The CLS immersion program has been offering Chinese in the summer for over twenty-five years. We take a communicative, fast-paced approach to language training with students covering all five skills of language study—speaking, listening, reading, writing, and culture. In first-year Chinese, students learn traditional characters as a foundation for all subsequent Chinese study. Students in second- through fourth-year Chinese may choose to continue learning traditional characters or switch to simplified ones. Students in second- through fourth-year Chinese may choose to continue learning traditional characters or switch to simplified ones.
While our summer intensive Chinese language courses offer students many opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom to practice listening and speaking skills, significant amounts of time are spent teaching the other two, equally important, skills—reading and writing. Learning to write and read Chinese characters is not limited to the narrow confines of language study, but has the ability to open up doors to broad areas of Chinese culture. For over three thousand years, Chinese characters have played and continue to play a significant role in Chinese culture through art, literature, history, politics, anthropology, and society. Click here to see what our Chinese instructor from summers 2008 and 2011-2013 had to say about her class.
One of the clear advantages of our program, and one which students consistently value highly, is the daily interaction that they have with their instructors. The Chinese instructors, much like their students, leave their families and homes behind in order to teach at Beloit, and they have decided to do so with one purpose in mind—to help their students gain a year’s worth of language training in eight weeks. Time spent in the classroom is one of the most valuable aspects of our program; however, instructors do far more than teach. They live in the same residential halls with the students, share lunch and dinner with them at the Chinese language tables, provide outside tutorial sessions in the evenings, and participate actively in the Chinese cultural programs and events.
Li Li was the senior instructor for third-year Chinese during our summer 2008 session, and fourth-year Chinese during our summer 2011-2013 sessions. Here she shares a few thoughts about teaching an advanced language class at Beloit:
We used two textbooks in two months. In the first month, I focused on vocabulary teaching. There are some different methods of teaching vocabulary, and basically I introduced usages and grammatical points. I also adopted some other methods, such as differentiating parasynonyms, expanding morphemes, adding up some translations, etc.
In the second month, we began to use another more difficult textbook, of which both the text and the vocabulary were at a higher level than what was in the first textbook. The second textbook was mainly concerned with such topics as scholars’ viewpoints on Chinese culture and traditional society at the beginning of 20th century.