Status retention planning

A key question to be addressed in status retention planning is, why might English-speaking students in English-speaking countries benefit from learning Chinese? For beginning learners, one of the palpable signs of the status of Chinese is its contribution to the transnational networking capabilities of members of their local school community. School community members engaged in transnational networking provides learners opportunities to ascertain the opportunities and choices available to them with regard their integration into Australia-China projects. These members of local/global projects can provide accounts of their capabilities with respect to their search for, and making of, Australia-China connections. Community members can address such questions: how are Australia-China networking relationships established at a person-to- person level? What is the work of translators, cultural mediators and learning/earning brokers in enabling Australia-China networking and the expansion in person-to-person connections? Learning Australia- China networking capabilities in this way, beginning learners can begin to see connections between them learning Chinese and what opportunities and choices this might provide for their own life/work trajectories. Moreover, learners can see that cultural mediation and the brokering of learning/earning networks are valued and valuable forms of work in its own right, necessary for generating and maintaining Australia-China networks (Singh & Harreveld, 2014).

In terms of status, the teaching of Chinese to learners for whom English is their everyday language of instruction and communication is a vehicle by which the rising generation can better understand changing relations between Australia and China, and between China and

Table 8.3 Acquisition-driven retention strategies



Snapshots of teaching English-to-Chinese transfer using cross- sociolinguistic similarities


Hook into what learners already know in English to explore Chinese cross-sociolinguistic similarities.

'Rather than focusing on teaching linguistics, I conducted Chinese lessons that centred on the knowledge the learners already had acquired in English. I used what the learners saw as cross- sociolinguistic similarities between the English and Chinese words to develop their knowledge of the language. For example, I asked them to tell me the sounds in English that are similar to the Chinese sounds for the words "ni" and "hao." They said "knee" and "how." I found it necessary to use the learners' existing knowledge in English to stimulate their learning of Chinese.' (ROSETE 9)

Teaching English-to-Chinese transfer using learners' actual and assumed sociolinguistic similarities between English and Chinese.

Learners' spoken English can help them with Chinese pronunciation.

'When I taught the Chinese for the number 8, "ba", the learners made the "ba-a-a-a-a" sound. They had perceived a cross-linguistic similarity between a sound they knew in English and what they perceived to be the same sound in Chinese. This was very useful for them to learn the pronunciation of the Chinese for 8.1 also told them that people in China hear sheep as making a different sound, "mie", not "ba" as sheep are "heard" to do in Australia. They were very interested in the idea of animals apparently making different sounds in different languages.' (ROSETE 10)

Teach/learn post- monolingually by comparing learners' perceptions of cross-linguistic similarities in English/Chinese homophones, then explore differences in meaning

Learners need to visualise and write Hanzi in order to memorise them.

'I taught the learners how to write Hanzi by asking them what the Hanzi for a held (tian) looked like to them, and they wrote it. No extraneous, irrelevant details were added to the Hanzi. Students found it fun saying what the Hanzi for earth (tu) looked like to them. This strategy of asking the students to say what the Hanzi looked like to them proved to be an interesting and enjoyable way of visualising and remembering the shape of these Hanzi.' (ROSETE 13)

Have learners focus on a given Hanzi, give their visualisation of the Hanzi a name, and use this image to practising writing the Hanzi.

Learners can anticipate the meaning of compound forms of Hanzi.

'A learner asked, "Miss, do characters have meaning on their own, or do they need to combine together to create a meaning?" I answered, "They have meaning on their own, but when they combine together, they create a new Hanzi which carries a new but related meaning. For example, zfv (mu) means one tree and is a winged character." I asked the learners what they thought the following Hanzi might mean: # (woods) and ^(forest). (ROSETE 7)

Use learners' existing sociolinguistic of horizontal and vertical lines and wings to explain how Hanzi are written and formed and how compound Hanzi extend their meaning.



Snapshots of evidence of the positive status of Chinese

L2 learner retention

Classroom teachers and other school teachers' roles.

'John (a classroom teacher) said, "Make sure that you have momentum in your lesson." "You don't give them the time to talk about the weekend or whatever." "Never stay with only one task.'" (Feedback for 8)

Kay a teacher, said, 'The verbal encouragement and praise was excellent, especially for students who are tough.' Another teacher, Roger, said, 'Positive rewards like stickers are great because it helps keep the class on track hnishing their work.' (Feedback for 10)

A teacher named Cate said, 'Even when they make mistakes, you do correct them but in a positive way. You don't all of a sudden get "No, no, no, no, no!" ...You accept their tries and attempts.'

Schools increase the involvement of classroom teachers and other subject teachers in supporting teachers of Chinese.

Teachers share knowledge of their teaching skills/strategies, advise on structuring lesson content and oversee

classroom management.

Changing the physical environment to stimulate Chinese learning.

'In stage 1, the class teacher helped students to practise the language outside my language class time. They created a Chinese wall. By having a display wall, it reminded students about the language when they saw it, so they would practise the language more frequently.' (10 Self-refection)

Schools engage classroom teachers and other subject teachers in creating schoolwide learning environment (including the school website) that makes Chinese a visible presence in students' school life (e.g., using bilingual labels).

School initiated Chinese activities.

'One school invited me to prepare students to perform a Chinese children's song, "Two Tigers", during the school assembly. That was a very good opportunity to share with parents what their children did in Chinese at school.' (ROSETE 6 self-reflection)

Schools involve parents and community members with connections to Chinese in presenting students with accounts of, and reasons for, their engagement with Chinese.

the world. The status of Chinese is likely to be enhanced if beginning learners are able to network with bilingual (English/Chinese) speaking workers occupied in China or with Chinese speakers locally and around the world. However, further teacher-research is warranted to establish how and why the teaching/learning of Chinese can be legitimated among parents, teachers and students - as well as in teacher education.

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