Using Technology to Enhance the Teaching of Content-Based Business Chinese”
Studies indicate that the application of technologies in foreign language instruction can improve the classroom dynamics and make the learning process less arduous and time-intensive. One of the most common practices for foreign language teachers is to use authentic material such as a news article, criticism, literature work, or a video or audio clip from a broadcasting internet service to supplement the main texts taught in class. Such an application is especially useful with upper level language courses because the potential of the learners to benefit from authentic materials is greater. Nevertheless, adapting such materials for business Chinese and the assessment on the effectiveness of such application in CFL instruction has yet to be investigated. Drawing on research from cognitive load theory and task-based communicative theory, the author will explore the following questions in this paper: 1) whether the learners’ performance on transfer problems is increased, 2) whether a level of true understanding that enables students to solve a wider range of problems is generated, 3) whether the disparate levels in students’ proficiency and learning ability in a CFL classroom can be alleviated, through a technology-based instructional module employed in an Advanced CFL course “Chinese Economics and Society” at a four-year undergraduate CFL curriculum in the U.S. This course is equivalent with Business Chinese offered in some Chinese programs in colleges. Specifically aiming at facilitating listening comprehension and fostering the understanding of the target culture and society through an online multimedia instructional module, this paper will assess the role of technology and the effects of implementing an interdisciplinary approach in a language specific upper-level CFL course. Through a comparison of the results of a pre-test and post-test with several groups of students who have been introduced to this instructional design, the author will look at how such instruction combining conventional and online multimedia instructional materials change and affect the learners’ success at learning Chinese as a foreign language.