the international language association

Chinese for Europeans

This project, which should be of great benefit for all ICC member organizations offering or considering offering courses in Chinese, started in January 2011 and was completed in summer 2013. The aim of the project was to bring the Chinese language and culture closer to various groups of people. There are five self-study modules starting with “Chinese for You” – an introductory module with basic general information about the Chinese language, the signs and sounds, together with important words and phrases for initial social contacts. The four modules designed for the four target groups, i.e. children at around the age of 10-11, students, tourists and business people, focus on the language needs of the specific group, and are intended to take learners to a level approximating to A1 (CEFR).

These modules are complemented with an Information Pack entitled “Things to Know Before You Go” providing essential background and intercultural information, all the materials being available in as many as 23 (!) different European languages. The six partners in the project are from five European countries – Poland, Belgium, Britain, Italiy and Lithuania, the coordination being in the hands of Mescomp Technologies S.A. based in Warsaw. All other information on the project as well as the four modules are available on the project website www.chinese4.eu.

For ICC members this project has high potential. The modules can be easily integrated as a ‘bolt-on’ for any course, regardless of the age group. Equally they can be used as an additional self-study option and because of the audio materials provided are very suitable for classroom use.

In addition there are some interesting features that can help to enhance normal classroom procedures by means of different ways of delivering materials. For instance, the calligraphy workshop in the children’s module, the use of e-mailing, the App for the tourist module so that tourists can simply refer to their smartphone instead of walking round with a notebook.

The acceptance of the course has been far higher than expected. For example, the number of hits has been ten times higher than anticipated and there are stakeholders from a number of countries (cf. website) supporting and endorsing the materials.

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