Writing Chinese: Fun and Easy Methods for Children's Beginners
    Date of publication :2/23/2019 9:42:11 PM


The written Chinese is not an alphabetic, but logographic language. For majority of Chinese learners, writing Chinese is another obstacle next to the four tones. Do you have this problem? Do you know many basic characters started out as pictogram? Let's see how Miss Mandarine guides her French students through Chinese writing in ease!

We started our first lesson of greetings in Chinese. Kids learned saying hello and introducing oneself. Based on the curriculum, students will go through three or four courses on each planned topic in order to acquire key words, basic grammar and useful expression. The lesson for this week is still about greetings in Chinese.  

Although students in my CM2 class ( equal to Grade 5) are not at the perfect age of multilingual enlightenment (theoretically speaking, between 0 to 8 years old is the best period for language development),  they are at perfect mood for learning Chinese!  Since they have learned their Chinese names and participated three cultural workshops, they are incredibly motivated. However, I didn't expect them to be very fluent after only three lessons. Just imagine how I was impressed by my French students! When Joseph, who had huge difficulty in pronunciation of his own name, could pronounce his Chinese name smoothly! 

Well, everything has its ups and downs. Besides tone problem, the most difficult part is about writing Chinese characters. "Hello" and "Goodbye" have been studied in four consecutive courses, including one revision done last week, there are still many children who cannot write correctly.  I fully understand their difficulty. After all, Chinese character is not composed of letters but constructed by pictographs with a stroke order different from alphabetic language. A non-native Chinese learner can’t rely on his knowledge of pronunciation or spelling rules to write down a Chinese character. Memorizing stroke order instead of drawing pictures of a Chinese character requires a lot of practice and understanding the basic logic of Chinese writing.

Considering that my students belong to Generation Z who are comfortable with digital products, I invite my students to use hihilulu platform as an online supporting tool. Hihilulu Online Progressive Chinese Learning System for non-native Chinese Children is constructed around 800 key Chinese characters and words and is the soul of hihilulu immersive learning method. Basically, after watching a key words tagged thematic cartoon adapted to user’s level, age, and habits, a short video of recommended key word will be presented to the learner in order to further demonstrate the standard pronunciation, the correct writing order and useful expressions of this same key word.  And several interactive games, including AI enhanced voice recognition , memory exercise and writing exercise, will follow after.  The Application of hihilulu Learn Chinese allows kids to follow a step-by-step demonstration and write Chinese character correctly by using touch screen. Before each class I give assignment to students to do writing exercises on App at home; During the class, we repeat writing on the downloadable writing sheets from hihilulu platform;  After class, students can practice on the Application again.  With this blended online and offline learning process, kids show improvement in their Chinese writing.

Learning a new Chinese sentence,  "What is your name?" , is the second goal for this week’s Chinese course. The pronunciation of the word "name" is difficult for most of beginners. I prepared a kids’ song titled “名字” for the class. Really, I can’t believe my ears!  It was very difficult for them to pronounce correctly the word in right sound and right tone, but after we sang the song by following the video and made role play subject to the music video,  students started to smoothly and correctly speak this word of Name(名字).  After two lessons of teaching difficult pronunciation by singing,   both my student and I witnessed the advantage of learning pronunciation by listening and singing.

I hope that I can find more edutainment method for my students during this project. I believe learning by playing will be especially efficient in leading non-native Chinese children to explore Chinese language and continue their journey in discovering this mysterious culture.

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