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.
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.
100 - 105A. First-Year Chinese I, II (six semester credit hours each). Students of first-year Chinese receive an intensive introduction to Mandarin. Class sessions establish a solid foundation of conversational, reading, writing, and listening comprehension skills. Traditional characters will be taught. A cultural component is interspersed with the daily language studies.
110A - 115A. Second-Year Chinese I, II (six semester credit hours each). The second-year intensive course is designed for students who have completed one year of formal training (or its equivalent) in both written and spoken Mandarin. Through oral/aural exercises and graded reading sections, the course amplifies the material taught at the beginning level. After a thorough review of basic Mandarin grammatical structures and vocabulary, students add more complex and simplified characters to perfect reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. In the process, students transfer knowledge gained from the character-pattern learning approach of first-year Chinese to work with original Chinese texts drawn from literature, history, politics, and business.
200A - 205A. Third-Year Chinese I, II (six semester credit hours each). A course in conversation and composition, third-year, intensive Chinese increases proficiency in the four language skills, by developing fluency in expression through reading, writing, and speaking Chinese. The course introduces students to a range of authentic materials, including essays, short stories, and newspaper articles in both simplified and complex characters. The course also provides personalized instruction through selected readings in literature and the social sciences.
In past years the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company has visited our campus for educational demonstrations and performances. On the first day of their two day visit, the performers talk to students about their training regimen, demonstrate training exercises, and provide insights into the everyday life of a Peking Opera performer. On the second day, the actors perform excerpts from famous Peking Opera shows. Students are able to watch the performers apply their intricate makeup prior to the performances and ask questions about the Peking Opera.
Students have also traveled to Chicago's vibrant Chinatown to celebrate the Chicago Dragonboat Festival. Held at Ping Tom Park, the festival includes races in replica dragon boats and several Chinese variety performers. Participants also eat lunch and dinner at authentic Chinese restaurants. The excursion culminated with a calligraphy workshop hosted by Andy Chan, the President of the Chinese Artists Association of North America.
Third-year Chinese, Summer 2008
Fourth-year Chinese, Summer 2011-2013
"In summer 2008, I had an opportunity to teach 3rd Year Chinese in the summer program at Beloit College. Here are some points I’d like to summarize about the program.
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. Consequently our discussion became a bit tough. I needed to design and make an outline of in-class discussion, which was based on the text and its context. Moreover the outline should cover some broader questions, so that the discussion could go into more depth. During discussion, guiding students to express properly was the goal that I attended to achieve.
The third thing I’d like to say is that, in my opinion, to review learned vocabulary and grammatical points is of great value. Informed by Hermann Ebbinghaus’s theory, I brought the vocabulary into our class as much as possible and reviewed it in the second day, no matter how difficult it was for me to integrate vocabulary and grammar properly into classroom activities. After class, at the language table, I also talked with students using in-class vocabulary and grammatical points.
Besides these things, effective communication is also very important for a successful class. Thus the instructor should have a good sense of humor, encourage and praise students in class, and be patient to students. It is absolutely essential for a good language instructor to have all of these qualities."