Women Dou Hui Shuo Zhongwen! Educational Video Curriculum for Beginning Students of Chinese
By Emily Brandt
Women dou hui shuo Zhongwen!, is an educational video curriculum designed for first year students of Mandarin Chinese. It combines dialogue scenes, vocabulary, “sing-along” songs and poetry to interactively engage students with the lesson material. The video is comprised of a series of 22 lessons, based on the beginning Chinese textbook “Chinese Link - First Edition,” published by Pearson Prentice Hall. The video curriculum will increase student involvement in the Chinese language program at SU, both during and following production. During production, it has provided current students the opportunity to explore Chinese outside the classroom in a creative and interdisciplinary setting, including acting, singing, traditional calligraphy, and cultural research. Following production, it will increase student’s comprehension of material by combining audio (spoken vocabulary, songs, poetry and dialogues) and visual (“sing-along” style pinyin Romanization and characters), a format not currently found in the classroom. It will also enhance student engagement and enjoyment of material through humor.
Women dou hui shuo Zhongwen! is a highly innovative project because it combines the challenges of producing an artistic, entertaining and useful video, and compounds them by requiring that it be done in a foreign language. With the exception of the closing credits, there is absolutely no English throughout the video. Because the video is shot entirely in Chinese, the imagery and acting have to be vivid and clear enough to engage and instruct the student audience, and keep their attention, despite the language barrier. The restriction of working within both the language limit and the inherent limits of the video medium requires heightened creativity in order to -accomplish my goal of increasing student engagement and enjoyment of the lessons.