The American  Council  on  the  Teaching  of  Foreign  Languages  designed  the  Standards for  Foreign  Language Teaching in 1995  in  order  to  provide  guidelines  for  successful  language teaching. Acknowledging  that  the  essential  objective  of language  learners  is  to  communicate,  the guidelines propose a framework to accomplish this goal. The question is “what” language skills are necessary to communicate one’s desires, opinions, feelings and responses. In investigating language acquisition,  researchers  developed  the  Standards  for  Foreign  Language  Learning,  commonly referred  to  as the 5 C’s. Although  communication  is  the  focal  point  of  these  standards,  the  5  C’s recognize  the  importance  of  culture, interdisciplinary  studies,  and  global  interconnectedness  to further language proficiency and performance.

 

As stated by ACTFL, the National Standards are presented below:
 

Communication:  Communicate in Languages Other Than English
 

Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversation, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange                            opinions.
Standard 1.2: Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.
Standard 1.3: Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics. 

 

Cultures:  Gain Knowledge and Understanding of Other Cultures
 

Standard 2.1: Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture                          studied.
Standard 2.2: Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture                          studied.


Connections:  Connect with Other Disciplines and Acquire Information
 

Standard 3.1: Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language. 
Standard 3.2: Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign                          language and its culture.

 

Comparisons: Develop Insight into the Nature of Language and Culture
 

Standard 4.1: Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied                                and their own.
Standard 4.2:  Students demonstrate the understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied                            and their own.
 
Communities: Participate in Multilingual Communities at Home and Around the World

 

Standard 5.1: Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting.
Standard 5.2: Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and                                       enrichment.


 

As  a  player  in  the  development  of  language  learning,  textbook  designers  need  to  use  these guidelines as a framework for their instruction. In our Chinese in Focus series, the implementation of the guidelines is evident throughout our text and other learning materials.
 

Communication
 

Chinese in Focus  is  based  on  a  communicative  approach  to  language  learning.  In  each  unit there  is  ample  opportunity for  the  learners  to  practice  new  sounds  and  vocabulary,  to  pair  with classmates for the purpose of language exchange, and to participate in group activities. The unique challenge of writing in Chinese, using both pīnyīn and characters, is creatively approached. New characters  and  vocabulary  are  introduced  by  legendary  Chinese  figures  who  instruct  the students on  the  pronunciation  and  formation  of  the  new  words.  In  culturally  rich  dialogues,  students  are 
exchanging language with these legendary figures, their classmates, and even with web-mates.

 

Culture
 

Chinese in Focus  is  a  culturally  rich  series.  With  one  quick  glance  at  our  textbooks  the abundance  of  cultural stimulation  will  impress  you.  Colorful,  authentic  pictures  of  landscapes, monuments,  cities  and  people  enliven  this series. The  students  meet  Chinese  folk  characters  who teach  them  about  China,  its  language  and  its  people.  Each  unit is  situated  in  a  different  cultural environment,  exposing  the  students  to  the  vastness  and  beauty  of  China. The  units begin  with  a cultural introduction which is then explored throughout the unit. In addition to the big “C” cultural topics, Chinese in Focus concentrates on the integration of small “c” usage – vocabulary, grammar structures,  sentence  formations, customs  and  behaviors  are  all  authentically  developed  from  a Chinese perspective.
 

Connections
 

The  extensive  use  of  poetry,  rhymes,  songs,  history,  geography,  technology  and  pop  culture throughout the textbook assures the connectivity of  Chinese in Focus  with  the  global  realities  of today. Our textbook enlightens the student to the richness of Chinese society and welcomes him/her to investigate it more thoroughly.
 

Comparisons
 

Language competency is best developed by using the learner’s accumulated knowledge of his native language. By interweaving linguistic and cultural references, Chinese in Focus strives tobuild  language  competency  by  comparing  and contrasting  language  usage,  structures  and pronunciations  with  English,  when  appropriate.   The  student’s  linguistic and cultural  knowledge in his first language is used to transition the learner to integrate new concepts and formations.  We 
acknowledge  that  language  is  infused  with  cultural  perspectives,  therefore  customs,  traditions  and national values are discussed with an appreciation for both differences and similarities between the English and Chinese-speaking communities.

 

Communities
 

Chinese in Focus awakens  the American  student  to  a  new  world  of  ancient  wonders  and modern  developments.  By showcasing  the  history  and  traditions  of  China  the  students  can  better comprehend the quickly emerging importance of China in the 21st century. Early in the series the students learn about the role of the Confucius Institutes in promoting Chinese language and culture. 
 

Through  the  text  and  the  workbook,  and  particularly  through  our  web-based  support  center,  the students are encouraged to use the resources of the Confucius Institutes in their studies. The internet is  also  used  as  a  source  of research and  investigation,  connecting  the  students  with  the  global Chinese community. By engaging the students in this broader community, their motivation to learn and their interest in “all things Chinese” will be maximized.  

How Chinese in Focus follows the ACTFL Standards