What is the first word we learn when we start a new foreign language? Greeting? Saying thank you? Expressing our feelings? Or introducing our favorite food? Or a word that has special meaning to ourselves? There may be many answers, and the reasons are different, but when we learn the first new words of a new foreign language in class, I think it must start with greetings. So the first word I taught to the French school children in grade 5 was "Hello."
After three weeks of introductory and cultural courses, our course will be devoted to the real learning of Chinese from today. Different from the previous courses, how to maintain the enthusiasm of students during the formal lectures, let them master the pronunciation, writing, learning and expression of Chinese is my key consideration. In the process of using hihilulu, I found some inspirations. According to the ten life-themes that are most related with the children's life, it is most suitable for starting Chinese enlightenment with this group of French primary school students. Each theme can be used for three or four sections for teaching them the most basic words and the most commonly used simple expressions. By using such a theme-lead content, after a semester, they will get a basic understanding of Chinese thanks to the repetition of same type of content. The goal of the first section is to master the pronunciation, writing (correct writing strokes) and expression use of "Hello", "Goodbye", "My name is...".
In the last few classes, the students already knew that they had a Chinese name and knew how “bonjour(hello)” and “au revoir(goodbye)” were written in Chinese, but they still have difficulty to pronunciate correctly their Chinese names, nor master the writing of “Hello”. "Goodbye".
In class, I first showed them how to write the character with correct order of each stroke, by using the hihilulu literacy card. I invited them to follow me to do writing exercises. And I kept remind them the importance of stroke order in Chinese character writing, that "painting Chinese characters" and "writing Chinese characters" are different. How can I help them to remember the pronunciation and use it by learning and listening in the class? I chose to use children's songs to help them remember. After all, we all have the experience of remembering a few foreign songs when we don't know a foreign language. Then students can remember the words after listening the Chinese children's songs. We followed the rhythm of the songs to sing together in class, and the students were very involved. While listening to the pronunciation, I continued to practice repeatedly. In the second part, I will let students repeat the pronunciation of their Chinese names one by one, then train their listening and recognition with a "Who is A?" game. I say a name of student A, once he or she hear own name should stand up to repeat with me.
After the listening practice, I taught the first simple expression: my name is. By using Chinese songs, all students practice the expression together. Thanks to the children's songs, they progressively mastered the expression of simple sentences and self-introduction. During the break time, I suddenly decided to combine the words and expressions I learned today to let them do the dialogue exercises: a group of three people introduced each other, hello A, my name is B. The dialogue exercises of students allowed me to test the results of their learning today.
At the end of the course, I distributed handmade red envelope papers, in order to let them revise the Chinese New Year's words and to practice again the writing of "Spring Festival" we learned in the last lesson. At the end, I invited them to write wishes and blessing on the paper, to put into a red envelope and give it to their parents as a gift on the day of the Spring Festival. This is our first lesson, a Chinese lesson that starts with greeting.