Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

Out of Comfort Zone – Learning Chinese in Chaos

Hu Lung-Lung, Media and Humanities, Dalarna University (Sweden)


Mandarin Chinese has become a very important language global-wise, even the department of education of Sweden has made it a second language in middle and high schools, and my task as a language teacher is to help students not learn but, ideally speaking, “merge” with the Chinese to make Chinese as their own language. Therefore, how to realize this idea has been a challenge to me.

Since stage 3 courses (In stage 1 and 2 courses at DU, students, as beginners or only have learnt Chinese for one term, are taught with patterns, grammars, and phrases to speak and write structured and meaningful sentences, as well as short articles) I will ask students to do presentations and activities about some topics, which are related to but not bounded by textbook, which can stimulate students’ self-directory learning. Students, based on the learning materials in the textbook, need to learn by themselves. During such process, students will be able to apply knowledge they can find in the textbook as the pre-understanding to acquire knowledge external to the textbook and then reach a new understanding. (In Robert Han Jauss’s word: horizon of expectation) In so doing language applications based on old knowledge for describing and understanding is extended by studying new materials on their own.

In this presentation, I will explain my method of how I make Chinese as students’ own language by comparing two of my stage 3 courses – Oral Proficiency 3 (Debate) and Integrated Chinese 3:  in integrated Chinese 3 I utilize a psychological effect that makes students balance the feeling of being secured and the feeling of being chaotic (one course has textbook to follow they feel that everything is in control and oriented; and another course has no textbook that makes students feel that this course is chaotic even if this course may have been deliberately designed and structured). I will also explain how students, based on the balance of two contradictory feelings, are more certain, voluntary, and not intimated to deal with something beyond their reach during language activities since they have already had something in reach.



Self-directory Learning; Horizon of Expectation; Psychological Effect


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