Chinese Essential Curriculum
Requirements of professional and qualification characteristics to general education, as well as specialist knowledge and skills of students, serve as the basis for the selection and structuring of the content of education. A curriculum remains one of the main forms of presenting the content of education in a form sufficient for organizing training and monitoring the achievement of planned results. The list of knowledge and skills formed during the study of the subject is concretized in it in the form of concepts, ideas, and facts, which, taken together, make up its categorical structure. Thus, in a curriculum, learning content appears in a generalized, systematized form. A critical review of a curriculum allows one to identify whether the content of the subject is presented fully and comprehensively in it. Stafford states that “shortcomings in performance can be identified, quantified, and fed back to the developmental program for potential program modification” (p. 19). This determines the importance and special significance of studying and analyzing the curricula of different subjects.
Scope and Sequence
When assessing the scope of learning material in a curriculum, it is important to remember the special features each subject possesses. When it comes to learning languages, especially so specific as the Chinese language, one must understand that the scope of a curriculum should not be too wide. Zhao et al. (2017) explicitly state that “the curriculum content should be up to date and its breadth and depth of coverage are appropriate” (p. 55). In regard to the reviewed curriculum, it can be safely concluded that the scope of material given is sufficient for one complete course. The curriculum does not exceed the amount of information that is possible to learn in the time period of one course.
The principle of sequence provides for the implementation of the learning process in a certain sequential order. This order assumes that each subsequent element is logically related to the previous one. That is, the essence of the learning sequence lies in the connection between the acquisition of subsequent knowledge with those obtained earlier. This curriculum’s goal is to learn the Chinese language from the very beginning, such as through introductions and initial immersion in complex topics such as culture or media. Suffice it to say; the material is given in a logical order: from greetings and counting to more complicated themes and interactions.
Continuity refers to the concept of time- and topic-appropriate repetitions of concepts that are crucial to the process of learning. Continuity is especially important in studying languages, as the main process involved there is constant repetition. Within this curriculum, the concept of continuity is addressed quite well – the topics revolve around the basics of the language and ensure the constant use of learned words and constructions. The idea of communication is central to this curriculum. Thus, it uses already learned material as a base for further learning from the very beginning. Each unit is interconnected with previous units, and the grammar and vocabulary learned before are repeated and enhanced in subsequent units. Thus, the aspect of continuity is addressed well in the reviewed curriculum.
The concept of integration allows the students to discover common ideas and topics between different subjects and draw parallels that help them better understand the material. When it comes to integrity, this curriculum does not exactly offer much in terms of connecting with other subjects. The whole structure of the curriculum revolves around cultural and social specifics of life in China and does not address anything else. However, it is worth noting that the topics on Chinese culture are comprehensive and well-composed, as the topics are quite diverse: from festive traditions to Chinese media. Overall, the integrity of the curriculum is majorly based on specific features of Chinese culture and society.
Articulation provides a seamless transition between ideas and concepts in the learning process. This particular curriculum executes the aspect of articulation flawlessly: the transition of learning material within and in between units is logical and has a certain, easily recognized order. Perhaps, it is due to the fact that the curriculum does not incorporate concepts outside of language and cultural studies and does not have the need to adjust the content to other subjects. Nevertheless, it is safe to conclude that the curriculum provides properly articulated learning material that is easy to follow and understand.
The results of balanced learning are manifested in the development of creative thinking in students. It contributes not only to the systematization and optimization of educational and cognitive activities but also to the acquisition of cultural literacy. Seeing as this curriculum addresses a wide variety of different aspects of Chinese culture through the concept of learning the Chinese language, one can conclude that it is quite well-balanced academically. Throughout the curriculum, a student has the chance to observe, understand, and participate in various concepts and activities associated with Chinese culture. Within this process, students would gain comprehensive knowledge of China and its traditions along with the knowledge of the language.
Learning Theory Demonstrated within the Curriculum
This curriculum uses the theory of problem-based learning as a major learning concept. A problem situation is a cognitive task that is characterized by a contradiction between the students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and requirements. The meaning of a cognitive task is that it causes students to strive for independent searches for its solution by analyzing the conditions and mobilizing the knowledge they have. Ali (2019) supplies that a “problem-based approach enhances self-directed learning to face students with the problems and stimulates them towards deep learning” (p. 76). Specifically, this curriculum uses the concept of problem-based learning through activities that require the application of previous knowledge and experience, such as discussions, play-pretend situations, and comparison and contrast exercises.
Ali, S. S. (2019). Problem Based Learning: A Student-Centered Approach. English Language Teaching, 12(5), 73–78.
Stafford, M. C. (2019). Curriculum evaluation and transformation: Policies, perspectives and challenges. Asia Pacific Journal on Curriculum Studies, 2(1), 19–27.
Zhao, D., Ma, X., & Qiao, S. (2017). What aspects should be evaluated when evaluating graduate curriculum: Analysis based on student interview. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 54, 50–57.