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Arts and Sciences Learning Objectives

ILCS (International Literary and Cultural Studies)

Chinese Program

Statement of objectives
The Chinese Program typically has two types of students: (l) language students without majoring in Chinese and (2) Chinese majors.

  1. Objectives for language students

    The Chinese language curriculum aims to develop students' linguistic proficiencies (listening, speaking, reading and writing) within a cultural frame of reference reflective of the richness of the Chinese language and culture. Students are expected to achieve various levels of proficiencies throughout their Chinese studies, from the Novice High level at the end of 1st year Chinese (Chinese 1-2) to the Superior level at the end of the 6th year Chinese (Chinese 125-128), as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  2. Objectives for students graduating with a major in Chinese
(1) Language skills:

Students graduating with a major in Chinese are expected to achieve a minimum proficiency level of Advanced, as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. Specifically, they are able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements in all four areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Listening: They are able to understand main ideas and most details of connected discourse on a variety of topics, including short lectures and news reports.

Speaking: They are able to handle most social situations and casual conversations about current events, work and family.

Reading: They are able to read simple authentic material within a familiar context, such as simple newspaper and magazine articles.

Writing: They are able to write routine social correspondence and simple discourse on familiar topics, including summaries, and short narratives.

(2) Cultural literacy, competency, and critical thinking skills:

We define "culture courses" with the following three components: content (textual materials produced in different cultural forms including poetry, fiction, film, and others), historical contexts in which different cultural forms and texts developed and changed, and analytical concepts and approaches.

General objectives

We expect Chinese majors to acquire a general knowledge of major Chinese cultural texts, genres, motifs, and issues in conjunction with their historical contexts, and learn enough conceptual tools to analyze texts and critically assess their implications. These general objectives are achieved through the following means:

Course requirements for majors

Given the fact that Chinese is one of the longest continuous civilizations, we believe it is necessary for students to acquire a general knowledge and historical sense of some of the major cultural developments and changes throughout the last three thousand years. Despite the fact that, in North America, Chinese culture is often studied under the rubric of “pre-modern” and “modern” periods, we encourage students to acquire a general knowledge of cultural texts and issues produced from both. Even though majors can choose to concentrate on either modern or pre-modern period, regardless of their concentration, there are two required courses for all Chinese majors: (1) classical Chinese literature and (2) a capstone seminar course that deals with modern cultural issues. These two required courses are meant to help Chinese majors to acquire an overall knowledge of the essentials classical Chinese literature and culture, and to explore the cultural debates carried out in the modern period regarding the social, political, and historical implications of the changes in Chinese culture.

In addition to the required courses, majors are also required to take a course on China in a related field including history, political science, religion, and others.

Pedagogical objectives designed to foster critical thinking and cross-cultural sensitivity

Acquire a broad knowledge of major Chinese cultural texts and the historical contexts in which they are produced and received.

Skills in textual analysis. Such skills are developed in conjunction with a study of basic analytical concepts and approaches, including knowledge of (literary and cultural) genres, essential cultural motifs and their historical evolution and mutation, critical concepts that challenge students' (often) unquestioned assumptions about a culture as different as that of Chinese.
Acquire enough knowledge to truly realize that far more remains to be learned and studied regarding Chinese language and culture.

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