Learning Chinese – Composition 作文

Date:  Aug 13, 2015

Today, I am going to share with you something which I think really really cool.

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“Houston… We have a problem.”

Last semester, Jay has score very well in his Chinese MCQ (Multiple Choice).  He knows a lot of words.  Thanks to the Flash Cards that I made for him, and the daily reading and listening of text book exercise.

But, his scored a band-2 grade in overall, because his Chinese composition has dragged his overall score down.  Chinese composition has quite a weightage in overall marks.

Let me see, how can I improve his Chinese composition?

After having some careful thoughts… I have decided to do this.  To make use of technology to help him to achieve higher scores in Chinese composition.

1.  The Technology – iPad.  

Why not.  It is an excellent tool for learning.

2.  The App – Dragon Dictation.  

Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application.  Means, whatever you speak, it will write them down.  And yes, you can set the language to CHINA CHINESE.  Why do I need this app?  Very simple.  It will help his Oral reading.  It will train his pronunciation.  How each Chinese word is being pronounced.  If he pronounce something not so accurately, Dragon Dictation will write down garbage as closely sound as what he has read out.  It is actually quite cool that it help improve his Oral reading too.

Using this app is the faster way to write down your thoughts without using a pen.  Chinese composition is about looking at a few pictures, and writing down thoughts and form a story.  If your thoughts are not organised, then, you will not have a story line, and you will fail to get higher marks.  

It is about getting higher marks.  And the more you practise, the more you read, the more you use it, these phrases will automatically imprinted in your brain. So, I need a way to quickly jot down the thoughts.  And make him understand where you can use conversation Chinese in Chinese composition writing.  Slowly introduce a few good phrases and good sentences, hopefully he will remember next time.  It will benefit him eventually.


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3.  Let’s do an example.  This is a simple 3 pictures composition.  It talks about a boy which is “Me”, feel hungry during the recess time, so, I bought a bowl of “hot” noodle soup.  While walking towards the table carefully, a boy (Tom) has run passed me, and I drop that bowl of soup all over my body.  The soup was hot and it has burnt me, so I sat down on the ground and cry.  Tom did not help me, and he ran away.  What happen later, is up to your imagination.  May be a teacher have seen the whole incident, and he stopped Tom, and scolded him.  The teacher wanted Tom to apologise to me, and Tom knows his wrong doing, and he promised he will never want to run in the canteen any more.

As simple as that.

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4.  So, I let my son try it first.  By reading it to the iPad, the Dragon Dictation actually write down what he reads.

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I must say, as long as you read it loud and clear, the dictation was done 95% correctly.

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5.  Let’s check out what he has come up with.

Just look at that.  I almost want to faint.  hahaha, this is exactly how Jay Jay speak.  So, he speak this way, and therefore his composition is also the same as how he speak.  This is what I called conversation composition. hahahaha

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6.  So, I spent time, to analyse what we saw from the pictures.  The first thing I corrected him is, the title gave the hint that it is me (I) who was knocked over by some one.  Not Xiao Ming (小明).  And he wrote so long without any clear pointers where the story going.  There is no summary paragraph.  There is no indication that the boy has done wrong and apologise.

7.  Together, we analyse further the pictures and we come up with this new paragraph.  He has learned new words too.

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8.  Let’s try another example.

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Don’t waste food.

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9.  This is what he has written down.   Which is much shorter, and again, this is how he usually speak in conversation.  Hahahahaha

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10.  Again, we do a passage together.

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11.  Sometimes, there is also sample answer you can refer to.  This is the 8 points model answer.

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And this is the high mark sample answer.

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I can see immediate improvement.  And he start using proper writing grammar for Chinese.

So what is left is how to translate this thought into writing, and if you don’t know the words and you are able to say it, then, you can use the electronic dictionary to learn how to write those words.

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Let’s see how he score in couple of weeks time.  

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