Feature: Singing method promotes Chadian students' Chinese language learning
"You are in first grade, you have to study hard. About learning Chinese (language), I am very experienced."
As Chinese language teacher Li Liang beat time, the lyrics echoed in the illuminated amphitheater of the Chinese Department of the University of N'Djamena. Nearly 50 students tapped the desks with their hands, singing to the lyrics that were their lesson to be learned.
The oral Chinese lesson titled "Guiding New Students" is created by Li. Since he reformed the oral Chinese pedagogy in 2019 with the help of the "singing method," the students have successfully learned over 100 songs and master about 900 Chinese vocabularies.
In September 2018, Li, who had been teaching the Chinese language in Africa for 10 years at the time, came to Chad to take up the post of professor of oral Chinese at the University of N'Djamena. Aged 52, he tries to teach beginners with Chinese songs.
To compose songs, Li adapts vocabulary, sentence patterns and certain grammatical points in lyrics and uses traditional Chinese folk songs. In order to keep students interested, the dean of the Chinese department continued to innovate, not only taking inspiration from traditional Chinese opera, but also creating nearly 30 percent of the musical accompaniment.
Following the good response from the students, the teaching method also continued from the elementary oral course to the intermediate level.
"The original Chinese folk rhymes and children's songs are good, but they are not suitable for beginners because a lot of the vocabularies are beyond their comprehension level, which can affect the motivation of the students," the professor said in an interview with Xinhua, adding that his Chinese songs, according to the actual level of the students, are easy to digest and absorb.
The seasoned teacher said that learning the Chinese language by singing has long existed in China.
The intensive use of Chinese folk songs allows students to appreciate the charm of traditional Chinese culture, said Li. The teacher believed that teaching through singing is effective in learning languages.
The Chinese department of the University of N'Djamena was launched in 2013 with a three-year study period. Due to a poor teaching base, in the second batch, only 17 students graduated and no one passed level 4 of Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK 4).
From September 2018 to July this year, he was just accompanying the students of the third batch. Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and political instability in Chad last April, students' presence lasted only about 18 months, but thanks to the oral teaching through singing, 47 students successfully graduated and 11 students passed the HSK 4.
Among the 11 laureates is Franco Allaramadji. The 23-year-old intern at SPT Energy Group is responsible for the Chinese-English-French translation.
"Mr. Li is the first teacher to teach us the language by singing. This method is very good, every time I forget the words, I immediately remember it with the song," said Allaramadji, who is the champion of the Chadian division of the 20th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students.
Fabius Doumbaye, 22, a classmate of Allaramadji and marketing intern at Huawei, believes that learning Chinese language through songs allows beginners to progress quickly.
"The singing method of teaching is unique. Professor Li not only improved the academic performance of students, but also succeeded in making Chinese (language) and Chinese culture known and loved by a greater number of Chadians," said Mahamat Saleh Daoussa Haggar, director of the University of N'Djamena.
Fu Zihao, an official at the Chinese Embassy in Chad, said Li Liang's reform of Chinese language education lies in the idea that the Chinese language education in different countries and cultural exchange between China and other countries must adapt to the characteristics and acceptance of the targeted people.
Li Liang's term ended on September 30, but he said research on teaching through singing would continue.
"In the future, I must strengthen the study of music and make more use of traditional Chinese music materials from which I draw inspiration for teaching," he said. Enditem