The overall teaching objective of teaching Chinese as a foreign language is to cultivate the foreign learners’ Chinese communicative skills when they learn Chinese in China. In order to achieve this goal, the first thing students should do is to lay a firm foundation of pronunciation. So, the most important phase is the beginning. Only has a firm foundation can the house can be built perfectly. The pronunciation is the same as the bricks for houses building.
The teachers who teach the learners in enlightening phase should firstly have a relatively standard Mandarin pronunciation. At present, the language proficiency standard for the teachers in Chinese language schoolis the second upper level. The Chinese language teachers of this level can teach those students of the intermediate and advanced levels. However, for those who teach the students of the enlightening phase should have a higher level.
Only when teachers have a clear and standardized pronunciation can the students have an accurate pronunciation. The key point of the pronunciation teaching is to know the difficult points in students’ eyes. Generally speaking, the difficult points for those who study in China are the pronunciation lacking in their native languages and also difficult to articulate for them. Teachers should spend more time on it and teach differently according to the various backgrounds.
The Chinese Pinyin is the basis of learning Mandarin Chinese. Only when the foreign learners master the Chinese Pinyin rapidly can they tell apart the right pronunciation. Then, they can look up words in the dictionary and learn by themselves. If the students can write the Chinese Pinyin correctly, they can understanding the words meaning by looking up dictionary. In this way, they can handle the new words appear after the texts.
One of our goals is to attract foreign learners’ interest to learn Mandarin and help them lay the foundation of learning Chinese by themselves. However, at the same time, teachers should notice clearly that Pinyin has just the function of helping students can articulate the Chinese syllables clearly. Therefore, it is just a tool to assist the learning. Chinese language is not alphabetic writing, so Pinyin can’t take the place of characters.
It is a question that is worthy of talking about that how much time should be used in the pronunciation teaching. At present, there are many Chinese teaching books take much long time in pronunciation teaching, normally about twelve to fifteen lessons. If every lesson takes two periods, it will spend students about thirty periods to study Chinese Pinyin. Altogether, it will take less than one month to study only Pinyin.
It is a waste of time to take so much time to learn the Chinese Pinyin. The pronunciation that is difficult to learn and master is not so much and it is not so confusing. Even the students never learned Pinyin, about twelve periods’ time for focusing study is sufficient enough. If the students who come to learn Chinese language have the learning experience, teachers can just arrange several periods to help them review and correct.
On the other hand, the pronunciation teaching is a long process. Therefore, the teachers in Mandarin learning courses should have a long-term preparation for training. For the students who are in enlightening phase, teachers had better take ten minutes in each class to help students do some training about the leaned knowledge. Practice makes perfect. The pronunciation will get better if they insist in practicing.
Many foreign learners fail to articulate correctly when they study Mandarin Chinese. Therefore, teachers should take the responsibility to correct the mistakes. Of course, when correcting the mistakes, teachers should use some proper techniques. Some of the students still fail to articulate correctly even they are corrected for several times. So teachers should be patient in pronunciation teaching.
Meanwhile, if teachers have corrected a certain pronunciation for four or five times, the students still can’t speak rightly, they should stop in order not to lose their confidence. However, teachers should remember the students have the pronunciation weak point of that type when they learn Mandarin Chinese so that they can create opportunity for them to practice it. It is possible that the students articulate it perfectly in some day. When it happens, teachers should demand them to say it again and again to consolidate.
All in all, the importance of Chinese Pinyin in Chinese language learning can never be overemphasized. Teachers should help them correct the mistakes in pronunciation. Only when they master Pinyin can they learn Chinese better.