Related Resources

[BSC] = Kubler, Cornelius C. Basic Spoken Chinese: An Introduction to Speaking and Listening for Beginners. Tuttle Publishing, 2011. ISBN: 9780804840156.

[BSC PE] = Kubler, Cornelius C., and Yang Wang. Basic Spoken Chinese Practice Essentials: An Introduction to Speaking and Listening for Beginners. Tuttle Publishing, 2011. ISBN: 9780804840149.

Before Class

  1. View the video 2–3 times from beginning to end without stopping. Don’t be concerned if there is much you don’t understand. The goals for this stage are to become aware of the context and to familiarize yourself with the new linguistic and cultural material. [approx. 10 min.]
  2. Drill intensively with the audio disc. First, you’ll hear the Basic Conversation for listening practice; then you’ll hear the Build Up. Every lesson also includes Supplementary Vocabulary, which you should practice and learn before coming to class (it will be included on tests and exams). Some lessons also have Additional Vocabulary, but this is optional and won’t be tested. Repeat the words and sentences in the Build Up and Supplementary Vocabulary out loud during the pauses provided. Refer to the textbook as needed for meanings. Drill all the material for the new lesson at least 2–3 times. The last time, drill with your book closed; if you can’t yet repeat correctly and fluently without looking at your textbook, then you need to spend more time drilling with the audio disc. [approx. 30 min.]
  3. Study the Grammatical and Cultural Notes for the lesson, paying special attention to those notes that are preceded by a heading in orange print, which indicates they’re major topics deserving special attention. [approx. 30 min.]
  4. View the video again. If there are still parts you don’t understand, stop, check on the DVD or in your text what the Chinese and meaning are, and replay that part of the video before continuing. [approx. 5 min.]
  5. Memorize thoroughly the Basic Conversation, which you’ll be asked to perform in class the next day. When memorizing it, listen again to the audio recording if you’re unsure how to pronounce something. It can be dangerous to memorize the conversation only from the Pinyin, since you may be mispronouncing parts of it. [approx. 30 min.]
  6. (Optional step) To strengthen and test your mastery of the basic conversation, on the DVD select “Chinese Speaker” and play the video. You’ll hear only the Chinese speaker’s portion of the Basic Conversation. Play the role of the American. After you’ve done this 2–3 times, choose “American Speaker” and reverse the process. You can also mute the entire audio track and try to supply both speakers’ lines. Continue until you can perform both speakers’ roles fluently.
  7. When you perform the Basic Conversation in class, you’ll receive a grade based on these four factors: Pronunciation (including tones), accuracy, fluency, and body language (facial expressions, posture, body movements). The grading scale is indicated in the syllabus.

When You Come To Class

Always bring your [BSC] textbook to class. Don’t forget to bring any homework that is due that day.

After Class

1. In [BSC PE], do the two Listening Comprehension Exercises for the lesson you practiced in class today and hand them in in class the next day. The Listening Comprehension Exercises are on the disc that accompanies [BSC PE], and the answer sheets are in [BSC PE] starting on p.155. If the exercise you need happens to be printed on the back side of a sheet that hasn’t been returned to you yet, there are printable pdf files on the disc. [approx. 15 min.]

2. Frequently you will be assigned to do the Translation Exercise for the lesson you practiced in class today in [BSC PE]. The Translation Exercises are in [BSC PE] starting on p. 205. Again, if the exercise you need is on the back side of a sheet that hasn’t been returned yet, printable pdf files are available on the CD. [approx. 15 min.]

[BWC] = Kubler, Cornelius C. Basic Written Chinese: An Introduction to Reading and Writing for Beginners. Tuttle Publishing, 2012. ISBN: 9780804840163.

[BWC PE] = Kubler, Cornelius C., and Jerling Guo Kubler. Basic Written Chinese Practice Essentials: An Introduction to Reading and Writing for Beginners. Tuttle Publishing, 2012. ISBN: 9787512337039.

Before Class

  1. In [BWC], read the explanation of the first character in the “New Characters and Words” section of the new lesson. Then remove the corresponding Character Practice Sheet (simplified characters) from [BWC PE] and write the entire character in each empty box until all the boxes for that character have been filled. Write slowly and carefully, referring back often to the stroke direction and stroke order of the models. Use either no. 2 pencil or black or blue pen. As you write the character, say its pronunciation out loud and think of the meaning. You may find it helpful to write the Pinyin and basic English meaning of the character to the left of the large character on the Character Practice Sheet. In this manner, work your way through the six new characters of the lesson. [approx. 20 min.]
  2. Memorize the six new characters of the lesson and also all the new words in the “New Characters and Words” and “New Words Written with Characters You Already Know” sections of [BWC]. One good way to memorize characters is to take a folded sheet of paper, cover up the characters and Pinyin and, looking only at the English, test yourself to see if you can write the characters and say the Chinese from memory. If you get a character or word wrong, write it and say it 5 times and test yourself again. With a pencil, put a small “x” by those words you keep getting wrong and single them out for special attention. In this manner, work your way through all the new characters and words. There will be a brief dictation quiz on the new characters and words at the beginning of the [BWC] class. [approx. 20 min.]
  3. Important: Read the Reading Exercises out loud by working with the audio disc and be sure to know what you are reading. You will be asked to read the sentences / dialogues in class and answer questions based on the contents. Also, study the Notes at the end. [approx. 40 min.]

When You Come To Class

Always bring your [BWC] textbook to class. It’s not necessary to bring [BWC PE] to class.

After Class

  1. When assigned, in [BWC PE], do parts A, B or C of the Reading and Writing Exercises for the lesson(s) we worked on in class that morning and hand them in in class the next day. To do Part A, you’ll need to listen to the audio disc that accompanies [BWC PE].
  2. Turn in the Character Practice Sheet in class the next day.

For MIT Students Interested in Working or Teaching Abroad

  1. The MIT China Program, one of the MISTI (MIT Science and Technology Initiative) programs, sponsors students working or teaching in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore for a summer, six months, or a school year.
  2. CETI (Chinese Education and Technology Initiative), a student-run group affiliated with MISTI China, sponsors students teaching high-school students science and technology over the summer.

For MIT Students Interested in Studying Abroad?

Check out the Global Education Office website for opportunities and scholarships for studying Chinese.

Course Info

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