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Opinions about Exercises for Students Who Learn Mandarin in China

ZHOU Jian and TANG Ling (2004) thought: “The main text of this lesson is Trying to Take Drugs. At the foundation of learning text, students who learn Mandarin in China have the specific guidance above, which can make them complete the assignment of paragraph expression with words they have learned more easily.” When we are training paragraph expression, this kind of question types are used very often. Coincidently, our view on this question type is contrary to ZHOU Jian’s and TANG Ling’s (2004). No matter it is at spoken class or comprehensive class, we will find that it is very difficult every time when we use this question type. What students who learn Chinese in China write or say has no relations between sentences; the words that have given are also used by them according to the order on text and they dare not to change the order. What causes this difference? Is it because of the different degrees of learners learning Mandarin Chinese? Or it is because of the features of question patterns? Before studying deeply, we can’t get the exact conclusion yet. During the study of exercises, there are many similar questions. And they need researchers urgently to be paid attention to.

Even so, the progress of exercises study is delightful in general. About the following questions, researchers have had consistent opinions:

Exercise should have clear purpose for the students who learn Mandarin Chinese in China . The final purpose of language teaching and exercise design is to train learner’s ability of communicating in target language. However, the final purpose of “training language communication ability” includes a broad range and one specific exercise project can only aim to one or several aspects among the range. In the aspects of confirming, adopting and discarding the exercise purposes, there are many questions worth of discussing.

Exercises should be effective. Ineffective exercises can’t reach the goal and it will be a waste of time to do the exercises. For example, in the training of reading, the exercise of guessing the words’ meanings aims to train the ability of deducing a conclusion from the context. But the exercise will be ineffective, if the context that the exercise Chinese sentence provides is not clear enough to deduce the meaning of the target word.

Discriminate the primary and secondary question types. The discrimination of standing question types and non-standing question types by LI Quan and YANG Rui (1999), the discrimination of basic patterns and other patterns by HU Bo (2000) and the discrimination of main body question types and distributed question types by ZHOU Jian and TANG Ling (2004) are mostly the same. LI Shaolin (2003) discussed this question from the aspect of “the class and distribution of exercise patterns”. He thought that the exercise patterns of teaching materials should be relatively and fixedly used in every lesson to the max. the exercise patterns whose repetition rate is low should be “eliminated”; the class of exercise patterns is suitable to be 10. CHENG Xiangwen (2001) thought that the same exercise patterns whose repetition rate is high will make students who study Mandarin Chinese in China feel bored and influence the teaching effect. Two of the scholars’ opinions are reasonable. One thing which is worth complementing is that every exercise pattern should have special requirement and learners need some time to be familiar with it. Therefore, if exercise pattern changes too frequently, learners will spend more time in adapting to new exercise pattern. Under some situation, this could be a waste of time. Synthesizing the above achievements and referencing the experience of compiling teaching materials, we believe that the number of primary and secondary question types in one teaching material should be kept 15. These question types summarized and concluded, but not just different on the literary. About this point, the thesis will discuss in details in the following part.

Discriminate the in-class exercise and the outside-class exercise. ZHENG Rui (2001) pointed out that when designing exercises, we should consider the practical situation of learning environment and classroom teaching. Overseas students who come to China have many real communication opportunities out of their class and the current classroom teaching emphasizes on the communicating training. Therefore, exercises in teaching materials should focus on language points and emphasize the exercises of words, sentence patterns and

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