所史新聞

中文教材與華語教學

Materials and Pedagogy for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language

  正當全球性的經濟不景氣瀰漫著世界各角落、各行各業之際,學術界也難免被波及。根據今(七十一)年六月十四日美國「星期周刊」(四十七頁)的專文報導,全美各大學的研究所博、碩士班,正面臨了一次空前的「大學人才外流」(The College Brain Drain)危機。哈佛大學四年級畢業的特優生在一九六四年申請進入研究所進修的比率是百分之七十七,而去(一九八一)年卻降至百分之三十一。「高等教育後援財團」(Consortium on Financing Higher Education)也指出,在一九七二至一九八零年間,研究所人文科系的申請案,從(畢業生的)百分之四十三降低到百分之三十二。為挽回這種高等教育的頹勢,芝加哥的一個教授團建議擴張研究所教育的範圍及實用性,其中包括政治及外國語文的加強。為了配合這項新目標,普林斯頓大學的威爾遜國家基金(Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation),正在運用二千四百萬美元的經費,提供給從事人文與社會科學的研究生,以鼓勵他們申請進入研究所-包括從事外國語文之研究與學習。

  星期周刊的這項加強人文科學研究的報導,對於全球各地從事華語教學的人士來說,並不令人驚奇,因為早在六、七年前,全世界各地學習中文的熱潮,即普遍地高漲。筆者在拙文「放眼看美國大學的中文熱」(七十一年六月八-十一日中副)、及「中文教材何處覓」(七十一年五月一日中央日報「晨鐘」)二文中,已將這些潛在的因素,及未來的展望,做了詳細而客觀的分析。然而,隨著愈趨震撼性的中文學習狂熱之升高,以及美國各基金會開始資助外語(尤其是華語)研究之際,我們發現了四項不可忽略的事實:

   一、「新橋」對子女的華文學習非常重視。他們一方面在僑居地成立中文學校,一方面接送子女回自由祖國學習國語。光是今年的「美加營」(限十八歲至二十三歲)就有四百五十七人之眾。

   二、新加坡政府正由美國各地禮聘中國語言、文化學者,極力設計中、小學的華語教材與課程。這是一項長期的「語言計畫」(Language Planning)。

   三、中共也利用各種途徑,及我們中華民國成功的「華語教學」模式,廣招英美(尤其是美國)青年赴大陸「留學」。他們以大批人力編纂教材,至將原來的「語文中心」由十處擴充為目前的四十處(外國的大陸來客提供),極力拉攏美國學生。

   四、中華民國的臺北已經成為外國人學習國語與中國文化最嚮往的地方。美國前芝加哥 報時報記者雷文和(Albert Ravenholt)也於今年五月,在香港語重心長地告訴刻正在宇宙學府輪上講學的筆者說:「中華民國的台灣,是當今世界上真正維繫中華文化的重鎮。」

  面對著這四項事實,我們一方面為世界各國對華語教學的重視而興奮,一方面卻也為中文教材的普遍缺乏而憂心。本(七)月回國參加國建會的文化教育小組學者,趙沛明、徐淮、朱寶興三位先生,曾呼籲政府「重視及加強對海外新橋子女之華文教育」(見七月二十四日中央日報)。這是海外華人共同的心聲。而舉凡在海外談到華文教育時,教材的缺乏,都是大家探討的主題。若能系統化地編寫各類中文教材,配合以優良的師資,以有關單位的行政支援,則海外的華語教學必能更順利地推展。新加坡正在起步的「語言計畫」可作為我們的借鏡。

  師大國語中心在自給自足的現況下,獨立從事華文教材的編纂與推廣,不遺餘力。有前主任吳奚真教授所付出的心血和貢獻,才有今天的基礎和成果。在華文教材的編纂方面,除了師大、國語日報語文中心、中華語文學院外,極具特色的兩個機構是陽明山上的「美國在臺協會華語學校」,及設於台大校區內的「美國各大學語文聯合研習所」(簡稱「史丹福中心」)。前者的校長為康乃爾大學出身的顧百里博士(Dr. Cornelius C. Kubler);史丹福中心的主任為麻州大學的亞洲語文系主任鄧守信博士。顧、鄧二先生均為年輕而幹勁十足的學者,與筆者同行同道,又常在語言學會中碰面。因而也順理成章地在華語教學工作上,有志一同地努力。兩所學校與師大國語中心不斷地交流教材、交換教學經驗、方法、測驗技術等心得。為了進一步推動華語教學的工作,我們於今年三月九日在陽明山華語學校舉辦了「華語教學法觀摩會」,由顧百里主持。與會的三校華語教師有四十餘人之多。七月十五日由史丹福中心在台大第七號館舉辦「華語測驗」研討會,會中鄧所長並邀請國語日報語文中心,及中華語文學院代表參加,純粹是大臺北區的華文教學研討會。

  有鑑於國內外華文教材之普遍缺乏,師大國語中心將於今天(八月六日)下午在綜合大樓國際會議廳,舉辦「中國語文教材編纂」研討會,邀請上述各單位參加。由於師大、史丹福中心、和在台協會華語學校一向熱心地相互交換教材及交流教學法,此次藉研討會而集思廣益,必能為國內外華語教學界教材缺乏的問題,提出一些具體的解決方案,以供大家參考。

  此次研討會的另一特色,是舉辦「華語教材」展覽。史丹福中心、在臺協會華語學校、師大、中華語文學院、國語日報語文中心、耶魯大學、西東大學、日本各大學,以及臺北各熱心的書局,將展出專供外國人士使用的中文教材。這是國內外從事華語教學的工作者,第一次大膽的嘗試。雖然我們不敢抱著太大的期望,但面對著全球各地華文教學的蓬勃,我們深信中文教材編纂的努力,必然有助於未來海內外華文教育的推廣。

  這一系列以華文教育為中心主題的研討會,提供了大家互切互磋之機會。難得的是幾位中心的負責人都是專攻語言學及語文教學的學者,對於推動華文教育均不遺餘力。在這眾人齊心努力的同時,我們希望政府有關單位也能同時注意及這個影響國際外交的「華文教育」問題。雖然目前我們仍然居於領先的地位,然而,以有限的力量與支援,勢難永保長期的優勢。但願這三次研討會能發揮拋磚引玉之功,而將來能有更具體的大規模作業,聚合全球各地熱心華文教育的工作者,在中文教材與教學法上,為我們海外的華人子弟、友邦的熱心人士,提供更完善的華語教學設施、方法、與教材。

 

  Just as the world's economic recession pervades into every corner of the world and into every profession, the academic world cannot avoid also being affected. According to a publication from USA Weekly on June 14th, 1982, all of America's PHD and Master's programs are facing an unprecedented crisis known as "college brain drain." In 1964, 77% of fourth-year undergraduate honors students from Harvard University applied to graduate school for further education. However, last year (1981), that ratio had dropped to 31% percent. The Consortium on Financing Higher Education has also pointed out that between 1972 and 1980, the percent of graduate school applications in the humanities department has dropped from 43% to 32%. In order to boost the declining interest in higher education, a group of teachers from Chicago has suggested broadening the range of graduate programs and increasing their practicality. Two of the subjects receiving special emphasis include political science and foreign languages. In addressing this new objective, Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is using $24 million in funds to support graduate students wishing to pursue humanities and the social sciences. The foundation hopes to encourage these students to apply for graduate school—including the research and study of foreign languages.

  USA Weekly's report on bolstering research in liberal arts came as no surprise to those who engage in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL). They believe the fervor for learning Chinese has already risen sharply in the past six or seven years. In my previous articles "Looking at the Chinese Fervor in American Universities" (Central Daily News Supplement June 8th-11th, 1982) and "Where to Find Chinese Teaching Materials" (Central Daily News May 1st, 1982), I gave a detailed and objective analysis of both the potential reasons for this fervor as well as the prospects for the future of Chinese studies. However, in the wake of a shockingly rapid increase in both the interest for Chinese Studies and also the financial support from various American foundations for foreign languages (especially Chinese), we have discovered four phenomena that cannot be ignored.

  First, new Chinese immigrants to America care deeply for their children's Chinese studies. They often establish Chinese schools in areas where many Chinese immigrants reside, while also shuttling them back to "Free China"[1] to study Chinese. In this year's "America and Canada Camp"[2] (for students from 18 to 23 years of age) alone, 457 people participated.

  Second, the Singaporean government has cordially invited scholars of Chinese Language and Culture from the U.S. to come design teaching materials and curriculums for their elementary and secondary schools. This project has been dubbed a long term "Language Plan."

  Third, the Chinese Communist party, through various means and adopting the successful "Chinese Teaching Model" of the Republic of China, has recruited youth from England and America (particularly America) to study abroad on the mainland. With vast human resources, they have compiled new teaching materials and even expanded from ten Chinese centers to the current forty (according to accounts from foreign visitors to mainland China) in an effort to attract American students.

  Fourth, the ROC's Taipei has become the most desirable place for foreigners to study Chinese culture and language. In May of this year, while I was lecturing on the S.S. Universe as it docked in Hong Kong, Albert Ravenholt, a former journalist for the Chicago Times, earnestly told me he believes that "The Republic of China has  played a key role in maintaining Chinese culture."

  In light of these four phenomena, on the one hand we are excited other countries of the world have started to place importance on TCFL. On the other hand, we are worried about the general lack of Chinese teaching materials. This month (July), a small group of scholars of cultural education went back to Taiwan to attend the National Development Seminar. Voicing a common aspiration of overseas Chinese, members of the group, Mr. Pei-Ming Zhao, Mr. Huai Xu, and Mr. Bao-Xing Zhu made an appeal to the government to, "Value and strengthen the Chinese language education of the children of overseas Chinese immigrants." (Central Daily News July 24th). However, whenever Chinese language education comes into the discussion, the lack of teaching materials is the main topic. If Chinese teaching materials of various topics can be systematically compiled and matched with excellent teachers and administrative support from the relevant government organizations, then the implementation of overseas Chinese language education can certainly be carried out more smoothly. In this respect, we can learn from Singapore's startup "Language Plan."

  The self-sufficient Mandarin Training Center (MTC) at NTNU has spared no effort in both writing and promoting Chinese teaching materials. The painstaking effort by Professor Xi-Zhen Wu, the former head of the program, has helped set the foundation we see today. In addition to NTNU, the Mandarin Daily News Language Center, and the Taipei Language Institute, two other unique institutes have contributed to the compiling of Chinese teaching materials, namely the American Institute in Taiwan Chinese Language and Area Studies School (AIT) on Yangmingshan and NTU's Inter-University Program for Chinese Language (IUP). Dr. Cornelius C. Kubler, graduate of Cornell University, is the director of the AIT, while Shou-Hsin Teng, the director of the Asian Language Program at Massachusetts University, is the director of IUP. Both young and avid scholars, Kubler and Teng's profession and ideals match mine and we often come across each other at language association meetings. Thus, it made sense that we maintained a common goal in our work in TCFL. AIT and IUP collaborate with NTNU's MTC in exchanging learning materials, experiences, teaching methods, and testing techniques. In order to further stimulate work in TCFL, on March 9th of this year, Professor Kubler headed a "Chinese Pedagogy Exchange Seminar" at the AIT school on Yangmingshan. There were more than forty teachers from the three schools. On July 15th, the Stanford Center (a nickname for IUP) at NTU held a "Chinese Language Test Seminar" at Building No. 7. Director Teng invited representatives from the Mandarin Daily News Language Center and the Taipei Language Institute. Attendees of the seminar came from the greater Taipei area.

  In response to the lack of Chinese language teaching materials both inside and outside the country, NTNU will hold a seminar entitled "Compilation of Chinese Pedagogical Materials" this afternoon (August 6th) in the international conference room of the General Building. Amongst those invited are the institutes mentioned above. Seeing as NTNU, the Stanford Center, and AIT have always enthusiastically exchanged teaching materials and shared teaching methods, holding a seminar to pool everyone's wisdom will certainly help in finding concrete solutions to the general lack of Chinese teaching materials, to which everyone can later refer.

  Another special feature of this seminar is the "Chinese Teaching Material Exposition." The Stanford Center, AIT, NTNU, Taipei Language Institute, Mandarin Daily New Language Center, Yale University, Seton Hall University, several Japanese universities, and other passionate Taipei publishing houses, will present Chinese teaching materials written specifically for foreigners. It is the first time both foreign and domestic Chinese language teachers have made this brave attempt. While we are hesitant to place too many expectations on this project, we still deeply believe that, in facing a rise in global Teaching of Chinese as a Second Language, the effort put forth in writing Chinese teaching materials can help in promoting Chinese language education across the world.

  These series of seminars, with themes centered on Chinese learning, have given everyone a chance to discuss and exchange ideas. It is rare that some of the directors from the Chinese language centers are experts in linguistics and language pedagogy, and they have also put forth every effort in promoting TCFL. As everyone works together, we hope the relevant government authorities also place more attention on this topic which affects international diplomacy. Even though we are currently at the forefront of the issue, with such limited strength and aid, it will be difficult to maintain this momentum. We hope these three seminars can encourage other capable experts to join us in advancing this field. We also wish to have more specific plans that can be carried out on a larger scale. In doing so, we hope to call together all those working in Chinese language education to assist in refining Chinese teaching materials and methods, and to provide better facilities, learning strategies, and resources for both overseas Chinese and foreigners passionate about learning Chinese.

 

[August 6, 1982 / Central Daily News / Page 10]

 

[1] "Free China" is a term used after 1949 when the Chinese Nationalist Party left mainland China and fled to Taiwan. Here the term refers specifically to Taiwan in contrast to mainland China, which was then governed by the Chinese Communist Party.

[2] Also known as the "Overseas Compatriot Youth Formosa Study Tour to Taiwan" or also "Love Boat." (Wikipedia, retrieved March 3, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Boat_(study_tour))

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