Curriculum in the Upper School

Novice Chinese (Chinese 1)

Chinese 1 is an introduction to the study of Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture. It is instructed at the Novice Mid proficiency level as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. The classroom experience is grounded in the four communicative skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The three modes of communication- interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational- provide the organizing principle for the course content. Students get acquainted with the sound of the language, the radical and the etymology of the characters. At the Novice Low to Mid proficiency level, students can perform the basic communicative functions of the language on very familiar topics using a variety of words and phrases that have been practiced and memorized. Students can greet and leave people in a polite way; answer a variety of simple questions, such as questions about likes and dislikes; introduce themselves and others; communicate basic information about themselves and people they know; and can make some simple statements in a conversation. Students become familiar with some elements of Chinese culture including family structure, society, and some major festivals. This foundation course is taught using Simplified characters. A general introduction to cultural practices such as food, games, songs and festival traditions, is included throughout the course.

Novice High Chinese (Chinese 2)

The goal of Chinese 2 is to progress from Novice Mid to Novice High level, as specified by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. The classroom experience is grounded in the four communicative skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The three modes of communication- interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational- provide the organizing principle for the course content. At the Novice High proficiency level, students communicate and exchange information about familiar topics using phrases and simple sentences, sometimes supported by memorized language. Students can usually handle short social interactions in everyday situations by asking and answering simple questions. In the interpretive mode, students can understand familiar words, phrases, and sentences in short and simple texts related to everyday life. They can present basic information on familiar topics using practiced language. Students learn to complement their language skills with basic conjunctions and measure words in writing stories and speaking. AP Chinese language and culture exam format will also be introduced in the spring semester. Students develop a better understanding of the culture, its products (eg. literature, foods, games), perspectives (eg. attitudes, values), and practices (patterns of social interaction, festival traditions) throughout the course.

Intermediate Chinese (Chinese 3)

The goal of Chinese 3 is to progress from Novice High to Intermediate Low level, as specified by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. The classroom experience is grounded in the four communicative skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The three modes of communication- interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational- provide the organizing principle for the course content. At the Intermediate Low proficiency level, students can participate in conversations on a number of familiar topics using simple sentences. They can handle short social interactions in everyday situations by asking and answering simple questions. In the interpretive mode, students can understand the main idea of short and simple texts when the topic is familiar. They can present information on most familiar topics using a series of simple sentences. Students learn to apply more advanced conjunctions and basic subjunctives in the formal speech and written contexts. Students are exposed to a rich collection of Chinese proverbs, idioms and quotes. Traditional characters, as well as selected AP Chinese language and culture exam practices, will be introduced in the spring semester. The class will be conducted increasingly in Chinese, and the students will produce more unrehearsed stories and short essays in class. Students continue to develop an in-depth understanding of the culture, its products (eg. literature, foods, games), perspectives (eg. attitudes, values), and practices (patterns of social interaction, festival traditions) throughout the course.

Intermediate Mid Chinese (Chinese 4)

The goal of Chinese 4 is to strengthen students’ skills at the Intermediate level, as specified by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. The classroom experience is grounded in the four communicative skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The three modes of communication- interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational- provide the organizing principle for the course content. At the Intermediate level of proficiency, students can participate in conversations on familiar topics using sentences and series of sentences, handle short social interactions and usually say what they want to say about themselves and their everyday life. In the interpretive mode, students can understand the main idea on a variety of topics related to everyday life in text and conversation. They can present on a wide variety of familiar topics using connected sentences. Students read more formal and informal authentic writings, such as brochures, advertisements, blog essays, news article excerpts in this course, expanding the vocabulary to include social phenomena and to reflect cultural perspectives. They learn to increase their competency in using more advanced conjunctions, advanced subjunctives, proverbs and idioms in their language production. They react and respond to direct questions or requests for information in a culturally appropriate manner. They begin to make connections between the learned Chinese culture and the potential impact it has on global issues today and to express their opinions in the target language. Successful completion of this course will prepare the student for advanced study in the next level -"AP Chinese Language and Culture" or "Advanced Topics in Chinese Culture".

AP Chinese Language and Cultures

AP Chinese is a full-year course that covers the equivalent of the fourth semester of a college Chinese course. Coursework provides students with opportunities to perform Intermediate- to Advanced-level tasks, and students are expected to achieve proficiencies throughout, and sometimes beyond, the Intermediate range, as described in the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. The course is designed to provide students with varied opportunities to further develop their proficiency across the three communicative modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational. It also addresses the five goal areas of communication, culture, connections, comparisons, and communities as outlined in the National Standards for Foreign Language Education. During their engagement with language produced by others in the Interpersonal and Interpretive modes, students develop strategic and metacognitive competencies, such as inferring the meaning of words from context, using grammatical knowledge to aid comprehension, and applying their cultural knowledge in comprehending written texts and spoken messages. Throughout their language production in the Interpersonal and Presentational modes, students increasingly employ linguistically accurate Chinese. They continue to develop sociocultural competencies and practical strategies that strengthen their ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of social and cultural contexts encountered in daily life. Its aim is to provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills within a cultural frame of reference reflective of the richness of Chinese language and culture. AP Chinese Language and Culture teachers plan and implement a course that focuses on language proficiency while interweaving level- and age- appropriate cultural content throughout the course and providing for the frequent formative assessment of students’ developing proficiencies within the context of their learning. Instructional materials and activities are carefully and strategically adapted from authentic sources to support the linguistic and cultural goals of the course. Intensive reading and writing, as well as integrated listening and speaking skills, are expected. The course engages students in an exploration of both contemporary and historical Chinese culture. Students will be able to apply their growing linguistic and cultural knowledge to communicative tasks in real-life contexts.

Advanced Topics in Chinese Culture

Advanced Topics in Chinese Culture is a full-year course that covers all areas of communication in Chinese in an intensive and extensive study of advanced linguistic elements and topics, including culture, social and global issues, and will demand increased oral, aural and written proficiency. Topics discussed in class include but are not limited to contemporary arts, poetry and theatre, current affairs, business and global relation, social issues such as environmental problems and population policy in China. 21st century technology is implemented by students to achieve higher order thinking skills, to communicate and collaborate with potential peers outside of the classroom, and to create transmedia presentations. By the end of this course, students will be provided with maximum exposure to authentic culture and language. Students will be able to apply their growing linguistic and cultural knowledge to communicative tasks in real-life contexts.

Advanced Writing and Researching in Chinese

Chinese for Heritage Speakers​

Coming soon