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The Elementary Stage of Chinese Language Courses is the Most Important Period of Chinese Learning

Nowadays, more and more people choose to learn Chinese in China, which requires the quality of Chinese language courses to improve and develop successively. During teaching Chinese as the second language of China, it has been a regular way to teach Chinese grammar since the elementary stage. But as for overseas students, Chinese language courses are difficult and Chinese grammar courses are much more difficult, especially for new Chinese learners whose mother tongue is English.

The Chinese language courses of overseas students will be generally divided into three stages, elementary, intermediate and advanced, each of which needs one year, two semesters. The first semester of elementary stage of Chinese language courses is the period for laying foundation of learning and mainly studying speech sounds (pinyin and tones), writing Chinese characters and some simple daily sentences.

At the end of the first semester, overseas students have not had the ability of listening and speaking Chinese. Until the second semester, the comprehensive learning stage of listening, speaking, reading and writing start. Compared with the first semester, the deepness and range of study contents are enlarged. Therefore students will face with the new and tough study difficulty of Chinese language courses. While the major course that carries this burden is the comprehensive Chinese language course, also called “intensive reading class”. Through the teaching of this course, students will not only grasp some vocabulary, but also learn basic grammar knowledge. The purpose of understanding spoken Chinese and communicating with others in words and grammar they have learnt will be reached. And this lays the foundation for the Chinese language courses of the second semester. Therefore, as the whole process of Chinese learning, the most important stage of Chinese learning is the elementary level, while the second semester of the elementary level is the critical period which decides whether the level of their Chinese will be higher or not.

In Chinese language course teaching we found: although the existing teaching textbooks have part of “grammar” in each lesson, the part is non-system, scattered grammar points. Only by learning these grammar points, can students not reach the expected learning goals. How to cover this shortage? Through several years’ teaching experience, the author has explored a words teaching method of “expand words to sentence” for the elementary stage of Chinese language course. That is to teach by expanding words to compound sentences and combine relevant grammar with it. In this way, words and grammar can be taught simultaneously——achieve many things at one stoke. This teaching method has outstanding knock-on effect which can not only help overseas students learn Chinese grammar gradually, but also strengthen their Chinese language sense and the ability of using Chinese language practically.

Here we will talk about some of this teaching method.

Connection: to connect all the new words in one lesson together and make a complete sentence so that students can use them to communicate after learning

For example, new words 踢——verb 足球——noun

Connect them to make a sentence: 麦克 (noun) 踢 (verb) 足球 (noun)。

Collocation: words which are taught should be collocated with certain words. That is to say, they should be set phrases in case students misuse or don’t know how to use them.

Example one, new words 作业——noun

The movement of teacher (verb): 布置→批改→讲评→发——作业 (noun);

The movement of students (verb): 做→交——作业 (noun).

Example two, text: “对”, “向”, “给”, these prepositions all represent objects and they all have relevantly fixed verbs to be collocated with.

Preposition phrase: 向他 (preposition)——学习(verb)


With the help of new Chinese teaching methods, learning Chinese in China will be the first choice of students who are interested in Chinese.

There are also many other teaching methods of “expand words to sentence”, such as extension, comparison and comprehension. Teachers of teaching Chinese as second language should create more practical teaching approaches to help students to learn Chinese more efficiently and easy.



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Rients | Netherlands


Kunming is a great place to learn Chinese because not many Chinese on the street speak English. Keats has been a great school for me and a lot of other foreigners who studied in china recommended it to me. I think they are all right. The study method here is really structured. They make learning Chinese really easy. There are also a lot of cultural and natural places to visit.

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Viktor | Switzerland


My school is amazing. I recommend Keats School because it is a more convenient way to learn Chinese here in Kunming.

Kim | UK


I’ve had an amazing time at Keats. I am amazed of how much I’ve learned over the last 3 weeks and I will be really sad to go. We are already planning on next trip of coming back because we had such fantastic time here. They really tailor the course to you and your individual needs.

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Du Wenyu | Netherlands


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.

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Ben | USA


My first semester that I studied at another school, and the pressure there was pretty high, the classroom hour was long, and the homework was pretty tedious. Since I came to Keats, I found I have a lot more opportunities to speak in the classroom. My classmates all are fluent and love speaking and participating in the class. We have great classroom dynamic.

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Joep | Netherlands


I have been to Keats School for 4 times now. The reasons for coming back to this school is pretty much that the teachers I did work with were very good teachers. I make it a 5-year plan or even 10-year plan to come back to this school.  All the teachers have methods of looking at what your skills are. They are aware of at what level you are. I think it is worth for everyone.

Sanny | USA


I have to say it’s tons of fun. I have been here for 2 weeks. Not knowing what it was gonna be like, I was more than surprised it how great it is. The teachers are great, they are understanding. They do language program that suits just you. The location is perfect for China.

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Hilary | USA


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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