Comprehensive Course Syllabus  —  Mandarin Chinese I (WLG 610)

Course Description
In Chinese I students begin to develop proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Mandarin普通话/华语(Putonghua/Huayu), the official spoken language of the People’s Republic of China, the official spoken language of Taiwan, and one of the four official languages of Singapore, will be taught in this course.Topics revolve around the students’ immediate world: introducing self, family, friends, school, interests, hobbies, hometown, and foreign countries. Students build good pronunciation and listening skills, and read simple authentic texts. Students learn Pinyin Romanization system along with the Chinese writing system and progress to recognizing Chinese characters (汉字, hanzi). In addition, students also examine the uniqueness of Chinese culture, using their own culture and experiences to detect cultural differences in and outside of the Chinese speaking world.


  • Name: Yinshun Wang   王老师 (Wang Laoshi)
  • Office Number: A134
  • Telephone number: 630-907-5470
  • Email addresses:

Meeting Days, Time and Room(s)

Section 101 & 103
8:00—8:55 on A/B/C/D days; 12:20—1:15 on A/B/C/D days
Room A156

Office Hours

2:15—4:00 on A?B?C?D days, and 10:00—3:o on I days

You are expected to have:
Voice and video recording equipment, computers equipped with Chinese input capability, a 1.5-inch 3-ring binder, a journal ($1), pens of varied colors.

Essential Content
Level I Mandarin Chinese is organized around the students’ world. It encourages students to communicate on an elementary level on topics that reflect their daily lives. Introductory Level I includes the following topics: “I am …”, “My family is …”, “My friends are …”, “Language”, “At school, I …”, and “During my leisure time, I….”.

SSLs and Outcomes

I.A. Students are expected to demonstrate automaticity in skills, concepts, and processes that enable complex thought by…

  • controlling the linguistic system (syntax, morphology, phonology, semantics, lexis)
  • engaging in oral and written discourse
  • using strategies that enhance the effectiveness of communication
  • applying content knowledge to create with the target language.
  • providing and obtaining information
  • decoding written and spoken language on a variety of topics
  • presenting information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics
  • transferring content knowledge in alternative scenarios and new problems

II. A. Students are expected to identify unexamined cultural, historical, and personal assumptions and misconceptions that impede and skew inquiry by…

  • recognizing that language learning is not simply a word-for-word translation process, but rather the acquisition of an entirely new set of concepts
  • processing information on the nature of language and/or culture
  • identifying patterns among language systems

IV.B. Students are expected to write and speak with power, economy, and elegance by…

  • providing and obtaining information
  • presenting information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics
  • controlling the linguistic system (syntax, morphology, phonology, semantics, lexis)
  • using strategies that enhance the effectiveness of communication
  • engaging in oral and written discourse on given topics
  • recognizing the linguistic and cultural differences that contribute to the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures
  • compensating for linguistic inadequacies and cultural differences when they occur, and applying knowledge of cultural perspectives governing interactions between individuals of different age, status, and background

IV.D. Students are expected to develop an aesthetic awareness and capability by…

  • recognizing that language learning is not a word-for-word translation process, but is the acquisition of an entirely new set of concepts.
  • recognizing that people of other cultures view the world from a perspective different from their own
  • experiencing more fully the artistic and cultural creations of other cultures
  1. Students are expected to identify, understand, and accept the rights and responsibilities of belonging to a diverse community by…
  • recognizing the existence of other peoples’ world views, their unique way of life, and the patterns of behavior which order their world
  • assessing the linguistic and cultural differences that contribute to the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures
  • engaging in oral and written discourse
  • providing and obtaining information
  • expressing feelings and emotions
  • exchanging opinions
  • compensating for linguistic inadequacies and cultural differences when they occur, and applying knowledge of cultural perspectives governing interactions between individuals of different age, status, and background
  • explaining the process of stereotyping and the role stereotypes play in forming and sustaining prejudice
  • demonstrating mutual cultural understanding and respect
  • engaging in meaningful direct interactions with members of other cultures by sharing their knowledge of language and culture

Instructional Design and Approach
World Languages teachers establish an immersion classroom where the goal is communication in the target language with correct, uninhibited, and creative expressions. “Communication” includes speaking, reading, listening, and writing. We denote, and help students to develop skills in, three modes of communication: presentational, interpersonal, and interpretive. Our instructional design provides the opportunity for students to develop core competency learner characteristics. We empower and enable students to discover what they personally need in order to acquire and use a foreign language; we place responsibility on the individual student to collaborate, utilize problem-solving skills, and critical and creative thinking. We ask students to persist through frustration, and to maintain a tolerance for ambiguity; we demand that they look at problematic situations from various viewpoints and perspectives, and we design instruction so that they must develop and go beyond automaticity, actively construct meaning, seek connections and interactions that deepen understanding, and appreciate the value of knowledge from multiple sources and perspectives. We help students develop the cultural sensitivity that is necessary to guard against miscommunication or misunderstanding. We assume that students will display the motivation, maturity, and personal responsibility necessary to participate in this sort of language acquisition environment.

Expectations for students
Students are expected to be in class daily, to be punctual and to be prepared. In our immersion-based classroom, primary emphasis is on comprehension and communication in the target language. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The goal is uninhibited, creative expression and communication in Chinese, stressing a language comprehensible to the native speaker. In addition, students are expected to develop a cultural sensitivity to avoid miscommunication or misunderstanding.

The amount of time outside of class that a student needs to spend in order to acquire proficiency in Chinese varies from individual to individual. A reasonable expectation is 20-30 minutes (e.g. 10-15 minutes on listening/speaking, 10-15 minutes in writing characters) per day. Shorter daily study sessions are much more conducive to language acquisition than one or two longer periods during the week. Active class participation is essential to student success and to the success of the course. Also students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities to be able to practice and reinforce what they have learned in the classroom with so many native Mandarin-speaking students on campus.

Homework is assigned to help students achieve the target proficiency standards – do well in major assessments. You are required to complete the homework. It will not be graded,but quizzes on homework will be graded and recorded in PowerSchool. In addition, completion of designated homework may also be required prior to major assessments/reassessments.

Although students are expected to work collaboratively both inside and outside of the class; most homework assignments are to be completed individually. Please refer to Student Handbook for IMSA academic dishonesty policies.

Bathroom passes: If the student absolutely needs to use one, the student is expected to request politely in Chinese.

The WL team follows the Academy’s attendance policy. In addition to the effect on the attendance records, tardiness and unexcused absences will affect student’s participation grade.

A different Class Leader (班长banzhang) will be assigned each week. The Class Leader will call the class to order at the beginning and have everyone stand by saying, 起立(qi li); followed by 敬礼(jing li). Then the class will bow to the teacher and say, 老师好 (laoshi hao) meaning “Hello Teacher”, after which the Class Leader will tell the class to sit down by saying坐下(zuo xia). This will repeat at the end of class, and instead of greeting the teacher, the class will say, 谢谢老师 (xiexie laoshi) meaning “Thank you, Teacher”, after which the teacher will dismiss the class.

Assessment Practices and Processes
Assessment is an ongoing process of goal setting and measuring involves both the teacher and the student. The teacher provides regular feedback on student performance. Students incorporate the teacher’s feedback to improve their proficiency. Students are encouraged to engage in self-assessment regularly. Emphasis is on continuous efforts to improve language proficiency instead of completion of tactical tasks.

Students are assessed daily on the production of spoken and written language, and on reading and listening comprehension. Summative assessments are held towards the conclusion of each unit.

There are two types of assessment: formative and summative.
Formative assessments are used throughout instructions to provide the teacher and students with the indications of students’ progress. They are given frequently to help you master the necessary skills. In general, there are 20-30 formative assessments per semester. Failure to do well in one quiz will not significantly affect your grade. This approach was designed to allow you to take risks and learn while making mistakes.
Summative assessments are unit tests. They provide evidence on whether you have achieved the unit objectives and targeted proficiency. There are 3 modes of assessments: interpretive, interpersonal and presentational. In each unit, you will be asked to demonstrate your mastery in all three modes. These summative assessments assess what the students can do with language in spontaneous and unrehearsed fashion in terms of speaking, writing, listening, and reading in simulated real-world situations in familiar contexts.

Make-up assessments are given at the discretion of the instructor. Students with unexcused absence will not be entitled to the privilege of make-up exams. Students who miss a test for a valid reason should notify the instructor beforeexam time if at all possible. If a make-up test is appropriate, students should arrange to take a make-up exam as soon as possible within one week of the scheduled time of the exam. Since students taking a make-up exam have the advantage of additional time to prepare, the make-up exam may be somewhat more difficult than the original exam.

Reassessments opportunities are available for students who receive grades less than 70% within two weeks after the test date. There will be requirements to be fulfilled prior to the reassessments, examples are, but not limited to, completions of homework or satisfactory results on highly relevant quizzes. Students will receive 80% of the grade of the reassessment. The maximum grade that students will receive for the reassessments is 80%.

World Language Expectations for End of 1st Year Mandarin Chinese Students

Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Does Not Meet Expectations
ACTFL Proficiency Level Novice Mid (Strong) Novice Mid Novice Low
Power School Grade A/A- B+/B/B- C+/C/C-/D


Type Projected # ofAssignments/Qtr Total %
Formative Homework Quizzes/TingxiesIn-class task-based activities and class participation 6-8 30
Summa Interpretive: listening & reading comprehension 1-2 70
Presentational: oral presentation & writing projects 1-2
Interpersonal: video assessments, interviews 1
Integrated Performance Assessment: a cluster assessment featuring three tasks, each of which reflects one of the three modes of communication–Interpretive, Interpersonal and Presentational 1

Cut-off values for grades:

A  92.5%
A-  90%
B+  87.5%
B  82.5%
B-  80%
C+  77.5%
C  72.5%
C-  70%

Sequence of Topics and Activities

Further explanation, including targeted SSLs, grammar, and vocabulary, will be provided at the start of each unit. Culture is not a separate unit to be studied in isolation. Rather it will be studied and discussed throughout the academic year as it relates to other units.

I am …  我是
basic personal info, numbers, age, dorm address, email address, negations, classroom expressions, four tones, and radicals/base elements.

Essential questions:

  1. Who am I in my Chinese class?
  2. How different is Chinese language to my home language?
  3. How do I survive in my immersion-based Chinese language classroom?

Video Assessment: Greetings (presentational)

My family is 我的家人
he, she, they; family members, professions, basic descriptors, possessives, measure words, ordinal numbers, and Pinyin (Romanization).

Essential questions:

  1. What is a family?
  2. How do Chinese do or celebrate as a family?
  3. What are the differences between Chinese families and American families?

Video Assessment: My Family (interpersonal)

My friends are 我的朋友
physical features, grade level, school height and weight body parts, physical features, state verbs & adjectives for body parts, colors, address, countries, languages, and people.

Essential questions:

  1. Who is your best friend?
  2. Where does (s)he go to school and what grade?
  3. What do I like about him/her?
  4. What are the people at IMSA likes?

Video Assessment: Personal Ad (presentational)

At school I  我在学校
subjects, teachers, classes, class schedule, daily schedule (date/time), classroom procedures, likes/dislikes, and classroom objects.

Essential questions: How do I spend my typical school day? Why do I like/not like my classes and teachers? How do I better prepare for my class? How do I communicate my needs in the classroom? How are schools in China different from ours?

Video Assessment: Chinese student exchange (interpersonal)

During my leisure time, I  我平常喜欢
sports, hobbies, comparisons, interests, frequency and degree.

Essential questions:

  1. How do I spend my time after school?
  2. Do you have free time after school?
  3. How do you spend your free time?
  4. How do Chinese teens do during weekends?

Photo Story: Looking for a penpal (presentational)

Video Assessment: OPI (interpersonal)

To reference IMSA’s World Language Learning Standards: