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How to Teach New Chinese Words

When teaching Chinese, teachers should know that the learning of new knowledge should be limited in a certain degree. In some basic Chinese teaching materials, there may be thirty or even forty new words appear in one text. It is too hard for students to learn and master. In this case, for the purpose of relieving students’ burden to study Chinese, teachers are suggested to teach half of the new words and half of the text. And combine them together at last.

Of course, there are more teaching techniques can be applied to teach new words. The first one is to demand them look up the dictionary for the words meaning by themselves. A good way to carry out this way is to let students read the text firstly. During the process of reading, they will meet some new words. Then, teachers in Mandarin learning courses should tell them just the pronunciation and they should look up the dictionary for meanings themselves.

There are some beneficial functions for students to ask students to consult the dictionary for meaning after listening to the pronunciation. Firstly, it is helpful to train their listening. More listening will lead to better ability of distinguishing the difficult ones. When students learn Mandarin at school, the words they learn from the text have just one meaning. By this way, students will learn more meanings with examples in the dictionary.

In addition, they can also learn some other words by the way. When students study Mandarin Chinese by consulting the dictionary, they will unconsciously look some other words above or below the words they find. Therefore, it is beneficial to expand the vocabulary. More importantly, this method is helpful to train students’ habit of independent study.

Another technique of teaching new words is to explain meaning by dividing the words into morphemes. Those who study in China all know that the Chinese words are made up of monosyllabic morphemes. Each morpheme has its own meaning and new meaning will be produced when it is combined with other morphemes. When using this way to teach new words, teachers should mainly clearly explain the form, sound and meaning of each morpheme and the words formed.

The third beneficial strategy of teaching new words is to make contract and comparison. Teachers can compare the meaning of the new words to relative foreign language words and then point out the differences and similarities, thus reducing the linguistic interference. During the process of learning Mandarin Chinese, they will find some Chinese words are not corresponding with those of in certain foreign language. For example, the verbs in “做游戏、打篮球、拉提琴、弹钢琴” are described with one English “play”.

Of course, teachers can also make comparison in the similar words and contrast in the antonyms. Both the words “参观” and “访问” have the meaning of “visit”. If there is no more explanation, students will feel it is difficult to distinguish them. When students learn Chinese language, the antonyms are easy to be distinguished. But teachers also need to explain properly.

To explain the words meaning by put them in the real situation is also a beneficial method. To use this way toteach Mandarin language, teachers should firstly prepare some examples related to the words that students often use wrongly. For instance, the explanation of the word “干脆” maybe “simple”. Then, students will make mistakes like “今天的作业很干脆”. Therefore, more situations should be set to explain this word.

Besides, teachers can also explain the words meaning by put them into the real language environment. Teachers in Chinese language school can set specific language environment by using the things that the students are familiar or they have experienced. It is important because it is closely related to the practical use of the language.

In order to explain the words meaning clearly, teachers can also consider the aspect of pragmatic. The language teaching attaches much importance to the practical use. However, when students learn Mandarin Chinese, they may know the meaning but fail to know the special pragmatic conditions to use those words. Therefore, teachers should tell them how to use the words in specific conditions.

In total, there are six techniques for teaching new words are explained above. During the teaching, teachers can use them properly to explain the meanings of new words to students as a help.

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Martine | France

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I really enjoy this place because we have private lessons. I took the 6-hour program, 4 hours in the morning, 2 in the afternoon. Even though it is quite a lot, the teaching is complimentary. This is very helpful because I could review what I did before and learn new things. My 2 teachers are fantastic. We live in the school, so it is convenient. It is interesting to me to meet people from all over the world.

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I’ve had a really great time here. I’ve studied a lot with my teacher who was fantastic. Keats School tried very hard to match its students with really good teachers that their personality works very well together. I really enjoy the school and I will definitely come back.

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I found Keats to be very good, teachers are excellent, and really take the students seriously. Kunming is a great city. The environment is awesome, no pollution. The air quality is great, good weather. People here are very friendly. I come to take classes every day. I feel comfortable studying at Keats. I learned so much things, although I only studied at Keats for 2 months. I am really satisfied with my teacher. For us foreigners, Keats is really a great help. Therefore, I would highly recommend Keats to all of you.

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Robert | Netherlands

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Since last semester, we started studying Chinese at Keats. It was the best choice we can ever make. It is a really good school. The classes are a lot of fun, you learn a lot, but very interactive, so you talk a lot which means it is not just books and writing. Kunming is a really pleasant city to live, especially if you compare it to other cities in the east. If you like to travel, if you like to study Chinese in a fun way, Keats is the place for you.

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I have 2 teachers, and I do 4 hours a day. So I have got Dong Laoshi and Jin Laoshi. Both of them are very good. They made the experience very nice to me. They are willing to help you whenever, so if you ever have a question here, the teachers are always there to help you whether it is visas, whether it is getting around the city. Everyone wants to talk to you.

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Du Wenyu | Netherlands

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So during my first week at Keats, I didn’t dare to speak any Chinese words. I found out that my Chinese level quickly improved since then. Although I have many options to study in China, for example some other schools have homestay, I found I could immerse myself and fully focus on learning Chinese by staying at Keats.

Jade | UK & Mauritius

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I think the learning environment here is great. The teaching methods are also very interactive and fun. What I particularly enjoy here is the fact that my teacher does not stick to the textbook. We spend a lot of time discussing general topics, such as Chinese culture, world news, typical expressions used by local people. We also discuss social and economic topics.

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