Creative Putonghua lessons urged

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 March, 2008, 12:00am

Students find listening to native speakers the best way to improve their Putonghua, a survey has found.

The survey, conducted by Baptist University, interviewed 510 Form One students from three secondary schools between May 2006 and last April on how they learn Putonghua.

Six learning methods were cited as being helpful for students looking to master the language, including lip-synching when watching films in Putonghua or listening to songs, visualising difficult words and replacing unfamiliar Putonghua expressions with body gestures.

The study found that 35 per cent of the respondents 'always' or 'usually' used these learning methods. They reported fewer learning difficulties and more interest in learning the language than those who did not use these methods.

With rising calls for schools to use Putonghua as the medium of instruction, proficiency in the language is becoming more important to students.

Leung Yin-bing, one of the survey co-ordinators and associate professor in the department of education studies, encouraged teachers to adopt inspiring methods when giving Putonghua lessons.

'Instead of asking students to stand up and read aloud in front of the class, teachers should get students to adopt more encouraging activities like role-playing to boost their self-confidence,' Dr Leung said.