Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

Enhancing Chinese Literacy Skills through Drama Activities: A Case Study of Mandarin Chinese for Beginners’ Course at the University of Nottingham

Sujing Xu, The University of Nottingham (United Kingdom)


One of the persistent challenges for Mandarin Chinese learners of beginners' level in Europe is orthography. Reading and writing Chinese characters is vastly different from their native languages. Writing in Chinese is widely considered a very challenging task and learners often feel they lack sufficient vocabulary and are unfamiliar with common sentence structures. In order to enhance learners’ Chinese writing skills in a more comprehensive fashion I have adopted the 'process writing approach' which includes the stages of pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and final product. More specifically, I task learners taking the course Mandarin for Beginners at the University of Nottingham to complete a number of creative writing tasks, such as story writing and play script writing. This article starts with a review of the literature on how to integrate drama activities into a language classroom and its professed effectiveness of enhancing writing skills. In the main part and using my course Mandarin for Beginners as a case study I discuss how I have been implementing a play script writing project. Here I also address the issue of scaffolding and the importance of adopting a project-based learning approach in formative assessments. The article ends with reflections and recommendations for future practice.

Keywords: Writing skills, process writing approach, drama activities, project based learning.

[1] Kokotsaki, D. & Menzies, V. & Wiggins, A. (2016). Project-based learning: A review of the literature. Accessed at on 2 June 2019
[2] Pritchard, R.J. & Honeycutt, R. L (xx). The Process Approach to Writing. Instruction: Examining Its Effectiveness. Accessed at on 30 May 2019


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