Teach and Learn Chinese Characters
with Technology: A Method that Works

by Der-lin Chao

[December 2, 2005]


Finding the most effective ways to teach and learn Chinese characters is a challenge faced by beginning-level instructors and students. Training to become fluent in character recognition is the first step students must take if they want to read Chinese texts and to achieve an advanced level of literacy in Chinese. To help students overcome their difficulties in learning the Chinese writing system, and to make texts composed in formal Chinese more accessible to students, it is essential that researchers and educators recognize the role and value of character instruction in the process of learning Chinese as a second language, from beginning through advanced levels of literacy development.

Beginning students should be provided with systematic instruction in character formation methods, strokes, stroke order, character components (especially radicals), and ways to facilitate memorization of characters. Furthermore, character instruction should not be restricted to merely acquiring these mechanical skills; instead, Chinese language teachers should incorporate an overall understanding of the historical development of Chinese scripts and its role in Chinese culture, art, and contribution to world civilizations. This presentation will introduce and demonstrate A New Multimedia Course in Learning Chinese Characters. These technology-enhanced materials will help students overcome their difficulties in learning the Chinese writing system and help them to achieve the advanced level of literacy needed to read Chinese texts.




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