Teaching Chinese Film in an Advanced Language Class
St. Olaf College
Luying Chen (Ph.D. in Comparative Literature) is Assistant Professor of Chinese at St. Olaf College. She has taught courses on Chinese language and literature, comparative literature, and Asian studies at Brown University, the Princeton-in-Beijing program, Valparaiso University, and St. Olaf College. Her research interests include the Chinese poetic tradition of reclusion, classical Chinese novels, transnational films, European Romanticism, and the application of her specialty to liberal arts education.
Instructors often face a dilemma when using film in language classes. While film is appealing for the rich cultural and linguistic information it offers, finding the balance between teaching content and building language skills can present significant challenges for an instructor. Common approaches to using film in courses taught in English, such as screening one film a week, reading critical essays about the films, and class discussions and lectures, seldom offer the same benefits in a foreign language course due to the fact that students with only three years of foreign language study frequently lack the language skills necessary to discuss films in a foreign language. Yanfang Tang and Qianghai Chen, authors of the textbook Advanced Chinese: Intention, Strategy, & Communication (2005), have argued that “[n]either interpreting textual meanings nor decoding linguistic patterns leads naturally to the productive skills needed” for communicating in the target language at the advanced level. They further suggest that “practice, in a conscious but meaningful way is the key to successful transformation of input knowledge into productive output skills.”
How to Cite:
Chen, L., 2011. Teaching Chinese Film in an Advanced Language Class. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 18(2), pp.30–45. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.184