Course Description:

This course is designed for the  students who have had no prior experience with the Chinese language and are interested in learning basic Chinese language and its culture. Throughout the course students will be able to learn and apply the Chinese phonetic system (pinyin system); they will proceed to self-introductions, descriptions of their immediate surroundings, such as family, school, and daily life; they will learn the vocabulary related to these topics, the grammar and idiomatic expressions they will need to communicate about the topics, and the cultural information that helps to contextualize the language use. At the end of the course, students will be able to master the pinyin pronunciation system, the basics of Chinese character writing, and the basic Chinese sentences used for communicating personal information.


Big ideas:

  • Connecting with prior knowledge is important in learning Chinese characters.
  • Language and culture are inextricably connected.
  • Understanding culture helps one understand others’ values, opinions and perspectives.


Essential Questions:

  • How are people in the world connected?
  • What language other than English is becoming popular and why?
  • Why are Chinese characters so different from the writing systems used for other languages?
  • How can you relate your culture’s traditions to the culture you are studying?
  • How would learning about culture change peoples' view of the world?



  • Required: Better Chinese Textbook Volume 1
  • Recommended: Better Chinese Workbook
  • Audio recording of the texts and exercises are available at:


Recommended on-line resources:


 Classroom Expectations:

  • Be well prepared for class;
  • Be active and engaged in class activities;
  • Raising hands if asking questions or expressing wishes;
  • Complete and submit all your homework assignments on time;
  • Attendance is mandatory (absences without valid reasons will affect your grades).


  • Listen to the audio materials available in the assignments page;
  • Finish the exercises of each lesson in your workbook;
  • Find a partner with whom to practice the speaking exercises in the workbook and be prepared to be called upon to demonstrate in class.


Quizzes and Tests:

  • Ten quizzes for this semester. Quiz is given at the end of the lesson;
  • Two tests for this semester. One midterm and one final;

Activities & Requirements

  • Drilling phonetic symbols and the four tones in Chinese language;
  • Recording the pronunciation of the words that represent different phonetic symbols and tones;
  • Reading and presenting simple Chinese;
  • Completing the personal profile form in Chinese;
  • Communicating verbally in Chinese within given situations;

 Make-up Policy:

  • If you have an excused absence you will have a day for making up the missed assignments. You will be graded without losing any points for being absent;


Mandarin Class Grading: 

  • Homework and Class participation: 25%
  • Quizzes: 20%
  • Tests: 30%
  • Activities: 25%



Have a fantastic journey of Chinese learning!