AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Scaffolding Chinese teaching and learning

by Lan Zhou

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Year: 2013
Keywords: Thesis (M.Ed. (Hons.)) – University of Western Sydney, 2013; language and languages; study and teaching; Chinese language; second language acquisition; ; ;
Record ID: 1036138
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/543665


Scaffolding is an important part of language teaching and learning. It is a metaphor for a dynamic process intended to enable teachers to solve their problems of having students learn a second language. However, there is little research into how teachers can scaffold the teaching/learning of Chinese by second language learners in English speaking countries. The research project reported in thesis explores different kinds of scaffolding to determine which might be useful for making Chinese learnable, by having students use their L1 (English) to learn the L2 (Chinese), the target language. In order to find the answers to the research questions, a self-study narrative inquiry was employed as the main research method. The data were collected from interviews, documents, reflection journal and questionnaires. Through the analysis of this data set, it is argued that three types of scaffolding are useful for making Chinese learnable by L2 learners, namely, music-based scaffolding, sociolinguistic-activity-based scaffolding and pattern-based scaffolding. This thesis presents a range of evidence about these three modes of scaffolding. Music-based scaffolding was used to with Kindergarten to Year 3 students to promote their Chinese language learning. Second, sociolinguistic-activity-based scaffolding made it possible for students in Year 4 to Year 6 to practise Chinese as an everyday sociolinguistic activity and develop their own self-scaffolding for learning Chinese. Third, like other forms of scaffolding, pattern-based scaffolding was used to reduce Year 4 to Year 6 students’ cognitive load when learning the complexities of Chinese, which included a shift from teacher scaffolding to students’ own scaffolding. This thesis provides several evidence-driven models for other teachers of Chinese to draw upon to make Chinese learnable for English speaking students.