Les Amis du Savoir

Patrick Fores Graduation GMTI

Irlande : un Congolais parmi les diplômés 

Le Francophoneplus 16 novembre 2018

Par Jean Bonsenge

Galway Congolese Association présente ses sincères félicitations à Nlandu Patrick Foré, un Congolais de la RD Congo, résidant à Galway en Irlande pour l’obtention de son diplôme. Mr Nlandu est chargé des relations publiques au sein du comité directeur de l’Organisation, et l’un des membres les plus influents de la communauté. L’acquisition de son titre académique dans son pays d’accueil est un indicateur qualitatif pour son intégration et inclusion sociale, dans la société irlandaise. La communauté congolaise de Galway aura sans doute besoin de son apport pour son organisation et son développement.  Quant à la RDC, sa mère patrie, elle attend sa quotepart ainsi que celle de toute sa diaspora pour changer la donne politique et actionner son décollage économique. Félicitations et bienvenu dans le monde professionnel Patrick !

How hard is it to learn Chinese?

Updated / Friday, 26 Oct 2018 10:10

"Some Chinese characters are extremely complicated and can contain up to 58 strokes, while knowledge of a minimum of 3,500 characters is required to understand those used in day-to-day life." Photo: iStock
"Some Chinese characters are extremely complicated and can contain up to 58 strokes, while knowledge of a minimum of 3,500 characters is required to understand those used in day-to-day life." Photo: iStock
Analysis: there is an increasing interest in learning Chinese but it's a language which requires a lot of time to master

Learning Chinese (Mandarin) as a foreign language has become increasingly popular in recent years. A growing economy, promise of excellent career opportunities and personal interest in the language and culture are just some of the many reasons for the rise in beginner learner numbers.

Yet Chinese is also deemed to be one of the most difficult languages to learn. Two features of the language appear to have warranted these preconceptions: (i) the tones and (ii) the writing system.

Firstly, one must master the pronunciation of the four tones used in spoken Chinese. These require the speaker to change the intonation of their voice in order to avoid confusion among Chinese words. For example, an incorrect pronunciation of ma could result in calling your mother a horse!

"At the very least, four hours per week will be needed to ensure sufficient progress at the beginner level"

Secondly, there is no alphabet in Chinese. Instead, each Chinese syllable (like ma) is represented by a character made up of a number of strokes. Some Chinese characters are extremely complicated and can contain up to 58 strokes, while knowledge of a minimum of 3,500 characters is required to understand those used in day-to-day life.

Ireland is seen to be embracing the rising popularity in learning Chinese. Currently, a short course introduced to some schools since 2014 provides junior-cycle students with an introduction to Chinese language and culture, while a transition year module has also been taught in a number of schools since 2012. At third level, Chinese is available from the beginner level as a module or degree programme in eight Irish institutions. More recently, in 2017, then Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced that Chinese would be introduced as a two-year Leaving Certificate course within ten yearsas part of the Languages Connect: Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026 plan.

This plan has four key goals: (i) improve language proficiency by creating a more engaging learning environment; (ii) diversify and increase the uptake of languages learned; (iii) increase awareness of the importance of language learning and (iv) enhance employer engagement in the development and use of trade languages.

The students mentioned that Chinese was a difficult language to learn and that they should have spent more time learning Chinese

Learning Chinese falls under the second goal. While it is hugely positive that the Department of Education and Skills have plans to introduce the first State-examined Chinese language course in the coming years, details of how this will be implemented have not yet been released.

Research currently being carried out by the author investigates various approaches to teaching Chinese to beginners with a particular focus on characters. The main data of the research stems from one academic year spent teaching Chinese to approximately 90 transition year students, whereby their assessment results and all-important feedback were documented. Therefore, some recommendations for the proposed Leaving Certificate course can be made based on the findings.

The strategy plan specifically mentions the importance of teaching quality in the foreign language classroom. My research examined the effects of four teaching approaches in four different groups, and hence sheds light on effective and quality teaching.

"The results found that repeatedly writing the characters using different colours according to their tone was most effective"

The results found that a combined methodology of repeatedly writing the characters using different colours according to their tone was most effective, while conducting a variety of reading, writing, speaking and listening exercises was most beneficial to developing the learners’ skills of using characters. Therefore, a teaching methodology for the Leaving Certificate Chinese course could follow this pattern to ensure a well-rounded acquisition of Chinese.

The participant feedback was also useful to note. They mentioned, as a majority, that Chinese was a difficult language to learn and that they should have spent more time learning Chinese. In terms of class content, they wished to have completed more group work and project work. In addition, online resources were named as one of the more helpful aspects when learning Chinese. The latter coincides with one of the Strategy Plan goals in creating a more engaging learning environment; while the mention of projects and group work ties in with the incorporation of learning content through a foreign language (Content and Language Integrated Learning, or CLIL) that is also advocated in the Strategy Plan.

The participants in this study were only allocated two hours per week of class contact hours. If the above methodology of spending two hours writing characters and a further two practising the use of characters in exercises is to be incorporated to the classroom, it would mean that at the very least, four hours per week will be needed to ensure sufficient progress at the beginner level. As is evident from student feedback and current foreign language curricula recommendations, it is crucial that more time is dedicated to foreign languages in schools, whereby currently approximately only 2.5 hours per week are assigned.

Finally, as the Chinese writing system differs from other popular foreign languages learned in school, it is imperative that future students will be assessed on the production and recognition of characters in specific sections of their examinations.

The above recommendations have been made in relation to a research project specifically investigating the most effective ways to teach Chinese in an Irish secondary school, and therefore is a critical source in the development of the proposed Chinese language curriculum. While results from the participants’ assessments have dictated the teaching methodology recommendations, their feedback shows correlations with the Strategy Plan goals. It is reassuring that some Strategy Plan proposals should be welcomed by future students according to current feedback. Consultation of this and other relevant research is vital in order to provide quality teaching for future students in line with the Strategy Plan goals.

GCS 2

Apprendre le chinois ( HOGSKOLAN DALARNA)

Chinese Oral Proficiency Handout 1
自我介绍 (第一部分)

tóng xué men hăo wŏ xìng lĭ wŏ de míng zì shì chóng 同 学 们 好 ! 我 姓 李 , 我 的 名 字 是 崇 huì wŏ méi yŏu yīng wén míng zì 慧 。 我 没 有 英 文 名 字 。

xiàn zài wŏ zhèng zài jiāo nĭ men shuō zhōng wén zhōng wén wŏ 现 在 我 正 在 教 你 们 说 中 文 。 中 文 我 yĭ jīng jiāo le shí sì nián le wŏ yī biān jiāo zhōng wén 已 经 教 了 十 四 年 了 。 我 一 边 教 中 文 yī biān xué xí wŏ hĕn xĭ huan wŏ de gōng zuò , 一 边 学 习 。 我 很 喜 欢 我 的 工 作 , wŏ yĕ xĭ huan wŏ de xué xí zhè ge xué qī wŏ jiāo 我 也 喜 欢 我 的 学 习 。 这 个 学 期 我 教 liăng mén kè chú le zhè mén kè yĭ wài wŏ hái jiāo 两 门 课 。 除 了 这 门 课 以 外 , 我 还 教 zhōng wén kŏu yŭ yī wŏ jué de zài dá lā nà dà xué 中 文 口 语 一 。 我 觉 得 在 达 拉 纳 大 学 jiāo zhōng wén hĕn yŏu yì si wŏ men zài wăng shàng shàng kè 教 中 文 很 有 意 思 。 我 们 在 网 上 上 课 wŏ jué de zài wăng shàng xué xí zhōng wén yòu hăo yòu fāng 。 我 觉 得 在 网 上 学 习 中 文 又 好 又 方 biàn wŏ de xué sheng yŏu de shì ruì diăn rén yŏu 便 。 我 的 学 生 , 有 的 是 瑞 典 人 , 有 de shì zhōng guó rén yŏu de shì yìn dù rén tā men 的 是 中 国 人 , 有 的 是 印 度 人 , 他 们 xué xí dōu hĕn nŭ lì chéng jì yĕ hĕn hăo yīn wèi 学 习 都 很 努 力 , 成 绩 也 很 好 。 因 为 wŏ jiā lí xué xiào hĕn jìn suŏ yĭ wŏ mĕi tiān dōu lái 我 家 离 学 校 很 近 , 所 以 我 每 天 都 来 xué xiào cōng wŏ jiā dào xué xiào zŏu lù zhĭ yào shí wŭ 学 校 。 从 我 家 到 学 校 走 路 只 要 十 五 fēn zhōng 分 钟 。

dá lā nà dà xué zài fă lún fă lún shì dá lā nà 达 拉 纳 大 学 在 法 轮 。 法 轮 是 达 拉 纳 shĕng de shĕng huì wŏ jiù zhù zài zhè lĭ bú guò 省 的 省 会 , 我 就 住 在 这 里 。 不 过 , wŏ de lăo jiā zài yún nán shĕng de shĕng huì kūn míng wŏ 我 的 老 家 在 云 南 省 的 省 会 昆 明 。 我 zài nàr xué xí guò yĕ gōng zuò guò kūn míng zài zhōng 在 那 儿 学 习 过 也 工 作 过 。 昆 明 在 中 guó xī nán biān kūn míng fēng jĭng yòu piào liang qì hòu 国 西 南 边 。 昆 明 风 景 又 漂 亮 , 气 候 yòu hăo zài kūn míng wŏ men shuō kūn míng huà suŏ 又 好 。 在 昆 明 , 我 们 说 昆 明 话 。 所 yĭ wŏ de mŭ yŭ yīng gāi shì kūn míng huà wŏ cháng cháng 以 我 的 母 语 应 该 是 昆 明 话 。 我 常 常 gēn wŏ mā ma gē ge jiĕ jie shuō kūn míng huà wŏ bà 跟 我 妈 妈 哥 哥 姐 姐 说 昆 明 话 。 我 爸 ba wŭ nián qián qù shì le
爸 五 年 前 去 世 了 。

同学们好!我姓李,我的名字是崇慧。我没有英文名字。

现在我正在教你们说中文。中文我已经教了十四年了。我一边教中文,一边学习。 我很喜欢我的工作,我也喜欢我的学习。这个学期我教两门课。除了这门课以外,我 还教中文口语一。我觉得在达拉纳大学教中文很有意思。我们在网上上课。我觉得在 网上学习中文又好又方便。我的学生,有的是瑞典人,有的是中国人,有的是印度人, 他们学习都很努力,成绩也很好。因为我家离学校很近,所以我每天都来学校。从我 家到学校走路只要十五分钟。

达拉纳大学在法轮。法轮是达拉纳省的省会,我就住在这里。 不过,我的老家在 云南省的省会昆明。我在那儿学习过也工作过。昆明在中国西南边。昆明风景又漂亮, 气候又好。在昆明,我们说昆明话。所以我的母语应该是昆明话。我常常跟我妈妈哥 哥姐姐说昆明话。我爸爸五年前去世了。

 

 

 

 

 

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