This week I started my sixth semester at the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University [師大國語教學中心]. I originally planned for the previous semester to be my last semester because I was really getting burned out from going to class everyday. However, towards the conclusion of the previous semester I was approached by a few of my old classmates about forming a class with a teacher I had before. I decided to join the class because I didn’t think I would accomplish anything special except perhaps sleep an extra two hours everyday if I wasn’t taking classes.
Our textbook Taiwan Today [今日台灣] is published by Tunghai University’s Chinese Language Center [東海大學華語中心] and has fourteen chapters. The textbook published for Japanese speakers is slightly less expensive because it only has twelve chapters. We found out that the two extra chapters added to the English edition haven’t been added to the Japanese edition yet.
The most striking difference between this book and the previous book series I used [Practical Audio-Visual Chinese 1 and 2 (實用視聽華語)] is that the articles which open each chapter are written in both Simplified Chinese [left] and Traditional Chinese [right]. The book itself is largely a review of PAVC Book 2 with some new vocabulary and grammar points. There are also grammar and other short written exercises at the end of each chapter. Unlike the PAVC-series, there is no workbook.
Each chapter covers a different topic ranging from: Visiting A Night Market, Religious and Folk Beliefs, Taiwan Community and Language, Economy in Taiwan, and others.
The textbook gives teachers a lot of freedom to design instruction as they see fit [there is no standardized final exam for the Taiwan Today class]. Our class structure like previous classes involves learning the new vocabulary and practicing the new grammar structures, reading the articles, discussing the the articles’ topics in class, and writing our own articles using the topic of the particular chapter.
The teacher I have now encourages a lot of class discussions, student interactions, and supplements each chapter with extra vocabulary. I am certainly glad I decided to continue for another semester.
We made name tags during the first day of class before introducing each other, the drawing to the side of my name is supposed to resemble Taiwan.