Friday, January 7, 2011

Chinese Calligraphy and the Teaching of Chinese Language 书法与华文语文教学

Is it true that it is a non-brainer to consider Chinese calligraphy an effective tool for teaching of Chinese language?

Learning Chinese language is by no means an easy task, whereas learning to write Chinese characters is probably the most difficult aspect facing all the students learning the language, in particular, the beginning students. The fundamental problem underlying the learning of Chinese character handwriting is due to the fact that Chinese is not a phonetic language — there is no necessary relation between the pronunciation and the physical appearance of a character. In other words, a Chinese character consists of a number of strokes that, unlike the roman alphabets, by themselves do not represent phonemic values.
There are thousands of different Chinese characters, and the only way to learn them is by memorization and constant practice. It is also proposed that effective teaching should incorporate cultural meanings into the instructional content, encouraging students to make associations among character elements, whole characters, and cultural connotations.
Chinese Calligraphy is seen as useful for reinforcing character recognition and writing. This is because when it is introduced to students as a form of fine arts, it entertains as well as effectively engages, motivates, and inspires them.

However, in order to be an effective teaching tool, the Chinese calligraphy must adopt the Simplified writing system which means it must
1. include the Simplified script, a script that is currently being taught in schools, and
2. follow the writing and reading habits that are being practised by the students.
And it is exactly on these two counts that the current form of Chinese calligraphy fails to be an effective tool for teaching of Chinese language.

One may say that the aim is to cultivate the students’ art appreciation and introduce them the Chinese culture rather to help them in learning Chinese language. However, the main concern is whether it has negative effect on Chinese language learning. Ideally, it should serve both purposes of art appreciation and language learning. This is exactly why there is a need to introduce the New Chinese Calligraphy Style to schools.





No comments:

Post a Comment