tasks can be created, implemented and assessed. The learners’ outcomes, feedback, and the results of empirical studies will be highlighted. To conclude the workshop, the presenter will introduce the essence of the post method pedagogy and propose future directions for Chinese language educators, practitioners, and researchers to ponder upon, explore, and collaborate for possible change and reform in pedagogical grammar in relation to teaching, material development, and assessments.