University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Global Programs and Strategy Alliance > Confucius Institute

Unit's home page.

Home > Resources for Educators > Professional Development > Lecture Series > Teaching Chinese Characters

Teaching Chinese characters: Linguistic features, cognitive characteristics, and teaching methodology

On March 5, 2010 The Confucius Institute at the University of Minnesota hosted a dinner and lecture by Dr. Helen H. Shen at Central States Conference on Teaching Foreign Languages,
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. The lecture was in Chinese with English language power point.

Lecture description

本报告首先向老师们简单介绍汉语言文字在缀字和字词结构上的特性以及由于这种特性而带来的在汉字词学习过程中认知加工的特点。在此基础上进一步讨论美国学生在学习汉字词时可能面临的认知上的困难。基于上述的讨论,本报告将提出适合中小学教学的有效的汉字词教学的途径和方法并用PPT 和DVD示范几种具体的教学方法。

The presentation started with Dr. Shen briefly explaining the linguistic features of Chinese orthography, which differs fundamentally from English. Then it proceeded to address how the unique linguistic features of Chinese script requirse specific cognitive processes in character learning as well as the cognitive difficulties that English-speaking learners may encounter during their learning. Predicated on the discussion of the linguistic and cognitive traits of learning Chinese characters/words, effective approaches and methods of character/word instruction for k-12 classroom will be proposed and exemplified.

This lecture is available for download [PDF]

About Dr. Helen H. Shen

Helen H. Shen is an Associate Professor of Chinese, Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Iowa. She currently serves as the Coordinator of the Chinese Language Program at the UI. She is also a graduate advisor in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. Dr. Shen's primary research areas are Chinese as a second language acquisition with focus on literacy development including orthographic knowledge development, reading comprehension, assessment, and testing. She has conducted a series of empirical studies in the area of Mandarin literacy acquisition and has published extensively. She has served as the Project Director for a comprehensive Chinese web-reading Program for non-native beginning, intermediate, and advanced learners supported by a Title VI International Research and Studies grant from the US Department of Education. She also is a recipient of the 2010 Startalk Summer Chinese Program for high school students at the University of Iowa. She is the lead author of the two bilingual Chinese textbooks for beginning learners.