The Chinese curriculum is a combination of Chinese language and culture. The language courses range from basic reading and speaking of Chinese to reading ancient Chinese texts and writing essays. High school students are placed according to their prior exposure and proficiency in the Chinese language in four modalities: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
Chinese Language Basic Level
Some of the students in these courses have little or no background in Chinese. Others may be what are called “heritage speakers:” overseas Chinese who are not entirely new to the language and may understand the Chinese that is spoken at home but have little or no literacy. The Chinese Language Basic Level series of courses introduce and reinforce basic literacy skills across the four modalities: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. These courses give a basic overview of different tones and pronunciation, vocabulary, and skills in reading and writing. Students practice their Chinese through teacher-led or group listening and speaking activities. By the end of this level, students are expected to be able to recognize about 500 Chinese words and be able to write at least a few hundred words. Students must take a basic level Chinese language proficiency exam at the end of the course in order to proceed to the next level.
Chinese Language Intermediate Level
The Chinese Language Intermediate Level further develops students’ speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. The goal is to have students reach an intermediate level of proficiency in the language. The language experience is enriched by supplementary materials including videos, newspapers and magazines, and songs as well as Chinese language learning software and online materials. Upon completion of these courses, students should have mastered a vocabulary of about 800 words.
Chinese Language Advanced Level
This course series will continue to build the students’ speaking, reading, and writing skills and take them to a higher level of sophistication in the language. The courses at this level are conduct-ed almost entirely in Chinese. Upon completion of this level, students should have mastered a vocabulary of about 1,500 words and can be considered fluent in the language. Students at this level begin to develop their academic Chinese skills. They read original texts and examine the meaning and impact of their readings within the Chinese cultural tradition.
Classical Chinese Language
This course series focuses on the ancient style of language used in traditional Chinese texts and poetry. Students are considered highly advanced at this stage. They study various examples of classic Chinese literature, such as Journey to the West and Romance of the Three Kingdoms as well as the works of traditional Chinese sages. Emphasis is placed on further refining writing skills so that students may express themselves with clarity and precision in the Chinese language.