Chinese Language in Context: Novice Abroad I

You are here

Course Information
Chinese Language
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 
60 hours


Additional student cost: 



This class is intended to be a course in Chinese language as part of IES Abroad Shanghai Program for non-Chinese speaking students who have not taken any Chinese classes before. The lessons encompass contents such as greeting, contacting, eating, clothing, living, as well as about 150 new words and many fundamentals of Chinese grammar. It places emphasis on improving the ability of the learner to use Chinese for communication. Class activities include making dialogues, playing language games, performing skits, outdoor activities, etc. Through these exercises, students will master basic conversational sentences, and on that basis, they will acquire the ability to carry on simple conversations with native Chinese speakers.

Research has demonstrated that study abroad can enhance every aspect of language ability.One of the most important general findings of this research is, however, that study abroad is most beneficial for the development of abilities related to social interaction. Students who go abroad can learn to do things with words, such as requesting, apologizing, or offering compliments, and they may also learn to interpret situations calling such speech acts in ways that people do…In short, and logically, study abroad has been show to enhance the aspects of communicative competence that are most difficult to foster in classroom settings (IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication, p. 6).

Student Profile

This course is designed for students with little or no prior knowledge of the language.

By the end of the course, the successful student will develop a basic foundation in the five skills: intercultural communication, reading, writing, listening and speaking to accomplish a variety of basic everyday needs in the host culture as described in the learning outcomes below.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to achieve the outcomes for the Novice Abroad level as defined by the MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. The key learning outcomes from the MAP are summarized below:

  1. Intercultural Communication
    1. Students will be able to meet basic everyday needs using verbal communication, they will be able to use compensatory strategies when they do not know the word or expression (repetition, body language, etc.), and they will be able to identify some basic non-verbal communication strategies.
    2. Students can recognize basic appropriate and inappropriate expressions and behaviors in the host language.
    3. Students will be able to distinguish between basic representations of formality and informality in the language.
    4. Students will understand that there may be differences between cultural stereotypes and generalizations between the home culture and host culture.
  2. Listening
    1. Students will be able to understand basic statements, requests, descriptions, and questions in specific cultural context relevant to them (hosts’ interactions, Center interactions, studying, shopping, transportation, meals) and given to them in a controlled environment.
    2. Students will be able to use context to understand the gist of some basic spoken language they overhear, including some standard television programs, simple exchanges between others, and basic announcements.
  3. Speaking
    1. Students will be able to use some basic phrases appropriately in some everyday situations (home, the IES Abroad Center, and the local community).
    2. Students will be able to express some basic needs by asking questions, and get what they need in uncomplicated, everyday situations.
  4. Reading
    1. Students will be able to identify and understand basic sentences, as long as they are written in pinyin.
    2. Students will be able to understand a defined set of characters, as long as they are covered in class, and at times deduce others that follow similar patterns.
  5. Writing
    1. With limited accuracy, students will be able to write short sentences and short paragraphs about basic and concrete topics they have studied, such as themselves, their families, their friends, their likes and dislikes, and their daily routines.
    2. Students will be able to send short and basic emails and text messages.
Method of presentation: 

Audio-lingual method and communicative approach, PowerPoint, field trips

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm exam - 10%
  • Final exam - 10%
  • Quizzes and Presentation - 15%
  • Homework - 20%
  • Attendance - 15%
  • Participation - 15%
  • Dictation - 15%


Every day you start with 100 points(including field trips and Chinese class activities).

  • Late within 10 minutes, no deduction from your score.
  • Late between 10 and 30 minutes, 30 points will be deducted.
  • Late over 30 minutes, 50 points will be deducted.
  • The same rule applies to leaving class early.
  • Unexcused absences will result in 0 points, and from the third absence onward, every absence will result in degrading the final course grade by one-third,e.g. from B- to C+.


Every day you start with 100 points (including field trips and other Chinese class activities)

  • If you actively participate in the classes and the class-related activities or field trip, you will receive 100 points.
  • If you do not participate actively, certain points will be deducted accordingly.


A dictation is worth 100 points

  • If you are late or absent, you will probably miss it, and, therefore lose the 100 points.
  • For an absence(with a doctor’s note or center director’s written approval), you can make up the previous dictation with your instructor or the language coordination the same day. However, you will receive, at most, 70 points for a make-up dictation.
  • After the third unexcused absence, that day’s dictation will be 0 points.


Every homework is worth 100 points.

  • If you do it carefully and hand it in on time, you will receive 100 points.
  • If you finish it rashly with a careless attitude, certain points will be deducted accordingly.
  • If you forget to do the homework or hand it in, you are required to hand it in the next day, and you will receive at most 70 points.
  • If you forget to do the homework hand it in more than two days late, you will get 0 points.

Grading System







































Corresponding Learning Outcome(s)

Week 1-2

  1. Functional:
    1. How to greet people
    2. How to introduce oneself
    3. How to address family members
    4. How to read numbers
    5. How to ask about one’s family, age, and looks
  2. Grammatical:
    1. Phonetic rules,finals and initials,tones,neutral tone,Change of tones of “一” and “不”,retroflexion with-r
    2. Questions with “吗(ma)”
    3. Chinese basic sentence structure
    4. Negative sentence
  3. Vocabulary:
    1. Pronouns
    2. Words about countries
    3. Words about family members
    4. Words about identity
  4. Culture:
    1. Culture meaning of some Chinese greeting
    2. Different way to address family members between Chinese and American
  • Role-play
  • Flash card matching activities
  • Sing simple Chinese Children’s song
  • Tone-twister
  • Listen to the recording
  • Homework preview and prepare for the dictation

I. A, D


Ⅲ. A

Ⅳ. A

Week 3-4

  1. Functional:
    1. Talk about the hobbies, interests
    2. Talk about the place and participants of some activity
  2. Grammatical:
    1. Alternative question with “哪(na)+ measure words”
    2. Comparing sentences with “更(geng)”and “最(zui) ”
    3. Turning sentence with “但是(danshi)”
  3. Vocabulary:
    1. Words about hobbies
    2. Words about the time
    3. Some useful prepositions and adverbs
  4. Culture:
    1. Different time schedule between American university students and Chinese students


  • Chinese game: Twister
  • Role-play
  • Make a schedule of one day in Chinese
  • Seminar on Chinese characters
  • Preview and prepare the dictation everyday

I. A


Ⅲ. A, B

Ⅳ. A, B

Ⅴ. A

Week 5-6

  1. Functional:
    1. Talk about time and time for something
    2. Talk about the date and the date for something
  2. Grammatical:
    1. The position of time in a Chinese sentence
    2. Alternative sentence with “还是(haishi)”
    3. Make a suggestion with “吧(ba)”
  3. Vocabulary:
    1. Words about the date
    2. Words about 3 meals and food
    3. Words about the flavors
  4. Culture:
    1. The 8 cuisine in China
    2. Different eating habit between China and America
  • Chinese game: Radish squatting
  • Have lunch in restaurant to practice how to order and ask for service
  • Role-play and teamwork
  • Worksheet every day

I. A, B, D

II. A, B

Ⅲ. A, B

Ⅳ. A, B

Week 7-8

  1. Functional:
    1. Talk about three meals of a day and food
    2. How to order food, drinks
    3. How to ask and tell about one’s experience as well as comments
    4. How to ask the reason
  2. Grammatical:
    1. Structures to make requests
    2. Number+ measure words+ Noun structure
    3. Use “为什么(weishenme,why)”to ask reason
  3. Vocabulary:
    1. Words of the typical Chinese and Western food
    2. Some measure words
  4. Culture:
    1. The order of the Chinese address is different from that in America
  • Words-writing competition
  • Radical matching of Chinese characters
  • Role-play and teamwork
  • Preview and prepare the dictation everyday
  • Homework every day
  • Go to see Chinese Lantern Festival

I. A, B, C

II. A, B

Ⅲ. A, B

Ⅳ. B

Week 9-10


Final Exam

  • Study guide
  • Language activities
Required readings: 
  • Integrated Chinese: Simplified Characters Textbook, Level 1, Part 1 3rd Edition Work book, Cheng & Tsui